Now we’re get­ting warmer

Spring is in the air and the i30 SR’S step

Wheels (Australia) - - Our Garage - DANIEL GARD­NER

AS MEL­BOURNE’S in­suf­fer­able win­ter gives way to a glim­mer of spring hope, I’m look­ing at the i30 SR less as a refuge from the sting­ing cold that I oc­cupy mostly after dark, and in­creas­ingly as a space in which to spend qual­ity time as the mer­cury creeps north.

In­stead of au­to­mat­i­cally reach­ing for the heated seat switch and gas mark 12, the balmier weather has prompted the use of ef­fec­tive front seat coolers, while the large panoramic roof has made its de­but com­ing out from be­hind the full-length blind like the wel­come sun from be­hind Vic­to­ria’s cloud.

The longer days and drier roads have beck­oned and I couldn’t re­sist get­ting lost in the rolling hills north east of Mel­bourne’s sprawl, where the thin­ning sub­urbs turn into a labyrinth of moun­tain ash-lined roads – per­fect for a hot­tish hatch that has only just scrubbed off its new-tyre whiskers.

I re­ally like the ea­ger­ness of the i30 SR and how its pointy front end cou­pled to a lively rear sus­pen­sion set-up goads you to drive en­thu­si­as­ti­cally even at low speeds, and when away from the shack­les of ur­ban cruising the Hyundai thanks you for giv­ing in to its ad­vances.

Un­like a Volk­swa­gen Golf, which has more rear-end grip than at the front wheels, the i30’s tune is tail happy and more in­volv­ing in the twisty bits. Tighter cor­ners pro­voke a lit­tle more roll than I was ex­pect­ing but that’s com­pletely ab­sent in longer sweep­ing bends.

Power and brak­ing per­for­mance are the per­fect match for its chas­sis and only some strange smells after the fun was over in­di­cated this steed had never be­fore been pushed to the edge of its

per­for­mance en­ve­lope.

After some nine-tenths driv­ing, the cruise home ne­ces­si­tated some con­trast­ing free­way kilo­me­tres and a chance to flick on the adap­tive cruise con­trol and let the i30 take a more com­mand­ing role.

The sticky tyres that had pro­vided a wel­come in­sur­ance pol­icy along tree-lined roads are a lit­tle noisy on coarse chipped, high-speed as­phalt but that’s about the only thing that de­tracts from the i30’s oth­er­wise ex­cel­lent road man­ners.

I’ve also been re­ally en­joy­ing the ex­cel­lent in­for­ma­tion and en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem which is in­tu­itive and log­i­cal with easy to un­der­stand graphics and some gen­uinely use­ful fea­tures. Au­to­matic guid­ance to a fuel sta­tion when the re­serve light comes on and spo­ken speed-limit warn­ings as you ap­proach an en­force­ment cam­era have each saved my dig­nity more than once.

I can’t wait for an­other sum­mery week­end to do it all again, next time with com­pany.

POPS OF COLOUR Dan’s ‘hip’ wrist­bands aren’t the only use of colour in­side the i30, with taste­ful red high­lights through­out

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