Hyundai i30 Turbo review
Don't expect too much performance and the Hyundai i30 Turbo warm hatch will impress
As a warm hatch, the Hyundai i30 Turbo works well. It drives nicely and doesn’t sacrifice comfort for performance. It’s got a kit list longer than your arm, and thanks to the fact it’s available with five doors, should be easy to live with day-to-day. It’s no Golf GTI, but compared with similarly-priced rivals, the Turbo is an attractive proposition.
The charge of the lukewarm hatch is in full swing. The Peugeot 308 GT, SEAT Leon FR and Kia Cee’d GT all offer practicality, performance and reasonable running costs, as well as sporty looks and slightly sharper dynamics. But now Hyundai wants a slice of the half-fat pie – with this new Hyundai i30 Turbo.
Based on the new facelifted i30, the Turbo is available with three or five doors. Styling upgrades include 18-inch alloy wheels, a sports bodykit, twin exhausts and LED rear lights. Hyundai expects to shift around 600 units each year over here, accounting for around four per cent of UK i30 sales.
With a relatively modest 184bhp, it’s not designed to challenge the VW Golf GTI or Ford Focus ST, but as a toned-down hot hatch the Turbo works well. It carries over the 1.6-litre petrol engine from the now defunct Veloster Turbo.
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Body control is good and it’s got loads of grip. It never feels enormously fast, but keep the revs high and the turbo spooled and the i30 can be hustled along at a decent clip. The gear change is positive and it’s nicely damped too, with the standard-fit half-leather sports seats offering decent support on all road surfaces.
But while grip is impressive, the adjustable-weight steering does nothing to enhance the car’s sporting feel. Flick through the different setups – Comfort, Normal and Sport – and you’ll struggle to decipher which is which. The brakes don’t offer as much bite as rivals and the sound from the twin exhausts is a bit tame – but given the modest power output, these aren’t exactly deal breakers.
Like the i20 and i40, everything you could realistically want comes as standard. There’s only one trim, one engine and one gearbox to choose from, with all cars getting touchscreen nav, dual zone climate control and even a reversing camera as standard. Half leather heated sports seats, Bluetooth and cruise control are also included.
Running costs aren’t that competitive, though. Considering its 18bhp power deficit over the Peugeot 308 GT, you’d expect superior fuel economy and lower emissions – but the i30 Turbo only manages 38.7mpg and emissions of 169g/km of CO2. The Peugeot will return 50.4mpg and emit 130g/km, however, at £1,000 less like-for-like, the Hyundai is cheaper to buy.