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.
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.
I 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).
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.
Early 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