06 Mar 2019

TMR Reviews the all new 2019 Hyundai i30 Go

Why buy a city car when you can upsize to a cheap small hatch?
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 The laws of physics tell us that for every action there is an equal or opposition reaction.

In the world of new cars, the exponential rise of compact SUVs has seen a decline in demand for light and small hatches. The reaction to that from some car makers has been to make small cars even more affordable - resulting in a crossover between the top-end light hatches and entry-level small cars.

The Hyundai i30 Go tested here is a prime example. With a starting price of $19,990 (plus on-road costs) it’s cheaper than some light cars such as the $22,150 Mazda2 GT hatch, $22,990 Suzuki Swift GLX Turbo and the $20,290 Volkswagen Polo 85TSI Comfortline.

That means those looking for a city car can now expand their search into the small car market, trading some creature comforts for more space.

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Is the Hyundai i30 Go right for me?

While some brands having dropped their cheaper, entry-grade small car offerings (most notably Ford with the new Focus and Mazda with its upcoming new-generation 3) Hyundai believes having a sub-$20K starting price is crucial.

That broadens the appeal of the i30 range, making it a possible choice for both city car buyers looking to spend big or small car shoppers looking for the best value for money.

And it seems there are plenty of people looking for just this. Hyundai’s more affordable Go and Active models account for approximately 70 per cent of all i30 sales, according to data provided by the company.

What does the 2019 Hyundai i30 Go cost?

As mentioned before, the range starts at $19,990 (plus on-road costs) for the Go equipped with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and six-speed manual transmission. You can choose a six-speed automatic for an additional $2300.

However, at the timing of writing Hyundai is offering the manual Go for just $20,990 drive-away, which is a very sharp price for what is ultimately a quality small car.

What is the Hyundai i30 Go's interior like?

In a word - basic. As you’d expect given its price, this is a no-frills model with a plain, practical cabin. Grey plastic dominates the look, with none of the design flourishes that give the higher-grade models (such as the N-Line and i30 Premium) more visual impact and a more premium ambience.

However, it does cover off all the important elements you need. There’s height and reach adjustable steering, an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, steering wheel-mounted controls and a rear-view camera.

How much space does the Hyundai i30 Go Hatchback have?

The room offered by the i30 is good for a small car, which means anyone cross-shopping a city car will find it very spacious.

The front seats are trimmed in a simple black cloth and offer good support with soft, comfortable cushioning.

Those in the back are also quite well looked after. The seats are flatter and have noticeably firmer cushioning and the rear air-conditioning vents in our press car aren’t standard (instead they’re packaged up as part of the active safety bundle). Rear passengers also miss out on cup holders, with the fold-down centre armrest reserved for more expensive models. However, there are bottle holders in the doors.

The boot is generous too, measuring 395 litres with a deep floor, despite the fact that the Go comes with a full-size 16-inch spare wheel as standard.

What's the Hyundai i30 Go's tech like?

 Again the basics are covered with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth and a single USB port. But it does miss out on navigation, digital radio and wireless smartphone charging that’s available in other models.

However, while the infotainment system may not have all the same features as the more expensive variants, it does have the same intuitive menu system that’s easy to navigate, especially on the move.

How reliable is the 2019 Hyundai i30 Go?

Hyundai has transformed itself from a fringe brand, making cars bought primarily for value, to a serious player in the Australian market with a reputation for dependability and quality, as well as sharp pricing.

The i30 Go has the brand’s long-lived 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine under the bonnet and the choice of a simple six-speed manual or automatic transmission. There are no complex turbochargers or dual-clutch gearboxes in sight.

How safe is the Hyundai i30 Go?

Once again the i30 Go covers the necessities with seven airbags, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and a reversing camera. That’s it for your $20K.

If you’re willing to pay more, the SmartSense active safety package is available as an option, and was fitted to our test car. For $1750 you get forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and an electronic park brake. It’s a mandatory inclusion in our opinion.

Given the i30 Go could cost you less than $23,000, that’s a very impressive list of features.

What is the Hyundai i30 Go's warrantly like?

The i30 Go is covered by the same five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty as the rest of the Hyundai range.

Unfortunately for the South Korean brand, what was once a stand-out attraction is now largely typical as competitor brands have caught up in their warranty coverage.

What are the on-going costs of for the Hyundai i30 Go Hatchback?

