When the first generation Hyundai i30 arrived, it signalled a change within the brand. No longer content to be known as a maker of cheap and cheerful cars, Hyundai had a more balance approach in mind.
With high-quality supporting product to sell alongside it Hyundai did just that, and at times the Hyundai i30 found itself atop Australia’s best seller list - changing perceptions of the brand as it went with more and more people enjoying value pricing, available high-end features and confidence-inspiring warranty protection.
Now in its third generation, Hyundai has raised the bar yet again, creating a very solid base package, and adding the requisite safety, sporting, and luxury touches to the i30 range.
Vehicle Style: Small hatch
Price: $20-950-$33950 plus on-road costs
Engine/trans: 120kW/203Nm 2.0-litre 4cyl petrol, 100kW/280-300Nm 4cyl turbo diesel, 150kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbo petrol | 6sp manual, 7sp automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 7.3-7.4 l/100km 2.0 petrol, 4.5-4.7 l/100km 1.6 diesel, 7.5 l/100km 1.6 turbo petrol
The 2017 Hyundai i30 arrives in Australia with a fresh new look, new equipment and safety and greater differentiation through the five model range.
The range kicks off with the Active, with a direct-injected naturally aspirated petrol engine and a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed auto or a 1.6-litre turbo diesel paired with a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual clutch auto.
From there the range splits into two branches with the luxury-themed Elite and Premium models on one side and the sporty SR and SR Premium warm hatches on the other. Elite and premium are both diesel-auto only while the SR twins turn up the heat with the same turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine from the Elantra SR sedan.
All variants are based on new underpinnings that are lighter, stronger, and slightly larger than the previous i30 and each brings more standard equipment for less money than before, including an 8.0-inch multimedia system with sat nav, digital radio and a reversing camera across the range and the latest in active safety systems on top-grade models.
The Active models start from $20,950 (plus on-road costs) for the petrol/manual powertrain combination (a conventional six-speed automatic is offered for an extra $2300) while the diesel starts at $23,450 (plus on-roads) with the dual-clutch auto costing an extra $2500.
- Active: Fabric trim, manual air conditioning, cruise control, trip computer, auto headlights, 16-inch alloy wheels
- Elite: Leather interior, dual-zone climate control, electric park brake, one-touch up/down power windows, wireless device charging, keyless entry and start, 17-inch wheels
- SR: Alloy pedals, sports seats, leather trim, black headlining, LED tail lights, 18-inch alloy wheels
- Premium and SR Premium: Heated and cooled front seats, power-adjustable driver’s seat, self-dimming rearview mirror, LED headlights, solar-reducing glass, panoramic sunroof
- Infotainment: 8.0-inch touchscreen, satellite navigation, AM/FM/DAB+ radio, USB and AUX inputs, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility six-speaker audio
- Cargo Volume: 395 litres, expandable via 60:40 folding rear seat
The i30 has traded in its image as cheap transport in this new generation with even the base model Active including 16-inch alloy wheels, cloth interior trim, air conditioning, cruise control and a fully-loaded infotainment system as standard.
At a glance the mostly black-on-black cabin decor looks and feels relatively humble to give the upper models some room to add extra detailing, but there’s no faulting the quality of the plastics which seem better than before.
Move onto the higher grade models and the small tweaks to finishes and trims make all the difference; an optional beige colour trim in the Elite and Premium models brings a feeling of added spaciousness and prestige to the i30 whereas the SR's anodised red trim highlights, sporty red-stitched seats, and alloy pedals give it some genuine sportiness.
Standard equipment in the Elite extends to leather trim, dual-zone climate control, push-button start and keyless entry, wireless phone charging, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Move up to the top-spec Premium and front parking sensors, LED headlights, heated and ventilated front seats, a powered driver’s seat, and a panoramic sunroof are all included.
If sporty flair is more your thing the SR pumps up its visual presence with 18-inch alloy wheels and dual exhaust outlets on the outside plus the aforementioned interior touches. Equipment-wise the SR mirrors the specification of the Elite while the SR Premium matches the Premium.
All variants are spacious, both front and rear. Practical touches include a variety small item storage spaces including big bins in each door, a deep binnacle in the bottom of the dash and twin cupholders in the centre console, and excellent connectivity with two USB and two 12V power outlets in the front to keep mobile devices topped up.
