Car that silenced doubters Korean surprise
The compact Hyundai i30 has won people over, writes Graham Smith
THE Hyundai i30 made quite a splash when it landed here in 2007. With appealing looks, impressive quality, good road manners and safety it swept the carsGuide Car of the Year judges off their feet.
The win in the prestigious annual award was historic in many ways. It was not only the first for Hyundai, but also the first for a South Korean carmaker and removed any lingering doubts about the legitimacy of South Korean brands as world-class.
The i30 has since gone on to win over the toughest judges of all, the Australian motoring public.
WINNING the carsGuide Car of the Year gong was no mean feat; it was particularly meritorious because the i30 was in the most competitive market segment of them all.
The compact i30 was launched as a five-door hatch with three models — SX, SLX and SR— and petrol and diesel engines.
The hatch looked modern with neat clean lines and balanced proportions, and had a roomy cabin and good luggage space.
A 2.0-litre double overhead camshaft engine with variable cam tim- ing provided the power across all models. At its best it had 105kW at 6000 revs and 186Nm at 4600 revs, enough to keep it stirring with the pack.
Hyundai also had the economical option of a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, which came with peaks of 85kW and 255Nm.
Both engines could be specified with a five-speed manual gearbox, but only the petrol engine was sold with the four-speed auto until 2008 when it became available on the diesel. The entry-level SX had airconditioning, power windows and mirrors, and four-speaker CD sound, along with iPod connectivity.
Step up to the SR and you also got alloy wheels and a body kit, plus cruise-control, auto airconditioning, trip computer, fog lamps and a sixspeaker CD sound system. With the SLX you got even more.
On the lot
PAY $ 14,000-$ 19,000 for an SX, $17,000-$24,000 for a sporty SR, or $16,000-$23,000 for an SLX. Add an extra $1500 for the economy of the diesel engine.
In the shop
THE step up in quality of Hyundai cars is clear from the reduced num-