Hyundai offers a lifetime capped-price servicing program, requiring visits every 12 months/15,000km. Thanks to a flat $259 charge for the first three years, you’ll be looking at a reasonable $777 for the first 45,000km. However, it’s worth noting the major service at 60,000km costs $359, which is still competitive for a mainstream small car.

Is the 2019 Hyundai i30 Go value for money?

While it may not have all the bells-and-whistles, it certainly isn’t a stripped-out shell. You get 16-inch steel wheels with plastic hubcaps, LED daytime running lights, cruise control, power windows, an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth and all the previously mentioned safety equipment.

As part of the SmartSense package, the Go also gets a chrome insert in the front grille, premium centre console with electronic parking brake, rear air-conditioning vents and power folding exterior mirrors.

What's under the Hyundai i30 Go's bonnet?

The Go gets a 2.0-litre direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine that's carried over largely from the previous generation model.

Producing 120kW of power and 203Nm of torque, it’s competitive against similar naturally aspirated 2.0-litre rivals, but falls short of the pulling power offered by newer, turbocharged engines in some competitors.

It may not be the latest and greatest engine but it still does an admirable job. The six-speed automatic in our test car was effective in extracting the best from the engine and doing its smoothly and without fuss, proving the value of a traditional torque-converter automatic.

It does require more revs to get the best performance, seeing peak torque doesn’t hit until 4700rpm, so the engine can get noisy at times, but it’s not an ugly sound. More that it’s nowhere near as refined as the turbo-petrol engines in its best rivals.

How much fuel does the Hyundai i30 Go Hatchback use?

There’s not much to split between the manual and automatic, with the former using a claimed 7.3L/100km, compared to the latter’s 7.4L/100km.

That’s an average return for a small car, even with a 2.0-litre engine, but is well behind the benchmark in its class. A humble 2.0-litre Mazda3 sips just 5.8L/100km in comparison.

What's it like to drive the Hyundai i30 Go?

It may be the entry-level model in the range but the current generation i30 is a fundamentally good-quality small car.

On the road it feels sure-footed and responsive, so for those looking for simple urban transport it performs beyond expectation. It feels at home zipping in and out of traffic, with responsive and direct steering, and an equally obedient chassis.

If you find yourself outside the city limits and on a twisty country road, the i30 Go is more than capable of holding its own. It remains confidence-inspiring for the driver with its predictable nature. It certainly doesn’t feel like a poor relation to its small-car rivals and it offers a broader skill set than a similarly priced light car.

One cost-saving measure for the Go is its torsion-beam rear axle, rather than the more sophisticated multi-link independent rear suspension in i30 N-Line models. That means the ride isn’t as well-controlled as it could be, and this is especially noticeable on more challenging roads outside the city or if you hit a rippled stretch of tarmac.

However, the benefit of its cheaper, smaller wheels are tyres with larger sidewalls, and that translates to an improvement in ride comfort much of the time. The N-Line models may look nicer but their sports suspension tune and low-profile rubber do make for a busier ride. The Go, in contrast, is better for relaxed commuting.

How does the 2019 Hyundai i30 Go compare to the competition?

Putting aside the previously mentioned city or light cars, in terms of direct small car rivals the i30 Go has several key challengers.

The most obvious is the Kia Cerato S starting from $20,990 (plus on-road costs), which shares much of the same hardware as the i30.

Toyota kicks off its Corolla range with the Ascent Sport priced from $22,870 (plus on-road costs) while the Subaru Impreza 2.0i hatch starts at $22,890 (plus on-road costs).

Two big names in small cars Hyundai doesn’t have to worry about are Mazda and Ford. The two brands have given up on a cheaper, less profitable circa-$20K entry-grade model. The Ford Focus range starts with Trend at $25,990 (plus on-road costs) while the new-generation Mazda3 will start at $24,990 (plus on-road costs) for the G20 Pure model when it hits dealers in May.

TMR's Verdict

SUVs may be increasing in popularity but sales of small cars remain strong overall, largely on the back of the i30, Corolla and Mazda3.

Driving the i30 Go underlines why these type of cars remain popular - an attractive starting price, plenty of space and still all the mod-cons you expect. Sure, it’s a better proposition when you spend extra for the SmartSense safety package, and the technology - specifically the ageing engine and simple suspension - hint at where costs have been saved, but fundamentally this is a excellent small car.

Pleasant to drive, handsome, comfortable and affordable, it’s so much better than Hyundai’s smaller Accent that you’d be crazy not to spend the extra money on one. 

 

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