THERE is a reason Hyundai’s i30 has given Toyota’s Corolla and Mazda’s Mazda3 a hammering in the sales race: it is a really nice piece of kit.
That’s it. It is bolted together extremely well, it has all the features that make buyers smile, its ride and handling is locally sorted and it drives like a far more expensive car.
Hyundai also puts a remarkably appealing cherry on top of the impressive icing covering its nicely satisfying cake: the price.
Despite all of that, a few still find the i30 lacking that certain something and for that modestly sized mob Hyundai has come up with a solution: Series II i30 SR.
SR is the family’s halo model, the upmarket jigger with a load of good equipment and the wherewithal to enjoy being given a good workout whenever the need arises.
Its big ticket items are the things that make potential buyers smile and say: “I can get that for how much?”
It rolls, for example, on sexy 17-inch alloys, dark grey jiggers wrapped in 225/45R17 sports rubber.
There is a new SR-only hero colour called Phoenix Orange (a $495 option) and inside it gets nicely grippy sports bucket seats finished in black with red trim on the prominent bolsters and red stitching for the seats, steering wheel and front door armrests.
The finisher is the bit you can’t really see, the suspension which has not only been tuned for Australian roads but also to work with the big wheels and wide tyres.
Sorry, but it gets the same package as the regular i30 models, with not even a raspy exhaust note to let people know it’s a bit different. But at least the six-speed automatic gets steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for those times drivers have a Dani Sordo moment.
Motivation comes from a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder punching-out 124kW of power and 201Nm of torque – a reasonable amount of energy for a small, well-appointed hatchback.
This latest i30 iteration is a big car made small. The cabin is roomy and impressively quiet, the suspension manages to work well for both ride and handling, and actual passenger comfort is first class.
On the road
MacPherson front strut and torsion beam rear suspension is not exactly high-tech but it has been set up very nicely for both ride comfort and handling. The electric power steering is impressively free from vagueness and has a pleasing accuracy about it.
Don’t expect a run-of-the-mill performance from this i30. It’s surprisingly sporty and relishes the opportunity to attack the bends.
What do you get?
Lesser-grade i30s are already well-equipped, so think dress-ups for SR. The big wheels and tyres, sports bucket seats, reworked suspension with a full pack of chassis electronics, standard dual-zone air-con and push-button starting.
SR Premium adds satellite navigation and a panoramic sunroof is a $2000 option on both SR and SR Premium.
This is a generously proportioned five-door hatchback that is 4300mm long, 1780mm wide and 1470mm high. The cargo area varies between 378litres and 1316litres. It is as practical as small hatchbacks get.
Let’s be realistic. It’s a Hyundai i30 so sits low on a scale of one to cool. The dress-up items help a bit but the car will win hearts in other ways. Put another way, the kids won’t clamour to be dropped at school in it but Rover will when he needs to be taken to the park.
Hyundai’s i30 has been a great value-for-money prospect for a long time and one with loads of kit without a huge price addition is not about to alter its likeability factor.
Model: Hyundai i30 Series II SR and SR Premium.
Engine: 2.0 litre, inline four-cylinder with double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing and direct fuel-injection. 124kW of power at 6500rpm, 201Nm of torque at 4700rpm.
Transmissions: Six-speed manual, six-speed auto.
Fuel consumption: 7.3 litres/100km (manual), 7.7 litres/100km (automatic).
Bottom line plus on-roads: SR manual: $26,550, SR automatic: $28,850. SR Premium manual: $31,250. SR Premium automatic: $33,550. Metallic/mica paint adds $495, Panoramic sunroof adds $2000
What matters most
What we like: SR is a nicely rounded package that builds on the impressive i30 foundation. The interior is nicely laid out and pleasantly free of ornamentation and the car is an enjoyable thing to live with.
What we would like to see: Sausages need sizzle and cars with jazzy wheels and “SR” badges need to be a cut above the rest. A sporty exhaust note, a little more power, a few millimetres off the ground clearance, a more aggressive body kit – or all of the above.
Warranty and servicing: Lifetime Service Plan, five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, 12-months complimentary roadside assistance, 10-year roadside support, sat-nav update plan.
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