Hyundai’s most stylish i30 variant is here

The i30 Fastback is a slinky-styled five-door that is probably also Hyundai’s most stylish offering for Singapore


Photos: Krado Low, Hyundai

SINGAPORE – They say that imitation is the best form of flattery. For Hyundai, it could be a successful one too. For a few years now the Korean company has been taking cues in build quality and vehicle dynamics from the Europeans, but now you can add style to that mix too.

Enter the i30 Fastback, which was quietly added to the range in Singapore at the end of October.

It’s Hyundai’s interpretation of a body style that’s been popularised by European car brands, and premium ones at that; the current crop of slinky-roofed four/five-door coupes can thank the Mercedes-Benz CLS (read our review of the latest model) for carving out this market niche, and BMW (4/6 Series Gran Coupe), Audi (A5/A7 Sportback) and Volkswagen (Arteon) have all since joined the fray too.

Like the above, the i30 Fastback’s mission brief is straightforward: look as stylish as it can while losing as little practicality as possible. The key difference with the i30 being that it’s the first – and thus far only – such compact-sized model from a non-premium brand. And since it’s a Hyundai, it’s got a very agreeable price too: $106,999 with Certificate of Entitlement, at time of writing.

To make the Fastback, Hyundai lopped 30mm off the i30 Hatchback’s roof height, and gave it a swooping rear end with an integrated ducktail boot spoiler. There are plenty of echoes of the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe in the rear end, if you ask us. The front bumper is different too, with a more aggressive design and chopped-down radiator grille.

Despite the more rakish lines, the i30 Fastback doesn’t necessarily compromise on practicality either. An added 115mm over the Hatchback means it still has 450-litres of cargo space (or 1351-litres with the seats folded) – roomier than its more workaday sibling.

As befitting of its looks, Hyundai also says the Fastback offers a sportier driving experience, thanks to a 5mm drop in ride height and 15 percent stiffer suspension, as well as flappy gearshift paddles on the steering wheel. It won’t go any faster in a straight line though, as it retains the 1.4-litre turbo and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission setup as the rest of the i30 range.

Its position as the top of the i30 lineup also means the Fastback gets more toys to play with: 17-inch wheels instead of 16s, LED headlights instead of halogen units, electric driver seat, and an 8.0-inch infotainment unit with Apple CarPlay. There are also two new blue paintwork choices, and a Merlot red option for the upholstery.

In other i30-related news, the hot 270hp, Nurburgring-developed i30N has been spotted on local shores recently. Our best guess is that it’s here early to complete its battery of homologation tests with the Land Transport Authority, in anticipation of a local launch at the 2019 Singapore Motorshow.

Come to think of it, with the Fastback’s style and the N’s performance, Hyundai isn’t just imitating the competition. “Beating” might be a more appropriate word.

about the author

Jon Lim
CarBuyer's staff writer was its fourth historical Jonathan. Old-fashioned in all but body, he thinks car design peaked in the '90s and is enthusiastic about vintage cars and old machinery.