What’s Hot: Diesel engine and twin-clutch auto, enhanced spec.
What’s Not: Fidgety ride, 1.8 petrol is a little dull.
X-FACTOR: With feature lists and styling sharpened up for 2015, the i30 Series 2 continues to be one of Hyundai’s more appealing products.
Vehicle Style: 5-door small hatch
Price: $20,990 (Active 1.8 manual) to $34,490 (Premium 1.6 CRDi auto).
107kW/175Nm 1.8 petrol 4cyl | 6sp manual / 6sp auto
124kW/201Nm 2.0 petrol 4cyl | 6sp manual / 6sp auto
100kW/260Nm (300Nm in auto) 1.6 turbo diesel 4cyl | 6sp manual / 7sp auto
Fuel Economy (claimed):
1.8 litre petrol: 7.0 l/100km (manual), 7.3 l/100km (auto),
2.0 litre petrol: 7.3 l/100km (manual), 7.7 l/100km (auto),
1.6 litre diesel: 4.6 l/100km (manual), 4.9 l/100km (auto)
Now in the middle of its lifespan, Hyundai's popular i30 has been given a mild update to iron out the 'crows feet' and boost its showroom appeal, along with some mechanical updates aimed at reducing its emissions.
There have also been some changes to the range line-up. Gone is the i30 Elite, with the i30 ActiveX inserted as the new mid-grade model in the i30 family.
Unusually, there has also been a backwards step. In the search for better emissions performance, the i30’s petrol engines now have reduced power, torque and - marginally - fuel economy.
That may disappoint some.
We travelled to New South Wales to find out a little more about the new i30 Series 2, as well as drive them on some challenging Hunter Valley roads.
While there have been some definite improvements, the i30 still feels a little middle-aged.
- Reversing camera, reverse parking sensors, air conditioning, power windows, central locking, cruise control, trip computer (See our model info story for full specifications)
- Infotainment: 5-inch colour touchscreen with AM/FM tuner and internet audio streaming via Pandora. USB audio input plus Bluetooth phone and audio integration also standard. Six speakers.
- Luggage capacity: 378 litres minimum, 1316 litres maximum
There’s now a neat five-inch colour touchscreen display in the Active and ActiveX, which, in a sign of the times, no longer features a CD player but can now stream audio over an internet-connected smartphone via the Pandora music app.
It also displays the video feed from the now-standard reversing camera. With reverse parking sensors also standard on every model, minor parking shunts should be a thing of the past.
The SR Premium and Premium diesel also gain heated and cooled front seats.
Other than that, you won't find too many changes inside the i30 Series 2.
SR and Premium models get satellite navigation and a seven-inch touchscreen (and its integrated CD player), the seats are the same, there’s a soft-touch dash and door trims, and fit and finish is about average for the segment.
The ActiveX sits nicely at mid-range spec level, thanks to its standard leather-appointed upholstery, alloy-look door handles leather-trimmed steering wheel and illuminated sunvisors.
Priced from $22,090, it’s compelling value.
ON THE ROAD
- 107kW/175Nm 1.6 petrol inline four | six-speed manual or six-speed auto
- 124kW/201Nm 2.0 petrol inline four | six-speed manual or six-speed auto
- 100kW/260Nm(300Nm in auto) 1.6 turbo diesel inline four | six-speed manual or seven-speed twin clutch auto
- Front wheel drive
- MacPherson strut front, torsion beam rear suspension
- Disc brakes all around.
While both the 1.8 litre and 2.0 litre petrol engines are physically unchanged, engine management tweaks make both motors fully Euro V emissions compliant. Those tweaks come at the expense of power and torque however.
The 1.8 litre petrol drops 3kW and 3Nm to 107kW/175Nm, while the 2.0 gets a 5kW and 8Nm reduction to rest at 124kW/201Nm.
Torque curves have been fattened up, but peak outputs are lower for both engines.
