Hyundai expands the i30 range with this swoopy new Fastback five-door
For those who reckon a traditional hatchback is just a bit too plain and boring, Hyundai is launching a new variant of its i30 family car range for 2018 â€“ the Fastback five-door.
Compared to the normal five-door, it does what it says on the tin: the rear roofline is an inch lower, tapers more gently, and is balanced at the front by a longer nose and lower grille. Overall, itâ€™s 115mm longer than the hatch, and appears more svelte and stylish on the road as a result.
Hyundaiâ€™s even sweated on the details. The tail lamps now wrap around the rear, accentuating the haunches, and there are stylish new alloy wheels up to 18 inches in diameter. It canâ€™t completely transform the regular i30 into a thing of beauty, but it does bring a bit of extra pizazz to the range â€“ you could almost call it a value-priced alternative to an Audi A5 Sportback.
Hyundai i30 Fastback 1.4 T-GDi
Engine: 1.4-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged, petrol
Torque: 179lb ft
Gearbox: 6-spd manual
Kerb weight: 1287kg
Top speed: 126mph
Fuel economy: 51.4mpg
CO2 rating: 125g/km
The chassis has also had a slightly sporty makeover. Itâ€™s 5mm lower than normal, and is a bit stiffer than the hatch. This makes it a little more agile, although this is all relative: rivals such as the Mazda 3 are still more entertaining to drive.
A high-end set of Michelin Pilot Sport tyres provide loads of grip and the overall engineering throughout the major controls give it a natural, well-developed feel. Saying that, actual feedback is still notably absent, for all Hyundaiâ€™s talk of Fastback sportiness.
The launch range of engines is all-petrol. We drove the 137bhp 1.4-litre turbo, which proved very flexible and reasonably refined with it. Economy is decent enough, at 51.4mpg combined, to make the lack of a diesel not a deal-breaker: interestingly, the automatic is a little more economical, at 52.3mpg combined.
However, as for the interior, the only surprise come with the claimed boot space: 450 litres is a fair bit larger than the 395 litres of the hatch, although headroom does seem to have suffered as a result of the swooping roofline.
So, overall, what do we have? A better-looking i30 hatchback, one thatâ€™s a bit more interesting to drive, is more practical for serial load-luggers, and is above average in how it drives, how itâ€™s built and how it looks. Hyundaiâ€™s typically generous standard specification adds further appeal, and all for prices just Â£500 over the hatch.
Even so, itâ€™s still targeting a rather niche sector. Those after something with a bit more flash perhaps wonâ€™t be looking for another Hyundai, but for a budget car from a brand with more premium appeal. Hyundai fans desperate to get into something different to the value hatchback norm will like it, but we donâ€™t expect it to jump into the best-sellers list any time soon.