Best small car under $35,000 - Hyundai i30 Active

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The i30 started the ABC race with a head start for price and then built on this with cheap running and repair costs. Warranty and dealer coverage round out the deal.

But it isn’t just the dollar equation that makes sense with modern Hyundais. The i30 cabin is spacious enough and the dash is relatively uncluttered. The five-inch touch screen controls the information and entertainment systems, eliminating the need for some switches. A rear-view camera is standard across the range.

The 1.8L direct-injection petrol engine is a flexible unit with reasonable mid-range pulling power while still achieving a good environmental performance. However it was not as quiet as the other two finalists. And plenty of others equal or better its fuel consumption.

No matter what sort of road surface, the i30’s ride remained compliant and confident. It also has Hyundai’s three push-button steering-tune settings, although most drivers will be happy with the Normal mode.

Although the i30 did not having the handling and performance of the two runners-up Mazda3 and Ford Focus, it matched them for space.