Despite the rise of compact SUVs – or crossovers, as they’re frequently called – the family hatchback remains Britain’s best-selling type of car.
Recent years have seen Hyundai, along with South Korean sister company Kia, carve out a respectable share of this lucrative market.
The latest i30 is aimed squarely at families and goes up against the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, VW Golf and other perennial favourites.
This new model boast an impressive array of safety kit, improved infotainment, a better cabin – and an exciting new hot hatch model, the i30 N.
With prices starting at £15,795 and even base models getting a standard equipment list as long as your arm, it scores well on value.
Styling is decent enough but it’s inside where the new car is elevated over the old. A large touchscreen spearheads the design, complemented by a well laid out dashboard and soft touch plastics.
Practicality is good too, with generous rear passenger room and a boot that’s bigger than that of the Focus or Golf.
There’s also an estate version that now costs only £500 more than the hatchback, making it remarkable value for money compared to its rivals.
Buyers can pick from a 1.6 diesel engine, 1.4 turbo petrol, or the 1.0 litre, three cylinder turbo model I drove.
It’s a good little unit. There’s enough power to push it along at a decent lick, it’s parsimonious enough that petrol stations don’t need to be visited too frequently, and it’s nice and quiet.
Indeed, refinement is one of the car’s highlights – it’s impressively peaceful inside even at 70mph.
Tackling a country road in the i30 doesn’t get the pulse racing in the manner of the dynamic Ford Focus. It’s not that engaging a drive. Around town the Hyundai comes into its own, though, with its zippy engines and light steering making easy work of city driving.
Hyundai also has a reputation for building some of the most reliable cars and their five-year unlimited mileage warranty shows how confident they are that not much will go wrong.
It’s also one of the safest cars on the road. Electronic stability control with autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and a hill start assist system that stops the car from rolling backwards when pulling away on a slope are all standard features.
It’s not the most exciting car to drive but its comfort, refinement, safety, reliability and value will win it plenty of admirers.