EngageSportMode’s BTCC Correspondent recently went on holiday to France. Whilst he was there, he found himself with a Hyundai i30 at his disposal. So what did he make of the Korean hatchback?
Hyundai Holiday Hell? Quite the Opposite…
I was recently lucky enough to have a mini break in the South of France. On arrival at Montpellier Airport, I knew that I was going to have a new experience – driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. We were the typical Brits before we arrived, having searched the Internet for the cheapest and best possible hire car deal. In the end, I was fairly pleased as we had settled on a new shape Ford Focus. As I drive a similar sized car, a SEAT Leon TFSI, I was interested to see how a Focus shaped up in comparison. However, on arrival at Hertz, I was told our hire car was now a Hyundai i30. Apparently, despite having confirmation for a Ford Focus, they were able to and did change it to a similar car in the same category.
My first thoughts were, ‘You’re joking, I have to drive a Hyundai, great. I wanted a Focus, that’s what I booked.’ Anyway, that wasn’t an option, so the Hyundai i30 Blue Drive 1.6 CRDi it was. By the end of the holiday, I have to say I was highly impressed by the i30 and I don’t know what I was whinging about at the airport.
I’d like to share some of what I thought were the positive points with you. The first thing I was impressed by was the looks of the car. It takes me a long time to like the shapes of new cars, but I was fairly impressed by the looks of this car. Not only that, but I thought the interior was pretty decent too.
In addition to the stylish interior, there was an excellent amount of room in the car. For most of my trip I had 4 people and sometimes 5 people in the car. However, this was never a problem for the Hyundai i30, with more than enough room throughout the car.
So now we’ve established that I like the look of the car inside and out, as well as it having plenty of leg room, what about the drive? Well, first up I had to get to grips with driving a left hand drive car for the first time. After about 10 minutes, that was sorted and I thought the i30 was a really good drive. It was smooth, responsive and nippy. It handled well in the corners, it avoided the French maniacs in the middle of the road, it did a great job over the 4 days I had the pleasure of driving it.
On my last night in France, I thought the car had given me everything I could have wanted from it. The i30 tells you when to change gear for goodness sake, as if made for fools! Anyway, on returning from a restaurant I started to take a sharp bend and all of a sudden the bend was lit up by the lights of the i30, the ‘I can see around corners lights.’ I couldn’t believe it. Stereotypically perhaps, I thought, ‘this is a blooming Hyundai, it shouldn’t be doing things like that,’ but it was. I really have to say I was impressed by this more than anything else about the i30, because they’ve taken the time to include these small details that make it that little bit more special to drive.
I was saddened to give the i30 back in the end, but not before one last surprise. Admittedly, I didn’t do all that many kilometres in France, around 330km, but the price of filling it up was stupendous. It had cost me a little over £20 for all that driving and I was hardly driving economically. Fantastic! Naturally, since my return from France, I’ve looked up a few stats and this car averages over 70mpg. That almost makes me cry when the Leon TFSI is lucky to get 30mpg. So when the time came to give the car back, we took our bags out of the spacious boot and I handed the keys back and ate humble pie. The Hyundai i30 isn’t such a bad car after all, quite the opposite; it’s a pretty good car.
Sacrebleu! So it would appear that our correspondent was quite taken with the Hyundai i30 encountered on his gallic escapade.
Although differing slightly to the specification tested, the UK version of the Hyundai i30 Active 1.6 CRDi Blue Drive starts at a retail price of £17,095.00. This means 109bhp, 192lbs ft of torque give a 0-60mph of 11.5 seconds and a top speed of 115mph. Not bad with an official combined mpg rating of 76.3! Tres bon!