Our Fleet Test Drive: Hyundai i30 - 4th Report
07 August 2008
Author: Tom Webster
 A tilt and reach steering wheel
The i30 hasn't developed any irritating quirks, has done all that has been asked of it and has generally been a dependable runabout.
The only mechanical problem was the loose gear lever cap I mentioned several weeks ago, and that was fixed under warranty in minutes.
On the flipside, it's also not excelled in any particular area. If it were a kid at school it would be the quiet one in the corner slowly getting on with a project and not complaining when handed extra homework.
All this has meant that I've been a bit stumped on what to write about the i30: I couldn't criticise it, but I could hardly sing the Hyundai's praises either.
So let's look at the facts. The i30 is an easy, efficient and responsive car to drive. Anyone from a 17-year old learner to a 70-year old could get in and know where everything is instinctively.
The steering is light enough to make it feel like a small car around town, but not so light that it can't cope on the motorway. Throttle response is brisk and the 115PS engine is more than capable of overtaking slower moving vehicles on country roads.
It's the spec sheet that really impresses, though, and I'm ashamed to admit I've become used to the high level of equipment, which includes 16-inch alloys, leather steering wheel and gearknob , ESP anti-skid tech, front and rear electric windows,  a cooled glovebox and heated mirrors, a tilt and reach steering wheel  and iPod connections. All as standard.
By comparison, a 110PS 1.6TDCi Ford Focus either doesn't offer some of these at all on its Style spec (such as electric rear windows) or charges for the privilege (alloy wheels).
You can probably get some of the extras thrown in on your Focus if you have the buying power of a big fleet, but you don't have to with the Hyundai. And at £13,995 the i30 is more than £2500 cheaper than the Focus.
The driving experience might not be setting new high levels, but the i30 is great for feeling smug whenever you spy a higher priced, lower specced rival.