Not many compact hatchbacks do it better than the 2021 Hyundai i30 – known for its generous cargo space, great handling, and top-notch cabin. It features an upgraded infotainment system but acceleration could be better on the tarmac. In our opinion, the i30 has always managed to bridge the gap between the two extremes: family friendly mainstream cars and luxurious alternatives.
Although this is quite a feat in the automotive industry, it also means that the i30 has to compete with many rivals, they include humble offerings such as the Vauxhall Astra, Volkswagen Golf, and Ford Focus, alongside the more premium alternatives like the Mercedes A-Class and the BMW 1 Series.
The i30 has been around for longer than a decade now and, while maintaining its usual blend of practicality and driving excellence, this latest iteration throws a host of clever additions into the mix. One of those is a 10 inch infotainment system and updated engines.
Hyundai has always prioritized safety for its motorists and the latest version of the i30 makes driving safer with the SmartSense suite of safety kit that earns it four safety marks by the ANCAP. The Euro NCAP crash test rating is more lenient though and offers it a maximum five star rating.
Regardless of which model you go for, the i30 is safe and dependable for your family. All cars get Front Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, and Autonomous Emergency Braking, along with Driver Attention Alert and High Beam Assist.
Is the Hyundai i30 a Reliable Car?
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Overall, the Hyundai i30 is a reliable alternative to the fancier Ford Focus and Volkswagen hatchbacks. The latest iteration comes with several new changes, including a large slotted grille for more imposing aesthetics, LED lights, and slightly redesigned interiors.
Most motorists will find a comfortable driving session with the Hyundai i30 due to the high-end seating system and steering wheel adjustment, with plenty of headroom space. Even the tallest drivers and passengers will find adequate seating space and decent knee room to get comfortable. If you’re looking for more boot space for passengers though, you might want to look at the Skoda Octavia.
It comes with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine that offers 134bhp and nearly 60mpg, however most drivers might opt for the three-cylinder 118bhp. All trims feature 48-volt mild-hybrid technology that makes driving slightly more efficient. Buyers can also opt for the pricier 1.5 T-GDi 157 bhp petrol, which is available with the trendier N-line offer.
There’s also a sportier look with the N line trim – Hyundai’s answer to popular rivals like the SEAT Leon’s FR models and Ford Focus ST-Line – with updated engines and improved interior styling. The N line also comes with sports seats, a larger touchscreen, sports seats, and a digital instrument cluster.
What Driving Feels Like
The i30 offers an enjoyable driving experience and makes light work of any type of terrain, as long as you’re not driving at top speeds, that is. At higher speeds, driving can get a little unsettled due to minor imperfections, as the car sways from side to side in a mildly annoying, but not downright annoying, manner.
The N-line trim offers a slightly different steering and suspension experience that feels sportier. Its 1.5-liter petrol engine is quiet and feels upgraded, even at higher revs. It sounds good too. Performance feels satisfactory, but nothing to feel excited about. And while this is more fun than a standard car, the experience could have been more enjoyable.
But that is to be expected of cars in this category. Motorists looking for something more fun may want to opt for a Mazda 3 or a Ford Focus instead. However, if you’re willing to make a few compromises, then the i30 easily fits the bill.
The 1.0-liter engine is ideal for those looking for a great budget option. The three-cylinder engine provides more than enough power for day-to-day driving and is very economical, mostly due to the six-speed intelligent manual transmission and 48-volt mild hybrid system – which can save you a lot of fuel.
Boot Space and Comfort
Storage space inside the i30 is decent, with a decent bin between the front seats and door pockets that are large enough for a bottle of water. Once inside, you’ll find the i30 to offer plenty of space for adults, including those over six feet tall.
Knee room is also great, but as mentioned earlier, if you want more passenger space, then the Skoda Octavia is a better choice for your money. If you want more space, you can fold the seats to reveal a maximum capacity of up to 1301 litres. This is about 91 litres more than Astra’s offerings but a whopping 279 lesser than the Octavia.
The space up front is adequate with lots of room for movement in the seating position. The steering wheel comes with rake adjustment as standard on all models.
What the Interior Feels Like
The Hyundai i30 is a hatchback that offers a lot of cargo space compared to other cars in the class. You may find that it offers more space than certain subcompact SUVs. The interior isn’t as feature-laden or eye-catching as some of its pricier rivals, but overall, the dashboard gets the job done.
The i30 employs ample high-quality materials and surfaces that are soft to the touch. Its interior design is understated, but it feels upscale and sleek in its own right. You won’t be hearing engine noise at high speeds, although there may be some wind and road noise to contend with, overall, you’ll find the experience top class – not quite up there with the Golf but pretty decent.
When it comes to technology offerings, the i30 does it very well. This is one space where it outshines rivals like the Volkswagen Golf in nearly every category. The high-end 10-inch infotainment system looks crisp with a stunning user interface. There is compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus you can also charge your phone.
You can spend some more money on a Premium version of the car with lots of tech stuff inside such as a heated steering wheel, heated seats, adjustable driver’s seats, and so on.