Hyundai i30 Fastback

Hyundai i30 Fastback lr
 
By Tim Saunders
 
When the Hyundai i30 is delivered I am pleasantly surprised. I had been expecting a plain and functional five door hatchback. But instead I am looking at the Fastback, a much more exciting proposition.
Its sleek lines make it a vehicle to admire from the design perspective. The striking front is impressive if similar to a growing number of cars these days. The rear has hints of Mercedes about it… and Aston Martin without the hefty price tags. The i30 Fastback clearly has a talented designer. The result should be a Lexus beating sports saloon that is very pleasing on the eye and really does create a double take especially for those who have previously ignored the virtues of a Hyundai.
This family car surprises at every turn and probably the biggest achievement is the fact that it is powered by a tiddly little one-litre petrol engine, which promises low emissions. Through turbo charging, the engineers have cleverly squeezed almost 120bhp out of it to giving more oomph than much bigger engined vehicles. Another great feature is the satellite navigation system which is one of the easiest to operate. Simply punch in a postcode and it will reliably take you to your destination. Unlike some setups it will allow a postcode to be entered without any spaces, which makes life easier.
Build quality seems a bit on the flimsy side. For instance, when shutting one of the rear doors there is still a fair amount of give after it is closed. While I’m on this subject I notice that the paint finish isn’t as sharp as it should be around the boot rubber. My biggest gripe though is the positioning of the three seatbelt points in the rear. Bear in mind that I am the owner of an ageing Ford Fiesta and I regularly travel with three cumbersome car seats in the back without a problem. Therefore, I do not anticipate any problems in fitting the same three car seats in more modern vehicles. The Hyundai is a considerably larger car. But oh dear oh dear. The positioning of the belt buckle slots means that I must have wasted over an hour of my time during the course of the test fiddling around fitting the car seats for my two daughters. Because Henry’s is a slightly wider Cosatto seat it covers both slots for Harriett’s and Heidi car seats. I dread every time we all return to the car because I know that my fingers are really going to hurt as I have to forcibly lift Henry’s seat up to make allow for Harriett and Heidi to be strapped in. I have had some problems with other new cars but never to this extent. This really does need improving.
Aside from this, the boot is large enough for the family’s luggage and there is a good amount of storage space.
The black cloth seats are comfortable and so is the ride. Overall it feels sporty and quite low to the ground. The six-speed manual box can be a little too notchy on occasions for my liking. It can be a slow car but if revved hard it does deliver a smile especially with the raspy note of the exhaust, which gets louder the harder it’s driven. I like the traditional handbrake, which I always feel gives the driver greater control over increasingly common electric variants. And the cruise control is nice and easy to operate.
Here is a car for a family of four without any car seats.
 
Facts at a glance
Hyundai i30 Premium 1.0 T-GDi 120PS
Price: From £20,310
Top speed: 117mph
0-60mph: 11.1secs
Power: 118bhp
Economy: 54mpg
Tim Saunders on Facebook
Tim Saunders on Twitter
Tim Saunders on LinkedIn