Hyundai i30 PD or why simple and reliable cars will always sell. And for us European the i30 got more serious than Nigel Farage when he advocated for the Brexit.

So where are around 2016-2017, when the i30 GD’s successor appeared to break the market’s back and take on the torch with dignity and more hatred towards the competition. But only in Europe, because in USA it got retired/merged with the Hyundai Elantra. For the Elantra article / version of the story, just click there. But back to the i30 because we are in 2017, quite peaceful times and times when the world had money cold hard cash to burn and pokemon to chase on the streets. Sure, it would get real dark real quick because Harambe was murdered 1 year prior, but let’s focus on the simpler, happier times of 2017.

Starting from 13496 GBP (VAT not included) and 16995 GBP on-road price.

Yep, before all the covid-craze that blew the car prices through the roof (all prices really, not just for cars), the Hyundai i30 PD had a real competitive pricing strategy and I even found this older brochure. And here is the current brochure with the price listings. It’s ok to get mad.

And this is how the Hyundai i30 PD has taken the European car market by storm once again, and that includes our Little Britain. Especially since it wasn’t that much more expensive than the cheapest car on sale on our little island, the Dacia Sandero. And at that time, many people said that it was worth the effort and that 2-3000 euros more was really justified to switch from the Sandero to Hyundai i30. And yes, I compare it with the Sandero because it’s the closest car it competes with (there are also the C-Elysee, 301 and Tipo but nobody bought them), because the i30 was effectively priced to match a VW Polo, a class lower in the automotive genus. The i30 looks better, was better equipped and much better in terms of quality than the Sandero which was outdated even from launch. Sure, with the next generation Sandero things changed faster and more drastically than my face changes when I see the bills, but Sandero was outdated and that’s it. Kind of like how when you drop your fart on the floor. Happened to me.

But let’s get back to the i30 and leave my farts on the floor, because the competitive price wasn’t the only thing that made the i30 dominate the car market in Europe and beyond. This generation i30 was the first to take a jab at  sportiness, with the Hyundai i30 N-Line first time gracing us with its dubious but glorious 280 horsepower 2.0 Turbocharged petrol engine. After that Hyundai thought of reducing costs and withdrew the Elantra from the South American market and developed the i30 with a boot, the Hyundai i30 Fastback. A car that was successful enough to reach Europe. Even if it’s a simple, cheap and reliable car at the base, the people from Hyundai pulled the i30 more than the students who don’t know how to answer the questions are pulling the time just enough for the clock to save them.

Hyundai i30 PD Engines


  • 1.0 Kappa II and Smartstream T-GDI Turbo of 120 horsepower – Nowadays all manufacturers have to offer a 1.0 litre turbocharged petrol for the small and compact cars in their product range, and the Hyundai i30 PD does not escape this punishment. Sure, the engine is reliable in itself but it is also insufficient for a compact hatchback such as the i30.
  • 1.4 Kappa II MPI of 100 horsepower – Just like this relic has no place in our times. Neither the performance nor the fuel economy aren’t nothing to write home about, but in the olden days you didn’t really have much of a choice.
  • 1.4 Kappa II T-GDI Turbo of 140 horspower – Same naturally aspirated 1.4 but now has a turbo strapped to it. A more acceptable engine in terms of performance and economy, but quite rare.
  • 1.5 DPi Smartstream of 110 horsepower – The newly launched Smartstream engine was also the entry-level engine at the i30’s launch. A new engine, for new times, but with new powers come new responsabilities and issues, and in this case it’s the oil consumption. Sure, Hyundai did eventually recommend shorter oil change intervals, but that doesn’t excuse the Hyundai people for making a thirsty engine like I thirst for Temptation Island‘s plot because I definatelly watch Temptation Island for the plot.
  • 1.5 Smartstream T-GDI Turbo of 160 horsepower – Unfortunately the turbocharged version of the 1.5 DPi was launched 3 minutes ago so it’s premature to talk about it’s reliability.
  • 1.6 Gamma II MPi of 128 horsepower – The old 1.6 Gamma II got carried on to the next i30, but only in the countries where it passed the emissions class. And that MPi part is very important because this engine is LPG compatible and it’s the balance between power and fuel economy.
  • 1.6 Gamma II GDi T-GDI Turbo of 204 horsepower – But if you want more power but don’t have the coin to get the wares of the 2.0 Turbo, then the 1.6 turbocharged version might be the middle ground. Might. But not really. As it’s got direct injection so no more LPG friendliness, and it’s got occasional turbo issues. I mean, if you want to go sports and mad then order the full course. Also, it’s prone to fire much like the 2.0 Nu engine.
  • 2.0 Nu GDi of 164 horsepower – We’ve talked about this fiery engine with a burning desire already. Notorious for it’s world class lawsuits about how much they caught fire and wrecked their pistons, this engine was standard issue in USA and Australia and it was the buttock of Hyundai’s jokes.
  • 2.0 Theta II T-GDI Turbo of 250, 275 and 280 horsepower – Exclusive to the i30N version and it’s good that it only stayed there. Turbo issue, turbo oil leaks issues, timing chain issues. It’s so bad even Winston Wolf can’t fix it.


1.6 CRDi U-Line and SmartStream of 95, 115 and 136 horsepower – End of the line for diesel engines, but at least this 1.6 diesel is a modern and reliable diesel, as long as you keep it away from the city. Not sure why they bothered to release an updated SmartStream version of the diesel, but it’s nice to have. A great engine when combined with the station wagon version as it makes for a great, relatively cheap vacation car.

Hyundai i30 PD Common Issues

  • The 7DCT double-clutch automatic gearbox is a recurring theme at Hyundai so I have to mention it also in the case of the Hyundai i30 PD.
  • As it is a recuring theme with the Tire Pressure Monitoring System ( TPSM ) which can break down and read your tire pressure wrong and give you a small bodily pressure increase. Just like when you type in an extra number on the sum on the POS terminal by mistake.
  • Pre-facelift models had interiors that matched the reduced price in comparison to the competition. Of course, everything is sturdy and fixed in it’s place, but the quality of the materials was still not up to the standard of the more expensive european cars in the class. Current models however are right up there with the rest of the bunch (Golf, Focus, Astra and so on) but also the price caught up with them.


Hyundai i30 PD Verdict

The Hyundai i30 PD took full advantage of the situation and sold like hot cakes. It would have sold just as well today if it wasn’t for the cross-over craze and it wasn’t stomped by Hyundai’s own Kona and Bayon. But in 2017, when people had money and preferred to pay 2,000 euros more than a Logan even in the budget sector, the Hyundai i30 PD was sold by the six pack. And if you don’t have pocket crossover mania and want a traditional hatchback, a used Hyundai i30 PD is an offer that you can’t refuse.

Which engines do I recommend? If you’re scared of technology then the naturally aspirated 1.5 DPi 110 horsepower petrol engine is all the engine you’ll ever need. If you don’t have a phobia of technology, then the 1.4 T-GDI of 140 horsepower is the pick of the bunch. And for diesel you only have the 1.6 CRDi to choose anyway, which I recommend only in the station wagon version as a vacation car.