Hyundai i30

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - Contents -

Small sta­tion wag­ons are com­ing back into fash­ion and Robert Barry spent a week with the lat­est i30 CRDi from Hyundai to dis­cover why.

More than 15 years ago Hyundai mar­keted a small sta­tion wagon called the Lantra, which was avail­able with four- cylin­der 1.6, 1.8 and two-litre petrol en­gines, and be­cause of its size and ver­sa­til­ity the fleet mar­ket bought this car by the dozens. At one point in the late 1990s more than 40 per­cent of Hyundai’s lo­cal sales were Lantra wag­ons.

Since then the pro­lif­er­a­tion of the small front-wheel drive cross­over and com­pact SUV seg­ment has dented the sales of small sta­tion wag­ons, but re­cently new en­trants from VW, Toy­ota, Holden, and Ford, as well as the new Hyundai i30, has rekin­dled in­ter­est from fleet buy­ers.

We were very im­pressed with the ride qual­ity and over­all per­for­mance of the new i30 hatch when it was launched in 2012, but am­biva­lent about the ad­justable flex-steer power steer­ing sys­tem. The diesel ver­sion was the pick of the two en­gines on of­fer for per­for­mance and econ­omy, al­beit at times some­what nois­ily.

All of these at­tributes have been trans­ferred across to the new i30 wagon. On ig­ni­tion, the 94kW 1.6-litre turbo-diesel en­gine gruffly fires into life, and it’s no­tice­ably nois­ier than the petrol car - but not un­pleas­antly so. The six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion puts the power to the road quickly and smoothly, with a six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion avail­able on in­dent or­der.

Fuel con­sump­tion for the diesel en­gine is quoted at 5.6L/100km for the au­to­matic, but our test drive pro­duced a solid aver­age of 7L/100km in ur­ban and mo­tor­way run­ning.

The first thing you no­tice about the new i30 diesel CRDi wagon when get­ting com­fort­able be­hind the steer­ing wheel, is that, most un­usu­ally for a Hyundai, the in­di­ca­tor stalk is sit­u­ated on the left-hand side of the steer­ing wheel where the wiper stalk is nor­mally found.

Un­like the i30 hatch, the wagon is sourced from the Hyundai plant in the Czech Repub­lic, and hence the Euro-spec in­di­ca­tor, but the fit and fin­ish of this ve­hi­cle is equally as good as any of the Korean sourced cars we have driven pre­vi­ously.

The Czech-built car also fea­tures day­time run­ning lamps, which is a good safety fea­ture for a fleet ve­hi­cle painted in this shade of grey­ish blue.

Each new gen­er­a­tion of Hyundai gets more equip­ment as stan­dard, and al­though the i30 wagon is not yet avail­able in an Elite spec­i­fi­ca­tion with leather up­hol­stery, the stan­dard cloth seats are com­fort­able to sit on and eas­ily ad­justable for driv­ers of most shapes and sizes.

Hands-free Blue­tooth, full iPod in­te­gra­tion, man­u­ally- con­trolled air con­di­tion­ing, cruise con­trol, re­mote steer­ing wheel con­trols, and key­less en­try and go, are all part of the wagon’s spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

How­ever, an in­ter­est­ing anom­aly in our test ve­hi­cle was the lack of rear park­ing sen­sors, which can be fit­ted op­tion­ally, but we feel for the ask­ing price of $ 41,990, these re­ally ought to be a stan­dard fit.

The i30 wagon is longer than the hatch by 185mm, which al­lows it to have 528 litres of load space with the rear seats in place, and when the rear seat backs fold down, they not only pro­vide a com­pletely flat load sur­face but an im­pres­sive 1,642 litres of space.

In sum­mary, lack of park­ing sen­sors aside, the i30 diesel wagon will make an ideal car for a fleet look­ing for space and ver­sa­til­ity, but it may not reach the lofty sales lev­els achieved by the Lantra more than 15 years ago.

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