Cockburn Gazette - - DRIVEWAY - Bill McKin­non

IT’S Car of the Year sea­son and Hyundai’s third gen­er­a­tion i30, launched in April, is in the run­ning for a gong or two.

As with pre­vi­ous i30s, at base model Ac­tive level – where most are sold as a drive-away, nomore-to-pay dis­count deal – it does noth­ing ex­cep­tion­ally well, but ev­ery­thing well enough.

It’s a no-grief propo­si­tion sup­ported by ex­cel­lent qual­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity, a gen­er­ous war­ranty and low run­ning costs.

Today, we’re in the most ex­pen­sive i30 vari­ant, the SR Pre­mium. It’s a sportier ma­chine than the base model and, as a drive, eas­ily the best i30 to date.

SR spec­i­fi­ca­tion fea­tures a 1.6-litre turbo four, with 150kW of power matched with sixspeed man­ual or seven-speed dual clutch auto and fron­twheel drive.

Prices kick off at $25,950 and the auto adds $3000. The SR Pre­mium, with seven-speeder as stan­dard, is $33,950.

To com­ple­ment its sporty as­pi­ra­tions, the SR also gets a run­ning gear up­grade.

A more so­phis­ti­cated in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion lay­out re­places the other i30 mod­els’ tor­sion beam rear, the front brake discs are larger and it’s shod with 18-inch al­loys with grippy 225/40 Hankook Ven­tus tyres.

Its eight-inch touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment in­cludes nav­i­ga­tion, dig­i­tal ra­dio, Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto plus wire­less phone charg­ing.

Also stan­dard are key­less en­try and start­ing, elec­tric park­ing brake, dual zone air­con, tinted glass, sun­roof, tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing, cam­era with mov­ing guide­lines and park­ing sen­sors at both ends. So the SR Pre­mium is loaded. Heated, cooled and leatheruph­ol­stered, the SR Pre­mium’s power ad­justable sports seats are com­fort­able and sup­port­ive. The thin-rimmed, leather­wrapped steer­ing wheel, black roof lin­ing, red stitch­ing and metal­lic-look red trim around the vents cre­ate an un­der­stated sporty el­e­gance that feels al­most Alfa Romeo in flavour.

Around town, the front end trans­mits a lot of road shock and the ride can be harsh and un­com­fort­able. At high­way speeds, the sus­pen­sion be­comes more ab­sorbent but it’s still pretty lumpy.

Not so long ago 150kW was gen­uine hot hatch ter­ri­tory and the 1.6 turbo cer­tainly has enough per­for­mance to en­joy. It’s a touch laggy off idle but soon segues into a strong, smooth, re­spon­sive mid-range.

That said, the Hyundai gets around cor­ners tidily enough, with a flat at­ti­tude, min­i­mal un­der­steer, fade-re­sis­tant brakes and de­cent grip.

Ver­dict: Can’t ar­gue with the value, which ex­tends to price, per­for­mance, equip­ment, safety tech and grief-free own­er­ship. As a sports drive, though, it's not quite there yet.

The Hyundai i30 SR Pre­mium.

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