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 120kW/203Nm 2.0-litre 4cyl petrol, 100kW/280-300Nm 4cyl turbo diesel, 150kW/ 265Nm 1.6-litre turbo petrol
- Transmission: Six-speed manual, six-speed automatic (Active), seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (SR, Elite, Premium), front wheel drive
- Suspension: MacPherson strut front, torsion beam rear (Active, Elite, Premium, independent rear (SR, SR Premium)
- Brakes: Four-wheel disc brakes
- Steering: Electric power steering, 10.6m turning circle
- Towing Capacity: 1300kg braked, 600kg-750kg unbraked
Starting the range off, the Active now comes with a 2.0-litre engine eqiupped with direct injection for a small power boost over the outgoing i30 - up to 120kW and 203Nm. It’s the same engine as used in the previous i30 SR but retuned with slightly different outputs.
It can be paired with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. Buyers looking for extra grunt also have the option of a torquey 1.6-litre diesel with either a six-speed manual rated at 100kW and 280Nm or the option of a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic which boosts torque to 300Nm.
Elite and Premium models are available with only one drivetrain combo: the turbo diesel and seven-speed automatic.
Although not quite the full-fledged N-badged hot hatch Hyundai has teased for so long, the sportier SR and SR Premium add a little extra pep to their step with a version of the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol four cylinder from the Elantra SR under the bonnet.
The SR twins punch out a more exciting 150kW and 265Nm and like the Elantra can be paired with either a six-speed manual or the DCT in the SR or as an automatic-only proposition in the $33,950 SR Premium.
As well as the stronger engine, the Elantra SR models also uniquely feature an independent rear-suspension setup in place of the more rudimentary torsion beam axle used on the rest of the range.
On the road the base 2.0-litre engine proved perfectly adequate for its price and positioning, spritely enough for everyday duties around town and comfortably quiet at low revs. Away from an urban environment it asks to be worked a little harder to keep pace up steep inclines or for overtaking and it can become noisier at higher engine speeds.
Effortless cruising is the forte of the 1.6-litre turbo diesel in the Elite and Premium variants. There’s a little lag as it spools up from low engine speeds, which doesn't play to the strengths of the dual-clutch automatic, but once on the move it feels more robust, particularly through its mid range.
Give it some beans for overtaking and the otherwise quiet and refined little diesel starts to show its clattery side, but only ever in short bursts.
There’s no denying the SR, with its punchy 1.6-litre turbo, is the pick of the bunch though.
It may not be an all-new powertrain, dating back to its first appearance in the now aging Veloster but progressive changes have made the i30 SR feel more responsive and refined than it does in the Veloster.
The dual-clutch auto is a smart match to the for the turbo motor, with smooth gear changes of its own accord, and quick reaction when asked to manually shift via the steering wheel paddles.
Despite being the most powerful variant available at present, the SR doesn't necessarily feel all that quick nor is it overflowing with character, but as an integral package the SR delivers with well weighted steering and secure roadholding.
The torsion beam rear suspension in all other models is slightly less sophisticated over heavy hits and small frequency bumps, and the steering in the diesel models can feel a little more elastic in its weighting.
As is the case with the rest of Hyundai’s range, a local suspension tuning program ensures the i30 meets the demands of Australian road conditions and the preferences of local drivers.
ANCAP Rating: 5 Stars - this model scored 35.01 out of 37 possible points when tested in 2017. Crash testing was conducted by ANCAP on the structurally similar Hyundai Elantra, with technical data supplied to ANCAP confirming the same level of crashworthiness for the i30
Safety Features: All i30 models come with seven airbags (dual front, front seat side, full-length curtain, and driver’s knee), electronic traction and stability control, and ABS brakes with brake assist.
High-end models include blind spot detection with lane change assist, driver attention alert, lane keeping assist, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and tyre pressure monitoring. Some features aren’t available in conjunction with a manual transmission, your Hyundai dealer can provide more info.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
In each of the five available i30 models Hyundai has struck the right mix of value-oriented features, safety, and comfort and wrapped the whole package in a stylish (if slightly unadventurous) new design.
Against its warm hatch competitors the i30 SR stands out as an excellent segment contender, and also shows that Hyundai has room for much more with the arrival of its upcoming hot hatch developed by Hyundai's high-performance N division.
In fact, Hyundai's latest small car is more convincing across the board than it ever has been, delivering even better value to Australian customers than before and bolstering the i30’s enviable reputation even further.
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