2013 HYUNDAI I30 SR REVIEW
Vehicle style: Five-door small hatch
Engine/transmission: 129kW/209Nm 2.0 4cyl petrol | 6spd auto
Fuel economy listed: 7.5 l/100km on 91RON unleaded | tested: 8.7 l/100km
‘Warm’, not hot, and with sharpened on-road dynamics, the i30 SR puts a bit of sizzle into the Korean brand, sitting comfortably alongside the sporty Veloster.
Hyundai unveiled it as a concept at the last International Motor Show in Sydney. Such was the interest, the local arm decided to proceed with the project.
So began a six-month tuning program with British suspension-guru David Potter to get the ride, steering and handling just right for local conditions. Money well spent.
Quality: With leather/leatherette trim, adequately bolstered seats and plenty of soft plastic trim atop the dash and doors, the SR’s cabin is a pleasant place to do your motoring.
There’s quite a feel of quality inside. The big easy-to-read speedo and tacho are housed in deeply hooded, chrome-rimmed tubes and LED read-outs with blue highlights also look good.
The leather-wrapped, multi-function steering wheel is great to hold and it can be adjusted for height and reach. This, combined with the seat’s power adjustment, means dialling up the perfect driving position is a breeze.
One excellent uncommon feature is pull-out extensions for the sun visors.
Comfort: The front seats are comfortable, if a tad under-bolstered. While the out-board seats in the rear are fine, the centre position is not quite so user-friendly.
On hot or cold days, the dual-zone climate-controlled ‘air’ means all passengers share a comfortable cabin.
Equipment: A generous serving here with a seven-inch colour touch-screen audio display, sat-nav, reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats with power adjustment for the driver, cruise control, auto-dimming rear-vision mirror, alloy-faced sports pedals, Xenon headlights, LED rear lights and a rear diffuser.
Storage: There are handy front-and-rear door pockets, front cup-holders, two bins on the centre console, map pockets behind the front seat-backs and a roof-mounted sunglasses holder.
With the rear seats occupied, there is 378 litres of luggage space. Drop the seat-backs forward and this rises to a small-delivery-van-like 1316litres.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: The two-litre engine petrol with its direct-injection is a happy little power plant that likes to rev.
It’s quite a bit quicker than the standard i30 – handy when overtaking or running through the hills.
The SR’s six-speed automatic transmission (one of Hyundai’s own) is one of the better ones, kicking down and changing up with precision.
And, thanks to the sequential sports shift, you can drive it manually for a bit more fun. There are no paddles however (a bit of a fizz).
Punted hard on a long highway run, I came away seriously impressed with the car’s ride and handling.
All that local tuning has paid off. The SR rides nice and flat in tight corners, turns in eagerly and is not easily unsettled by rough surfaces.
The so-called ‘Flex Steer’ electric power steering is also ok, though it feels a little remote. It comes with three modes – normal, comfort and sport – we found the ‘comfort’ setting just fine.
Refinement: The Koreans have quickly learnt how to build quite a high level of refinement into their smaller cars. And the well-built new SR is no exception.
It feels solid as a rock and well bolted together and irrespective of the road surfaces, we found it remarkably quiet.
ANCAP rating: 5-Stars
Safety features: Seven airbags and a full suite of safety technologies such as rear parking distance sensors, vehicle stability management with electronic stability control, traction control, ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assistance.
Warranty: Five-years/unlimited kilometres
Servicing: Capped-price $219.00 once-a-year servicing for three years.
HOW IT COMPARES/VALUE FOR MONEY
Holden Cruze SRi-V auto - $28,690: A few more kilowatts than the SR and an edgier and more sporting drive overall. The Cruze handles exceptionally well and can take the game to the hotter hot-hatches.
The Hyundai has the better interior though. (see Cruze reviews)
Nissan Pulsar SSS CVT - $31,740: Also hotter than the SR, and hotter than the Cruze. It doesn’t come with quite the full feature list of the Hyundai, and while the styling is not for everyone, the SSS is solidly built and good buying.
But the CVT transmission just isn’t the right match. (see Pulsar reviews)
Ford Focus Sport hatchback - $28,190: The Focus is a very appealing drive with an eager, responsive 125kW 2.0 litre engine (a little less than the SR). While the Sport edges out the SR for handling and dynamics, the auto is a twin-clutch unit with a curious manual-shift button.
Well put-together, and well-featured, it’s certainly among the better small cars of the moment. (see Focus reviews)
Note: prices exclude on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
It's generously endowed with standard features (the only option is a $2000 panoramic sunroof), handles well and is sensibly priced.
While not a ‘hot-hatch’, it sits somewhere between the hot end of the spectrum and the standard commuter hatch, the SR has a sporting feel and loves to be driven with enthusiasm.
The i30 SR’s capped-price servicing and low running costs overall make it an economical car to own. And the brand’s growing reputation for reliability means the SR will hold its value at trade-in time.
Yes, this is one we’d recommend to you for a close look.
Price (excludes on-road costs)
- i30 SR manual - $27,990
- i30 SR auto - $30,190
(Sunroof adds $2000)