Over the past three weeks I’ve driven three versions of the new-generation Hyundai i30 back to back starting with the performance i30 SR 1.6 turbo-petrol with dual-clutch ‘auto’ transmission (DCT).
Then the ‘base’ Active 2.0 litre petrol manual followed by the Premium 1.6 litre turbo-diesel again with the dual-clutch auto.
All were impressive cars that absolutely justify the positive reviews they’ve been getting.
There’s one particular stand out and that is the dual-clutch auto. If you’re going to buy an i30, tick the DCT box for benefits in performance, drive feel and fuel economy.
Three drive modes too, Eco, Normal and Sport, and paddle shift on the performance SR model.
New Hyundai i30 pricing starts at $20,950 for the entry level manual car I drove rising to $33,950 for the diesel Premium.
The i30 is available in five model grades; Active, SR, SR Premium, Elite and Premium (interior as shown) with a choice of three transmissions model dependent.
They are a six speed manual or the DCT. Only the 2.0 litre has a conventional six-speed auto. Three engines are available; 100kW/300Nm 1.6 turbo-petrol, 150kW/265Nm 1.6 turbo-diesel and a 120kW/203Nm 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated petrol.
All models get alloy wheels, auto head lights and tyre pressure monitoring. The higher up the range you go the more advanced driver assist technology you get.
An optional safety pack is available.
If sporty handling is a priority only the SR offers a multi-link rear suspension that is more sophisticated (better) than the torsion beam in other models. Bigger brakes and paddle shift on the DCT version of SR too.
On my test drive, all three engines delivered impressive performance with the 1.6 turbo-petrol the liveliest, the 1.6 turbo-diesel delivering the most `grunt’ and being the most frugal too.
Again, the 2.0 litre was somewhere in between.
The DCT equipped cars provide rapid fire changes between gears while the manual transmission has a slick change with well-matched ratios for the engine.
The i30 is a practical car offering ample room for five inside and a good size boot. The rear seats fold flat providing a space big enough for your pushbike.
All three cars are comfortable and controlled, a reflection of the development work done in this area by Hyundai Australia.
Though rather derivative in appearance with other Hyundai’s, the new i30 has an attractive presence on the road that’s distinctive and appealing.
The interior is stylish with smooth lines and shapes along and well integrated controls capped by that large 8-inch touchscreen.
All but the space saver equipped SR models with the different rear suspension get a full size spare – something or a rarity these days.
I enjoyed all three and for everyday use the 2.0 litre/auto would fill the bill admirably. It goes great, handles well and feels comfortable.
If you crave more zip in your life, the only choice is the SR as it has heaps of acceleration, sounds the part and has a sporty edge to the way it feels.
My preference is the SR as it’s almost a hot hatch, runs on 91, gets a paddle shift has the better rear suspension and looks more assertive with various body add-ons and big wheels.
An impressive effort from Hyundai and certainly a benchmark in the class that takes the fight right up to Mazda3, new Holden Astra, Subaru Impreza and all the rest of them.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Hyundai i30
- Engines: 1.6 litre turbo-petrol producing 150kW/265Nm, 1.6 litre turbo-diesel producing 100kW/300Nm and 2.0 litre petrol producing 120kW/203Nm
- Transmissions: Six-speed manual, six-speed auto, seven-speed dual-clutch auto
- Safety: Five stars
- Warranty: Five years
- Origin: South Korea
- Price: from $20,950