Hyundai i30 Tourer review: Ben Griffin drives through five countries to see how well the South Korean estate stacks up against the competition, which includes the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.
Hyundai’s latest attempt at an estate comes in the form of the i30 Tourer, which is a longer, sleeker version of the new i30. It hopes to better the estate versions of the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Peugeot 308 SW and VW Golf.
Compared to SUVs, estate cars are about as fashionable as gout. But most people would be best off in one, whether they care to admit it or not, which is why car manufacturers continue to make them and why you should probably entertain buying one.
To tempt Brits away from the usual crowd, Hyundai has gone in with a competitive starting price and a fairly generous array of standard equipment in addition to a five-year unlimited mileage warranty.
All good so far, but there is something a little fuddy duddy about Hyundai. Recent models have, however, shown considerable improvement, with a lack of brand prestige made up for by comfort and refinement and a lack of desirability outweighed by quality.
We drove the i30 Tourer from the UK to Germany to see the i30 N and i30 Sportback unveilings, then home again because what better way is there to test an estate than to mimic the route of a European booze cruise?
2017 Hyundai i30 Tourer: What is it?
Being a version of the i30 means it has been tested at the Nurburgring and shares the design improvements. Unlike the hatchback, however, the rear gently curves into a lower roof line for a sleeker stance, adding an extra 245mm of length.
The i30 Tourer starts from £17,495, which makes it a £500 premium on the i30 hatchback. You can order it right now, with first deliveries arriving in July, 2017, onwards.
You are welcome to check out our Hyundai i30 Hatchback review here, should you wish for a little more background knowledge on the model.
2017 Hyundai i30 Tourer: How practical are we talking?
You buy an estate because of practicality and here is where the Hyundai Tourer really hits hard. It features an extra 74 litres of boot space, taking the total to 602 litres if the rear seats are being used and 1,650 litres if they are folded flat.
If that sounds like a lot, that is because it is. The VW Golf offers 30 fewer litres, while the Astra estate comes in 60 litres shy of the Hyundai i30 Tourer. Meanwhile the Ford Focus estate comes in at 476 litres.
Even the Audi A4 loses out, with only the Peugeot 308 SW’s 660 litres and the Honda Civic Tourer’s 624 litres giving the i30 estate much to worry about, especially as it features 60:40 split-folding rear seats.
The car also has reasonably large door bins, a glove box and enough head room and leg room for those above average height ─ even with the panoramic roof option. You also get a sliding front arm rest, which is comfortable to lean on and provides another storage area.
The front seats, meanwhile, are extremely comfortable and their level of adjustability only helps the cause, regardless of whether the operation is electric or manual. Long journeys never get tiring in the i30 Tourer.
2017 Hyundai i30 Tourer: How does it drive?
Like an i30. The longer rear end is really only noticeable at the sort of speeds a family estate would rarely see and, should you push too hard, you can induce a touch of oversteer, which is fun.
In normal circumstances, the steering is lightweight but lacks much in the way of feel. The prominent noise from the tyres is a better way of knowing when you are reaching the edge of grip, of which there is rather a lot.
The suspension is rather good at smoothing out bad roads without making it wallowly or prone to body roll in the corners. In terms of character, it is actually rather close to a VW Golf. Confident and just about enjoyable, but also a little sterile.
The somewhat flappy six-speed manual is our pick of the bunch because it provides a level of satisfaction the seven-speed DCT auto is missing, but then convenience will be more important for the sort of motorist who buys this car.
As for the engines, the diesels provide an enjoyable punch of low down grunt and neither are too shouty or unrefined. Arguably diesel makes the most sense because of their superior fuel economy over the petrol engines, but then they could be penalised in the near future.
Opting for a petrol is no hardship anyway, as the 1.4-litre T-GDi with 140PS we drove for the majority of our trip is excellent. Half the time you never know it is running, especially with the radio on, and for the rest it makes a pleasing noise as it goes up through the revs.
The petrol requires more effort to get moving than the diesels, but has more oomph than the power output suggests that makes it capable of fast overtakes and motorway cruising. Nippy is the best description, yet it can manage around 40mpg without too much effort.
2017 Hyundai i30 Tourer: Design & desirability?
Squint a bit and you could be fooled into thinking the Hyundai is somewhat German in its design. The front grille and youthful headlights make the i30 borderline pretty, while the swoopy side profile and curvy lines give it a touch of Mercedes elegance.
It lacks the same presence as, say, an Audi and a BMW is more of a statement, but the lower end of the estate market is hardly the last word in design. The main thing is that the i30 Tourer will never offend your eyes and the livelier red and blue paintjobs jazz it up nicely.
The inside of the i30 is also pleasing, but never wows. The cheaper plastics are at least soft to the touch, while the overall layout is sensibly laid out. Compared with the Focus, it is substantially nicer to look at.
As for the infotainment system, the optional 8-inch display is surprisingly responsive. It has a rather drab colour scheme and can be a bit fiddly, but the navigation proved reliable and the addition of both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a big plus.
2017 Hyundai i30 Tourer: Anything else?
It is worth factoring in Hyundai’s five-year unlimited mileage warranty, five years of roadside assistance and five annual ‘health checks’ of the i30 Tourer, which means it should be relatively cheap to sort out any problems.
Another point worth mentioning is that the Hyundai i30 Tourer features a lot of useful safety features as standard, including Autonomous Emergency Braking and Driver Attention Alert, which will help keep you, your family and the car in one piece.
You also get dual zone air conditioning and rear air vents, 15-inch alloys and daytime running lights as standard on the basic S model.
There are five trim levels available, rising from the aforementioned S to SE (from £19,355), then SE Nav and Premium. For the most gubbins, you need Premium SE, which starts from £24,155.
A bog-standard Golf Estate S starts from £19,470, but at that price the engine is a weedy 85PS, which is a lot less than the entry-level i30 Tourer’s 1.0-litre T-GDi with 120PS.
2017 Hyundai i30 Tourer: Should I buy one, then?
If you want a car with a quietly confident design, comfortable ride, strong value for money and care little about badge appeal, the new Hyundai i30 Tourer is an intelligent choice, particularly if you stick to the mid-range trims such as SE Nav.
The fact it comes across as more upmarket than before, offers a generous warranty and has excellent levels of practicality should help you stomach the fact there are more desirable – but not neccessarily better – alternatives available.