Hyundai’s i30 ben­e­fits from re­fresh

Pilbara News - - Motoring - Peter An­der­son

■ Hyundai’s i30 has been shak­ing things up in the sales race for a few years, now more than ever — in June, it beat the mighty Corolla onto the top step.

That’s guar­an­teed cham­pagne ter­ri­tory for the ever-am­bi­tious South Korean car maker.

On cue, there’s been a mid-life re­fresh for the hatch and wagon, bring­ing a new trans­mis­sion to a pack­age that has had a lot of work done un­der the skin to help main­tain the mo­men­tum.

From the $20,990 man­ual 1.8-litre petrol i30 Ac­tive, it’s a long stretch to the $34,490 Elite 1.6-litre diesel, our test car.

Stan­dard on the Pre­mium is a six-speaker stereo with Blue­tooth and USB, dual-zone cli­mate-con­trol, re­vers­ing cam­era and rear park­ing sen­sors, key­less en­try and start, cruise con­trol, sat-nav, auto bi-xenon head­lights, auto wipers, heated front seats, leather trim, panoramic glass roof and au­topark­ing (par­al­lel and bay).

The only op­tion avail­able is $495 pre­mium paint.

Not much has changed on the out­side. Hyundai’s i30 re­mains a hand­some thing, with the usual mul­ti­ple in­flu­ences and a whop­ping great grille up front. The Pre­mium adds a bit of chrome bling, 17-inch al­loys and the glass roof.

The Pre­mium also picks up LED tail lights and pud­dle lamps.

In­side is pretty much as was too, with some changes in ma­te­ri­als and, in the Pre­mium, the heated and cooled seats.

The i30 is well made and the in­te­rior is an im­prove­ment on our re­cently (and re­luc­tantly) de­parted i30 Tourer long-ter­mer. There’s also a set of al­loy ped­als. The in­te­rior has plenty of stor­age, in­clud­ing a cooled glove­box, roof-mounted sun­glasses holder, drink hold­ers front and rear and a range of hooks and nooks for bits and pieces.

The dash­board is largely the same.

The in­for­ma­tion screen be­tween the di­als has gained a few more pix­els.

Safety-wise, the i30 has seven airbags, ABS, sta­bil­ity and trac­tion con­trol, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, brake force dis­tri­bu­tion and brake as­sist, to score five ANCAP stars.

The driv­e­line is Hyundai’s from cam cov­ers to drive­shaft.

The 1.6-litre turbo-diesel con­tin­ues in the Se­ries II, with 100kW and 300Nm.

The front wheels are driven through the new seven-speed dual clutch trans­mis­sion. We saw 5.9 litres per 100km in a 70/30 mix of city and coun­try driv­ing.

The 7.0-inch touch­screen pow­ers the six-speaker stereo and looks af­ter the sat-nav sys­tem. Nei­ther will set the world alight for bril­liance, but they are easy to use.

Oddly, only the Ac­tive and Ac­tive X have Pan­dora in­ter­net ra­dio for An­droid or iOS de­vices.

As with all newly re­leased Hyundais, the car has been given a good go­ing over by the lo­cal sus­pen­sion team.

The new sus­pen­sion tune gives a much bet­ter driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, with far less un­der­steer than the old car, with the heavy feel of the diesel ban­ished.

It’s prob­a­bly a tad stiff in the rear for some tastes, prob­a­bly an in­evitable part of the trade-off for the im­proved dy­nam­ics.

Steer­ing is im­proved with a new elec­tric steer­ing set-up but for some rea­son the gim­micky Flex Steer per­sists (stick in Nor­mal and for­get about it, it’s fine as it is).

The sta­bil­ity and trac­tion sys­tems also work with you rather than against and the new trans­mis­sion is al­most as good as the six-speed.

The drive-by-wire throt­tle is still way too slow to re­act, but this isn’t a hot hatch.

Hyundai’s it­er­a­tive ap­proach to mid-life re­fresh is al­most cer­tain to go largely un­no­ticed by Aus­tralia’s small hatch buy­ers.

They will buy them no mat­ter what.

Hyundai doesn’t sell many Elites but at this price, that’s no sur­prise.

It’s loaded with stuff but the diesel en­gine and new dual-clutch are solid rea­sons to give the i30 a chance.

Pic­tures: Mark Bram­ley

The re­launched top-selling i30 has had a bit of a re­fresh and a new trans­mis­sion.

The in­te­rior has plenty of stor­age com­part­ments.

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