TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR
The i30 is one of the most popular small hatchbacks on the market. This latest third generation model, codenamed PD, gets a new body and interior as well as more features than we’ve seen on Hyundai small cars previously. It is available with two petrol engines and one diesel engine as part of a broad model range that includes sporty and luxury variants.
Sound driving manners that include a comfortable ride and quiet cabin. The Active and Elite models, in particular, have supple but well controlled suspension that copes admirably with lumps and thumps, while the firmer suspension of the SR models trades some of that for sharper steering and more confident cornering.
What you get. There’s loads of gear in all i30s, even the base model Active. It gets an 8.0-inch touchscreen with satellite-navigation as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s also a reversing camera, tyre pressure sensors and a digital radio tuner.
Performance. All i30s deliver good acceleration, especially the sporty SR with its turbocharged engine (150kW/265Nm). But even the most affordable Active has a smooth and punchy 2.0-litre engine with 120kW/203Nm that easily keeps pace with traffic. Push it harder – when overtaking, for example – and the engine revs cleanly, albeit increasing noise levels noticeably in the process. The 2.0-litre engine also has the smoothest-shifting auto of the three available engines, softly slotting between ratios.
The cost of owning it. The i30 has a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, increasing the coverage over rivals by two years. Servicing, too, is reasonably priced and needs to happen every 12 months or 15,000km. Even the navigation system comes with 10 years of map updates, reducing the need to pay (sometimes hundreds of dollars) to get the latest mapping software.
The price. The i30 has long been about undercutting key rivals, but this new model is thousands of dollars more expensive. Hyundai is desperate to shift away from the discounting game and have the i30 stand directly against the likes of Toyota, Mazda and Volkswagen.
Active safety in some models. While all i30s have passive safety covered – there’s seven airbags and a solid crash structure that was awarded a five-star ANCAP safety rating – some models miss out on the auto braking system that is the highlight of the SmartSense suite of features. It’s an excellent auto braking system, utilising a camera and radar to monitor traffic, people and other obstacles ahead then apply the brakes to come to a complete stop up to 80km/h. At speeds up to 180km/h it will also apply brakes to avoid crashes. AEB is, however, offered as a $1750 option from April 2018 on both the fleet-friendly Go and more buyer-friendly, entry-level Active models. It is still not available on SR models with a manual gearbox (there are no plans to fit it on SR manuals).
Fuel use. Petrol powered versions of the i30 use about 7.5 litres of fuel per 100km, according to the official fuel consumption label that is fitted to the windscreen. That’s significantly more than some rivals. However, Hyundai says the difference is not as marked in everyday driving (those official fuel figures are derived from a laboratory test). Neither the 2.0-litre four-cylinder or the 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo features a stop-start system, which temporarily turns the engine off when the car is stopped.
Rear seat space. The i30 has decent headroom throughout (although if you opt for a sunroof, only available on Elite and SR models, there’s less head space up front) but its rear legroom is not as generous as a Honda Civic or Subaru Impreza.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD ALSO CONSIDER?
The popular cars in this segment are Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Subaru Impreza, Volkswagen Golf, Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Holden Astra and Nissan Pulsar.
Others to consider include the Peugeot 308 and Renault Megane.