First Drive: Hyundai i30 Tourer
We took the new Hyundai i30 Tourer on a road trip from England to France, to see if this mid-size estate car is the perfect family wagon.
What is it?
The Hyundai i30 Tourer is an estate version of the company's ever popular i30 hatchback – a car that's sold nearly a million units since it was first launched in 2007.
On the outside it looks very similar to the hatch with lovely sleek lines at the front and lots of chrome, especially in Premium SE spec. However, at the rear is where it all gets a bit different. Here you find a rear window that seems to taper off almost like a coupe. Open up the boot and there's a completely flat floor with loads of space to either fit luggage or the family Labrador.
What's under the bonnet?
There are several engines to choose from including a 1.6-litre diesel with 109bhp, which is the one we drove. There is also a more powerful 134bhp diesel and two petrols – a 1.0-litre with 118bhp and a 1.4-litre with 138bhp. Both petrols are also turbocharged.
The diesels are the frugal options, especially the lesser powered version, which manages 60mpg on the combined cycle and emits 112g/km of CO2 emissions.
What's the spec like?
There are several different specs to choose from. Our car was the middle of the range finished in Premium trim, costing from £22,885. It comes with sat nav, an electric driver's seat, sporty alloy wheels, LED headlamps, DAB radio and 17-inch alloy wheels to name a few. For leather upholstery and a panoramic roof, you have to upgrade to Premium SE, which costs from £24,155.
The Premium spec offered everything you would want in a car however and includes a very intuitive infotainment system.
The Hyundai i30 Tourer is up against the likes of the Kia Optima Sportswagon and Skoda Octavia estate. However the Kia doesn't feel as solidly made as the Hyundai and certainly isn't as refined on the road either, though it does have a slightly larger boot.
The Skoda on the other hand feels solidly made but at a much higher price. It also doesn't come with the same amount of kit as standard that you find in the Hyundai.
What's it like to drive?
On our drive from Ashford in Kent to the Ardennes region of France, the Tourer felt extremely competent as a cruiser and felt exactly like the sort of car you want on a long drive like that. Comfortable, light steering, a great cruise control system and excellent MPG made it the perfect continent crosser.
However one thing it did lack was any sense of excitement. This was especially evident as it was pushed through its paces on the sharp twisty roads of the French countryside where it felt a tad underpowered and wallowed around slightly. To get the maximum power out of it you had to leave the six-speed manual gearbox in much lower gears than you'd expect in order to get up to speed.
Look past that though and it really makes an excellent family car, with a quiet cabin and solid feeling build quality.
AOL Cars Verdict
It may not be inspiring to drive but it isn't aimed at car enthusiasts, it's aimed at families and for that it is perfect. Not only does it have a huge boot to store lots of luggage and daily necessities, it also has a plethora of cubbyholes throughout the cabin and even under the boot floor. As family wagons go, this is a decent alternative to more established marques.