A history lesson…
Launched in 2007, the Hyundai i30 represented the first 21st century car from the Korean manufacturer. Before this car, many people would have ignored the marque and gone for something European, but the i30 changed those ideologies. It’s a cheap, small hatchback that has been made to take some of the market away from the Ford Focus and VW Golf with its low list price and five-year warranty.
It’s not a brilliant looking car, nor does it have a technical list that Bugatti would get jealous of, but what it does do, it does very well. It’s hard to stand out in a saturated hatchback market, but the i30 does because, well, it’s cheap.
This may be a Korean car, but it’s been designed for the European market. It’s suspension set-up, design and philosophy has all been fettled to appeal to us. And it works.
Bang for your buck
The main selling point of the Hyundai i30 is the price. Even new, the i30 sells for less than most used hatchbacks, so if budget is your main concern then the i30 could well be the car for you. Nothing is spectacular. Nothing is particularly excited. Nothing is superlative-worthy. But it’s cheap and it’s relatively well-made. It’s a no-brainer for those on a budget.
The i30 has everything you’d expect: ABS, airbags, power-steering. So you’re not going to get stuck with a car that looks modern but actually has the technology from a 1980’s Golf.
What you’ll pay
Prices for a 58 plate 1.6 Style will be sitting at around the £6,500 mark, while an 09 Style Estate is looking like around £9k. Whichever i30 you buy, it’s going to be cheap compared to its rivals.
What to check
The i30 is a basic car made down to a price, so in theory, nothing should really go wrong. There’s no adaptive cruise control to worry about, no leather-work and no complex TV screens that could go wrong. Basic checks of the engine, interior and paint should be enough.
A clutch assembly is around £150, whilst front brake pads will set you back around £40. An alternator will cost around £130, and for a starter motor you'll be looking at £120, which is affordable whichever way you look at it.
How it drives
Even the most powerful 2.0-litre diesel with 138bhp is not enough to give you a massive smile in the morning, but if you want excitement, buy a BMW. This Hyundai is a car that does its job quietly and cheaply; there’s no adrenaline, no wheel-spinning moments; it’s just a car.
On the road, it’s economical, slow and uneventful. It does everything a Korean car should do: drive quietly, bring you decent residuals and return good miles per gallon. There’s nothing to write home about; it just drives like a normal car.
Motorway driving can be a little tiresome as the five-speed gearbox is quite clunky and the engine can feel gutless at times. Couple that with wind noise and tyre roar and you’re in for a disappointment when you’re travelling at 70mph.
Other than that, though, it’s a decent car that is affordable and inoffensive.