The diesel, however, undergoes a significant improvement. Power peaks at 100kW (6kW more than before), with peak torque staying at 260Nm for the manual-equipped model.
Spend an extra $2300 for the new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic though, and you get a full 300Nm of torque at your disposal.
The diesel auto is the one we started our day in, and though it’s a $25,890 proposition (before ORC) in base model Active form, it’s the one to get.
The diesel is quiet, smooth and pulls easily from low RPM. The twin-clutch automatic, meanwhile, is a great improvement on the last twin-clutch auto from Hyundai, which currently only sees service on the regular non-turbo Veloster.
The gearbox does have some clutch engagement jerkiness when moving off from a standstill and when crawling through traffic, but it’s not much worse than what you’ll experience in a VW Golf.
It’s not quite as quick with its gearchanges as a Golf’s DSG twin-clutch auto, though for a non-performance model that’s hardly something to complain about.
Petrol-engined i30s make do with a carry-over conventional six-speed auto.
Tyre noise and ride comfort on the Active’s standard 16-inch steel wheels is good, with only sharp corrugations imparting any kind of harshness.
Body roll is also well controlled, though the economy-biased tyres give up grip relatively easily.
The i30 SR is a much sharper tool. With its own unique suspension settings, 17-inch alloys and more performance-oriented rubber, it grips harder, is less-inclined to body-roll and steers better than the Active, ActiveX and Premium diesel.
Its 2.0 litre petrol engine is also much peppier than the 1.8 litre, which needs some coaxing and a shoeful of revs if you want to hustle it along.
The trade-off with the bigger alloys of the SR, is, of course, reduced ride comfort and more tyre noise. Neither is excessive, but those who value a quiet, fuss-free driving experience should take note.
ANCAP rating: 5-Stars - this model scored 35.69 out of 37 possible points.
Safety features: Stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD and brake assist are all standard on the i30.
Occupant protection is provided by three-point seatbelts (pretensioning in the front), as well as seven airbags (front, front side, full-length curtain and driver’s knee).
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
At the lower end of the 2015 i30 range there’s plenty of good buying. For its balance of price versus specification, the new ActiveX is certainly compelling.
The reduced outputs of the petrol engines, though marginal, has not gone unnoticed on-road.
They may emit less CO2 now, but you have to wonder about the environmental gains given that average fuel economy figures - as quoted by the factory - are now slightly worse than before.
This is not something we tested at launch, so we'll have to hold judgment until we can put these cars through a longer 'real world' test.
The 2.0 litre SR and SR Premium have a certain amount of sporty charm, but for us we reckon the new diesel is the one to get.
This new i30 diesel drinks less and produces more while its optional seven-speed auto helps bring out its best.
We’ll spend a bit more time behind the wheel of the new i30 range in due course, but right now we’d recommend giving the 1.8-litre models a skip and instead check out the 2.0 petrol and 1.6 diesel variants.
They may cost more, but they’re better cars for it.
PRICING (excludes on-road costs)
- Active petrol manual - $20,990
- Active petrol auto - $23,290 (up $50)
- Active diesel manual - $23,590
- Active diesel auto - $25,890 (up $50)
- Active X petrol manual - $22,090 (new)
- Active X petrol auto - $24,390 (new)
- Active X diesel manual - $24,690 (new)
- Active X diesel auto - $26,990 (new)
- SR petrol manual - $25,590 (down $2400)
- SR petrol auto - $27,890 (down $2300)
- SR Premium petrol manual - $30,590 (new)
- SR Premium petrol auto - $32,890 (new)
- Premium diesel auto - $34,490 (up $1400)
Drive-away pricing special for April 2015
- Active petrol manual - $19,990
- Active petrol auto - $21,990
- Active diesel manual - $23,990
- Active diesel auto - $25,990
- Active X petrol manual - $21,490
- Active X petrol auto - $22,990
- Active X diesel manual - $24,990
- Active X diesel auto - $26,990
- Premium diesel auto - $33,990