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Hyundai i30

It's a big year for Hyundai, with 2015 already having seen the launch of the latest i20 supermini, the debut of the new Tucson that arrives in UK showrooms later this year, and the Genesis luxury car, though sadly for now there's no diesel option.
As if that wasn't enough, Hyundai has announced facelifts to the ix20 mini MPV, the i40 large car, and the Focus-rivalling i30 as tested here. And while the changes appear modest, mainly centring on a new front end, including the adoption of Hyundai's corporate hexagonal grille, under the skin, there's a brand-new seven-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission that we test here for the first time. As before, there's a choice of five-door hatchback or estate, but the slow-selling three-door has been discontinued in diesel guise.
Trim levels have been revised, with Classic, Active and Style versions replaced by S, SE and SE Nav, with a Premium edition sitting at the top of the updated line-up. What hasn't changed with the introduction of the latest car, is the cast-iron five-year unlimited mileage warranty and long service intervals of 20,000 miles. The adoption of a twin-clutch set-up for the transmission is similar in architecture to Volkswagen's legendary DSG gearbox.
One clutch operates all of the odd numbered gears, and another for the evens, and in the interests of speedy changes, the next gear is always ready to be engaged. This means that not only are the changes lightning fast, but you're rarely left floundering with the 'box unsure of which gear to select. It also aids efficiency, with the new engine and transmission combination emitting just 109g/km of CO2 with fuel economy of 67.3mpg on the combined cycle, compared to 145g/km and 51.4mpg with the old, torqueconverter equipped gearbox. In this pairing, there's just 109bhp on tap, and therefore performance is quite leisurely, but wholly acceptable. The engine is refined and quiet, and even at full throttle, it remains hushed and well mannered.
The i30 is easy to drive, with light steering at low speeds, but lacks feel at faster speeds. Sadly there's nothing for more enthusiastic drivers to get excited about, with handling that is unremarkable, yet both safe and predictable, and a modicum of lean when cornering. Ride comfort is excellent, delivering a comfortable ride and soaking up the bumps and potholes nicely. The cabin of the i30 remains the same as before, with generous headroom both front and rear, and a decent sized boot with extra compartments sited under the boot floor for extra versatility. It's easy to get a comfortable driving position thanks to plenty of adjustment, and there's lots of space for oddments, including a large bin by the gear lever, a decently sized glovebox and large door pockets.
All of the materials used in the cabin are soft-touch and nicely textured, with an overriding feeling of durability, while the cabin design is pleasing and attractive, with all of the controls clearly marked and sited high up for added convenience. All-round visibility is good, too, with deep side and back windows giving a good view out, and the added convenience of rear parking sensors fitted as standard on all versions except the basic S edition.

Model tested SE Nav 1.6 CRDi Auto
Price £20,795
Made in Nosovice, Czech Republic
Configuration 5-door hatchback, 5-seats, front-wheel-drive
Drivetrain 1582cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbocharged diesel with stop-start
Transmission 7-speed twin-clutch automatic
Power output 109bhp @ 4,000rpm
Maximum torque 221lb ft @ 1,750-2,500rpm
Top speed/0-62mph 115mph/11.8 secs
CO2 emissions (tax band) 109g/km (B) Euro 6
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) 61.4/72.4/67.3mpg
Fuel tank size/range 53 litres/785 miles
Insurance group/BIK rate 12/19%
Size (length/width without mirrors) 4,300/1,780mm
Boot space (minimum/maximum) 378/1,316 litres
Kerb/max towing weight 1,456/1,500kg

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