Despite its popularity, consistently at the top of the sales figures in recent times, I always felt the Hyundai i30 was a little underdone.
That’s not to say its success wasn’t warranted, after all it was value for money, possessed great features, was an attractively styled hatch and came in a comprehensive range.
But in the power stakes was where it was lacking with not same measure of punch as similar sized hatchbacks and it was overall a tad soft around the edges.
But not anymore.
The updated range this year have more power and torque, upgraded chassis and suspension, and a new look inside and out.
The Hyundai i30 is now the car that it should be.
Starting at the bottom where most of the changes occur, even the entry level model Active is fitted with a decent drivetrain and more spec and accessories than you’d expect in this grade.
Features like an 8” tablet style touchscreen (with sat-nav, digital radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Andriod Auto, rear view camera) and a complete trip computer with compass and tyre pressure monitor.
Other additions are daytime running lights, fog lights, folding mirrors and cruise control, though there is no push button ignition.
We like to see Autonomous Emergency Braking fitted in all cars, and while most of the range possess this tech, unfortunately the base model does not. Although it does have an Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) that warning others of impending collision.
The navigation system is as comprehensive and involved as they come however, there are too many speed camera alerts even without guidance on. Thankfully, this nagging can be switched off.
All of this make the i30 Active a really exceptional offering for an entry level offering.
A 2.0 litre petrol engine churns out a greater 120kW/203Nm which is huge improvement on the underpowered motor of the previous version.
This mean even the Hyundai i30 Active can really go with more forcefulness that matches the expectation of the hatch based on outward appearances.
As always there’s even more oomph in sports mode but this can be on the twitchy side.
Available in a six-speed manual or automatic like I had, the transmission was care free and responsive and the steering tight and direct giving fantastic control of the vehicle.
Fuel economy was recorded at a reasonable 8.5L/100km.
A test of a good car is what that just don’t notice while I’m driving. It just does its job in the background and nothing annoying stands out.
That was the case with the Hyundai i30.
Easily a contender for Behind the Wheel’s Car of the Year.
Apart from the drive, there’s a solid build quality about the whole vehicle, from the way the doors close and the handles open, to the gear shifter movement and the turn of the A/C control knobs.
Even the interior has a flair of something more upscale, though there are no flashy highlights, soft touch surfaces and attractive moulding give it that little bit extra.
Priced from $23,250, the auto i30 range is still value for money (in fact, a lot better) and comes with a good balance of features, power, styling, comfort, safety and price.
NUTS and BOLTS 2017 Hyundai i30 Active
- Engine: 2.0L petrol producing 120kW/203Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed manual or automatic
- Warranty: 5 Year/100,000km
- Safety: Five Stars
- Origin: South Korea
- Price: From $20,950