Test Drive: The New Hyundai i30 Fastback
Ian Lamming tracks the latest development of the Hyundai i30
‘WOW, that looks sporty,’ is the comment from the 12-year-old boy as he prepares to climb into the latest test car – and that’s because it is.
If you doubt the boy, or the reviewer come to think of it, then switch on the TV and watch the latest Hyundai i30 Fastback blast round the track in British Touring Cars. See, told you.
Hyundai’s designers are cooking with the proverbial gas at the moment when it comes to penning appealing cars and the new i30 is no exception.
From the rear the Fastback version looks very much like a certain premium badge coupe and overall it is sleek, low-slung and racy. It’s a very pretty looking car, that’s for sure.
Under that sensual bonnet lies a 160PS 1.5 litre four cylinder petrol which comes not only with the oomph of a turbocharger but also a 48 volt mild hybrid set up. It is a cracking little power unit which is all things to all drivers.
So, stick it in eco (and watch the dashboard light up green) and it will return around 50mpg. Opt for ‘normal’ and it is, well, normal, and the clocks go blue because that is the colour of normality, obviously. Then keep pressing the mode button to see red for sport and the i30 becomes a genuinely swift motor, accelerating with aplomb and climbing hills like a hill-climber.
N-Line trim is motorsport-inspired and the one to go for if you feel the need to ape BTCC.
It has a wider central grille and new slim-line LED headlamps with V-shaped signature day running lights. The wider grille dominates the bumper area and screams performance while also boosting the aerodynamics.
At the back there’s a track-inspired rear diffuser that looks like it could suck the tarmac off the ground.
Both the 17in and 18in wheels fill the wheelarches and give the i30 a dynamic look. But the package is more than skin deep, it also offers tuning updates for suspension and steering which make the Hyundai a superb drive.
When the mood takes you the i30 will shuffle along with the best of them, tapping into deep reserves of power and pushing this through a quick-changing seven speed automatic gearbox, while the levels of grip and control build confidence.
When you aren’t in the zone and just want to get home then it will cruise along serenely with low levels of noise from the motor and wind, the only disturbance coming from the rumble of the tyres.
Also aiding the i30 as a people carrier is the excellent interior, which is well finished, equipped and boasts all the latest Bluetooth connectivity and touchscreen technology. It is easy to set up and intuitive to use, even if you don’t generally like all that touchy-feely swipey stuff. If you do like all that tech gubbins then it is there by the bucketload particularly if you download the app.
Live services include real-time traffic info, powered by TomTom, that highlights fuel stations, parking spaces (with prices), speed cameras and weather.
Bluelink app services include ‘Find My Car’, handy as the brain fades with age, remote locking, the ability to send messages from your phone to the satanav and receive vehicle reports on things like tyre pressures and other maintenance information.
And while we are talking tech, the safety features are off the scale. Hyundai SmartSense helps keep you in your lane, avoid collisions and alerts you to anything in your blindspot. It also urges you to take a break and tells you if the traffic ahead has pulled away but you haven’t noticed. We really are creeping inexorably towards the driverless car.
The seats are very comfortable and supportive, front and rear, the cabin spacious and Fastback owners get the benefit of larger boot space because of the rake of the roofline which is more then can just for sporty looks.
Hyundai i30 T-GDi Fastback N Line
Engine: 1.5 turbo petrol 48v mild hybrid
0-62mph: 8.8 secs
Top speed: 130mph
Combined MPG: 49.6
Transmission: seven speed automatic