Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • Petrol-only selection
  • Plus two gearbox options for one of them
  • Performance is adequate for most

Engine choice isn’t particularly comprehensive across the i30 Fastback range, with just two petrol engines available for the regular line-up. For higher-performance thrills, you’ll want to consider the i30 Fastback N. There’s a 1.0-litre T-GDi turbo bolted to a six-speed manual gearbox and a 1.4-litre T-GDi turbo with either the same manual ‘box or a seven-speed DCT twin-clutch automatic.

Hyundai i30 Fastback 1.0 T-GDi

The entry point to the range, this engine’s 120hp and 171Nm of torque make for a 0-62mph time of 11.5 seconds and a top speed of 117mph.

It doesn’t feel like the poor relation though, with predictable power delivery and more than enough punch to overtake at motorway speeds – you’ll just need to change down a gear or two. It even sounds the most interesting because of its three-cylinder layout, but never becomes too raucous.

If you regularly carry passengers and luggage, it may begin to struggle at higher speeds and hills, but if it’s just you and a passenger most of the time, it’s well worth a look.

Hyundai i30 Fastback 1.4 T-GDi

Performance-focused i30 Fastback N aside, the quickest i30 Fastback is the 1.4-litre T-GDi. It produces 140hp and 242Nm of torque. In six-speed manual form it gets from 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds and will reach a 129mph top speed.

Interestingly, despite the glut of additional power and torque, on the move this version doesn’t feel an awful lot faster than the 1.0-litre. Peak torque kicks in at the same time (1500rpm) no matter which engine you choose, but it feels like you need to work both engines equally as hard to get a move on. Admittedly, once the 1.4 gets to around 6000rpm, it picks up speed fairly well.

The manual gearshift is worth noting, as it’s slick and pleasant to use – much like a Mazda gearbox in this sense.

Opt for the seven-speed DCT automatic and it’s slightly slower at 9.5 seconds and 126mph, but that wouldn’t really be noticeable in everyday driving.

There isn’t too much of a delay when pulling away from a standstill like you find in many dual-clutch gearboxes, and you can control gearchanges using the paddles on the back of the steering wheel if you like. For most though, the car does a perfectly good job of this on its own.

  • This i30 sits lower than the regular hatchback
  • Has a sportier drive as a result
  • Nice balance of comfort and agility

The i30 Fastback handles slightly better than the regular i30 hatch. It sits 30mm lower overall, with 25mm of that attributable to a drop in the suspension’s ride height.

This has the effect of making it feel livelier in bends, with less bodyroll than the hatchback and a more planted feel, meaning you can probably have a little more fun at the same time. Combine that with nicely-weighted steering (that’s variable in weight depending on the driving mode you’re in) and it’s actually more involving than you might expect it to be.

Overall the i30 Fastback is a predictable and well-balanced car to drive. It’s not as fun as a Ford Focus or a Mazda 3 but – like the Honda Civic – is more enjoyable than you might initially expect, which makes it rewarding.