Hyundai’s i30 diesel has always offered competitive CO2 levels, but the firm wanted to do even better. Ian Robertson tests the new, improved sub-120g/km i30
A quick glance at the registration plate of this Hyundai i30 tells you all you need to know. The plate HC02 LOW just shouts rock bottom emissions at you, without ever needing to reach for the Dieselfiles section at the back of this very magazine. Introduced just two years ago, Hyundai launched the i30 with a 1.6-litre CRDi engine producing only 125g/km of CO2. Not one to rest on its laurels, the Korean firm has fettled the i30, and the 1.6-litre CRDi engine now produces a mere 119g/km, slipping under the 120g/km bar by a whisker. This translates into an annual tax disc saving of £85 compared to the previous versions. And while many rival car makers tweak the aerodynamics, fit low rolling resistance tyres and employ other eco-saving measures like stop/start, Hyundai says the changes to the i30 are quite simple. Revisions to the ratios of the five-speed manual gearbox have reaped significant rewards with a drop of 6g/km of CO2, together with an improvement in fuel economy on the combined cycle by 2.7mpg. And the benefits aren’t just available on a one-size-fits-all eco trim – they’re offered on all three levels in the i30 range – Comfort, Style and Premium.
Out on the road, there seems to be no difference in performance compared to the old version. Good acceleration, means that the i30 is nippy around town. The gear ratios are well judged and the change is smooth and slick. The steering is light, which is useful in urban areas, but it does lack feel when you take the car out of town and drive more enthusiastically. The ride is comfortable and wind and engine noise is well insulated, while the handling is safe and predictable. The cabin is a real leap forward for Hyundai, compared to its previous mid-sized offerings. The design is attractive and the blue back-lighting looks attractive in the dark. The soft-touch dashboard feels well built and durable, and there are plenty of cubby holes littered around the car to store everyday necessities. The only slight fly in the ointment is the steering wheel, which although covered in leather, feels cheap and of poor quality. Though the seats are generally comfortable, offering plenty of lateral support, the rear backrest feels a touch short compared to other cars. The amount of interior space is one of the i30’s strong points, particularly in the rear, where passengers can enjoy generous amounts of legroom. Boot space is merely average at 340 litres, but the rear seats do fold down to accommodate larger loads.
As you would expect from Hyundai, value for money is its trump card, as well as the comprehensive fiveyear warranty that comes as standard. At £14,400, and in mid-range Style trim, it undercuts most rivals by several thousands of pounds, yet it offers great levels of equipment. Things like half leather seats, 16-inch alloy wheels with tyre pressure monitoring, automatic headlights, four electric windows and a long list of safety equipment all come as standard. And those wishing to save even more money could always opt for the entry-level Comfort trim model and save themselves another £1k on top.
RIVALS: Mazda3 1.6 TS Diesel, Renault Megane Expressio ndCi 106, SEAT Leon Eco motive SE 1.9 TDI
- Engine: 1582cc, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 5-speed manual
- Max Power: 113bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max Torque: 188lb ft at 1,900 to 2,750rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 1,400kg
- Max speed: 117mph
- 0-62mph: 11.6secs
- Combined Consumption: 62.8mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 119g/km (C)
- Boot Space: 340/1,250litres
- Insurance group: 5
Tremendous value, low emissions, excellent fuel economy, good to drive, well equipped
Steering lacks feel at speed, cheap feel to steering wheel, anonymous exterior styling