WHILE there are many cars that provide room and space to warrant family-carrying credentials, my favourite still remains the good old estate.
The number of estate cars continues to grow and one of the latest is the Hyundai i30 estate, which builds on the good looks of the i30 hatchback.
Standing on a longer wheelbase with a longer rear overhang than its hatch cousin, the i30 is a great example of a good, small estate car, with every exterior panel from the B-pillar backwards being new.
The rear doors, which open on to a bigger cabin interior than in the hatchback, are larger and give easier access while there is also a wide-opening tailgate and user-friendly low-loading sill.
There's 415 litres of stowage space in the boot with all seats taken, plus a really useful under floor storage compartment while the boot room also extends to 1,395 litres when the rear seats are folded flat.
There are plenty of cubbyholes around the cabin to take your bits and bobs and the lidded receptacles open and close with a soft-damped feel.
Rear seat occupants have plenty of head and shoulder room and a six-footer can sit comfortably behind a similarly proportioned driver.
A generous trio of trim levels are on offer, Comfort, Style and Premium, with all models qualifying for the likes of air con, electric windows all round, electronic stability programme, a six-speaker sound system and CD with steering wheel mounted controls and a built-in interface to house your iPod.
Each model also gets a further touch of class in the electrically folding door mirrors with integrated LED side repeated indicators while the Style specification in the car tested here adds part leather trim, Hyundai's tyre pressure monitoring system, automatic lighting and 16-inch alloys.
There are two engine options available to power the i30 Estate car along, a 1.6-litre 125bhp petrol and the 1.6-litre CRDi diesel which is driven here.
This is a superb little oil-burner which delivers 113bhp of urge and 188lb/ft of pulling ability while creating just 128g/km of CO2.
It actually feels even more powerfully persuasive mid-range than its 1.6 badge would indicate and responds sharply to the throttle while some effortless overtaking urge along with a quite amazing return of just under 60mpg on the combined cycle.
With the diesel engine producing a surprisingly refined performance from its readily available levels of power, thanks to the sharply responsive power steering and some great levels of grip, the i30 Estate also delivers an admirably agile and stable performance.
Overall, this is a very fine family estate car but not only is Hyundai delivering a high value for money motor car, the Korean car maker also considers its products so reliable these days that a five-year unlimited mileage warranty is included in the deal - now that really is confidence for you.
Hyundai i30 Estate
Hyundai i30 Estate 1.6 CRDi Style 5dr Price: pounds 15,095 Mechanical: 113bhp, 1,582cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5spd manual gearbox Max speed: 117 mph 0 - 62mph: 11.9 secs Combined mpg: 57.6 Insurance group: 5 CO2 emissions: 128g/km BiK rating: 18% Warranty: 5yrs/unlimited mileage, 6yrs paint, 6yrs anti-rust