Evo­lu­tion of a species

The i30’s fa­mil­iar pan­els con­ceal the mak­ings of a live­lier hatch

Herald Sun - Motoring - - THE TICK -

THERE is more evo­lu­tion than revo­lu­tion in the lat­est Hyundai i30. For some cars and com­pa­nies that would be a bad thing but not for Hyundai and its small-car head­liner.

The i30 has been a Cars­guide favourite from the kick-off and the third gen­er­a­tion makes a good car even bet­ter, par­tic­u­larly in re­fine­ment and driv­ing en­joy­ment. It’s also con­spic­u­ously, and mea­sur­ably, big­ger in­side.

Hyundai has even man­aged to drop the start­ing price by $500 while adding, among other equip­ment, sat­nav, al­loy wheels, dig­i­tal ra­dio and eight­inch in­fo­tain­ment screen with Ap­ple CarPlay/An­droid Auto.

The ba­sic four-cylin­der en­gine has also grown from 1.8 to 2.0 litres, with an ex­tra 13kW. A tur­bocharged 1.6-litre pro­pels the live­lier mod­els.

But the $22,990 drive-away bot­tom line for the man­ual — and $24,990 for the auto — is de­cep­tive. For many months last year, the ba­sic i30 auto was sell­ing for $19,990 drive-away.

The pric­ing helped it be­come the over­all No.3 with Australian car buy­ers.

There is noth­ing rad­i­cal about the styling of the new i30 but be­neath the pan­els you’ll find a com­pletely new me­chan­i­cal plat­form. Apart from the en­gine up­dates, it brings all man­ner of ben­e­fits, chiefly sharper han­dling and im­proved ride.

Later this year it will be en­hanced even fur­ther when Hyundai lands its i30N per­for­mance model, with a 202kW en­gine, lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial and much sharper sus­pen­sion tun­ing.

Hyundai says when it be­gan work on the new i30, it was aim­ing pri­mar­ily at the Volk­swa­gen Golf even though it’s more likely to be shopped against the Mazda3 and Toy­ota Corolla in Aus­tralia. The brand has a five-year war­ranty but it’s still not a semi-pre­mium Euro­pean badge.

Last year’s launch of the Elantra sta­ble­mate — with a qui­eter cabin, a bit more urge and ex­tra equip­ment — gave a fore­taste of the i30 as the for­mer is ef­fec­tively the four­door sedan twin to the five-door hatch.

The first drive in a ba­sic i30 showed the South Korean maker had hit its tar­gets, helped by an Australian sus­pen­sion team that went through more than two dozen sets of shock ab­sorbers be­fore de­cid­ing on the right com­bi­na­tion for our roads and driv­ers.


The SR Pre­mium is a long way be­yond a ba­sic i30 but it’s the one if you have more to spend and ex­pect more from your small car. For me it’s a gen­uine al­ter­na­tive to a Mazda3 Astina.

When the SR auto ar­rives for The Tick test, the first thing to note is that at $33,950 be­fore on-roads, it’s $400 dearer than

be­fore, with 1.6-litre turbo (150kW/265Nm) and sev­en­speed dual-clutch auto.

In­de­pen­dent rear sus­pen­sion in the SR and other up­scale mod­els has been a talk­ing point. I find the beam axle in the ba­sic i30 is fine and the IRS only re­ally helps if you’re a keen driver on a test­ing road. Frankly, very few peo­ple could tell the dif­fer­ence with­out hit­ting a race­track.

The SR also gets 18-inch al­loys. Its five stars from ANCAP come cour­tesy of ac­tive safety gear in­clud­ing auto safety brak­ing, radar cruise con­trol, rear traf­fic alert and blind spot de­tec­tion.

A lively drive, the SR de­liv­ers crisp re­sponse from the en­gine and a sweet shift from the gear­box. It’s a car that turns sweetly into cor­ners but still rides with com­pli­ance over all but the worst roads.

It’s not as sporty as a Golf GTI but the com­ing N-car will ex­plore that ter­ri­tory.

The cabin of the new i30 seems roomier and I can feel the ex­tra legroom in the back. Boot space also gets a slight boost, though if you re­ally want a big boot there is the Elantra.

Hyundai says the i30 can tow up to 1300kg and the SR can sprint to 100km/h in a tidy 7.5 sec­onds. On test, I ease just slightly un­der the claimed thirst of 7.5L/100km.

The sources of most en­joy­ment are the quiet cabin, sus­pen­sion that makes driv­ing easy on any road and the re­sponse from the SR’s turbo.


I don’t love the new i30 but I like it a lot. When the i30 N ar­rives at the end of the year, there is scope to like it much more. For now, the i30 SR con­tin­ues the Hyundai suc­cess story and it gets The Tick.

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