24.8.2019Hyundai i30 Fastback 1.4 T-GDi
The Hyundai i30 has long been a very good family hatchback; not particularly exciting, but certainly highly capable. Hyundai has spruced things up somewhat with the introduction of the i30 N, but not everyone is looking for a hot hatch as a daily driver. After the hatchback and i30 Tourer estate, Hyundai has introduced the i30 Fastback, a sleekly styled hatchback with the proportions of a saloon.
Review by Chris Lilly
The model tested was powered by Hyundai's 1.4 T-GDi engine, producing 140hp in this guise. It's good for a sprint time of 9.2 seconds 0-62mph and a top speed of 129mph, though it feels quicker than the figures suggest. Power goes through the front wheels, and there's plenty of grip. The petrol unit is eager to rev and the six-speed manual gearbox provides a confident, precise action to make changing cogs an enjoyable task. It's not a sporty powertrain, but it's fun, and rewards those that want to drive eagerly. It's comfortable being driven at a more leisurely pace too, thanks to a decent amount of torque on offer. Again, it's a case of a Goldilocks amount - not too much, nor too little. The 242 Nm of torque means you can lean on the engine without shifting down sometimes, acting a little like a diesel. It's a flexible unit, and well suited to life as a daily driver.
The i30 Fastback sits a little lower than the i30 hatch, by 5mm, and the suspension is a little stiffer - by 15%. It's a pair of small changes, but it makes the i30 Fastback a better handling machine, and brings the ride to a similar level as the powertrain. It's stiff but not uncomfortable for normal driving. It responds well to enthusiastic driving, and the steering is sharp, precise, and of a good weight. Take it easier and there isn't too much weight to the steering or stiffness in the springs to make town driving uncomfortable, and the i30 Fastback also performs pretty well on motorways. A nicely set and sorted chassis complements the overall handling characteristics to create a car that is both enjoyable but highly usable day-to-day.
It's strange what a few changes can make to the overall design. The front end of the i30 Fastback is very similar to the hatch, but a lowered leading edge, shallower grille, and lower roof-line combine to create a far sleeker shape. The rear is hugely different, and the whole car looks great in my opinion. It's stylish but not ostentatious, and in the N Line trim tested, it had just a splash of sportiness to the styling to make it look better still. The cabin up front is just as practical as the hatch or Tourer's but the rear seats lose out a little in terms of head space unsurprisingly. The sloping roof-line will make tall occupants in the back wish you'd picked the hatch, but most will have no issue with it. The boot area is technically larger than the i30 hatch, but it's a very different shape. It goes further back to the rear seats, but obviously you can't but in loads anything like as tall. If load space is a key attribute, think carefully about the i30 Fastback, but if you're not often going to fill the boot with kit, it proves more than practical enough for most tasks.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Inside, the i30 Fastback is essentially the same as the hatch and Tourer. The dashboard, instruments and centre console are identical, and it is only the addition of leather or sports seats on higher trim levels that offer any real difference. It’s not a particularly striking cabin visually, but it’s not bad to look at. It’s well laid out, with a central touchscreen sitting ahead of the main dash. The graphics are of a good quality and it’s quick to respond - not a class leader in either aspect, but up towards the top of the respective league tables. It has a selection of shortcut buttons around the outside, which are a welcome addition to many a touchscreen system, reducing the need to dive through menus and improving safety when accessing controls on the move. The heating controls are on a separate panel below the touchscreen, and there’s a multi-function steering wheel with further buttons still. By moving the less frequently used controls elsewhere, it gives the impression the centre console is a reasonably clean design, with the seating and steering wheel heating controls for example fitted around the gear stick. The seats in the model tested were comfortable and supportive, benefiting from the sports seats found on the N Line trim. Build quality feels good, and the materials above average for the market.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Hyundai’s official fuel economy figure for the i30 Fastback with the 1.4 T-GDi engine tested is 45.6 MPG, and it’s pretty bob on if my test is anything to go by. After around 270 miles of driving, the trip computer displayed 45.1 MPG, and there weren’t any prolonged eco-driving techniques employed. To find another half an MPG would be easy enough, and on certain routes, you can comfortably beat the score. A mixture of A- and B-roads, motorway, and urban routes showed a score of 52.5 MPG in real-world conditions for example, after around 50 miles of driving. It’s a good score for a fairly compact petrol engine, and shouldn’t give any owners a fright in terms of running costs. Tax comes in at £210 for the first year - included in the OTR - and then the standard rate of £145 thereafter.
The T-GDi units used in the i30 Fastback range are from the company's latest generation of petrol engines. The four-cylinder motor is lighter than the previous model of the same size, and uses a high-pressure turbocharger to improve performance and efficiency. A Gasoline Particulate Filter has been fitted to control particle emissions, and auto stop/start is fitted as standard. According to our calculations, the Hyundai i30 Fastback tested has a Next Green Car Rating of 34
There are five trim levels available for the i30 Fastback - SE Nav, N Line, N Line+, Premium, and Premium SE. Equipment is pretty good across the range, with even the entry level SE Nav model getting 17-inch alloys, leather steering wheel and gear knob, air conditioning, automatic headlights, cruise control, rear parking sensors and camera, and 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, USB, DAB, and Apple CarPlay / Android Auto compatibility. N Line+ trim tested adds 18-inch alloys, N Line styling details inside and out, heated steering wheel, suede and artificial leather seats, climate control, automatic dimming rear view mirror, automatic wipers, LED headlights, heated steering wheel, and keyless entry and start.
The i30 Fastback might look like a bit of a vanity project, but Hyundai has backed up the styling with a practical car that drives very well, and offers good running costs. It's a car that driving enthusiasts will enjoy without having the inconvenience of an uncomfortable ride, and the fastback styling catches the eye - particularly in N Line trim. It’s a very good alternative to a conventional hatchback.
Model tested: Hyundai i30 Fastback 1.4 G-TDi 140PS N Line+
Body-style: Family hatch
Engine / CO2: 140hp petrol engine / 132 g/km
Trim grades: SE Nav, N Line, N Line+, Premium, and Premium SE
On-road price: From £20,665. Price as tested: £23,985
Warranty: Five years / unlimited mileage
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 4.0 Stars