New car road test: Hyundai i30 3-door
THE three-door version of Hyundai's i30 family hatch offers great looks, a high level of equipment, an excellent chassis, a pair of economical diesel engines, a couple of affordable petrol units and the back up of a great warranty. Prices aren't that far off Ford or Vauxhall, but both manufacturers should be very worried by this one.
It's firm-ish in its ride quality, without being crashy on city streets and body roll is very well controlled. The suspension is a strut front and multi-link rear design that's adopted by the best-handling cars in the class. None of the engines are what you'd call rapid, although the higher power diesel does offer a hefty 260Nm of torque from just 1,900rpm, which makes it a great tool for effortless overtaking.
The i30 does seem to crib quite a few of its design features from cars we know and love. All too often, that can end up in a car that's a bit of a mish-mash – one that never really hangs together well. In contrast, the i30 three-door is cohesive from front to back and everyone I canvassed in the office thought it was a tidy piece of design. The three-door i30 is a symbol that this model has come of age; that the Koreans can now market a sexy-looking version that will sell to people who want a stylish looking car. Hyundai is a brand that's no longer bargain basement and prices of the i30 three-door reflect this fact.
I'll leave it to you to make a decision on this car's looks but most seem to think it's a really neat piece of penmanship. The interior build quality is excellent, it drives well and the five-year unlimited mileage warranty could be just the thing to swing the decision for many potential buyers.
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What's wrong with it? Not a lot really. A sportier flagship model, maybe. An option of an automatic transmission perhaps. Otherwise it looks like a winner all the way.