Time was if you wanted that reassuring Volkswagen Golf-type clunk when you closed the door of a family hatchback you had little choice about what to buy. It had to be a Golf.

Not the same today though. Now the Hyundai i30 delivers not only a satisfying door thump, but plenty more besides.

The interior of the five-door, five seater makes it crystal clear that the focus of the changes in the third generation model is firmly on technology. The three-spoke steering wheel, which once boasted just the horn, now houses a dozen buttons and switches. It can even be heated.

Dominating the dash is an eight-inch touchscreen that manages all navigation, media, phone and connectivity features and more of that later.

The cabin, which has plenty of space for five, is trimmed in a classy blend of good quality material and chrome touches. An option allows the front seats to be electrically adjusted and heated or cooled in three stages.

The Korean carmaker makes much of its focus on producing the i30 with European drivers in mind and it can happily back that up, as the car was designed in Hyundai Motor Europe’s technical centre in Rüsselsheim; is produced in Nošovice, Czech Republic, and was road tested everywhere from Sweden to southern Spain before being launched.

Power comes from a choice of downsized turbocharged engines – three petrol and one 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine. The latest i30 is the first Hyundai available with the new turbocharged, four-cylinder 140 horsepower petrol engine, the 1.4 T-GDI.

The test car was powered by the distinctive-sounding, 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine capable of developing 120 horsepower, which is surprisingly spritely when whipped up and down the six-speed manual transmission. Road noise creeps in at higher speeds but nothing too taxing.

Externally the car has stronger looks, thanks to its new ‘cascading’ grille combined with three-projector LED headlights, vertical LED daytime running lights, LED rear lamps and slim black rear spoiler.

The i30 also bristles with the latest active safety features: autonomous emergency braking with front collision warning system (standard), cruise control, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, lane keeping assist system (standard), and high beam assist (standard). New to the Hyundai line-up is driver attention alert that helps monitor driving to detect reckless or fatigued driving and prevent potential accidents. The system, fitted as standard, analyses various vehicle signals such as steering angle, the car’s position in the lane and driving time and if it detects inattentive driving patterns an audible sound and message flashes up on the instrument display panel.

If you want to connect a smartphone with touchscreen, the i30 provides both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a wireless charging pad for mobile phones.

The new navigation system comes with a seven-year subscription to services offering updated information in real time: weather, traffic, speed cameras and online searches for points of interest.

The car aims to continue the success of the two previous generations of i30 that have sold more than 800,000 cars in Europe since 2008. And part of that achievement, aside from the reassuring build quality, solid ride and increasing focus on technology, must be that impressive five-year warranty.


Auto facts

Model: Hyundai i30 1.0 T-GDI SE Nav

Price: £19,805

Insurance group: Eight (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 48.7mpg

Top speed: 118mph

Length: 434cm/170.8in

Width: 179.5cm/70.7in

Luggage capacity: 13.9 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 11 gallons/50 litres

CO2 emissions: 115g/km

Warranty: Five years/ 100,000 miles