A fresh pair of i’s
HYUNDAI’S new i30 family will grow to include a wagon and a sporty fastback. A pair of additional models have been approved for production, company design chief Peter Schreyer told Carsguide at the recent international Frankfurt premiere of the new i30 fivedoor hatchback.
“The five-door version is the first member of the family, a family of products that will speak to people with different needs, focusing either on elegance or practicality or sporty emotions,” promised Schreyer during his formal introduction speech to assembled international media.
As he spoke, the large screen behind briefly showed three silhouette sketches. “If you take a closer look, here at the graphic, you may get a glimpse of the future and the things to come in the i30 family,” Schreyer teased. “Just use your imagination.”
When asked how many i30 variations have so far been given the green light for production, the design boss didn’t evade the question: “Bodystyle-wise, three.” This number includes the five-door, Schreyer explained, but not the high-performance i30 Hyundai is preparing for launch late next year.
One of them is sure to be a wagon, with a longer tail and more cargo room than the regular hatch. Carsguide can confirm the other will be a low and sporty car aimed at those seeking style instead of space. Despite its role, Hyundai sources say the glamour model of the i30 line-up will have five doors, not the usual three.
With the new i30, Hyundai is also aiming for improved ride and handling to go with the classier looks. Cars for the European market will all be made in a factory in the Czech Republic and all will come with a modern independent rear suspension design.
Cars destined for Australia will be shipped, as before, from Korea. Hyundai Australia says the most basic model of the new i30 will come with a simple and cheap twist-beam semiindependent rear suspension. The European-developed alternative will only go into the more costly versions.
Will it make a difference? Hyundai chassis development engineer Antonino Pizzuto, who worked on the i30 program, believes some drivers will notice. The Hyundai has more direct and responsive steering and he says the independent rear end works better with it.
“If you have a very agile car with a weak rear suspension, you will not feel it balanced or connected,” he says.
But the engineer notes that a big-name German brand has a hugely successful car where the cheaper versions also get a twist-beam rear suspension. He doesn’t name names, but he’s clearly referring to Volkswagen and its current Golf. “The main difference is we are not that German brand,” Pizzuto says. “We have to show our skills, and this car is starting to do this job.”
While the more expensive independent rear end is a natural choice “for the more refined European market”, he doesn’t think Australian customers will be put off by the cheaper suspension in basic models. “You will not get disappointed by the twist-beam version,” he says, though admits it couldn’t deliver all attributes prized by chassis engineers.