Hyundai i30 1.4

T-GDi Premium

Hyundai i30, static scene 2
Hyundai i30, static scene
Hyundai i30, static front
Hyundai i30, action front
Hyundai i30, dashboard
Hyundai i30, action rear
Hyundai i30, action side
Hyundai i30, boot

YOU may have noticed that diesel is a dirty word these days and driving one marks you as a serial polluter who simply doesn't care about the air we breathe.

True or not - and modern diesels are clean enough not to blush at an approaching town - there's a swell of opinion against them that isn't going away.

So the car makers are sensibly making the alternative to diesel as attractive as possible. Without adding expensive battery power, that means turning back to good old petrol.

Take the new Hyundai i30, designed and built in Europe (Germany and the Czech Republic, to be precise) and aimed squarely at cars like the VW Golf and Ford Focus. So it had better be good.

Things start off well with a handsome car that's lighter than the old one and packed with the sort of technology a modern smartphone user takes for granted.

And under the bonnet of this particular i30 beats a new engine. Indeed, a new petrol engine that weighs less, produces more power and fewer pollutants than before and after many miles of motoring showed 47mpg on the clear trip computer.

The diesel i30 would do better than that, of course, but I'd wager not better enough to persuade too many buyers to find the extra £250 needed to change fuels in this i30.

The least expensive new i30 also comes with petrol power, in the shape of a three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine and costs £16,995. This S-spec base car has alloy wheels, DAB radio, Bluetooth and electric windows all round. So not so basic at all.

At the other end of the price scale you find the £24,745 i30 in Premium SE trim and using the 1.6-litre diesel and driving through an automatic gearbox.

This one simply drips with kit, including bigger alloys, dual zone climate control, leather trim, a huge glass sunroof, sat nav and a heated steering wheel.

This car's Premium (non SE) grade felt as though it lacked little, enjoying electric adjustment of the driver's seat, heated seats for driver and front passenger, rear parking camera and a nicely clear satellite navigation system.

Safety features across the whole new i30 range include lane departure warning, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking and hill start assist that keeps the brakes on for a second or two as your foot moves from brake to accelerator.

Slip into the spacious cabin (there's a generous sized boot too) and you'll face a dashboard that looks neat and modern, if not especially stylish. Clear graphics and a logical layout are pluses and it all feels properly put together.

Hyundai tested its newcomer round the famous Nurburgring race track in Germany but thankfully resisted the temptation to turn this family car into a pretend racer (leave that to others and their GT models).

The result is a car that feels sharp enough at the wheel to enjoy on twisty roads, while you know deep down the i30 really wants to slow down a bit - all the better to show off a ride that stays comfy on just about any surface.

FAST FACTS

Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDi Premium

Price: £22,195

Mechanical: 138bhp, 1,353cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 130mph

0-62mph: 8.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 52.3

Insurance Group: 15

C02 emissions: 124g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty: 5yrs/unlimited miles

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