Six months with the lower medium, i30 has proved, beyond doubt, that Hyundai now offers the same quality and comfort as long-established mainstream rivals such as Peugeot, Citroen, Vauxhall and a few others besides.

We have praised its smart and distinct exterior looks [1], marvelled at its interior quality [2] and appreciated its practicality from wide rear hatch to large 1316-litre seats-down space [3].

Can you sense the ‘but’ coming though? Here it is: the 110hp 1.6 CRDi Blue Drive engine. On paper this unit is the answer to a company car driver’s dreams. Sub-100g/km CO2 and 76.3mpg combined are top-draw economy and emissions figures ensuring low benefit-in-kind and no road tax, but when the eco-specification diesel engine adds £2000-plus to the list price over a conventional petrol and gets nowhere near those figures in real-world driving – least of all in city driving where you might expect an eco-focused vehicle to be more desirable or necessary – the savings just don’t stack up. And due to its overly long, economy-seeking gearing, it’s pretty miserable to drive around town. On dual carriageways or motorways in fifth or sixth gear at 60mph it’s no problem, but endlessly swapping back and forth between third, second and even first to try and keep the engine’s revs happy to avoid chug and splutter between five and 25mph is dull. My passengers felt similarly.

Across a variety of drivers – boosted by two tank fills in extra-urban driving locales – our final average was only 46.5mpg, nearly 30mpg off the combined figure. So convinced were we that it was the engine that didn’t suit, we tested a cheaper but similarly powered 100hp 1.4 petrol i30 to compare. It was a breeze in the city, well-geared, comfortable and able to reach a mid-30s mpg average, well within shooting distance of its 46.3mpg official combined figure.

So here’s what we would do: choose the i30 1.4 Style (priced at £16,700), which ticks some spec boxes you don’t get with the Active, such as automatic lights and wipers and one-touch windows (up and down!). Even taking into account a 46g/km emissions and official 30.0mpg hit and the associated taxation and running costs implications, unless you do massive annual mileage, you’ll be in financial clover, enjoying more gadgets and still driving an i30 that is thoroughly well-built, smart and comfortable.


Hyundai i30 Active 1.6 CRDi 110 Blue Drive
Mileage 12,448
Claimed combined consumption 76.3mpg
Our average consumption 46.5mpg
Forecast CPM 41.6p
P11D price (without options) £17,940
Price range £13,995-£23,900
Depreciation cost £12,515
Fuel cost £5229
SMR cost £1589
VED £0
National Insurance £1040
Insurance £2100
CO2 (tax) 97g/km (13%)
BIK 20/40% per month £39/£78