A FLAIR FOR THE DRA­MATIC

OUR LOVE AFFAIR WITH HYUNDAI

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Driveway - Bill Buys

HYUNDAI and Perth have had a love affair since 1986 when the Korean brand made its Aus­tralian de­but here, and the bond has been ce­mented with each pass­ing year.

Hyundai’s i30, now in its Se­ries II phase, is one of the na­tion’s most pop­u­lar hatches – it led the mar­ket for the first half of the year – and there’s a choice of sev­eral mod­els, in­clud­ing a diesel, to suit in­di­vid­ual tastes.

To­day we’re look­ing at the i30 SR, the one aimed at folk who like a touch of flair in their mo­tor­ing.

The SR sits in the mid­dle of the i30 range, above the i30 Ac­tive and Ac­tive X and be­low the top­spec Pre­mium.

It uses a zesty 124kW/201Nm 2.0litre en­gine and six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, runs on 17inch grey-me­tal­lic ma­chined-face al­loy wheels with chubby 22545R17 Nexen tyres, a sus­pen­sion tight­ened up for local con­di­tions, and there’s an up­graded in­te­rior with bol­stered front sports bucket seats and red high­lights through­out the cabin and pad­dle-shifters for the auto-trans­mis­sion model.

It’s also avail­able with a sixspeed man­ual gear­box, which at $26,550 is about $2000 less than the auto, and will prob­a­bly be the pick for en­thu­si­ast driv­ers.

The car also gets a rear bumper diffuser, al­loy-faced ped­als and a red start but­ton, which add to its sporty im­age. And, hooray, a proper hand­brake.

How­ever, the car is more of a sim­mer­ing than a fiery hot hatch, be­cause it has the same en­gine as other 2.0litre i30s.

Where it scores is in its well sorted sus­pen­sion and tyre pack­age, which gives it bet­ter com­fort and han­dling qual­i­ties.

It’s a nor­mally-as­pi­rated twin­cam mo­tor with di­rect fuel in­jec­tion and con­stantly vari­able valve tim­ing, and it pro­vides bet­ter than ex­pected per­for­mance. Ac­cel­er­a­tion is im­pres­sive and it cruises eas­ily, with the en­gine tick­ing over at about 2400rpm at 110km/h in sixth.

Av­er­age fuel econ­omy is given as 7.3litres/100km, but you’ll get a lot bet­ter than that on a country cruise.

It’s a de­cent-sized hatch with a vast ex­pand­able boot and it comes with com­pre­hen­sive in­stru­men­ta­tion, which in­cludes a big touch­screen, smart­phone in­te­gra­tion, Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, sixs­peaker au­dio and seven airbags.

Other stan­dard items are a rear-view cam­era – it’s hid­den be­hind the ‘H’ badge in the tail – dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, auto-on head­lights and wipers, LED day­time run­ning lights and out­side mir­rors that fold in­wards when the car is locked. No satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion though. There’s a lot of on­board stor­age in the form of a con­sole box, a glove­box with cool­ing func­tion, and map pock­ets and cup hold­ers on ev­ery door. There are also three modes of power steer­ing: Com­fort, Nor­mal and Sport.

The at­trac­tive and well-built i30 SR drives nice and smoothly, cor­ners well, holds its oc­cu­pants in com­fort and is one of those rar­i­ties that will sat­isfy just about ev­ery kind of driver.

Ver­dict: A class act.

Hyundai's i30 SR adds flair to the top-sell­ing hatch.

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