Every time the keys are returned to me after the Hyundai has had a stint on someone else’s driveway, they are accompanied by compliments and praise. The feedback ranges from a mention of its eager and efficient engine, the compliant but involving ride and the pointy handling and obedient front end, but the general consensus seems to focus on its sense of familiarity. Right from the first steer, the Hyundai feels like a car you have been driving for months.
But it’s not just occupants of the driver’s seat that the i30 SR has been impressing. Three other seats have recently been filled on a more regular basis and the praise keeps coming. In the front passenger spot, companions have loved the range of comfort features including the cooled seats and vast sunroof, while second-row occupants have remarked on the generous space and comfortable ride thanks in part to the independent rear suspension.
My gripe of the month, however, predictably concerns the dual-clutch transmission. While the snappy ’box has been a strong performer while hunting perfect back-roads with slick, fast cog swaps, smoothly applying power to creep at low speed is virtually impossible.
The result is an awkward stop-start performance that makes me want to get out and push. I’ve had a driver’s licence for nearly 20 years but slowly reversing into a parking spot in the i30 makes me look like I should still have P-plates.
The Hyundai gearbox is by no means the only dual-clutch guilty of low speed problems, but the all-or-nothing power delivery remains frustrating irrespective of the boot badge.
The navigation has also been a source of annoyance. While most systems predict the place name as you are typing in an address, the Hyundai wants the full spelling and insists on a street name and number before searching for your destination.
The option to simply navigate to a general suburb or town would be a welcome feature but doesn’t appear to be possible. A small matter, though, in a generally intuitive and functional system that all occupants seem to be enjoying.
And despite the positive reviews from other Wheels writers and a warm reception from whoever hops behind its leather-wrapped steering wheel, I’m still the i30’s biggest fan and already lamenting the day I have to hand back the keys.
On the pipe, it’s a sipper
This month’s average fuel consumption has fallen to a new frugal low which is a surprise given how many lead-footed petrol-heads have had a spin in the i30. That figure could be even smaller however, had Hyundai equipped the i30 SR with idle-stop technology. Finding a small car without this fuel-saving trickery is becoming increasingly uncommon. Yet those who find the tech annoying might figure that its absence is worth the extra sip.
Read part two of our 2017 Hyundai i30 SR Premium long-term review here!