Hyundai’s i30 benefits from refresh
■ 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.
The relaunched top-selling i30 has had a bit of a refresh and a new transmission.
The interior has plenty of storage compartments.