We could all do with a bit more space in life, couldn’t we? Some extra room in the garden shed. More space in that miscellaneous drawer we all have in the kitchen. Somewhere to put that grandfather clock you’ve just inherited… The Hyundai i30 Tourer gives the people what they want.
The Tourer is a more practical alternative to Hyundai’s family hatchback, but doesn’t carry much of a price penalty. lb17,495 gets you an entry level car, which is a premium of just lb500 over a hatch. However, this Hyundai needs to compete on more than just price if it’s to better all-round compact estate champions like the Volkswagen Golf, Skoda Octavia and Ford Focus Estates.
Finished in Ara Blue and wearing larger 17-inch alloys, this top spec Premium SE car looks just as polished as any of its competitors. The new Hyundai family face features distinctive raked headlights that straddle a large grill, and a strong shoulder line runs from the front wheel arch all the way down its length and into the rear light cluster. Whilst roof rails reinforce that this is something of a family workhorse, chrome details give the car a more premium touch.
The interior is spacious. Large windows, and in this case a glass panoramic roof, let in lots of light to brighten the cabin, and a wide cascading dashboard stretches across the car adding a sense of width. It’s just a shame that there are some hard plastics to be found in an otherwise pleasing space.
A pair of supportive heated leather seats in Premium SE cars will keep front passengers plenty comfortable on long journeys. Those in the back get good amounts of head room, but are not as well catered for when it comes to their legs. In this instance the Golf or Octavia Estates offer a roomier rear bench. That said, the i30’s flat floor means that the middle passenger doesn’t have to fight for somewhere to put their feet.
Estate cars are all about boot space. It’s the reason people buy them after all. The Hyundai i30 Tourer scores well with 602 litres, considerably more than a Ford Focus Estate, and a wide opening and level floor will also make loading awkward items easy. Fold those rear seats flat for a trip to Ikea, and a vast 1,650 litres is yours to fill.
Technology is high on the agenda for this family car. S and SE grade models get a 5.0-inch touchscreen display, but everything above receives a larger 8.0-inch screen, which is easy to use thanks to large icons. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included, and speaking of phones – if your gizmo does that fancy wireless charging thing, then the i30 can top you up cable free.
Safety tech is impressive too, with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Driver Attention Alert, High Beam Assist, and Lane Keeping Assist all standard fit.
How does it drive?
Pretty well, is the answer. Our test car had a 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol engine with 138bhp. It might lack the low-down pull of a diesel, but it felt brisk enough when allowed to explore higher into the rev range. Drive more sedately and you’ll find that this petrol engine is very refined.
The i30 Tourer does a great job of being an east car to drive. Light steering means that it is far from a wrestling match when navigating tight streets, and a good turning circle makes in manoeuvrable. A slick 6-spd manual transmission lets you slot into each gear without fuss. If you would rather an automatic, then Hyundai also offers a 7-spd dual-clutch gearbox on all models except the 1.0 litre.
When driven more enthusiastically, the Tourer is surprisingly composed. The car doesn’t lean much through faster bends and sticks to the road well. However, the steering is a bit vague and lacked the precision to offer real confidence.
On the motorway, the traditional heartland of a diesel, this petrol did well. It doesn’t feel sluggish at any point and was capable of dispensing with dawdling traffic. At higher speeds there is some wind noise coming from its wing mirrors, but otherwise the cabin is well insulated. This car’s ride was well balanced too, even on larger alloy wheels. Potholes were met with a small thud, but generally speaking it’s a comfortable car.
Should I buy one?
It’s certainly one to consider. The badge snobs out there won’t even look twice at the Hyundai i30 Tourer, especially as top spec examples cost as much as something with VW on its nose. That said, the VW Golf Estate will have fewer toys. A bigger thorn in the i30’s side the similarly priced and equally utilitarian Skoda Octavia Estate. However, a five year unlimited mileage warranty betters the Skoda’s (and most others in the class), so those willing to accept that Hyundai no longer represents bargain basement motoring will find a solid car.