STEP­PING UP

Driven: Hyundai moves up­mar­ket with its new i30

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - RE­VIEW CAR COUR­TESY OF TRIN­ITY HYUNDAI.

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.

DE­TAIL­ING

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.

DRIV­ING

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.

DE­CID­ING

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.

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