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Hyundai i30: Test Drive (continued)

Date: 29 June 2007

Category: Lower medium
Price: £10,995-£16,595
Key Rival: Kia Cee'd

Spec is the i30's trump card, though, out-pointing all rivals from Kia to Renault with across-the-range standard kit including ESP, all-electric windows, alloy wheels and an iPod connection.


Of the engines the torquey new 115PS 1.6-litre diesel with five-speed gearbox is the best all-round fleet bet coping with most driving conditions without getting noisy. It offers an excellent 60.1mpg plus low 125g/km CO2 emissions for decent tax bills. Other engines include a chunkier 140PS 2.0-litre diesel with a six-speed manual gearbox but economy (51.4mpg) and emissions (191g/km) suffer. There are two petrol units for the UK, too: a 109PS 1.4 and 122PS 1.6, though it is the less powerful 1.4 that is more fun, refined and quiet. Both 1.6 units get a £1000 auto option from launch but expect it to inflate tax bills through significantly blunted economy and emissions with only easier driving to compensate.

The 1.6 diesel has a softer ride and handling set-up than the Kia Ceed, but that may not always be a good thing: although it absorbs road imperfections well for steady cruising it can be uncertain on twistier routes with the electronic steering feeling light and lacking in precision. This is no Focus-beater on driving ability.

Whole-life costs are not ready for the i30 yet, but with high spec and quality, added to low fuel consumption, emissions and price, plus improved SMR costs and a five-year unlimited mileage warranty, Hyundai will be hoping for a cost per mile that could be heading towards the best in class. Poor RVs based on weak predecessors with silly names maybe its only Achilles heel.