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Driven: Facelifted Hyundai i30 expands appeal

i for an i:The refreshed Hyundai i30 brings a reshuffled line-up and updated front-end styling that is similar to the Genesis luxury sedan and forthcoming Tucson SUV.

Better spec, diesel upgrade and cheaper SR boost Hyundai i30 but 3DR dropped


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10 Apr 2015

HYUNDAI’S i30 small car has undergone a makeover bringing more equipment, technology advances, cleaner engines, and broader SR performance options, but a cut in variant numbers means the three-door hatch models will not return to Australia.

While most five-door hatch prices remain the same as before, with the opening Active 1.8-litre petrol manual still kicking off from $20,990, plus on-road costs, the old mid-range Elite has been replaced by the new Active X, which brings matching features for $2500 less than before.

Additionally, the 2.0-litre petrol-engined SR warm hatch is now $2400 cheaper from $25,590 due to the release of a new lower-spec variant, with a better-equipped SR Premium stepping in for the discontinued Premium 1.8.

Starting from $30,590, it costs just $100 more but ushers in the SR’s power and suspension improvements.

These are the MLP Manufacturer’s List Prices, but Hyundai has also released driveaway pricing offers for April, with the Active at $19,990 and Active X at $22,990 driveaway.

Similarly, the revised 1.6-litre diesel variants, which usually attract a $2500 or $2600 premium over their petrol equivalents depending on transmission, are priced at $23,990, $24,990 and $33,990 driveaway, for the Active, Active X, and Premium with the dual-clutch transmission respectively. Auto adds $2000 where applicable.

A reversing camera, set within an updated multimedia screen offering internet radio app compatibility, is now standard across the range, which continues to score a five-star ANCAP crash-test result. A sign of the times, a CD player is no longer included.

The i30’s revised front end includes a larger and more hexagonal grille that better connects the three year old series to the newer Genesis, Sonata and Tucson, with higher-end variants also gaining LED daytime driving lights and tail-light inserts, among a list of minor range-wide trim changes that also includes restyled hubcaps and alloy wheels.

Meanwhile the i30 Series II Touring wagon versions will be launched in a few weeks owing to their sourcing from the Czech Republic rather than South Korea, with pricing details to be confirmed at a later date. The high cost of bringing in the three-door hatch from the same plant, combined with disappointingly low sales, is behind its permanent cancellation.

Still on series developments, as with all new i30s, the diesel gains Euro-V emissions certification, ditching the old six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission found in petrol models for Hyundai’s in-house first seven-speed DCT dual-clutch transmission (of the twin-plate dry clutch variety), boosting torque by 40Nm over the continuing six-speed manual diesel version in the process.

The result sees both U-II 1.6-litre CRDi common-rail direct-injection four-cylinder diesels deliver 100kW of power at 4000rpm (a 6kW boost), with the CRDi manual offering 260Nm from 1500-3500rpm and the CRDi DCT upping that to 300Nm between 1750-2500rpm.

The latter ushers in lower combined average fuel consumption numbers too, down from 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres to 4.9L/100km. Manuals rise slightly, to 4.6L/100km, however. Carbon dioxide emissions ratings are 125 and 129 grams/km respectively.

No obvious mechanical changes have occurred to the volume-selling Nu 1.8-litre four-cylinder twin-cam petrol unit, showing 107kW at 6500rpm and 175Nm at 4700rpm.

However, the SR’s 2.0-litre engine has suffered a 5kW and 8Nm power and torque loss, and is now at 124kW at 6500rpm and 201Nm at 4700rpm. Curiously, both are up to 0.2L/100km thirstier, with the 1.8 returning 7.0L/100km and 160g/km (auto: 7.3L/100km and 170g/km) and the 2.0 using 7.3L/100km and 170g/km (auto: 7.7L/100km and 179g/km).

Note that only the wagon has a multi-link IRS independent rear suspension set-up, ditching the cheaper torsion beam arrangement found in the five-door hatch since the GD series’ 2012 debut. All original FD models from 2007 came with IRS. All the South Korean-made five-door models underwent extensive Australian road condition tuning and refinement back in 2013.

Every i30 includes seven airbags, stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist, rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, power windows all round, a five-inch touchscreen multimedia system, and five-year warranty with lifetime capped-price servicing and 12-months roadside assistance.

The new Active X mid-ranger gains goodies like 16-inch alloys, leather trim on seats, wheel and gear knob, electrically folding exterior mirrors and fancier trim, and is expected to account for at least 50 per cent of all i30 volume.

The other newcomer, the lower-spec SR, loses out on its Premium sibling's High Intensity Discharge Xenon headlights, sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, electric park brake, powered driver’s seat, heated and vented seats, leather upholstery and fancier TFT LCD display screens, among other items.

In 2014, the i30 was the fourth most popular vehicle in Australia behind the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3 and Toyota HiLux. It is the second-highest selling nameplate in the company’s 29-year history in this country behind the Excel, approaching 190,000 vehicles.

As well as being the company's best seller in Australia in recent years, Australia is also the biggest market for the i30 worldwide.

2015 Hyundai i30 pricing*
Active $20,990
Active (a) $23,290
Active X $22,990
Active X (a) $24,390
SR $25,590
SR (a) $27,890
SR Premium $30,590
SR Premium (a) $32,890
Active CRDi $23,590
Active CRDi (a) $25,890
Active X CRDi $24,690
Active X CRDi (a) $26,990
Premium CRDi (a) $34,490
*Excluding on-road costs

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