HYUNDAI is hoping the all-new i30 hatchback launched this week will sweeten the taste buds of small-car buyers with its European design influence, diesel engine option and Australian suspension tuning.
The i30 was penned at Hyundai’s Russelheim design centre in Germany specifically for the European market. Its model name heralds a new naming convention for all upcoming Hyundai models in Europe.
In Australia, the five-door i30 will serve Hyundai as a useful adjunct to the Elantra sedan.
The small-car segment under $40,000 is currently the biggest in the Australian passenger-car market, running at 21.5 per cent.
The top seller, the Toyota Corolla, is second only to Commodore in the overall sales tally in the 2007 year-to-date figures.
Hyundai made changes to the i30 to ensure it had the best chance of taking a fair slice of the market.
Australian-spec models have a suspension tune that was developed by Hyundai locally during the i30’s development phase, with changes to the springs, damper valving, anti-roll bars and revised mapping for the electronic power steering’s control unit.
Hyundai claims that the local improvements to the i30’s European suspension tune better absorb bumps on our rough roads. New Zealand also gets the Aussie-tuned suspension.
The i30 employs all-independent coil spring suspension with McPherson struts at the front and an upper/lower arm at the rear. The rear dampers are fitted independently of the springs to maximise cargo-carrying capacity.
The i30 is powered by either a 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder or a 1.6-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine. Both are available with a five-speed manual driving though the front wheels.
A four-speed manual-mode automatic is available for the 2.0 for an additional $2000 but the CRDi will not be available as an auto until next year.
The CRDi’s 1.6-litre develops peak power of 85kW at 4000rpm and 255Nm of torque between 1900rpm and 2750rpm.
The engine is a 16-valve, common-rail unit with a variable vane turbocharger and low-friction balancer shaft. According to the ADR 81/01 test, the i30 achieves 4.7L/100km.
The 2.0-litre petrol engine is a derivative of Hyundai’s “Beta” engine, and is a 16-valve, DOHC CVVT inline four-cylinder that develops 105kW at 6000rpm and 186Nm at 4600rpm. Fuel consumption is 7.2L/100km for the manual and 7.6L/100km for the auto.
Hyundai claims that it has paid special attention to quality of interior materials to ensure it conveys a “European” feel.
The i30 measures 4245mm long, 1765mm wide and 1480mm high and carries 340 litres of load volume with the rear seats upright or 1250 litres with the rear seats folded.
Three specification grades are offered for the i30: SX, SLX and SR. The SX comes with four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and EBD, 15-inch wheels, dual airbags, air-conditioning, power windows, height- and reach-adjustable steering, anti-whiplash front head restraints, remote central locking with alarm, an MP3/WMA-compatible AM/FM radio and CD player with iPod and USB interfaces.
The SLX can be distinguished on the outside by its 16-inch alloy wheels fitted to 205-section tyres, front foglights and body-coloured doorhandles.
Inside, the SLX adds front, side and side curtain airbags, cruise control (2.0 petrol only), climate-control air-conditioning, leather-clad steering wheel with audio and cruise controls (2.0 petrol only), leather and alloy-look gearshift knob, alloy-look inserts in centre console and steering wheel, a trip computer, rear seat fold-down centre armrest with twin cupholders and additional twin tweeter speakers.
The range-topping SR variant adds standard traction and stability control, 17-inch chrome-finish alloys fitted with 225/45 tyres, a bodykit comprising side skirts and rear roof spoiler, a boot luggage net and leather-trimmed seat bolsters, door trim inserts, and alloy sports pedals with rubber inserts.
The audio unit is an in-dash six-CD stacker with digital external amplifier.
The SR has stability control and traction control as standard, and Hyundai has what it calls a Protectz pack for SX, which for $1790 adds ESC, traction control and curtain and front-side airbags.
On SLX, which already has the side and side curtain airbags, a Protectz pack adds ESC and TCS for $990. Metallic or mica paint adds $300 to all models.