Hyundai's i30 Tourer - an ugly car but great to drive

REVIEW: Badge snobs will miss out if they turn their nose up at Hyundai's cracking i30 Tourer.

by Sathnam Sanghera
Last Updated: 18 Oct 2013

I'd have to go right back, to my finals or perhaps even to that trip to see the Spice Girls in concert, to think of something I wanted to do less than drive this car.

I'm not sure what Hyundai means when it talks about how the 'fluidic sculpture' design ethos behind the i30 gives it a 'constantly impactful three-dimensional presence'. This is one seriously unpretty car that's less attractive than a Toyota Prius, without even being a hybrid.

And, you know, I would have to go back, to Robbie Williams's rather brilliant autobiography or to Deacon Blue's surprisingly good new album, to think of something that has so defied my low expectations.

From the moment I pulled away in this car, leaving at dawn so that my neighbours wouldn't see me, I loved driving it.

The engine is a miracle. Diesels, especially small ones like in this car, are a pain, creating too much noise and forever stalling.

But you can pull away in third gear in this one, it is smooth and quiet, and I was staggered when it turned out to be just 1.6 litres. I would have guessed 2.2 litres at least.

Then there is the fuel economy. I was sceptical about Hyundai's claim you can drive from Land's End to John O'Groats on one tank of fuel. But I had the i30 for two weeks and drove nearly 500 miles and didn't top it up once.

It is ugly. DFS sofa ugly. But it is also as comfortable as one. The boot is massive - offering 62 litres more room than that of a Ford Focus. And the list of gadgets included as standard, from rearview parking camera with parking guidance to touch-screen sat-nav, is longer than a speech by a Lib Dem peer.

Not all this stuff works smoothly. Every time I used the sat-nav and stereo, the settings would reset. And I turned out to be too dim to make the 'intelligent stop and go (ISG)' system work. But, for the money, this car is still amazing.

Indeed, there are only three reasons you would not buy this car: you don't like its looks; you've got more money than sense; you are a badge fascist.

Two of these reasons apply to me and, ultimately, I would probably balk at signing up, but - and I can't believe I'm writing this - I saw one pass the other day and a bit of me envied the driver.

RATING: ****

SPECIFICATION

Hyundai i30 Tourer style nav - £21,395

Engine: 1,582 cc, diesel

Power: 126 bhp @ 4,000 rpm

Torque: 192 lb/ft @ 1,900 rpm

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Fuel consumption: 64.2 mpg (combined cycle)

CO2 emissions: 115 g/km

0-62 mph: 11.2 seconds

Top speed: 120 mph

 

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