Auto Biographies Hyundai i30 by Tim Barnes-Clay @carwriteups

If looks could kill then you’ve got no worries if you drive the Hyundai i30 Tourer. Put it this way; the car’s practical, but it’s no oil painting. Harsh of me? Probably. And let’s face it, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

It doesn’t look like a bulldog chewing a wasp, but it has a bland, characterless presence, especially from behind. The ‘face’ of the South Korean produced model is only saved by the smart LED daytime driving lamps. Enough of my shallow thoughts about the i30’s appearance, let’s take a deeper journey into what the motor is all about.

Like it’s slightly older hatchback sibling, the latest generation Hyundai i30 Tourer, launched two years ago, offers excellent levels of comfort, refinement and efficiency. What’s more, the car adds a greater load-carrying capability to the i30’s overall package. Space is amongst the best in the class, with the Tourer boasting a larger luggage capacity than the majority of its key rivals.

But who’s it aimed at? Well, the i30 Tourer is able to meet the demands of both retail and fleet customers as it offers versatility along with a range of clean and fuel efficient engines. Running costs are also low, not only compared with the older pre-2012 i30 Estate, but with major competitors too. There is a choice of two engines in the range, with motorists able to choose either the 120PS petrol unit, or alternatively the 1.6 CRDi diesel in the form of a 110PS or a higher-powered 128PS variant. Both engines are coupled to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The car on test here is the flagship ‘Style Nav’ 1.6 CRDi 128PS version, with a manual gearbox.

Like the hatchback, the i30 Tourer comes specified with a generous list of standard features. The catalogue of kit includes: Bluetooth connectivity and voice recognition, multi-function steering wheel and air conditioning, body coloured door handles and mirrors, along with those aforementioned LED daytime running lights.

The range-topping Style Nav model adds touch screen navigation plus a rear view parking camera. It also has alloy wheels – and luxury touches such as cruise control with speed limiter, parking sensors, electric rear windows, climate control and a leather steering wheel and gear knob.

Slip behind the wheel, and there are no major complaints apart from the lack of a lumbar support adjustment. That said, the seats are moulded nicely and it’s easy to achieve a good driving position. The binnacle houses clear and simple dials and the car’s fuel gauge takes forever to shift from full. It’s just a shame some cheap looking cabin plastics are in keeping with the car’s unexceptional exterior. The touch screen navigation system isn’t that intuitive and therefore frustrates, but, like all things, once you get the hang of how the gadgetry works, it’s fine.

There’s more technology to spice things up on the steering wheel too. Unlike the satnav, there’s a simple button you can push that changes the steering feel from normal to sporty. I kept it in ‘sport’ mode because in an otherwise bland, albeit practical and efficient vehicle, it offers a welcome spark of dynamism to the drive.   


  • Max speed: 120mph
  • 0-62 mph: 11.2 secs 
  • Combined mpg: 64.2 
  • Engine: 1582cc 4 cylinder 16 valve turbo diesel
  • Max. power (bhp): 126 at 4000 rpm
  • Max. torque (Ib/ft): 192 at 1900 rpm 
  • CO2: 115 g/km
  • Price: £22,115 on the road  
  • Efficient √
  • Roomy √
  • Practical √
  • Frustrating satnav X
  • Bland looks X