Decent engines and an altogether civilised way to travel
Easy to get comfortable with straightforward dash and controls
A shining example, with active head restraints, seatbelt warning lights and stability control on all models
Feels solid, and there's a five-year warranty for extra reassurance
Roomy cabin and a huge boot
Even entry-level cars get generous kit
Hyundai set its sights on the class-leading VW Golf when building the i30, and it shows. The suspension is wonderfully supple, so copes brilliantly with potholes and patchy road surfaces - particularly if you avoid versions with larger alloy wheels.
The car remains composed through the bends, too; the soft suspension means there's quite a bit of body sway, but the car never lurches around in an uncontrollable fashion. The steering is disappointing, though, because it's very vague around the straight-ahead, and the i30's tyres also generate a lot of road noise.
If your mileage is low, go for the 99bhp 1.4 petrol. However, most drivers will be better off with the 109bhp 1.6 litre diesel, which blends decent performance with superb fuel efficiency.
Front passengers have plenty of head and shoulder room, and those in the back are unlikely to complain about head- or kneeroom, either. The impressive space continues behind the rear passengers, with a boot that's easily capable of swallowing a pushchair. For outright space, the i30 has the edge over its closest rivals, the VW Golf and Ford Focus.
Every button on the dashboard is big enough to hit at a glance, and all the important controls are clearly marked. Despite this user-friendly layout, Hyundai has managed to keep the design of the cabin fairly attractive, and most of the materials are easily a match for those in a Ford Focus or a Vauxhall Astra.
Even entry-level Classic models come with Bluetooth, LED daytime running lights, air-conditioning, a multiu-function steering wheel and powered door mirrors. Active trim adds rear parking sensors and a system which allows you the adjust the weight of the steering, while Style versions add dual-zone climate control, front parking sensors and rain-sensing wipers.
The latest i30 was too new to feature in the 2012 JD Power ownership satisfaction survey. However, the previous model was rated excellent for mechanical reliability, so the signs are encouraging.
All versions come with six airbags, stability control and hill start assist. This impressive standard safety kit helped the i30 achieve a 90% Euro NCAP score for both adult and child safety. A VW Golf achieved 97% and 84% respectively.
The i30 is one of the best small family cars. It provides a tempting mix of talents for an extremely attractive price, so should definitely be near the top of your shortlist - particularly if you're a company car driver.