Hyundai i30 Fastback (2017-2020)

By Jonathan Crouch

Models Covered

5dr hatchback (1.0, 1.4, 2.0 turbo petrol / 1.6 CRDi diesel 110PS)


Hyundai’s i30 Fastback delivers a bit of extra style to the family hatchback segment. Prior to its launch in 2017, we’d not seen ‘Gran Turismo’-class ‘five-door coupe’ styling in a Focus-sector model before. This one delivered it with affordable elegance.

The History

Swept-back four and five-door coupe models have become fashionable over recent years in premium circles. It’s about time though, that this class of car became a bit more affordable. With this i30 Fastback model, launched in 2017, Hyundai aimed to deliver just that.

‘Fastback’ is one of those names that seems to mean different things to different car makers. Ford use it to designate the coupe version of their Mustang. Mazda used it to badge earlier saloon versions of its compact Mazda3. Hyundai though, thinks it should evoke the spirit of classic Gran Turismo models of the Fifties and Sixties. In the way that in modern times, designs like Audi’s A5 Sportback and BMW’s 4 Series Gran Coupe have tried to do. Cars like these are primarily aimed at business buyers bored by the thought of just another Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series - and prepared to pay a premium for something looking a little more interesting. Hyundai thinks the same approach could work for buyers in the Focus-class family hatch segment.

Their conventional i30 hatch is a worthy contender here, but if its looks are a touch too conservative for you, just a fraction more gets you this swoopier Fastback body style which comes with slightly sharper handling and all the strong, safe and sensible engineering that might have drawn you towards an i30 in the first place. This particular five-door coupe derivative, and the i30N hot hatch that was launched just before it in early 2018, both represent a more emotive side take on i30 motoring, this Fastback body shape championing style, while the Korean brand’s ‘N’ division focuses on motorsport-tuned performance. If you’ve a healthier budget and find both approaches appealing, then you might be interested to know that the brand also developed an i30 N Fastback model allowing you to experience both at once.

Here though, our focus is going to be on the way that more ordinary i30 Fastback variants like this one bring the five-door coupe concept within reach of more ordinary buyers looking for a touch of style in their next used family hatch. This car was facelifted in Spring 2020, but it’s the pre-facelift 2017-2020 versions of this car we look at here.

What You Get

The stylists created this Fastback variant from a completely clean sheet of paper, apparently inspired by classic Gran Turismo models of the Fifties and Sixties in creating this car’s flowing contours and its sloping silhouette. This Fastback model sits 30mm lower than the conventional i30 hatch and is 115mm longer. The bonnet’s lengthier and at the rear end, the three-dimensional sculpted C-pillar is far more shapely. At the wheel, if you happen to be familiar with any of the other i30 models in the range, you’ll be instantly at home here because nothing changed at all with this Fastback variant. Premium touches and splashes of interesting design are somewhat lacking – which is disappointing after the expressive exterior styling - but it’s hard to fault either the quality or the solid finishing of the fixtures and fittings.

The biggest cabin talking point is the standard 8-inch colour touchscreen This is your interface for controlling satellite navigation, the DAB audio set-up and a package of ‘TomTom LIVE’ services that alert you to speed cameras, update you on the weather and provide accurate information on traffic jams and roadworks. You can also connect in your handset using the ‘Apple CarPlay’ and ‘Android Auto’ smartphone mirroring systems.

Despite the sloping roof, there’s theoretically a little more space in the trunk than there would be in the ordinary hatch model – 450-litres as opposed to 395-litres.

What To Look For

We came across lots of satisfied i30 Fastback customers for this MK3 model in our owners survey but inevitably, there were a few who had issues. One owner had the lane assist and AEB brake function alarm lights come on while on a motorway which required replacement of the car’s safety camera. In another case, an i30 DCT auto model lost drive at lower speeds requiring a software fix. In another case, there was a report of an i30 1.6 CRDi model over-actively regenerating – probably an issue with the sensors. Check for signs of interior child damage and insist on a fully stamped-up service history. Other than that, it's a clean bill of health. Hyundai’s brilliant five-year warranty arrangement means that these vehicles very rarely fall into premature neglect.

On The Road

Fastback. The name sounds quite dynamic. And at first glance, the mechanical recipe does to some extent too. Compared to the ordinary i30 hatch, this variant rides 5mm lower and there are what Hyundai calls ‘performance-orientated’ shock absorbers, plus the suspension’s 15% firmer and uses the kind of proper multi-link arrangement that’s lacking in lower-order versions of many rivals. OK, so the two mainstream engine options are the same modestly-powered 1.0-litre and 1.4-litre T-GDI petrol units you’ll find in any ordinary i30 but if that’s not sufficient, you can ask your dealer about the potent 2.0-litre turbo petrol unit used in the i30N hot hatch.

Overall, for us, the ride and handling balance here is preferable to that of the standard i30 hatch. Try it and see if you feel the same. As for the efficiency figures, well they’re reasonable enough, this 120PS 1.0 T-GDI variant recording 54.3mpg on the combined cycle and 120g/km of CO2 (both NEDC figures). Go for the pokier 140PS 1.4-litre T-GDI derivative and you’ll be offered the option of an efficient DCT dual-clutch auto gearbox.


So let’s summarise. Will other volume brands follow Hyundai’s lead here and produce stylised ‘Gran Turismo’-style versions of their conventional family hatches? We doubt it. The Korean company probably hopes they won’t. That will after all, leave this i30 Fastback as a unique option in its otherwise rather dull segment. It’s sensibly stylish. And there has to be a market for that.