Hyundai i30 3dr

8 Apr, 2013 12:30pm Luke Madden

We drive the more stylish three-door version of the Hyundai i30 on UK roads for the first time


The Hyundai i30 three-door makes plenty of promises with its looks, so some drivers might be a little disappointed behind the wheel. It’s not bad – in fact it’s very comfortable and refined – but it’s not sporty in the way that you’d expect. Nevertheless, it’s good value, with a similar price to the less powerful and less well equipped Golf three-door.

In the past, three-door versions of popular hatchbacks were little more than five-door clones with limited rear access. However, Hyundai has taken things further with its new three-door i30, and we’ve now had the opportunity to drive it here in the UK for the first time.

The three-door model looks noticeably different. It’s instantly more sporty, better proportioned and has a face that’s far more attractive than the chromed front on the five-door on our fleet.

This Sport Nav model also gets LED tail-lights and tinted rear windows to make it really stand out. As there’s no three-door Ford Focus and the three-door Volkswagen Golf looks a bit bland, the i30 has a shot at being the most stylish in its class – only the Vauxhall Astra GTC presents real competition.

However, where the GTC has significant suspension changes to help improve its handling, the i30 three-door remains the same as its bigger brother. Whether or not that’s a bad thing really depends on what you’re expecting. Instead of being sporty and fun, the i30 three-door is comfortable, with the steering a little too slow and lifeless to be seriously engaging.

Our test car has the more powerful 126bhp 1.6-litre diesel – rather than the 109bhp engine – but it doesn’t feel particularly fast. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 10.9 seconds, and unlike some more powerful diesels there’s no mid-range kick of torque to liven things up.

On the plus side, running costs are good, with official fuel economy of 68.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 108g/km. The i30 is relatively spacious, too, with a boot that can hold 378 litres of luggage and plenty of legroom in the rear – although headroom is a little limited.

At £19,990, the i30 Sport Nav three-door is expensive, but it’s still very good value. The less powerful Golf three-door 1.6 TDI is £19,845, although by the time you add sat-nav, parking sensors, climate control, tinted windows and larger alloys (all standard on the i30), it’ll cost over £22,000.

Key specs

  • Price: £19,990
  • 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: Sat-nav, air-con, reversing camera, Bluetooth
  • On sale: Now