Test drive: Hyundai i30

Picking a new family car used to be pretty easy. You'd walk into a Ford or Vauxhall dealership and order the generic, popular hatchback they were shifting in the thousands and be very happy.

But not any more. Now there's some new kids on the block, or should we say some old kids that are seriously upping their game. We're talking, of course, about the likes of Kia and Hyundai.
Road Test: Hyundai i30
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Test drive: Hyundai i30

The Korean pairing really are producing cars that rival the mainstream marques these days - now all they need is to convince buyers to see past the badge.

To see just how far Hyundai has moved the game on we got behind the wheel of the latest i30. Aimed squarely at the Ford Focus the Korean contender certainly looks the part. This is the facelifted model - not that you'd notice - a few bits of trim have changed, but it looks smart.

Before you climb behind the wheel you need to throw away any preconceptions of what you think it will be like. The latest breed of Hyundais have taken a dramatic leap on from the quite woeful cars that came before them - and this i30 is a great example of that.

It's actually really rather good to drive. Our test car was fitted with a 1.6-litre CRDI diesel engine that'll hit 60mph in 11.5 seconds and go on to a top speed of 117mph.

Nothing earth shattering there, but the 62.8mpg economy does mean you only have to visit petrol stations every 735 miles.
The diesel lump is punchy, if a little on the loud side, and when combined with the decent six-speed manual box it's even quite good fun to drive. Complaints? Well, the steering isn't as good as the Ford's and on the road it can feel a little disconnected.

But inside it's a pleasant place to spend time. The build quality is impressive and it's here that the difference to Hyundais from five years back is really apparent.

Our test car came in the top-of-the-range Premium specification and was packed with kit. The list of toys you get as standard is frankly ridiculous. It includes climate control, alarm, immobiliser, electric everything, half leather seats, enough airbags to cause the car to float if they all went off at the same time, and a decent CD player with a plug in point for your iPod. In fact the only option worth having that isn't fitted as standard is metallic paint – which is £395 more.

And we haven't even got to the best bit yet - the price. This range topper will set you back just £16,450. Compare that to a similar specification Focus and you'd need to find at least another grand more.

Add in the fact that all new Hyundai models come with an unlimited mileage, five-year warranty and things really start to stack up in the Korean car's favour.

There are some buyers that still won't be able to see past that badge, but they'd be silly not to at least try the i30. Hatchback buyers will be missing out if they don't.

Hyundai i30
Price: £16,450
Engine: 1.6-litre CRDI
Power: 113bhp, 260Nm
0-60mph: 11.5s
Top speed: 117mph
MPG: 62.8 (combined)

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