The choice is au­to­matic

Herald Sun - Motoring - - SHORT CUT -

VALUE

As the base model, Hyundai’s i30 Ac­tive is well equipped with main­stream fea­tures but no ad­vanced driver as­sist tech­nol­ogy. The diesel auto adds quite a bit to the base petrol’s $21,450, bring­ing in Ap­ple CarPlay, cruise con­trol with wheel switches, heated exterior mir­rors, air­con with rear vents, cabin air fil­ter, glove box cooler and five-mode trip com­puter. Sat­nav and rain-sens­ing wipers don’t make it. The dual-clutch seven-speed auto is well worth the money. War­ranty is five years/un­lim­ited km and capped ser­vic­ing costs $867 for three years, at 12 months/15,000km in­ter­vals.

COM­FORT

Front seats are of de­cent size, with height ad­just­ment but no lum­bar ad­just. The wheel ad­justs for reach and rake. Three rear pas­sen­gers get rea­son­able space but the cen­tre pew is on the squeezy side. Lo­cal en­gi­neer­ing for the ride and steer­ing pays div­i­dends in terms of com­fort and con­trol but the i30 is no sporty hatch. The rel­a­tively high pro­file rub­ber on 16-inch steel wheels are good over bumps. Ap­ple CarPlay is handy but the Blue­tooth needs fre­quent re­con­nec­tion. Boot space is am­ple and the rear seats fold for a large, if not flat, load space. Cabin noise is rel­a­tively low, the au­dio is fine and the demist­ing ef­fi­cient.

SAFETY

Five stars from ANCAP thanks to seven airbags and de­spite paucity of driver as­sis­tance. The re­vers­ing cam­era has park­ing guides. There are rear park sen­sors, auto head­lights and a full-size spare. The dy­namic pack­age adds to the i30’s un­der­ly­ing safety as it has crisp re­sponses to steer­ing and brakes and de­cent grip from the tyres, even in the wet. Out­ward vi­sion is good, con­trols are easy to use but the horn is fee­ble.

DRIV­ING

With the slick-shift­ing auto har­ness­ing the am­ple torque, the i30 diesel has plenty of go over a wide op­er­at­ing range. It’s quick out of the blocks and has strong roll-on ac­cel­er­a­tion for over­tak­ing. In Eco mode it tends to rush to top gear too quickly. The fairly rudi­men­tary tor­sion beam rear sus­pen­sion makes a good fist of con­trol­ling mass of 1337kg plus five pas­sen­gers. In the ab­sence of pad­dle-shifters there is a man­ual selector gate. The i30 can han­dle com­muter du­ties, tour­ing or gen­eral run­ning around — among the main rea­sons it reg­u­larly tops the sales charts.

AL­TER­NA­TIVES

Few to speak of — there aren’t many diesel au­tos in the small car cat­e­gory. Peu­geot’s diesel 308 start­ing at $33,686 or a Golf diesel at $35,840 are not within a bull’s roar. Re­nault’s Me­gane 1.5, at $27,000, isn’t a bad thing.

VER­DICT

Much to like, es­pe­cially as we cov­ered more than 1000km on a sin­gle tank. The DCT auto is im­per­cep­ti­ble in op­er­a­tion, bet­ter than a six-speed con­ven­tional auto. The an­noy­ing Blue­tooth de­tracts. The styling is at­trac­tive and the over­all feel is pleas­ing.

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