Hyundai i30 3dr

22 Dec, 2012 9:30am Damion Smy

Does the new three-door version of the Hyundai i30 offer more fun? We drive it to find out


Hyundai has done a pretty good job on the three-door i30. It has all the five-door model’s strengths, while the classy looks give this version a distinct personality. It’s highly practical, too, with lots of room in the boot and back seats. We found this i30 to be quiet and comfortable on the move, but we wish it offered the handling to match its sleek and sporty styling. The price is on the steep side, too.

The Hyundai i30 is already a close rival to the VW Golf and Ford Focus, but until now the model line-up wasn’t complete.

The three-door i30 joins the five-door hatch and Tourer estate, and it’s a more thorough effort than simply lopping off two doors – there’s an emphasis on style to attract younger buyers.

The profile is sleeker, with more aggressive bumpers and chunkier side skirts. Inside, our Sport Nav car had leather trim and sat-nav. The switchgear felt robust, too, while the upright centre console design is identical to the one found in the five-door.

Our car had the most powerful 126bhp version of Hyundai’s 1.6-litre diesel engine, which claims 68.9mpg economy and 108g/km CO2 emissions. That’s not bad, but you need the 109bhp engine if you want to match the Golf 1.6-litre TDI’s 74.3mpg figure.

The diesel is smooth at idle, pulls the car along briskly and doesn’t vibrate as much as you’d think. But there’s lots of tyre and wind noise at motorway speeds.

Sport models handle better than other trims thanks to a wider front track, which gives better roadholding. Yet there’s no big improvement over the five-door model’s slightly stodgy dynamics.

The Hyundai has a big 378-litre boot – larger than the Focus’ and two litres shy of the Golf’s – but it beats both by offering 1,316 litres with the rear seats folded. There’s plenty of space for back seat passengers, although a six-footer’s head will touch the roof.

At £19,935, the three-door car costs around £600 less than the five-door, but it’s roughly the same as a 104bhp Golf 1.6 TDI SE, and that’s the problem: it’s too expensive. Perhaps that’s why it will account for only 10 per cent of i30 sales.

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Hyundai's Achilles' heel. Hyundai and partner brand Kia have doubled their UK sales in the last four years, according to SMMT figures. Pricing was part of the appeal that drew thousands to these brands. Now Hyundai as well as Kia have increased their prices to almost the same level as the mainstream brands. And now these three-door cars.

'Distinct Personality' It's a car car's don't have personalitys only living beings do like people thats why its called personality & not metalnality.

As much as I think Hyundai make some impressive cars these days (and the model above is no exception), I feel they are starting to look a little steep on price. £20k for a 3 door Hyundai Golf rival seems a bit much to me. That said, I imagine Hyundai dont consider themselves a budget brand anymore.

I30's inclusion in the World Car of the Year top 8 is proof enough that Hyundai makes good cars. For further evidence check out VW CO Martin Winterkorn's praise of the I30. If still not convinced check out their exponentially increasing global sales.
But what I'm saying is that the Kia/Hyundai group need not lose sight of the fact that price is part of their attraction. Secondly too much of emphasis seems to be going on these so-called halo models.

Key specs

  • Price: £19,935
  • Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
  • Power: 126bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 10.9 seconds
  • Top speed: 122mph
  • Economy: 68.9mpg
  • CO2: 108g/km
  • Equipment: Bluetooth, sat-nav, reversing camera, leather trim
  • On sale: 24 January