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First Drive

First Drive: Hyundai i30

The story: Hyundai has facelifted its i30 hatch, estate and fastback, with a new sleeker nose, more equipment and better efficiency being the highlights
Category:Lower Medium
Key rival:Ford Focus
On sale:Now

The headlines for the revised i30 read better efficiency, new equipment and a redesigned front-end, all helping to give the lower-medium hatchback, fastback and estate a mid-life refresh.

The nose is the most obvious update, with a sharper look replacing the previous more rounded effect, and it’s more striking for it. The wider grille is still not as overt as some other manufacturers have decided to deploy, and the more slender headlamps make for a more measured look, while the sporty style of the N Line trim level has been accentuated with greater differentiation from the rest of the range.

First Drive- January 2021- Hyundai i30- Image 5

On the inside, technology is improved with a pair of attractively detailed screens – 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.25-inch touchscreen multimedia system, although the latter does look a little stuck to the dashboard, rather than completely integrated. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, and from next summer i30 models will be fitted with wireless phone mirroring, so a cable isn’t needed to use the phone systems. Cars equipped with satellite-navigation now get the Bluelink app, offering a range of services including remote unlock and sending a destination to the vehicle.

Efficiency is lifted by the introduction of new mild hybrid engines across the range, with 48-volt back-up now on the 120hp 1.0-litre and 158hp 1.5-litre petrol engines and the 136hp 1.6 diesel. The 1.0-litre petrol driven here is punchy enough for a sensible hatchback while matching the more powerful diesel for emissions, therefore costing less in Benefit-in-Kind tax thanks to its lower P11D price. Refinement is decent too, although the ride quality is a touch on the harder side of average, but nothing too offensive.

paul barker

The verdict

Sleeker new front-end design is an enhancement, and increased efficiency and spec are welcome additions to an understated and underrated core lower-medium model.