The i30 is available with a choice of three engines:
- A 2.0L naturally aspirated petrol 4-cylinder, available with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed auto
- A 1.6L turbocharged petrol 4-cylinder, available with a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 7-speed DCT auto
- A 1.6L turbocharged diesel 4-cylinder, available with a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 7-speed DCT auto
The 2.0L petrol is the entry-level engine of the range, replacing the previous generation’s 1.8L offering. The new engine pumps out an extra 13kW and 28Nm, and boasts fuel consumption figures of 7.3L (manual) or 7.4L (auto) per 100km.
Those consumption figures are more or less the same as those churned out by the 1.6L turbo petrol, which the reviewers agreed provided a sportier, more enjoyable drive. It’s a responsive and brisk performer, providing a predictable spread of power across the rev range.
The turbo diesel is the most fuel-efficient offering, getting 4.5L per 100km in the manual. It’s also the most common engine across the range and promises smooth and quiet driving – in other words, it’s great if you like relaxed cruising but underwhelming if you want performance to quicken the pulse.
|Maximum power||120kW @ 6,200rpm||100kW @ 4,000rpm||150kW @ 6,000rpm|
|Maximum torque||203Nm @ 4,700rpm||280Nm @ 1,500–3000rpm (manual)300Nm @ 1,750–2,500rpm (DCT)||265Nm @ 1,500–4,500 rpm|
|Valve system||16 valve, double overhead cam (DOHC), dual continuously variable valve timing (D-CVVT)||16 valve, double overhead cam (DOHC)||16 valve, double overhead cam (DOHC), dual continuously variable valve timing (D-CVVT)|
|Fuel consumption||7.3L/100km (manual)7.4L/100km (auto)||4.5L/100km (manual)4.7L/100km (DCT)||7.5L/100km (DCT and manual)|
|Available in||Go and Active variants||Go, Active, Elite and Premium variants||SR and SR Premium variants|
Hyundai’s engineers spent a long time tuning the i30’s suspension, steering and stability control technology for Australian conditions, and the reviewers agreed that the results of this hard work were particularly evident on the road. The entry-level petrol and the diesel models feature a torsion beam rear suspension set-up, while the SR models get independent rear suspension.
The latter set-up provides wonderfully compliant handling through tight corners, and the 18-inch tyres provide a reassuring, planted feel. The torsion beam rear suspension models can’t offer the same level of athletic performance, but the reviewers agreed that they still provide much better handling than you would expect from a small, affordable hatch.
One drawback noted by some reviewers was the presence of some road noise on rougher surfaces. However, this was not particularly worse than any of the i30’s competitors, and tyre choice also plays a part here.
Some also pointed to the fact that the i30’s steering felt slightly heavy at low speeds but all in all is highly responsive to driver inputs.
Before stepping inside the i30, it’s worth stopping to admire the view. The reviewers noted that this small hatch looks more like something you might expect from a European marque, and from a car that costs more than $30K. It’s a subtle and fairly classy design, if a little too nondescript and straight-laced for some tastes. A choice of 12 exterior and 2 interior colour options completes the impressive aesthetic package.
But it’s the interior where the i30 really shines. There’s a premium, high-quality feel right throughout the cabin, and a “less is more” design feel that the reviewers unanimously loved. The net result is an interior that feels a whole lot more upmarket than the i30’s price tag suggests, though there are still a few hard plastics that aren’t all that nice to the touch.
The dash has been intelligently designed and flows smoothly from one side to the other, with all the necessary instruments and features easy to read and access. The centrepiece is an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen which, while it may look a little clunky and confusing, impressed the reviewers for its overall user-friendliness.
The satnav set-up is similarly pleasing, while Bluetooth and support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto increase the level of practicality. There’s no CD player, however, so if you still rely on compact discs for audio entertainment then it’s time to think about updating your music collection.
In the rear stalls there’s reasonable leg, head and shoulder room for a couple of adults, and seating is sufficiently comfortable. However, you’ll find more space in the back seats of some of the i30’s small car rivals, for example the Honda Civic. There’s also no rear air vents to help the occupants stay cool in the i30’s base models.
A centre armrest boosts comfort levels and adds a couple of cup holders, and this back row folds down in a 60/40 split if you want extra cargo space.
Speaking of cargo space, the i30’s boot has 395L of it, but this expands to 1,301L with the rear seats down. That’s pretty good for a car in this class, and there are loads of convenient storage pockets and hidey holes spread right throughout the interior.
From a safety perspective, 7 airbags and a 5-star ANCAP safety rating headline the i30’s list of features. However, it’s worth pointing out that this rating was based on tests of Hyundai’s Elantra, which shares key structural components and safety gear with its i30 stablemate. Electronic stability control (ESC), rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera are standard across all models, but you’ll need to step up to the Elite level or above to access a wider range of active safety technologies.
Top-spec models boast blind-spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, a lane-keeping assist system, forward collision warning and lane-change assist. A handy park assist system is also available in the Premium and SR Premium variants.
|Leather appointed seats||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Air ventilated and heated front seats||No||No||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Dual zone climate control with auto defog||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cruise control with steering wheel mounted controls||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Electronic park brake||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes (DCT only)||Yes|
|Panoramic glass sunroof||No||No||Optional extra||Yes||Optional extra||Yes|
|Smart key with push button start||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Engine immobiliser and anti-theft alarm||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Bluetooth phone connectivity||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Autonomous emergency braking||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes (DCT only)||Yes|
|Lane-keeping assist system||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes (DCT only)||Yes|
|Emergency stop signal||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cargo area (min/max)||395L/1,301L||395L/1,301L||395L/1,301L||395L/1,301L||395L/1,301L||395L/1,301L|
|Rear fog lights||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|LED daytime running lights||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
The finder score of 82.2% from the critics reveals that the i30 is one very refined package indeed. From its grown-up styling and pleasing handling performance to the feature-packed and thoughtfully designed interior, this is a small hatch that makes a big impression. And whether you’re after fuel efficiency, brisk performance or a cheaper price tag, there are engine/transmission/trim combos to suit a wide variety of drivers.
While there are some slight drawbacks, and you can also get behind the wheel of some of its competitors’ entry-level models for a little less coin, the Hyundai i30 garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews across the board. A 5-year unlimited-kilometre warranty and capped price servicing is offered across the range and increases the i30’s value for money appeal, and this Hyundai hatch shows that you don’t need to fork out big bucks to get a special vehicle.
We mentioned right at the top of this page that the small-car segment is hotly contested, and the i30 is facing a strong challenge from the Toyota Corolla and the Mazda 3. Just like the i30, each of these models has plenty of points in its favour, so it’s a good idea to test drive all three before deciding which one is right for you.