WHAT YOU SEE HERE WITH THE UPDATED 2016 HYUNDAI i30 SR SERIES II ISN’T A MAJOR SHAKE-UP. In fact, if you’re familiar with Hyundai’s i30 range, you’ll notice the changes are few.
New alloy wheels, new interior finishes - just enough to keep the i30 SR range fresh in the bustling small hatch segment.
But, with the i30 topping the new car sales charts in Australia for the first six months of this year, arguably no sweeping changes were necessary.
Vehicle Style: Small hatch
Price: $26,550-$33,550 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 124kW/201Nm 2.0 4cyl petrol | 6sp manual, 6sp automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 7.3-7.7 l/100km | Tested: 9.1 l/100km
Thanks to a mid-life update last year, Hyundai’s best selling i30 range still feels fresh.
And now, at the sport-styled end of the spectrum, the i30 SR and SR Premium have been given a boost thanks to the addition of new two-tone alloy wheels, a rear bumper valance, and a more brooding and appealing red and black interior.
Despite the SR badge, the i30 does without the turbocharged 1.6 litre engine that powers the Veloster SR and upcoming Elantra SR.
Nonetheles,s a more powerful 2.0 litre direct injected engine steps in for the 1.8 litre engine of the ‘regular’ models.
- SR: Red and black leather seat trim, dual zone climate control, cruise control, multi-function trip computer, heated electrically folding mirrors, proximity key with push-button start, alloy sports pedals, LED fog lights and tail lights, 17-inch alloy wheels
- SR Premium: (in addition to SR) Powered driver’s seat, heated and cooled front seats, panoramic sunroof, TFT colour instrument display, rear seat air vents, electronic park brake, auto dimming rearview mirror, HID Xenon headlights
- Infotainment: 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, six speakers, USB and AUX inputs, Google Now and Apple CarPlay (SR) or CD player and satellite navigation SUNA live traffic (SR Premium)
- Cargo volume: 378 litres minimum, 1316 litres maximum
To give the SR models the right kind of sporting ambience, Hyundai Australia has dipped into the range of finishes available from the Korean-market i30.
That means the updated SR range picks up a handsome-looking black leather interior with red highlights, as well as new black headlining and cloth-covered A-pillar trims.
That might not sound like much, but it’s enough to give the tone of the interior a lift. It's certainly classier than the standard i30 range, making the SR twins feel simultaneously more sporting and more mature.
Otherwise, things remain as they were before in terms of space and packaging. That means there’s a decent amount of room up front, and a still-generous amount of space, for a small car, in the rear.
While items like dual-zone climate control, leather seat trim, and push-button start are standard across the range, the SR Premium steps up with goodies like a panoramic roof (which you can option on the SR), heated and cooled front seats, powered driver’s seat, a colour instrument cluster display, and rear seat cooling ducts.
Boot space measures 378 litres with the rear seats up, or 1316 litres with the 60:40 split bench folded, the SR Premium also picks up a handy luggage net on the boot floor as standard.
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 124kW/201Nm 2.0 litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol
- Transmission: Six speed manual or six-speed automatic, front wheel drive
- Suspension: MacPherson strut front, torsion beam rear
- Brakes: 280mm ventilated front discs, 262mm solid rear discs
- Steering: Electrically assisted mechanical steering, turning circle 10.6m
- Towing capacity: 1300kg braked, 500kg unbraked
Where the regular i30 range employs a 1.8 litre engine with multipoint injection, the SR range comes equipped with a more powerful and torquey 2.0 litre engine with direct injection.
It provides a modest power bump, and can’t match the outputs of Hyundai’s own turbocharged 1.6 turbo, but in the case of the i30 SR the sporty range is designed to be a sort of in-betweener, not an all-out sports hero.
So, what does that mean? Well, it means that you can still comfortably and quietly commute to and from work without getting rattled to pieces, with the freedom of a little extra oomph underfoot if you’re feeling keen.
Our opportunity to put the i30 SR through its paces came on both road and track - brash confidence on Hyundai’s part, but not beyond the i30’s range of abilities.
On the right flowing roads the i30 SR feels right at home. Sitting stable on the road, and able to hang on predictably through bends.
You won’t mistake it for a dedicated sports car, but then again you’ll feel more than confident enough to pile the kids in the back and bags of groceries in the boot without a second thought.
Even with the heat turned up on the racetrack, the i30 SR provided a satisfying drive - not crumbling under pressure and demonstrating clearly enough why you’d pick the 2.0 litre SR over the less perky 1.8 litre range.
The six-speed manual is easy to use, but the clutch action is perhaps a little on the light side. The gearshift is good, with reasonable feel on changes, and long crawls in grinding traffic aren’t any real hassle.
Opt for the six-speed automatic and there’s a set of gearshift paddles if you fancy flicking through the gears yourself. For the most part, however, the auto behaves well enough that you’ll rarely go looking for manual mode.
Hyundai maintains a three-mode steering system that adds weight progressively through Comfort, Normal and Sport modes. Each makes a small change to the way the wheel feels, but, regardless of the setting, the wheel remains light and user friendly, if not truly engaging.
Freeway drives revealed that the i30 is hushed enough for long distances behind the wheel with neither engine nor tyre noise contributing significantly to interior noise levels. Only the occasional rustle from around the mirrors (on a wildly blustery day) broke through.
Hyundai’s Australian-tuned suspension program is at work here, although unchanged from before, meaning that the settled but comfortable ride of the i30 feels right at home on local roads.
ANCAP rating: 5/5 Stars - the i30 range scored 35.69 out of 37 possible points.
Safety features: Dual front, side, curtain and driver’s knee airbags, ABS and ESC, rear parking sensors, reverse-view camera
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
Looking for a hatch with a little more - be that equipment, or oomph? Try the Mazda3 SP25 range, or maybe the Toyota Corolla in dressed-up SX or ZR trim.
Holden is getting ready to wind-down production of the locally assembled Cruze, so there’s sure to be some good bargains going around, likewise the remaining stock of the Nissan’s discontinued Pulsar SSS hatch will come with healthy discounts attached.
If you’re after something a bit more accomplished the Ford Focus may surprise with its refinement and technology, which isn’t too far behind the benchmark Volkswagen Golf
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
From a strong starting point, the i30 SR maintains the quality look and feel of the i30 range and adds a light sporting flavour. While still value driving, it certainly looks the part, inside and out.
Hyundai understands (better than most, it would seem) how to make smart, easy to drive and own, middle-of-the-road cars. There is certainly nothing hard-edged about the Hyundai SR
Strong specifications, decent value, a willing engine, and Australian-tuned handling make the i30 SR and i30 SR Premium appealing, yet practical choices.
Those looking for something with a little more underbonnet urge might check out the related Veloster SR and Elantra SR. However, as a strong all-rounder, the i30 SR pairs verve and practicality into an appealing package.
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