The Hyundai i30 received a minor facelift in 2015, and as part of this the i30 Turbo was introduced. Available as either a 3-door or 5-door model, it seeks to offer a little more get-up-and-go than standard models. Be under no illusions though; this is in no way a hot hatch. It’s more of a ‘warm’ hatch, but that could work in its favour. It isn’t all about stiffness and speed, which should make for a better all-round family car. But will that work in reality? Is the i30 a sensible choice, or will it find itself in a strange place in the market? Well I grabbed one for a week to find out.
Looks – 8/10
I had a 3-door model, and I think it’s nicely proportioned. Whilst definitely larger than a Fiesta, it feels more compact than a Focus. At the front the angular bumper gets integrated LED daytime running lights and a red accent at the bottom. The grille surround and bottom lip are finished in a contrasting satin silver, and give the i30 Turbo a more aggressive stance, which is good. To the side the sweeping lines from front to rear arches are a nice touch, and the 18-inch alloys suit the car. My favourite angle was from the back, as this is where it sportiest touches are. The rear bumper also features a red accent at the bottom, and large round exhausts sit either side of a diffuser. The rear lights are sleek, although I found it a shame that there’s no privacy glass, as this would have completed the exterior image.
Stepping inside the i30 Turbo you notice the sporty touches. The seats are nicely bucketed, with red and black fabric and black stitching. The steering wheel and gear gaiter also have red stitching, and I rather liked the red surround to the start button. In front of the driver the dials are simple with white numbers and red dials, and a 7-inch touch screen sits nicely in the centre console. The steering wheel itself is a bit big and clunky; a smaller or flat-bottomed wheel would have been a preferred option. There’s a lot of buttons on it too; 17 to be precise. It looks a bit crowded. Other nice touches include the aluminium pedals and dark headlining. Build quality seems good and materials, whilst generally quite dark, have a quality look and feel to them.
Handling/Performance – 7/10
The engine in the i30 Turbo is a 1.6-litre, turbocharged (obviously) petrol engine. It produces 186PS and 265Nm of torque. That’s enough to propel the Hyundai from 0-62mph in 8.0 seconds, and on to a top speed of 136mph. If you consider this as a warm hatch, then that’s not too bad. The 6-speed manual gearbox allows you to really work the engine to eke out every last drop of performance, and I did find myself wishing for a little more power at times. What’s frustrating about the i30 Turbo is that it shares a lot with the Kia pro_cee’d GT, including the engine. The Kia develops 204PS though, and that extra makes a difference. In-gear acceleration is good though, with the car picking up well from most speeds. It will happily potter around at 30mph in 5th gear, and on the motorway you needn’t drop a gear to overtake, so in that respect the engine is a success.
Hyundai has made minor tweaks to the i30 Turbo to improve the handling, including a revised suspension set up and more direct steering. There are 3 modes to the steering; normal, comfort and sport. I didn’t see the point in anything other than sport, as this was the only one with a bit of weight to it. The steering may be direct, but it lacks feel, and doesn’t quite engage the driver. I like the organ accelerator which is nicely responsive, and the gear shift is nice and short. The suspension is spot on for a warm hatch, with it being stiff enough to hold well through fast corners, but also soft enough to be forgiving at lower speeds through town. Unleash the Hyundai on a country road, and you will be impressed with its composure through the bends. You’ll just wish it had a bit more go in between them.
Economy – 7/10
Because the i30 Turbo shares an engine with the pro_cee’d GT, it too has rather high CO2 emissions. 169g/km in fact. That means VED band H, and that means your annual road tax bill is £205. The first year rate of £295 might be hard to stomach too, and could leave you struggling to justify this as a sensible family car. The i30 costs the same to tax as the pro_cee’d GT, but doesn’t have the upside of the extra power like the Kia. On a more positive note, 38.7mpg on a combined cycle is respectable for a warm hatch of this size, although I do wonder why they are so far behind European rivals when it comes to emissions.
Practicality – 7/10
As far as 3-door cars go, the i30 Turbo is a rather pleasant one to live with. It’s spacious in the front and, once you’ve clambered in, spacious in the back. The boot is expansive at 378 litres, and this rises to 1,316 litres with the rear seats folded down. The i30 Turbo boasts an impressive list of standard kit, including heated steering wheel, heated seats, reversing camera, satellite navigation, cruise control with speed limiter, dual-zone climate control and adaptive Xenon headlights. It makes the Hyundai a great companion, and gives you plenty to talk about with your friends. The i30 Turbo is available as a 5-door, and I think you’d struggle to not pick it. That would make this a much better all-round package.
Fun – 8/10
I found the i30 Turbo rather likable. It might not have neck-breaking performance, but it does pick its heels up when you drop a cog and boot it. As long as you are not expecting masses of power when you get behind the wheel, you will probably be pleasantly surprised and have an enjoyable time. The styling is a winner for me, and I think the Hyundai looks great in car parks; those twin exhausts and that rear ¾ view were my favourite. The list of standard equipment makes for an easy life, and I have to confess I haven’t seen many i30 Turbo’s on the road, so there’s a bit of exclusivity to be had as well.
Total Score – 37/50