Fun and nearly 50mpg

from a petrol

Hyundai i30 Fastback N, front
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, front
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, side
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, rear
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, rear
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, rear
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, front
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, interior
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, boot

HAVING just sampled the marvellous Mazda2 supermini, which uses a very efficient 1.5-litre non-turbo petrol engine to achieve good performance with economy and low emissions, I am now following the majority of car manufacturers who have taken the alternative way of a smaller engine with turbocharger to get similar results.

This is Hyundai's latest i30 Fastback semi-estate and from the start I want to tell you just how good this family hatch is.

There are no two ways about it, in almost every way, it either matches or betters the offerings from more mainstream makers.

Add the company's excellent five year, unlimited mileage warranty and you have a package that is really hard to better in any other dealership.

I wondered why they introduced the Fastback, when they already had the hatchback and estate available but I suppose it adds to the sales armoury.

It's an excellent family car, with loads of interior space and a big double floored boot under the easy lifting hatch. There's also great storage all around the cabin.

The seats are all well-shaped and comfortable, and the quality of the ride is good enough to take a rough surfaced road at speed without disturbing teens in the back on their tablets or phones. The way it soaks up potholed streets and speed humps in town is brilliant.

The little engine would seem way too small for such a sizable car but don't be fooled. With 120 ponies galloping away under the bonnet there is nothing lacking whatsoever.

Some of these small turbos pull well from low revs, but run out of puff higher up. This is not one of them.

Being a three cylinder, there's a slight thrum from 1,200 revs as it pulls away (a problem with all threes) but this is gone by 1,700 and is never intrusive.

This noise is slightly more noticeable in fifthand sixthgears, but was still quite acceptable as far as I was concerned,

But as I said above, the joy of this one is that it loves to rev as well as pulling from low down and this makes it lovely to drive.

It's not the fastest thing out of the box because that 120bhp is hauling around a fairly big, heavy body.

But press the right foot down, and it revs past 6,000 with ease. That makes third and fourth gears marvellous for a quick burst of speed when it's needed.

The engine is smooth and quiet when cruising and emits just enough tuneful three cylinder hum in the lower gears to keep it interesting.

With a more gentle right foot - which, let's face it is the way most of us drive these days - I managed to get 49.6 miles per gallon, which is truly excellent.

The whole car is beautifully built and very well insulated, so that there is little road or wind noise - apart from on the ubiquitous tar and chipping surfaces of course.

The gearchange is sweet, the power steering informative and direct and the handling excellent, along with marvellous road holding and great balance through some hard corners.

I tried to upset it, but I would have needed a circuit to find what must be its very high limits of grip.

The driving position is adjustable enough to be perfect for all sizes and the dashboard is a delight, with everything just as it should be.

Standard kit in the Premium SE I drove included stability control, alloy wheels, alarm, climate control, sunroof, cruise control and an excellent electric parking brake.

It also has parking sensors front and rear with a camera, lovely leather upholstery, loads of airbags, a DAB radio with Bluetooth and aux in, sat nav and lane departure warning,

The most annoying thing about it however, was the interior mirror. It is mounted too high, so that there's a very poor view for a tall driver like me. That needs to be changed.

The i30 Fastback is otherwise a well built and designed family holdall with one of the top warranties on the market.


Price: £23,535

Mechanical: 120bhp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 117mph

0-62mph: 11.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 51.4

Insurance Group: 9

C02 emissions: 125g/km

Bik rating: 29%

Warranty: 5yrs/unlimited miles


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