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Hyundai i30 Estate 1.6 CRDi Comfort

Click to view picture gallery“Hyundai knows what it takes to
  appeal to UK customers when times
  are hard: peace of mind ownership.
  Their i30 2011 model year range is
  covered by five years RAC Roadside
  Assistance and five years of annual
  Vehicle Health Checks as well as
  Hyundai’s famous five-year unlimited
  mileage warranty
...”


AS IF THAT'S NOT ENOUGH TO DRIVE YOU straight into the nearest Hyundai showroom, the brand's recent Which? 'Best Car Manufacturer' Award speaks volumes.

Which? is the largest independent consumer body in the UK with over 650,000 members and in their latest survey Hyundai owners gave the brand 82 per cent in the reliability survey and 84 per cent in the satisfaction survey. In addition, Which? was also impressed by Hyundai's competitive prices and, following rigorous Which? tests, two models the i20 and i30 both won 'Best Buy' status.

“The good news is that
the improved fuel
economy has not been
achieved by dulling
performance.
The five-door i30 estate
is a workhorse and not a
sporting hatch, but it
whips along easily
enough: top speed is
117mph and 0-62mph
takes 11.7 seconds
...”
The priority for my recent family holiday to Cornwall with my wife and grown-up daughter was to satisfy their demands for luggage space. However, bearing in mind the narrow and winding Cornish roads and limited parking spaces, the last thing I wanted was a huge load-lugger.

Solving my problem was easy Hyundai's i30 Estate with the newly-revised and lower emission 1.6-litre CRDi diesel engine with ISG (Intelligent Stop & Go) seemed the logical choice, particularly specced in the best-selling Comfort trim.

Priced at a highly competitive 17,175 on-the-road, this family car officially returns 62.8mpg in the Combined Cycle. On test with three plus luggage, it returned 54.6mpg over 500 miles of motorway and dual carriageway driving. However, despite the hilly winding roads and lanes of Cornwall taking their toll, the overall average fuel consumption, over 700 miles, was still 47.4mpg.

Recent engine improvements have reduced the 1.6 CRDi's CO2 emissions down to 119g/km the road tax is 0 in the First Year and thereafter a paltry 30 per annum. Company car drivers also benefit as the BIK tax has gone also down; from 18 to 13%.

The good news is that the improved fuel economy has not been achieved by dulling performance. The five-door i30 estate is a workhorse and not a sporting hatch but even so it breezes along easily enough: top speed is 117mph and zero to 62mph takes 11.7 seconds. Motorway cruising at the legal limit was coped with easily and without any sounds of stress from the engine. Tackling the relentless Cornish hills gave the six-speed manual gearbox's slick gearchange a thorough workout.

And whatever the conditions open road, narrow lanes, busy towns and villages the i30 estate was easy to drive and park. The handling was also predictable, both in the wet and the dry. The compliant suspension was comfortable and only the lack of padding and support in the rear seat backrests caused a few moans from my back seat passenger on the long motorway journey.

“And whatever the
conditions — open road,
narrow lanes, busy
towns and villages — the
i30 estate was easy to
drive and park.
The handling was also
predictable, both in the
wet and the dry
...”
Cars of this kind are all about versatility but being a relatively compact estate, the five-door i30 is not the roomiest in its class. With an overall length of 4.47m, the boot or rear load area offers 415-litres of luggage with four adults on board. Fold the rear seats down and this increases to 1,395 litres. Not big but useful nonetheless.

All 2011 model year i30s across the range have front fog lights, a follow-me-home headlight function and an Eco Drive Indicator. Exterior enhancements include a new grille, front bumper, side sills and rear bumper.

The best-selling mid-range Comfort spec provides AirCon, stability control, a full range of airbags, roof rails, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, leather-covered gear knob, automatic headlight control, power front and rear side windows, electrically-operated and heated door mirrors, a decent six-speaker sound system with iPod/USB and Aux inputs and a set of 16-inch alloy wheels.

Other engine choices are 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol with prices starting from 15,290, and there's an auto transmission option for both 1.6 petrol and diesel engines.

Against? Not the roomiest load space in its class, more padding needed in the rear seatbacks, efficient rather than exciting to drive. Good points include lots of standard equipment, cost-effective motoring, a great warranty and proven customer satisfaction.

Last year Hyundai sold more new cars in the UK than Honda, MINI, SEAT, Skoda, Suzuki, Volvo, and even its sister South Korean brand of Kia. Astute customers wanting comfortable cost-effective motoring will not need to look much further than the Hyundai i30 it offers a lot, not least of all proven customer satisfaction and a long unlimited mileage warranty.
David Miles

Hyundai i30 Estate 1.6 CRDi Comfort | 17,175
Maximum speed: 117mph | 0-62mph: 11.7 seconds | Overall Test MPG: 47.4mpg
Power: 113bhp | Torque: 192lb ft | CO2 119g/km