2017 Hyundai i30 Launch Review

2017 Hyundai i30 Launch Review

We drive the all-new Hyundai i30 at its Australian launch…

Another day, another impressive new offering from South Korea – this time the all-new Hyundai i30.

Coming on the back of the new-gen Kia Picanto landing into the micro-car market, the i30 arrives into a small car market that is buoyant and packed with quality options.

Think Mazda3, Subaru Impreza, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Kia Cerato as the leaders of the pack.

And while the old, second-gen Hyundai i30 was a popular model, I always felt it was a yard or two off the best of the small car fraternity.

Not so anymore, the all-new Hyundai i30 is here and ready to impress.

Stiffer chassis, more powerful engines, reworked suspension and steering, classy new looks and a vastly improved interior all work to rocket the Hyundai offering up the ranks.

Is it better than the others? Well I have the Mazda3 as the yardstick and it isn’t far off the (generally) more expensive Japanese alternative.

2017 Hyundai i30 Launch ReviewI spent a fair amount of time in the base-model Hyundai i30, the Active, complete with a manual transmission, then the top-spec diesel, finishing in the i30 SR Premium – the top-spec sporty variant.

Even in the base-model offering I was just delighted with the ride and handling.

Piloting the entry-level model around some tight and twisty roads near the Hume Weir in the Albury region, I found it comfortable, solid and very reassuring.

Even when pushed, the Hyundai didn’t get out of shape or offer any real understeer – a phenomenon common in these types of vehicles when carrying momentum into sharp bends.

Really, ride, handling and steering in that base-model can’t be faulted and this is proof again that the time and effort that Hyundai, and also Kia, put into local tuning really pays off for buyers.

Jumping up to the higher grades of the i30 means a change from 16” Kumho tyres to the lower profile Hankook rubber in either 17” or 18” diameter.

My tyre preference was the Kumho though, they were quieter and despite being a higher profile, provided better than good grip and terrific bump absorption.

The Kumho tyres were much quieter, particularly on rougher bitumen.

Under the bonnet is a selection of three different engine:

  • 2.0 litre GDi producing 120kW and 203Nm
  • 1.6 litre CRDi turbo-diesel producing 100kW and 280Nm(manual)/300Nm (auto)
  • 1.6 litre T-GDi turbo-petrol producing 150kW/265Nm

Again, I quite liked the engine in the base-model, particularly with the manual transmission, and the amount of torque on offer helped ensure the hatch could ably climb hills in 6th gear.

The diesel, a good unit too, provided effortless highway touring, and the turbocharged unit in the SR gives you enough go to justify the sport models extra’s, such as the red interior highlights.

Overall observations that I made about the new model also included:

  • Good-size boot
  • Handy cargo net – standard
  • Digital radio – standard
  • Generously-sized cabin storage areas
  • Clear gauges and very simple controls
  • Really nice interior feel and fit
  • Handy speed limit info, including overspeed warning, in sat-nav system
  • Soft-enough armrests
  • Comfortable seats with good side bolstering in the front (all grades)
  • Thin, but quite wide A pillars that allow for decent visibility
  • Auto headlights – standard
  • Good front legroom

Conversely, I was disappointed by rear seat legroom, the lack of rear air vents (in base-model), and the high lip between top of rear seat and boot floor when seats are folded flat (again, something unique to base-model).

On the positive side, you can’t fault the standard spec in the i30, the aforementioned digital radio and auto headlights joined by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

While, not surprisingly, as you go up the model grades you get a whole selection of extra gear, including safety systems like Autonomous Emergency Braking, heated and ventilated seats and panoramic sunroof.

Five-year warranty, five-star ANCAP safety rating, some attractive new colours and very reasonable pricing all help finish off the package.

2017 Hyundai i30 Launch ReviewEarly days I know, and I look forward to getting more time in the new i30, however it looks at this stage that this a serious contender in the small car market, not just in sales, but also in the quest to have a car that people actually desire.

Hyundai is going upmarket fast and if they continue to bring us cars like the new i30, well the sky really is the limit.

NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Hyundai i30

Engines: 2.0 litre petrol producing 120kW and 203Nm, 1.6 litre turbo-diesel producing 100kW and 280Nm(manual)/300Nm (auto), or 1.6 litre turbo-petrol producing 150kW/265Nm

Transmission: Six-speed auto, seven-speed DSG auto or six-speed manual

Safety: Five stars

Warranty: Five years

Origin: South Korea

Price: from $20,950

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About Joel Helmes 3559 Articles
Joel is the founder and CEO of Behind the Wheel. Joel has a background as a radio broadcaster with on-air roles at 4BC, 4KQ, 2KY, 2LT and 2UE amongst others, as well as a news editor and program director. Joel’s relationship with cars stems back to his early childhood learning to change oil and brakes with his father and uncle. This continued on into his driving years owning an assorted collection of cars.

3 Comments on 2017 Hyundai i30 Launch Review

  1. Hi Joel, Since I frequently drive on country roads with coarse chip surfaces, I was disappointed when I read in some other reviews that the new i30 produces plenty of road noise on these type of roads. Even though its competition has similar tyre/road issues over these country roads, I was hoping that this new model would finally correct this problem, and be the quietest in its class. It looks like I will need to go up to the medium class of cars for my next vehicle to get a quieter cabin. I would appreciate your opinion.

    • Hi Shane, I would say that the Kumho tyres on the base model Accent are adequately quiet, seems to be the Hankook tyres that are the issue.

      This wouldn’t stop me from buying the i30 though if the rest of the car is a good fit for you.

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