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

What trickle charger would you recommend?

"Which trickle charger would you recommend for use on an Hyundai I30?"
A trickle charger is an ideal solution for a vehicle that is left for long periods. We would recommend the CTEK MXS charger which we reviewed here: The CTEK is a trickle charger we would recommend because it has a lot of safety features, comes with a five year warranty and also offers graduated charging, so it reduces the amount of charge fed to the battery depending on its current state. This means it is ideal for long-term storage and there's no limit to how long it can be connected.
Answered by David Ross

Can you recommend a reliable family car on a £7000 budget?

"A relative has had her car written off and a payout has been agreed at £7000. What replacement car do you suggest? She has 2 children and needs a medium sized reliable family car."
We would suggest something like the Kia Ceed or Hyundai i30, which can be had in hatchback or estate from depending on how much room is required. They are easy to drive, comfortable and offer good interior space, as well as a good reputation for reliability. There are also plenty around, so it should be easy to find one within budget.
Answered by David Ross

Is a broken tailgate an MoT failure?

"I have a Hyundai i30 and the tailgate door wont open on the outside but does from inside. Is this an MOT failure?"
It is not an MOT failure to have a boot that won't open, but the tester may refuse to test the vehicle if they are not able to access certain parts of the vehicle, such as the rear seatbelt mounts.
Answered by David Ross

Best used medium hatchback?

"I'm looking to buy a used medium sized hatchback and wondering what you would recommend for £6,000? Or do I need to spend more like £8,000? I recently bought a 2009 Volkswagen Golf S TSI DSG 1.4 turbo petrol but the DSG had numerous faults so it's gone back to the dealer for a refund. I'm now back to square one and feeling a bit overwhelmed with the choice. Maybe there's also something different I haven't thought of. Maybe I need to think about spending more/getting a newer car. I mostly do short runs around the city (though try to walk mostly) and then away a few times on the motorway. I have one child with kit so need space and we often go camping in the summer, etc. I do need something safe, sturdy, reliable and efficient but which ideally also looks good. It doesn't have to be automatic."
Have you looked at the Kia Ceed or Hyundai i30? around £7,000-8,000 will get you a 2013 1.6 petrol version of either with a decent specification. They are reliable, well-made and nice to drive. Other cars we'd look at include the Mazda 3 2.0-litre petrol on a 2014 reg, plus the later generation of Ford Focus. Also consider a manual version of the Golf if you liked it - the DSG gearboxes can be prone to expensive problems but the manuals are less complex.
Answered by Lawrence Allan
More Questions

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