Used Hyundai i30 (Mk2, 2012-2017) review
A full used buyer’s guide on the Hyundai i30 covering the i30 Mk2 that was on sale between 2012 and 2017
There’s a lot to like about the i30 because you get so much for your money. Buy a late example and you’ll still have the balance of the five-year warranty; trouble is, you may need it. According to reader reviews on our sister website Carbuyer, owners either have no problems and adore their cars or they suffer a string of issues, some caused at the manufacturing stage. Those who have run their i30 for a short time generally love their cars, but long-term owners can be less impressed. Make sure your pre-purchase inspection is detailed, but land a good i30 that’s been looked after and you’ll love it.
The original Hyundai i30 was a family hatch that was instrumental in changing buyers’ perceptions of the brand. When talking about its excellent quality, equipment levels and reliability, no longer did you have to add that the cars were impressive “for the money”.
Which is just as well, because by this point Hyundais weren’t the bargains they once were, although they were still among the best-value cars on the road.
By the time the second-generation i30 arrived in 2012, the car was more spacious, better equipped, boasted sharper styling and was far better (if still uninspiring) to drive; and they’re now more affordable than ever.
The second-generation i30 hatch was launched in March 2012 with a choice of 1.4 or 1.6-litre petrol or diesel engines; the 1.6 CRDi was offered with 109bhp or 126bhp outputs. The 1.6-litre engines could be specified with manual or auto boxes and the trim levels consisted of Classic, Active, Style and Style Nav. A Premium trim arrived soon after.
Car group tests
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Used car tests
A Tourer estate reached showrooms in July 2012, with a choice of 1.6-litre petrol or diesel engines. In January 2015 a facelift brought an upgraded cabin, fresh engines, an optional seven-speed dual-clutch box and a revised exterior.
The i30 Turbo was introduced later, with a 183bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine, and the model range was rationalised to just three trim levels: S, SE and SE Nav. An all-new Mk3 car went on sale in 2017.
Which one should I buy?
Nearly all i30s have five doors, which is no bad thing. Go for a manual or DCT (dual-clutch) gearbox and avoid entry-level cars because they’re spartan; the extra poke of a 1.6 is worthwhile over a 1.4 if you can stretch to it.
The entry-level Classic features air-con, Bluetooth and powered front windows as standard, along with a multifunction steering wheel, plus heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors. Active trim adds 15-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, electric rear windows, adjustable steering modes and rear parking sensors.
Style models come with automatic lights and wipers, plus dual-zone climate control, while Style Nav has navigation and a rear parking camera.
The range-topping Premium spec has an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, upgraded instrumentation and leather trim.
Alternatives to the Hyundai i30 Mk2
The Kia Cee’d is closely related to the i30; it shares the same mechanicals and generous equipment levels, plus it’s got a longer seven-year warranty.
The Vauxhall Astra, Peugeot 308 and Ford Focus offer excellent value thanks to the high number of examples sold; all come with a wide array of engines and trims. Don’t overlook the Mazda 3, because it has a sharp design and is fun to drive. The Toyota Auris won’t excite you, but if you want a car that’s easy to own it could be just the job. If your budget is flexible you should definitely check out the Volkswagen Golf.
What to look for
17-inch alloys fitted to top-spec i30s are prone to kerbing; smaller wheels on cheaper models are less easily damaged.
Interior fit and finish is generally very good, but some materials are easily scratched, making the cabin look tatty.
All i30s above entry level (Classic or S) get the Flex Steer system with Normal, Comfort and Sport settings.
Diesel buyers could switch the manual for a dual-clutch auto option after 2015’s facelift. The petrol has a regular auto.
Inside, the styling of the i30 is attractive and the ergonomics are good. While most materials have a high-quality feel, a few surfaces comprise of less appealing plastics. Head and legroom are good in the front and back seats, while the boot is spacious at 378 litres, or 1,316 litres with the rear seats folded. The Tourer has a capacity of 1,642 litres.
All i30s need servicing every two years or 20,000 miles, with maintenance prices varying between £365 and £391 when the car is under warranty.
Once it’s out of warranty, Hyundai dealers charge £99, £159 and £219 for basic, interim and full check-ups. The first comprises an oil change and software updates, but all include a year’s AA breakdown cover.
Brake fluid must be changed every two years or 20,000 miles and coolant is needed every six years or 60,000 miles; both are included in full services. All engines are chain-driven, so there are no cambelts.
Whereas the original i30 was recalled three times, its successor has so far been called back just once.
The campaign affected 2,632 manual-gearbox cars built up to 29 February 2012. Their handbrakes could fail to release properly due to water getting into calipers. The solution was to fit new seals or replace the caliper(s), depending on if corrosion had set in.
Driver Power owner satisfaction
The i30 Mk2 didn’t appear in our Driver Power 2017 new or used satisfaction surveys, but finished 114th in our 2016 new car poll. The only top 100 scores were for practicality (49th), ride quality and ease of driving (both 81st), which is disappointing, while 135th place for reliability is also worse than we’d expect.