AT A GLANCE
MEET Australia’s best value car. Among the top 10 sellers, the Hyundai i30 has by far the biggest discount and the most affordable price.
At $19,990 drive-away with automatic transmission — plus a rear camera, Apple CarPlay and a factory-backed five-year warranty — the i30 is an astonishing $7500 off its published RRP.
The deal comes and goes from month to month because the discount is funded by Hyundai head office rather than dealerships.
It was listed at this special price a couple of times last year, in March and this month, and is expected to continue into May as the company chases sales growth.
Hyundai came within a whisker of overtaking Holden last year but has established a comfortable lead over the former No. 1 so far this year.
Hyundai now ranks third outright behind Toyota and Mazda and ahead of Holden and Ford.
In other words, buyers on a budget are the winners in the boardroom battle between the big brands.
The $19,990 drive-away sticker may be unbeatable value but how does the i30 stack up in its most basic form?
We drove the exact version that can be had for $19,990 and not one dollar more. We even ordered it in white (metallic paint costs an extra $495).
When we road tested the current generation i30 in June 2012 we rated it as a good car.
But now that the price is so sharp — ahead of a completely new model next year — we’re viewing it in a new light.
Standard fare includes the aforementioned Apple CarPlay and reversing camera (which pops out from behind the Hyundai badge on the hatchback), remote entry with a “flick” key and a suite of six airbags.
An often overlooked but extremely welcome addition is a full-size spare in the boot (rather than a skinny space-saver), adding peace of mind for anyone travelling beyond the city limits.
If you want to penny pinch, it also means you only need to buy three tyres at renewal time, by using the spare as one of the four. Then put the best of the worn tyres in the boot.
But enough about saving money, how about the car?
The modern and functional cabin holds up well against newer competition.
Blue backlit gauges and instruments are easy to read (although a digital speedometer would be welcome) and the door pockets, glovebox and centre console are generously sized. And there are two 12V power sockets and a USB port.
The seat fabrics have a quality feel and there’s ample room front and rear. Only the PRICE $19,990 drive-away WARRANTY 5 years/unlimited km CAPPED SERVICING $747 over 3 years SERVICE INTERVAL 12 months/15,000km SAFETY 6 airbags, 5 stars ENGINE 1.8-litre 4-cyl, 107kW/175Nm TRANSMISSION 6-speed auto; FWD THIRST 7.3L/100km DIMENSIONS 4300mm (L), 1780mm (W), 1470mm (H), 2650mm (WB) WEIGHT 1372kg SPARE Full-size front passenger seat gets a map pocket, and it’s mesh, not covered, which means you can’t use it to hide valuables such as a phone or wallet.
Behind the driver’s seat is hard plastic ... at least it will wear well. There are no air vents or power socket for rear passengers but the boot has a 12V point.
On the road, the Hyundai i30 sits well on its 16-inch tyres. The suspension is taut, rather than firm, and it recovers well from bumps and speed humps.
The steering is light and easy on the move or at parking speeds.
Despite the sleek window design, there’s good outward vision, aided in part by convex mirrors on both sides.
The Nexen tyres, designed for economy rather than grip, work well in dry conditions but can be a touch more slippery in the wet than other tyres we’ve tested.
The 1.8-litre four-cylinder is perky and relatively refined, although not the most frugal available. However, it’s fair to say the Hyundai fuel economy claim is closer to what you get in the real world.
We averaged 8.8L/100km in a mix of city, suburban and freeway driving, which compared well with other cars we’ve driven over the same route. VERDICT The i30 has gotten better with age. Since this model went on sale, it’s had a minor facelift, gained a rear camera and Apple CarPlay, and there have been subtle enhancements to the way it drives.
At this price, no other car comes close.