Three is a magic number

Hyundai i30 three door
Hyundai i30 three door

The three-door version of Hyundai’s i30 family hatch offers great looks, a high level of equipment, an excellent chassis, a pair of economical diesel engines, a couple of affordable petrol units and the back up of a great warranty.

Prices aren’t that far off Ford or Vauxhall, but both manufacturers should be very worried by this one.

The engine choice on offer is a little paired back from that of the five-door range. Here, buyers get the choice between a pair of petrol engines and a pair of diesels. The petrol units comprise a 1.4-litre entry-level powerplant that develops 100PS and a 1.6 with 120PS. The diesels open with a 110PS 1.6-litre CRDi engine and Hyundai will also sell you a version of this in 128PS tune.The underpinnings of the car haven’t been altered compared to the five-door model and that’s really no bad thing. A lot of development work had gone into the i30’s chassis dynamics and they work very well. In fact, it’s hard to tell it apart from a Volkswagen Golf in the way it absorbs bumps and goes round corners, so it’s fairly clear what the Koreans were benchmarking in their development phase. That means it’s firm-ish in its ride quality, without being crashy on city streets and body roll is very well controlled, This sort of set-up seems to work extremely well for British drivers who like a car that can get its teeth into a corner but don’t want a jarring ride on our often sub-standard road surfaces. The suspension is a strut front and multi-link rear design that’s adopted by the best-handling cars in the class such as, well, you guessed it, the Golf. One interesting option is Flex Steer.

I appreciate that there’s strictly limited value in me telling you how good looking a car is, as beauty is subjective, but if you don’t think Hyundai has done a good job with this three-door i30, then you’re certainly going to struggle with a lot of contemporary car design. I’m not saying that the i30 is unoriginal, but it does seem to crib quite a few of its design features from cars we know and love. All too often, that can end up in a car that’s a bit of a mish-mash – one that never really hangs together. In contrast, the i30 three-door is cohesive from front to back and everyone I canvassed in the office thought it was a tidy piece of design.

What’s wrong with it? Not a lot.