The Hyundai i30 FD, one of my favorite cars, enters the Almost Car Reviews ring. Why I recommend this car so much, find out in today’s article.
Every time I write a list for a reader, I usually say “no meal without fish” and “no list without Kia Cee’d or Hyundai i30 FD”. This is because these two cars come together like two identical twins who go separate ways later in life depending on their life choices. Because we are born looking like our parents but we die looking like our choices.
And the Hyundai i30 FD proved to be one of the rational choices of the automotive world. Like when you think that instead of spending 15 pounds on a salad in town, you’d rather buy 15 pounds worth of ingredients and eat alot more salad. Like when you discover that craft beer costs half as much in the supermarket as compared to the pub and you’d rather serve it at home, listening to whatever music you want and smoking at the table instead of going outside to smoke. This is the Hyundai i30 FD, a choice made with the brain and not just on the principle of “get the cheapest”.
Yes, the Hyundai i30 FD is not a sports or luxurious car, but maybe there are people who are not looking for sports and luxury. Maybe there are people who just want a reliable, almost new car that will get them on the roads of their country in comfort and without too much monetary hassle. Because the first generation i30 is a reliable car, and what breaks down is usually replaced cheaply because the parts are labeled Hyundai, not Volkswagen. In fact, if I were to compare it to a car from the VW world, I would choose the VW Golf IV: two simple cars, technologically outdated even when they were launched but which have proven to be reliable and capable of stellar mileage. Yes, the first Hyundai cars were as good as a non-alcoholic beer served in a rural pub, but from the Hyundai i30 FD the brand begins to become what it is today. Hyundai i30 FD, the car that marked the transition from wheelbarrow to charriot.
Hyundai i30 FD Engines
- 1.4 Gamma MPI of 109 horsepower – By far the most popular engine because the whole idea of the i30 is to be cheap and practical, this engine has a cylinder lining problem, which makes it sound like a diesel. The irony of fate is that this “it’s not a bug, it’s a feature!” does not affect the engine, only makes it noisier. It’s like having some bacteria travelling around somewhere in your body, which don’t grown and don’t cause any issues if left untreated. It just exists, without bothering anyone. Kind of like me.
- 1.6 Gamma MPI of 122 horsepower – The same Gamma engine as the 1.4 entry-level powerplant, just as noisy and just as reliable. If you get good oil changed at regular intervals, this engine won’t give you headaches.
- 2.0 Beta II with 143 horsepower – The old Beta II’s reliability is the stuff of legends , right up there with Toyota’s legendary 1AZ-FE. It needs spark plugs, coil packs and oil changed on time and that’s it. Definitely an engine worthy of any car, but rarely on the European Hyundai i30 FD. Hugely popular in the USA and Australia versions of the i30, fact backed up by the many awards the i30 received.
- 1.6 U-Line CRDi of 90, 116 and 128 horsepower – An old-fashioned diesel that feels alot like the VW’s old 1.9 TDI ALH korean cousin. Technologically outdated since its launch, this engine compensates for its performance with a reliability worthy of old school diesels. This does not mean however that it does not need maintenance, but you will go to the repair shop much less often than you would expect from a Hyundai. Yes, the only really expensive part is the particle filter, but that applies to any modern diesel which is driven mostly around town.
- 2.0 D-Line CRDI of 140 horsepower – Better known as the basic engine used in all mid-size Hyundais, which somehow made it’s way under the Hyundai i30 FD’s bonnet. If you want a cheap car, I recommend you avoid this engine. The dual-mass flywheel costs a lot, the particle filtre costs a lot, the fuel pump costs alot and the air conditioning compressor costs alot. Not that it’s a bad engine, just that on the Hyundai i30 FD you’d just complicate your life for nothing because the 1.6 diesel does the exact same thing, for the regular buyer atleast. And the i30 is a regular car, for regular people.
Hyundai i30 FD Common Issues
- The air conditioning is not built for extended work during extended journies. As muscular as Graham Norton, the air conditioning unit must be worked a little more like a minimum wage worker if you want to acknowledge it’s existence.
- For those two people who have their Hyundai i30 FD equipped with a Start/Stop system or who intend to buy something like that, I would keep that feature shut off most of the time. Permanently if possible.
- 17″ rims and bigger are as far away from comfort as I’m keeping far away from any sort of work. In fact, they are so masochistic that your spine will pop out through your skull when you take on a pothole, kerb or leaf. Not that it would be a issue on our impeccable british roads, but it’s good to know.
- One of the big pluses of living in Switzerland is the flag…Sorry…One of the big pluses of 2010’s Hyundai is the 4-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. Sure it’s abit slow but it more than makes up for it in reliability. It does need an oil change every 50,000 kms though. It should’ve retired long time ago, but it’s still going strong even today and refuses to give up. Hyundai’s 4 speed torque converter gearbox – The Mark Calaway of the motoring world.
- Engine mounts tend to wear out prematurely on the petrol engines and in order to replace them the entire engine frame must come out. Not that it is a particularly expensive job, but it is more expensive than on most cars.
- The quality of the interior is typical of an old school Hyundai so expect to see parts of the interior peeling off or falling off (the dashboard mainly, which starts to peel off from the base of the windshield). All that reliability means that they had to cut corners somewhere, and they decided to start with the interior. It’s not Dacia Logan barn quality, but it’s no VW either.
Hyundai i30 FD Verdict
Excsilon for beginners or for people who want a simple, reliable, no-frills car that can decently haul them around anywhere. The sort of car you buy with your brain and not your heart. In fact, the Hyundai i30 FD, through its simplicity and reliability, is a worthy spiritual successor of the VW Golf IV.
Which engines do I recommend? By far the most popular engine is 109 horsepower 1.4 petrol. Decently reliable and with reasonable running costs. A naturally aspirated petrol engine will always be cheaper to maintain than a diesel. If however 2 mpgs mean the world to you and are a dealbreaker, then go for the 1.6 CRDi, which also does its job excellently.