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Hyundai thinks the number one reason buyers will be attracted to its new i30 hatchback is because of its new sense of style.
Fractionally longer and wider than the current model, the new i30 isn't actually completely fresh from the ground up. Instead, it's based on an updated, stiffer version of the old car's platform.
Inside, it's hard not to be impressed by a totally redesigned interior that matches the car's smart exterior design and features the firm's latest eight-inch infotainment system that incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
It's a shame the illusion of classy cabin is ruined by a couple of cheap-feeling plastics. A Volkswagen Golf still feels better finished, but at least there's plenty of space up front and behind the driver for four adults to sit comfortably. The boot is big too, with 395 litres of loadspace.
Three engine choices
The UK market gets a choice of three engines at launch, all tailored for those who use their car for business.
At the entry-point to the range, there's a peppy three-cylinder 120hp 1.0-litre turbo petrol that feels quicker than its 11.8 second 0-62mph time suggests. It's a bit noisy when pushed hard, but it soon quietens down at motorway cruising speeds.
Perhaps more tempting is the all-new 140hp 1.4-litre turbo that comes with the option of a smooth-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch auto. Against the clock the more powerful petrol hits 62mph in 9.2 seconds. It feels slower, but overall the 1.4 turbo is a good match and is claimed to average almost 52mpg.
Of course, if you do above-average miles the range-topping 1.6-litre diesel makes more sense. Unfortunately, we didn't get the chance to drive the 110hp version that's claimed to average a very respectable 74.3mpg.
Instead, we drove the thirstier 133hp model other markets get, again combined with Hyundai's seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Like the 1.4T, even the most powerful diesel felt a little sluggish on country roads but settled down quietly on a cruise and made for a relaxing combination.
Engineers claim the Korean hatch is a huge improvement over the car it replaces - and it is. There's little body roll and the ride is well judged, but compared with the Golf and Ford Focus we think it still lacks the edge and steering feel for it to be the pick of the class.
Standard safety kit
However, the manufacturer claims nothing in its class is safer thanks to standard lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist and autonomous emergency braking that can detect a pedestrian up to speeds of almost 40mph.
It's too early for costs so it's hard to judge how the i30 will fare against its rivals. Until then, the small Hyundai is still a much improved and great all-rounder that should remain on fleets' radar when it goes on sale next month.