Team player

I30 SR on win­ning friends and in­flu­enc­ing peo­ple

Wheels (Australia) - - Our Garage - DANIEL GARD­NER

SINCE the i30 SR joined the long-term Wheels fleet in Au­gust, it has been unan­i­mously win­ning fans. Ev­ery time the keys are re­turned to me af­ter the Hyundai has had a stint on some­one else’s drive­way, they are ac­com­pa­nied by com­pli­ments and praise. The feed­back ranges from a men­tion of its ea­ger and ef­fi­cient en­gine, the com­pli­ant but in­volv­ing ride and the pointy han­dling and obe­di­ent front end, but the gen­eral con­sen­sus seems to focus on its sense of fa­mil­iar­ity. Right from the first steer, the Hyundai feels like a car you have been driv­ing for months.

But it’s not just oc­cu­pants of the driver’s seat that the Hyundai has been im­press­ing. Three other seats have re­cently been filled on a more reg­u­lar ba­sis and the praise keeps com­ing. In the front pas­sen­ger spot, com­pan­ions have loved the range of com­fort fea­tures in­clud­ing the cooled seats and vast sun­roof, while sec­ond-row oc­cu­pants have re­marked on the gen­er­ous space and com­fort­able ride thanks in part to the in­de­pen­dent rear sus­pen­sion.

My gripe of the month, how­ever, pre­dictably con­cerns the dual-clutch trans­mis­sion. While the snappy ’box has been a strong per­former while hunting per­fect back-roads with slick, fast cog swaps, smoothly ap­ply­ing power to creep at low speed is vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble. The re­sult is an awk­ward stop-start per­for­mance that makes me want to get out and push. I’ve had a driver’s li­cence for nearly 20 years but slowly re­vers­ing into a park­ing spot in the i30 makes me look like I should still have P-plates.

The Hyundai gear­box is by no means the only dual-clutch guilty of low speed prob­lems, but the all-or-noth­ing power de­liv­ery re­mains frus­trat­ing ir­re­spec­tive of the boot badge.

The nav­i­ga­tion has also been a source of an­noy­ance. While most sys­tems pre­dict the place name as you are typ­ing in an ad­dress, the Hyundai wants the full spell­ing and in­sists on a street name and num­ber be­fore search­ing for your des­ti­na­tion. The op­tion to sim­ply nav­i­gate to a gen­eral sub­urb or town would be a wel­come fea­ture but doesn’t ap­pear to be pos­si­ble. A small mat­ter, though, in a gen­er­ally in­tu­itive and func­tional sys­tem that all oc­cu­pants seem to be en­joy­ing.

And de­spite the pos­i­tive re­views from other Wheels writ­ers and a warm re­cep­tion from who­ever hops be­hind its leather­wrapped steer­ing wheel, I’m still the i30’s big­gest fan and al­ready lament­ing the day I have to hand back the keys.

WELL FUR­NISHED An Ikea run en­listed the full folded-seat boot space of 1301L. Noth­ing was left be­hind

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