Test driving a couple of models, especially from the varied i30 range, provides a fair assessment of what’s on offer.
The Hyundai i30 presents a superb level of refinement, construction and inclusions.
The Premium is a mid-spec variant and is the only automatic model offered with a diesel engine.
A 1.6 litre diesel is coupled with the seven-speed dual clutch transmission (and a manual) compared with the 2.0 litre petrol with auto transmission in the i30 Active or the turbocharged petrol in the SR.
This can sound rattly on the outside, but NVH (insulation and sound proofing) is so good from the driver’s seat, you never notice it.
Low-down grunt can be laggy from the 1.6 litre turbo diesel but there is plenty of torque with 300Nm and is a much meatier drive than the previous version especially in sport mode – one of three drive selections.
The rest of the drive is solid and stable belying its small car size.
An extra $295 will give you the beige interior option for a two-tone cabin which really enhances the premium look of the hatch.
Hyundai vehicles are never short on cool features which is what makes then value for money.
Ventilated and heated seats, electric park brake with auto hold, dual climate control and sat-nav are just some of the inclusions in the i30 Premium.
Things like a compass, tyre pressure monitor, and even a driver attention level (fatigue) meter are features you can still live without but are awesome to have.
Only the audio system is hard to navigate, a lot of options, prefer to keep it simple and easy to find digital radio stations
But what makes it premium is the fit and finish – the refinement.
Everything is so smooth and sleek with extra thought noticeably put into the fixtures and materials.
The soft close of the centre cubby door, the movement of the shifter, the precise turn of the knobs and the solid closure of the doors give it an appeal that you’d find in a European car if you had your eyes closed.
Remember, this is a Korean-made, $30k, small hatchback.
And Hyundai never scrimp in the all-important modern driver assist systems with the full complement of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB); Smart Cruise Control (SCC); Blind Spot Detection (BSD); Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS); Lane Change Assist (LCA); Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA); and Forward Collision Warning (FCW).
As if that isn’t enough, look up and you’ll see the large panoramic sunroof with retractable blind.
The mesh blind rolls back revealing the full size glass roof while the front half functions as the sunroof, popping up and sliding back.
What is presented here by Hyundai really justifies the i30s place in the top group of best-selling small cars and vehicles in the nation.
An easy nomination for Behind the Wheel’s 2018 Car of the Year.
NUTS and BOLTS - 2017 Hyundai i30 Premium
- Engine: 1.6L turbo diesel producing 100kW/300Nm
- Transmission: Seven-speed automatic DCT
- Warranty: 5 Year/100,000km
- Safety: Five Stars
- Origin: South Korea
- Price: From $33,950