2012 Hyundai i30 CRDi Premium Review Photo:
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What's Hot
Sharp shape, sharper interior.
What's Not
Road and wind noise can be intrusive, very loud with sunroof open.
Price to equipment ratio.
Peter Anderson | Sep, 22 2012 | 2 Comments


Vehicle Style: 5 door hatchback
Price: $32,590 (plus on-roads)
Fuel Economy claimed: 5.6 l/100km | tested: 6.6 l/100km



The new Hyundai i30 goes a very long way to putting more meat on the bones of a company keen on world domination.

Hyundais are increasingly better built, better equipped and better cars to own and drive.

The new i30 has built upon the solid base of the first generation. The new model is more boldly and confidently styled with a look that is unmistakably Hyundai.

We spent a week at the wheel of the top-of-the-tree i30 CRDi Premium to assess the progress of Hyundai's best-selling hatchback.



Quality: The new interior is a huge step forward. Hyundai interiors past were - let’s face it - pretty crook. The new interiors however, in style and trim quality, are surprisingly good.

In the new i30, everything you touch - and some things you don’t - are either soft-touch plastics or surprisingly pliant leather.

Plus, it’s robust. Sydney’s terrible roads failed to elicit a squeak from the well-fitted trim.

Comfort: Interior space is good with enough room for four adults, and five for a short trip as long as they’re under six feet tall.

The panoramic glass roof also adds to the sense of spaciousness while robbing little headroom.

The driver’s seat is fully electric and the steering wheel adjusts for rake and reach. The seats are supportive, front and rear - good for running about town but a little flat for enthusiastic driving or long trips.

Equipment: The i30 Premium is bursting with goodies - heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, leather trim, power-windows and mirrors, HID headlamps, cruise control, smartphone connectivity via USB and Bluetooth, auto-dimming rear-vision mirror and a reversing camera that peeks out from behind the Hyundai badge on the bootlid.

The keyless entry and ignition is a bit confusing (there’s a strict order to the procedure), and the ten-inch touch screen for the navigation and entertainment systems could be more responsive.

It really needs some attention to the clumsy music/smartphone integration software.

The Bluetooth phone functionality however is good with clear sound through the stereo.

The Navteq-based navigation system also boasts SUNA traffic management and Hyundai throws in three years of map upgrades.

Storage: There’s plenty of internal storage, with an open area for phones and gadgets under the HVAC stack, bottle holders in the doors, cupholders front and rear, a decent-sized console storage bin,

The 378 litre boot has a high floor and a decent-sized square aperture. The 60/40 split folding rear-seat required a bit of grunting to fold flat for a full 1316 litre capacity.



Driveability: The i30’s 94kW CRDi diesel is a very smooth quiet unit that drives almost like a petrol. And it’s very well-mated to the excellent six-speed automatic.

It’s never rough or breathless and the transmission keeps it on-boost and in the sweet spot of the torque curve, an impressive 260Nm.

Predictably, it’s not a rocket, but has ample power for what it is and feels quite brisk around the city.

It’s also very economical, even when driven enthusiastically. We weren’t especially kind but still managed a creditable 6.6 l/100km.

The Flex Steer feature - a button on the steering wheel that varies the rack’s weight between comfort, normal and sport - really just changes the weight without adding feel.

Refinement: The cabin is slightly noisier than we might otherwise have expected (perhaps noticeable because the engine is so quiet).

Road noise is quite marked, especially on coarse or ridged surfaces. Wind rustles around the wing mirrors at speeds of around 80km/h.

Suspension: The i30 arrives in Australia with a local suspension tune and the improvement over the previous car is obvious and welcome.

The i30 is not aimed at enthusiast drivers however, and ride and body control are good up to a point.

Initial turn-in is quite crisp, but, if you are going quickly, it falls apart thereafter. The heavy-feeling nose will want to run wide and you end up fighting a hefty dollop of understeer.

Better tyres than the Hankooks would certainly and most surely help.

The ride is a much better tale. It’s firm but never crashy, handling everything we could throw at it with surprising class.

Braking: Dynamically, the brakes are the least impressive element. They look small behind the 17 inch alloys of the Premium and feel just adequate for the job, with ABS, EBD and brake assist for emergency situations.

Having said that, in normal driving, the brakes are easy to modulate if lacking in feel.



ANCAP rating: 5 stars

Safety features: Driver and passenger airbags, full-length curtain airbags, side impact airbags and a driver’s knee airbags amount to an impressive passive safety roster.

The i30 is also fitted with ABS, Brake Assist and brake force distribution as well as vehicle stability control.



Warranty: 5 year/unlimited kilometres.

Service costs: Hyundai’s capped price iCare servicing is $289 per service every 15000km or $867 for three services.



Opel Astra CDTi ($29,990) - The newcomer Astra has a 121kW 2.0 litre diesel with a six-speed automatic. Built in England, the new Astra is another looker in this crowded segment.

While not as well-equipped (the Select is available at $33,990), the Astra is a better drive. It also offers capped-price servicing of $299 every 15,000km. (see Astra reviews)

Ford Focus Titanium Hatch ($36,090 ) - The Focus is more expensive but more sophisticated - direct-injected diesel and trick twin-clutch transmission. It’s a very polished car and a runaway best-seller in Europe.

Ford’s capped price servicing weighs in at $360 every 15,000km. (see Focus reviews)

Mazda3 Diesel Hatch ($27,360) - Mazda is riding high with its 3 range for two good reasons: sharp pricing and attractive styling.

The Mazda, however, is manual-only which might scare off some buyers and it can’t match the fully-loaded i30 Premium for gear. (see Mazda3 reviews)

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.



The new generation i30 was very promising on our initial acquaintance when launched here, and spending more time with it has solidified our opinion.

The new car moves the game on, it’s considerably classier and more able than the old model.

The sticker-price for the Premium diesel model reviewed here will deter some, but, feature-for-feature, it’s competitive buying.

It also has a durable and well-built feel.

A bit more power and better efficiency from the diesel, plus some more work on the handling, and the i30 CRDi would be near-unbeatable for the price. It’s ever so close.




  • 2012 i30 Active - 1.8 petrol manual - $20,990
  • 2012 i30 Active - 1.8 petrol automatic - $22,990
  • 2012 i30 Elite - 1.8 petrol manual - $24,590
  • 2012 i30 Elite - 1.8 petrol automatic - $26,590
  • 2012 i30 Premium - 1.8 petrol automatic - $29,990


  • 2012 i30 Active - 1.6 diesel manual - $23,590
  • 2012 i30 Active - 1.6 diesel automatic - $25,590
  • 2012 i30 Elite - 1.6 diesel manual - $27,190
  • 2012 i30 Elite - 1.6 diesel automatic - $29,190
  • 2012 i30 Premium 1.6 diesel automatic - $32,590

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

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