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What is the Hyundai i30?

The Hyundai i30 is a compact range of family cars who appreciate bulletproof reliability and generously equipped packages.

Having debuted in 2007, the i30 is now into its third generation and is available in three bodystyles.

Hyundai has come on in leaps and bounds over the last two decades. The i30 was one of the models that helped change perceptions about the brand and cemented it as a genuine rival to European marques. This third-generation i30, introduced in 2016, takes on staples such as the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra, as well as the Honda Civic, Seat Leon, Peugeot 308 and Renault Megane.

At-a-glance 2019 Hyundai i30 specs

  • Top speed: 114-160mph
  • 0-62mph: 12.7 seconds-6.1 seconds
  • Fuel economy: 39mpg-74.3mpg
  • Emissions: 107g/km-163g/km
  • Boot space: 381 litres-1,650 litres

What versions of the Hyundai i30 are available?

A range of petrol engines are available in the Hyundai i30, from a 1.4-litre 99hp four-cylinder to the full-fat 275hp ’N’ hot hatch. A lone 1.6-litre diesel is also offered. There’s a choice of manual or dual-clutch transmissions, too.

Hyundai i30 hatchback rear

The i30 in its latest generation comes in a variety of body styles. You can have the conventional five-door i30 Hatchback, a capacious estate called the i30 Tourer or the sleek and interesting i30 Fastback – a more coupe-like five-door. At the top of the tree are the i30 N performance models.

Spec levels start with S, then go up via SE, SE Nav, N Line, Premium, N Line+ and Premium SE.

What is the Hyundai i30 N?

The i30 N is the breakout performance model for the marque’s fledgling go-faster N sub-brand. The N is for Nurburgring if you were wondering. It’s Hyundai’s answer to the Honda Civic Type R and Volkswagen Golf GTI, with an ex-BMW M genius behind its development.

Packing between 250 and 275hp from its 2.0-litre engine, the more powerful model puts power to its wheels via a limited-slip differential. It’s a car that has earned real respect for the marque among enthusiasts. Hyundai has advanced the hot i30 N still further with N Option accessories. These include lightweight wheels, sticky tyres and enhanced aerodynamic accoutrements.

Hyundai i30 styling and engineering

The i30 has, since its inception in 2007, shared a platform with the Kia Ceed. The latest models use the Hyundai-Kia J6 platform.

The third-generation i30 introduced a new design language for the marque, with the ‘cascading grille’ defining a new look. This helps distinguish the Hyundai twin as the sportier sibling to the equivalent Kia. The positioning of the N performance brand reaffirms this, with Kia taking a more premium approach to its faster offerings in the form of the Stinger GT. The i30 Fastback is a fine concession to style, too.

Inside, it’s a pleasant place sit and the design is pleasing, although the materials can feel a little underwhelming in comparison with the benchmark Volkswagen Golf. Rear-seat space is a little tight, too.

Is the Hyundai i30 good to drive?

No great hot hatch has ever gone without the benefit of a sorted chassis. The i30 in its standard form is a convincing and entertaining steer, even without the hardcore N hardware.

The car rides well, has good body control and decent steering. It’s safe and balanced, thanks in part to multi-link rear suspension. The engine range is comprehensive, although the smaller offerings require a bit of massaging to perform their best.

How much does the Hyundai i30 cost?

Pricing is normally Hyundai’s trump card, but it has become a bit pushier in recent years, following its new-found success. While it still undercuts notionally more upmarket rivals, the higher trim levels don’t come cheap.

The i30 Premium, which is only fifth in a range of seven trim levels, costs a full £5,000 more than the base car. To upgrade from S to SE, you’re still paying an extra £2,000. That said, the i30 does come generously equipped from the off. Plenty of active safety aids, such as lane-departure warning, automatic emergency braking and lane-keep assist, are included.

DAB radio and cruise control are also standard. It’ll cost you nearly £3,000 to upgrade to SE Nav for the eight-inch media system, though.

Find out how i30 drivers rate their cars with our user-generated owners’ reviews.

Hyundai i30 Model History

Current generation Hyundai i30 hatchback model history

March 2017 – New Hyundai i30 hatchback goes on sale in the UK. New 1.0-litre T-GDi and 1.4-litre T-GDi engines available for the first time, with a 1.6-litre CRDi unit taking care of the diesel options. Trims available consist of S, SE, SE Nav, Premium and Premium SE. 

January 2018 - Orders open for the i30 N hot hatch, available in standard 250hp and 275hp N Performance form, powered by a 2.0-litre T-GDi petrol.

August 2018 - Hyundai adds i30 N Line and N Line Plus trims to the range. They add a sportier body kit, sports seats from the i30 N hot hatch and more kit to the equipment list. Comes only with the 1.4-litre T-GDi petrol. 

October 2018 - Small tweaks made to the i30 styling with the front-end design added from the i30 Fastback.

Second-generation Hyundai i30 (2011-2016)

Hyundai i30 MkII (2011-2016)

The second-generation i30 didn’t have the distinctive style of the current car. Hyundai produced a fine vehicle, albeit one without the definitive identity the i30 has now. Unlike the current i30, there was a three-door model offered alongside the five-door hatch and Tourer estate models, along with more diesel options in the engine line-up.

First-generation Hyundai i30 (2007-2011)

Hyundai i30 MkI (2007-2011)

While the second-generation car can be criticised for not having distinctive styling, it isn’t boring. The first-generation car, however, wore a more anonymous face. It wasn’t totally bland, but it wasn’t a beauty. Still, the first i30 proved that Hyundai was capable of offering something genuinely comparable to the European establishment.