This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Hyundai i30 Hatchback review.

Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

The entry-level 1.4-litre engine is willing, economical and - as a result - will suit the needs of most buyers. It's great around town and fine for short motorway trips, though can soon feel a little breathless. If most of your driving is longer distance, it's best to go for one of the 1.6-litre models. The 122bhp petrol has a useful turn of speed, getting to 62mph in 11.1 seconds and onto a top speed of 119mph - it's smooth and eager too, but the 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel is even better - strong, punchy and capable of 60mpg in everyday driving it's our pick of the range, although it is quite noisy especially when you first start it up and 0-62mph will take a lengthy 14.0 seconds.

There's also a 2.0-litre CRDi which offers a 0-62mph time of 10.3 seconds. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard across the range, while a six-speed gearbox is offered on the 2.0-litre diesel. A four-speed automatic transmission is optional.

The i30 is a pleasant car to drive. It's quiet on the move - although the diesel can be a little intrusive, smoothes out bumps and copes well in and out of town. Anyone buying an i30 after owning Hyundai's previous small family car, the Accent, will certainly notice the difference and be pleasantly surprised as a result. The steering is precise, it corners confidently and the entire package is much closer to what's on offer from more mainstream alternatives, such as Ford, than ever before.