By Nick Jones
Believe it or not, Korean manufacturer HyundAai is in its fourth year of making the I30, its family hatchback which takes on the might of Ford, Vauxhall and Renault in a very competitive market sector.
If you’re in the market for such a car then it may pay to read on, as now the I30 boasts diesel power.
Coming from Korea, the first thing that springs to mind is value for money and that’s just what you get.
The I30 has been designed specifically (and cleverly) for the European market and, equally specifically, to challenge the stranglehold of the big four manufacturers.
Looks-wise, it’s bang on the bucks, with its chrome slat running right across the front and encompassing the Hyundai marque.
Its aesthetic appeal is enhanced by integrated fog lights and a new, tapered bonnet.
My test car had two doors down each side, with colour-coded handles and which shut with a reassuring ‘thunk’ – a sound designed into cars to give a reassurance of quality which never fails to impress, albeit at a subliminal level
nder the wheel-arches sit decent alloys.
At the back there is an unfussy rear end, with noticeable tucked away rear light lenses.
I drove this car last year in petrol guise and event then but couldn’t help but ponder how many more units Hyundai might sell with a oil burner on the options list.
Finally, here it is – a 1.6-litre CRDi comfort I30, with 113bhp and a top speed of just under 120mph.
My test car was the six-speed manual version and it’s mated very well to the engine; torque has a wide spread of power available form just 1,900rpm.
On the environmental side, emissions are quite low, as one might expect, at just 119g/km, while the fuel returns are on the other end of the spectrum – averaging a brilliant 62mpg on the combined cycle.
There is a lower output diesel engine, producing 89bhp.
Inside is where the Hyundai really scores. It’s much the same here as it is for Skoda, things are much improved and while not clearly Bentley-esque, things are very good for the money. I particularly liked the new flashes of chrome around the dashboard and the dials glow blue (VW-like) which seems to suit the car.
Space is plentiful in here and there electric windows and door mirrors, audio controls on the leather steering wheel and airbags galore, plus air conditioning and a stereo with a built-in iPod/MP3 interface – all as standard kit.
Room in the rear for three adults and the boot boasts upwards of 340-litre’s of space – which quadruples when you flatten the rear seats if moving anything larger that normal.
Don’t forget every Hyundai now comes with a five-year, unlimited mileage, manufacturer-backed warranty and service intervals of 20,000 miles for the diesel.
The petrol version I drove previously was the the 1.4-litre and was OK. But the diesel is far better. It’s punchier on the road, does more miles to the gallon and feels relaxed and less strained on the move.
Prices start at just £13,580 for the petrol 1.4 Class. The diesel I drove costs £15,295 and came with metallic paint, but you can pay upwards of £17,700 for the premium version, with the same diesel engine and an auto gearbox.
Whichever way you look at it, pound-for-pound and spec-for-spec the Hyundai undercuts all the major players in the family hatch sector by a few hundred pounds, so perhaps booking your own test drive might be worthwhile.