Friday, 25 May 2012

Fire up the... Hyundai i30

FORGET the five star rating in the Euro NCAP crash tests, or the generous warrantage package. Thanks to an ingenious publicity stunt at Knowsley Safari Park, all anybody knows about the Hyundai i30 is that it'll stand up well if it's attacked by monkeys.

So we all know that if you give Hyundai's new big hitter to a troupe of baboons it'll pass with flying colours, but what about if you give it to a rather different and more discerning pack of primates - people looking to buy a mid-size family hatch? These people are traditionally some of the choosiest in the car market, and with so much on offer they've every right to be.

Luckily the Korean contender's got plenty going for it - not only do you get a five year warranty, but they'll chuck in five years of roadside assistance too, and it's got plenty of gadgets and gizmos thrown in as standard. I drove the 1.6 diesel version because it's the one Hyundai are banking on being their biggest seller here, and while it's unlikely to scare you with its performance it's very silky and smooth on the move. In fact, that's the flavour you'll get should you chuck it into a corner - if you're looking for excitement you're probably better looking elsewhere, but if you just want to act like a grown up and arrive everywhere quietly and unruffled then the i30's more than up for the task.

While the styling's smooth - if a little generic - it's clear that a lot of effort's gone into the interior. We already know that it's tough enough to survive being attacked by monkeys, so it's unlikely there'll be any woes over build quality, but what's more impressive is the quality of the materials and the attention to colours and shades. It really is a nice place to be.

At a whisker under £18,000 its price is pitched straight at the likes of the Focus, the Megane and the Astra, but I reckon that's fair game because in terms of quality and packaging it's more than a match for some of Britain's best sellers.

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