2013 HYUNDAI I30 REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Small wagon
Price: $31,390 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 94kW/260Nm 1.6 litre 4cyl diesel | 6spd auto
Fuel Economy listed: 5.8 l/100km | tested: 7.6 l/100km
What do you do when the small car market becomes saturated? You try a niche, of course. Which is exactly what Hyundai has done with the i30 Tourer.
Hyundai has added a cubit of space to the back of its affable i30, but unlike the rather bland Golf Wagon, it hasn’t sacrificed the i30 hatch’s handsome lines.
The Elite spec, as tested here, is only available as a diesel, so firstly, is it worth the extra over the petrol Active and, secondly, is it worth buying a small wagon?
Quality: Hyundai’s current interiors hold up fairly well against competitive cabins, most notably in fabric trim and build quality.
While all materials have certainly improved from the last i30 wagon, there’s still plenty of plastic surfacing around, and the metallic accents need to mimic metal rather than looking like painted silver.
That aside, everything has been fitted well – it was given the obligatory going-over by the kids, with nothing coming apart - while the piano-black treatment to the centre-stack is of a high grade.
Volkswagen still leads the way in interior presentation (the Golf Wagon is miles ahead), but Hyundai is getting there.
Comfort: Thankfully, being a small car doesn’t necessarily mean small space. Up front there’s good-sized footwells and plenty of elbow room.
Rear passengers have a welcome amount of legroom, especially knee space, though the under-seat foot space is a bit tight.
Though getting three abreast will be squeezy, but the wagon’s higher roof-line means headroom is plentiful, making the i30 Tourer quite bright and airy.
The seat padding is excellent, and the textured material is quite grippy and easy to clean from kid-spills.
Equipment: Keeping the i30 competitive is as simple as loading it with standard features.
Over the Active, the Elite model gains auto headlights, parking sensors and rear-view camera, folding side mirrors, seven-inch touch screen satellite navigation (with three years of map upgrades) and tilt-adjustable headrests.
Add one-touch automatic windows, folding rear-seat armrest, rain-sensing wipers, leather-wrapped wheel, dual-zone climate control, and push-button start.
The only thing you can’t get is leather seats, as the i30 Tourer isn’t offered in Premium spec like the hatch.
Storage: The i30 Tourer’s storage is enviable, with bottle spaces everywhere. The door bins up front are huge and the rear doors echo the fronts.
There are two cupholders for front occupants, two in the rear and of course, there’s the advantage of being a wagon.
With an enviable 528 litres when the rear seat is up and a whopping 1642 litres when folded, the Tourer offers plenty of cargo space (outdoing the Golf and Megane).
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: With a fairly small diesel under the bonnet, the i30 Tourer won’t be setting any speed records.
There’s a modest 94kW and 260Nm on tap, so fully loaded it can feel a little lethargic until it gets into its peak torque zone. While on paper it’s 'on song' from 1900rpm, in reality the action happens around 2500rpm.
Working against this however is the automatic’s penchant for holding onto gears (and revs) longer than it should.
It won't readily drop into the next gear to take advantage of the diesel’s broad torque curve. It’s almost as if the shift points have been carried over from the higher-revving petrol version.
This also hurts fuel consumption - you’ll regularly see consumption figures in the sevens or eights, rather than fives or sixes.
Refinement: At idle, you’ll know it’s a diesel under the bonnet, but when you’re cruising the motor is suitably hushed.
The gravelly diesel note is present under medium acceleration, but it’s not overly intrusive.
The large open back however lets a bit of road noise in, especially along country roads at highway speeds.
Ride and Handling: The i30 tourer’s extra weight helps its ride, making it almost Golf-like for comfort. The suspension doesn’t float at high speed, though it is biased toward passenger comfort rather than outright handling.
When pushed, the i30 Tourer will scrub into understeer quite quickly, thanks in part to a heavier diesel over the nose.
You get the feeling of a car that’s happy to amble along and eat up the miles, rather than charge through mountain switchbacks.
The steering has three switchable modes (Hyundai calls it Flex Steer): comfort, normal and sport. Anyone who likes to be somewhat connected to a car will avoid the first two like the plague and opt for Sport.
That said, all Sport does is add weight, and any feel is quite distant.
Braking: The i30 Tourer’s pedal feel is quite good, and it bites hard when pushed with no hint of fade.
Braking is taken care of by 280mm ventilated discs up front and 262mm solid discs at the rear.
ANCAP rating: 5-Stars
Safety features: Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) comprised of ESC and traction control, ABS with EBD and brake assist, rear-view camera with parking sensors, seven airbags, side-impact intrusion bars, ISOFIX and top-tether points, seat-belt pretensioners and load-limiters.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Hyundai’s current models all come with a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.
Service costs: Hyundai’s capped price servicing means the first three services (around three-year’s worth) are locked in a $289 each.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Volkswagen Golf Wagon 77TDI ($31,990) – The Golf is miles ahead in quality and presentation but its interior is smaller and looks very plain. It’s not as well kitted out, despite being more expensive. It’s certainly worth a look (see Golf reviews)
Renault Megane Sportwagon GT-Line Diesel ($30,990) – Coming in under the i30 on price, the Megane’s styling is just as edgy and its diesel is very strong, but it also loses out on amenities (see Megane reviews)
Holden Cruze Sportwagon CD Diesel ($29,790) – The Cruze handles better than the i30, has a quite potent diesel under the bonnet and has a lot more space with the rear seats up. But its interior is not up to scratch by comparison. (see Cruze reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
So, is the i30 Tourer Elite worth the $5800 extra over the Active? If it’s a few extra luxuries you’re after, then yes.
But if you’re simply looking for a cheap runabout with plenty of room, then the Active diesel will do the job just fine. Either way, you’ll get a stylish car with plenty of extras and a fabulous warranty.
But Hyundai has to be careful with its pricing. The Tourer’s competitors are only separated by a few thousand dollars.
Our tip? Bargain hard.
- 1.6 GDI Manual Active - $22,990
- 1.6 GDI Automatic Active - $24,990
- 1.6 CRDi Manual Active - $25,590
- 1.6 CRDi Automatic Active - $27,590
- 1.6 CRDi Automatic Elite - $31,190