'Hyundai is beating the Europeans at their own game'

Price: from £16,295 (£21,395 as tested)

Engine capacity: 1.6-litre turbo diesel

Power Output (bhp@rpm): 124 @ 4,000

Top Speed (mph): 120

0-60 mph (seconds): 11.2

Fuel economy (mpg): 64.2

CO2 emissions (g/km): 115

Heated seats, 16-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, a rear-view parking camera, keyless entry, a touch-screen satnav and a smattering of leather in the cabin. This isn't the kit list at my local Audi dealership, but just some of the premium features fitted on the new Hyundai i30 Tourer I tested last week.

That's right, Hyundai is raising its game with the new i30 Tourer. When it was first introduced as a hatchback in 2008 it offered good quality, an amazing five-year warranty and a price to render the average Ford or Vauxhall salesman speechless. Now with the Tourer, Hyundai is pushing up on its premium rivals in an attempt to get its usually cost-conscious customers to tick those lucrative options boxes.

It's a dangerous move for a company known for keen pricing and cheap and cheerful city run-arounds but it's obviously one the bosses in Seoul are eager to pursue, not just with the i30 Tourer but with the new Santa Fe SUV (soon to be tested by an i reader in this slot) and the sporty Veloster Turbo hot hatch I'm driving next week.

Has the company pulled it off? Well, the i30 Tourer is more of an evolutionary step from the old car than a revolutionary one, but that isn't a bad thing. The old car drove well, had a no-nonsense cabin and plenty of load space, and thankfully Hyundai has only improved on those traits. It is by no means an exciting car to drive but it's pleasant and easy to punt around in and most family buyers won't care if it doesn't set pulses racing. They will care about comfort and economy and here the i30 scores highly. It soaks up potholes easily and the diesel engine is a gem – 50mpg is achievable without much effort. In the family car market, cargo is king and even with the seats up, the i30 Tourer has it in spades (528 litres), more than the Ford Focus Estate (476) and the Vauxhall Astra Tourer (500).

Starting at £16,295, albeit without such an gutsy engine or most of the fancy kit, the i30 Tourer remains an entry-level gem. And if you're in the market for a high-spec model and don't care about the badge, it's now pretty hard to beat there too.


There is no shortage of small family estates on the market. Keen drivers will enjoy the handling dynamics of the Ford Focus Estate but expect to pay a premium over the Hyundai to get the same levels of kit. The VW Golf estate is the one for you if you're bothered by the badge, but neither comes close to matching the Hyundai's boot space or entry-level pricing.

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