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Hyundai i30 Hatchback engines, drive and performance

2012 - 2017 (change model)
Performance rating: 3.5 out of 53.5

Written by Tim Bowdler Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

A range of petrol and diesel engines are available in the Hyundai i30. The petrol engines include a 98bhp 1.4-litre unit and an 118bhp 1.6-litre unit. There is more of a selection on the diesel front. A 1.4-litre diesel is available with either 88bhp or 98bhp. Move up to the more powerful 1.6-litre diesel and there are two power outputs: 108bhp and 126bhp.The entry level petrol engine is the 98bhp 1.4-litre unit, which is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. It will propel the i30 from zero to 62mph in 13.2 seconds, and it can reach a top speed of 113mph. The more powerful 1.6-litre engine is coupled to a six-speed automatic gearbox. It has a power output of 118bhp. That will get from zero to 62mph in 11.9 seconds and has a top speed of 119mph. If you fancy a diesel engine there’s plenty of choice. The entry level diesel model is an 88bhp 1.4-litre engine, with a six-speed manual gearbox. It can complete the benchmark sprint in 13.5 seconds and has a top speed of 106mph. There are two variants of the 1.6-litre diesel engine (108bhp and 126bhp) mated to either a manual or automatic gearbox. Even with the most powerful diesel it’s advisable to shift down a cog or two to complete overtaking manoeuvres in safety.

New engines and gearbox added in 2015

A choice of five engines, ranging from 99bhp to 183bhp, made the line-up in 2015. These include a 1.6-litre diesel engine with two power outputs –108bhp and 134bhp.

Petrol units include a 1.4-litre engine with 99bhp or a 1.6-litre with 118bhp.

The 1.6-litre diesel can be combined with a new seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, which replaces the six-speed unit used before. Hyundai promises the new box will offer greater fuel efficiency while simultaneously increasing acceleration.

On the road the Hyundai i30 is not as much fun to drive as the class-leading Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf, but it is competent. Through the corners the Hyundai i30 feels grippy, and it’s agile. There’s little body roll, too. The driving dynamics have improved when compared with the first generation, but even though it’s a step forward it’s not particularly engaging.

Hyundai has introduced a system called Flex Steer which offers the driver three modes of steering assistance and feedback. In comfort the steering is feather-light but flick it to the sporty setting and the steering gets heavier. The downside is that it feels really artificial. There is no feedback from the front wheels and you never feel that you are one with the car.

A pity, given that the car handles quite well.