Hyundai i30 (2012 – 2017) Review

Hyundai i30 (2012 – 2017) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Hyundai i30 doesn’t stand out in a particular area, but if you’re after a spacious and practical interior, a long list of standard equipment, and the remainder of a five-year warranty, the i30 is a credible choice.

+Good quality interior, very efficient engines, excellent value for money, good reliability record, plenty of equipment as standard.

-Lacks the image of some rivals, sombre interior, dull to drive.

Insurance Groups are between 6–21
On average it achieves 77% of the official MPG figure

Launched in 2012, the Hyundai i30 offers genuine value for money in the crowded family hatchback sector. Available as a three-door and five-door hatch – and also an estate – the i30 rivals the likes of the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra, as well as the closely related Kia Cee’d in the battle of the long warranties. 


Value for money. That’s what the Hyundai i30 brings to the family hatchback market. Launched in 2012, and facelifted in 2015, the i30 is the safe, dependable, practical and reliable member of this class. Nothing to get excited about, but few reasons to avoid it.

There are two versions of the hatchback: three-door and five-door. The three-door is best avoided, as it lacks the practicality of the five-door, while an i30 Tourer (estate) is available if you need even more space. As it is, the hatchback offers a reasonable 378 litres of boot space, extending to a generous 1,316 litres with the rear seats folded down.

Although rear headroom isn’t particularly generous, only the tallest of passengers will have cause for complaint, but getting into the back of a three-door i30 could be a struggle.

Fortunately, most buyers opted for the five-door, so there’s plenty of choice on the used car market. Speaking of which, prices start from around £2500, while £6000 is enough for a car with two years of the original five-year warranty remaining.

The 1.6-litre CRDi is the most popular engine. This isn’t surprising, as the turbodiesel engine offers an excellent blend of performance and economy, especially if you opt for a post-facelift i30. The 1.4-litre CRDi engine is a bit weak, as is the 1.4-litre petrol.

Better to opt for the 1.6-litre petrol, which is good in town and great on a longer trip. There’s also a 1.6 Turbo model, which offers the performance of a ‘warm hatch’ with mildly upgraded cosmetics.

On the road, the Hyundai offers a great balance of ride and handling. Sophisticated rear suspension means that it’s a rewarding car to drive on a B-road, but most buyers will appreciate its safe handling and excellent ride quality. It’s not as nice to drive as the current i30, but for all-round ability, this version is hard to beat.

Quality-wise, the Hyundai i30 is surprisingly good. The interior plastics feel robust and hard-wearing, and there’s enough interest in the cabin to lift the otherwise sombre mood. Again, nothing to get excited about, but there’s nothing to offend. It’s… just right.

So what’s not to like about the Hyundai i30? The styling is a tad forgettable, although things improved with the facelift. Then there’s the driving experience, which is bordering on dull, although we appreciate that this could be one of the car’s strengths.

Avoid the entry-level versions and you get a decent amount of equipment for your money, especially when you consider the price of used examples. It might lack the prestige of the Golf, the driving experience of the Focus, and the seven-year warranty of the Cee’d, but the Hyundai i30 provides a great blend of comfort, reliability and value for money. Stick it on your shortlist.

Looking for the latest model? You'll want our new Hyundai i30 review.

Ask Honest John

I'm looking to buy a high mileage diesel car. It only has four service stamps - is this an issue?
"I'm looking to buy a 2013 Hyundai i30 diesel manual with zero road tax. This car has about 150,000 miles on the clock. Do you think this is high mileage for this car and - thus - not worth buying? Someone told me that i30 are only good up to 100,000 miles and after that, they deteriorate very quickly. This car has only two previous owners, with four service stamps and I'm buying it for around £2500. Any thoughts? Many thanks."
With regular maintenance, 150k shouldn't be an issue, and it's actually better than a diesel car that's been used for short journeys. Four service stamps is a big red flag, though. It could be a ticking time bomb if it's only be serviced four times in eight years/150k miles.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What's the best automatic for covering 20,000 motorway miles a year?
"What medium-sized automatic would you recommend for motorway driving, up to 20k miles per year. I had a Mazda 3 1.5 petrol but it was thirsty. I'm looking for something less with a budget of £8k-£10k. "
A Kia Cee'd would be a good option. The 1.6 CRDi auto is reliable and efficient, and your budget will get a 2016 model which will still have some of its manufacturer warranty remaining. Also consider the very similar Hyundai i30 with the same engine or a Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What's a good car for commuting on a £10k budget that has Apple CarPlay?
"I’m changing jobs shortly and that will require me to commute to Birmingham from my home in Kent (approx 150 miles each way) at least once occasionally twice a week. I’m looking for an economical hatchback or estate comfortable on long journeys and ideally with Apple CarPlay (I’m an avid user of Waze and podcast listener). I have up to £10k to spend. What do you recommend?"
How about a Kia Cee'd? MY17 models and newer should have Apple CarPlay. They'll have the remainder of Kia's seven-year warranty, too, and will be very cheap to run. Also consider the Hyundai i30 (you'll get a newer-generation model for the money) or a Vauxhall Astra.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What car can you suggest on a £7000 budget?
"I have a budget of £7000 and need a reliable used car. I and need it to have lumbar support (or a car seat that is designed for comfort and can support your lower back) it must have cruise control. I am looking for something about four years old and if I can get automatic that would be great. I don't need an estate car and would prefer smaller but not tiny. I need decent boot space for equipment and also a dog again in the future. I currently have a Passat but I am unsure about petrol and diesel as I hear conflicting views? "
First of all, the decision to buy a petrol or diesel car will depend on how many miles you cover and the kind of journeys you do. If most of your journeys are short or around town, petrol makes the most sense. If you're a high-mileage driver, covering lots of motorway journeys, a diesel is the choice for you. Diesels used for lots of short journeys can be problematic, as you may have found with your Passat. Unless you cover really high miles, it probably makes sense to look towards a petrol car as they're likely to require less maintenance than a second-hand diesel. The next decision is the kind of automatic gearbox you want. Torque converters are what most people describe as a traditional automatic gearbox. They're a good choice, and are usually more reliable than complicated dual-clutch systems (e.g. Volkswagen's DSG gearbox). Alternatively, a CVT gearbox (as used in the Honda Jazz) is criticised by some as it can be noisy during fast acceleration, but it's generally very reliable. Unfortunately, there may have to be some flexibility in your requirements as I'm not sure there's a car that ticks all your boxes for less than £7000. A Honda Jazz would be a good choice, but you'll struggle to find one newer than 2013 with your budget. You could also look at a Hyundai i30 or Kia C'eed - two very similar cars, representing excellent value for money and similar to the Civic in size.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Hyundai i30 (2012 – 2017) cost?