This was the second generation of the Hyundai i30, and it is the epitome of a sensible, reliable and pleasant family car. Exciting? Maybe not, but if you want safe, secure transport that doesn’t cost a fortune to buy or run, look no further.

The Hyundai i30 is a mid-sized hatchback that competes with rivals like the VW Golf and Ford Focus, but notably it came with a five-year, 100,000 mile warranty. You could buy one of these in 2019 and still have three years of manufacturer warranty left…

you’ll get around,
45-50 mpg.

So, the appeal is clear. This car is rated very highly as a used buy, and it stacked up well even when new. It was launched in 2012 with a 1.4 or 1.6-litre petrol engine, or a 1.6 diesel in two tunes – 109 or 126bhp. Automatic gearboxes were offered on all the 1.6 engines. An estate followed a few months after the hatchback, and is a remarkably spacious and dependable used family buy. A facelift in 2015 brought some updated engines and a more up-to-date seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

Try to avoid the 1.4 petrol – it’s pretty gutless by any standard. The 1.6 is fine for lower mileage stuff, but the diesel is by far the best bet (particularly the 126bhp version) if you do a lot of motorway miles, or expect to be packing the car with kids, luggage and bikes for the family holidays. 

Classic trim is the most basic, but does at least get Bluetooth, multi function steering-wheel and air-con. Mid-spec Active gets alloy wheels, rear parking sensors and cruise control. You need to go for Style to get auto lights and wipers and climate control, and Style Nav trim is pretty self-explanatory. Premium goes for full leather and heated seats, but we’d stick with Style – the leather seats don’t age too well in Premium trim, and Style cars are better value and easier to find on the used market.

There are few commonly reported problems with the Hyundai i30, although some owners have mentioned issues with a juddering sensation in automatic diesels – something that’s fixed easily with a software update, it seems. Otherwise, it’s mostly some rattling trim, plastics that scratch easily and alloys that are easy to kerb that are the most common complaints, so nothing major to worry about at all.

The i30 gets long service intervals that mean it needs attention every two years or 20,000 miles, which is great news for keeping servicing costs down, and the engines are chain driven so you don’t need to factor in cambelt changes. Hyundai often offers 0% finance on its used cars, too, so don’t discount buying an official used car if you want to pay monthly. 

Prices start from under £5000 for the i30, but expect to pay more like £6000 if you want a diesel engine with a decent spec and lower mileage. The rarer but even more excellent estates tend to cost some £1500-£2000 more for an equivalent car over the hatchback, but it’s still great value for such a practical, reliable family car. 

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