Driven: Hyundai moves upmarket with its new i30
THE latest generation i30 is $22,990 for the base model 2.0litre manual or an extra $2K for the more popular auto.
The flagship, until the N high performance version arrives, is the SR Premium 1.6-litre turbo diesel or petrol four for about $37,825 drive away.
It will take buyers a while to forget about the under $ 20K drive away deals but do yourself a favour and take a look at one and take it for a spin. It’s an impressive small car and, on looks alone, is a winner.
Prise off the badges and it could be mistaken for a European car, a Volkswagen or even an Audi, it’s that good looking.
That’s not surprising because it was designed and engineered in Europe.
Inside and out it is premium and even the base model Active doesn’t look or feel like an entry model.
It’s too early to judge its sales performance during the period of run-out and the new model only arriving in showrooms late last month.
I spent five days in the SR Premium diesel which is the top of the range. But let’s consider the Active entry model first.
Hyundai says it’s actually $ 500 less than the outgoing model, but there’s about $2000worth of extra standard features, including a fully integrated satellite navigation system with 8in touch screen display, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and DAB+ digital radio, a 2.0-litre GDi direct-injection engine developing 13kW more power and 28Nm more torque than the old 1.8-litre MPi engine.
Other additions include 16in alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, automatic headlights, hill-start assist and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
Moving up to the Premium and there’s lots of goodies, including stickier 18in tyres, bigger brakes, a sports-tuned suspension, leather trim, leather steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and keyless auto-entry, LED headlights, front parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats and an electrically-operated driver’s seat.
If you are keen on a diesel there are cheaper versions from about $27K for the manual or $30K for the auto.
The review car was white with a black panoramic sunroof.
Darker tint and painting the wheels black would really set this car off.
Even at the bottom of the range, everything from the button design and layout, the contrast of trim and colour and even the font on the instrument dials all combine to g ive an impression that the i30 is more upmarket than its price suggests.
The five-door hatch is 40mm longer, 15mm wider and 20mm taller, adding vital interior room to the small car, especially in the rear.
The front seats are slung low in the car with plenty of adjustment and support and the Premium and SR Premium have 10way powered, heated and vented versions.
In the rear, the door apertures are well shaped for easy entry and exit, and there’s sufficient headroom for taller passengers but the sunroof reduces the headspace.
The Elite, SR, Premium and SR Premium cars all come with an inductive phone charging
pad. All you do is place a suitably equipped phone flat on the pad and it will charge itself.
There are two more cupholders in the rear armrest, and divided bottle holders in both the front and rear door cards. ISOFIX baby seat mounts are fitted to the outside pair of seats, while rear vents are fitted to cars with the seven- speed dual clutch gearbox.
Cargo space is claimed as 395 litres with the seats up, and 1301 litres when the 60/40 split/fold seats are lowered.
A refreshed version of the company’s 1.6-litre CRDi turbo diesel engine can be combined with a six- speed manual or sevenspeed dual-clutch transmission.
The Euro 5- spec diesel re- tains the same 100kW power output with 280Nm of torque available with the manual and 300Nm with the dual- clutch box.
The only drawback is noticeable turbo-lag but it has plenty of mid-range grunt for safe overtaking. Its MacPherson strut front end and torsion beam rear end is shared by the diesel powered cars.
Hyundai claims 4.7L/100km for the automatic. I achieved 6.4 over 400km during a mixture of commuting, mountain range travelling and open road cruising.
The i30 has undergone a pretty extensive local suspension makeover program and the hard work has paid off.
It feels secure and rides well beautifully. The only downside is a little bit of road noise from the tyres on rougher surfaces.
The sportier SR is a sharp handler with good grip.
The steering feels more direct.
The latest i30 is a gamechanger for Hyundai and is more than just a mere transportation device.
You don’t have to spend big bucks to get into a really nice small car.
It is ideal for the Far North and strikes a good balance for those wanting to avoid a SUV.
I would opt for the dualclutch transmission-equipped SR with the nippy little 1.6-litre turbo petrol four.