The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Road Test - JOSHUA DOWL­ING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING EDI­TOR

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.

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