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2017 Hyundai i30 Review: First Drive


Good points

  • A much more sophisticated i30
  • Big dynamic improvements
  • Strong value in SR model

Needs work

  • Non-SRs miss independent rear
  • Bit thirstier than the competition
  • No AEB on base car yet
2017 Hyundai i30 SR Premium Side Profile Driving

When you make a car that is, in many months, Australia’s best-selling model, getting an all-new generation right is critical. That’s true of the 2017 Hyundai i30 – and in launching the hotly-anticipated hatchback into the Australian market this week, the South Korean brand pushed that in moving from the well-liked GD to the new PD generation, improvements in five key areas have been targeted. These are design, dynamics, safety, comfort and value – but out on the road, the new i30 adds up to quite a bit more than the sum of those worthy upgrades. By a considerable margin, the 2017 i30 is the most sophisticated small car ever to come out of Korea, and a real improvement on the car it replaces.

However, the new car needs to be sophisticated. In a bold move, Hyundai say they’re abandoning the $19,990 driveaway price for the i30 in Australia, with the base model now, effectively, a few thousand dollars dearer on the road. However, the Active base model is now one of the most full-featured variants in its class, with standard big-screen navigation and attractive alloy wheels making it appear more mid-range than entry-level.

While the i30 range isn’t arranged as clearly as it could be – the base model leads to a split lineup with a pair of sporty SR models, and opposite, a pair of comfort-oriented diesel variants – the new i30 arrives with plenty of choice for buyers with five models stretching from a $20,950 two-litre base manual, to two $33,950 range-toppers: one a diesel, the other turbo petrol.

Later, Hyundai will branch out into proper performance territory with an i30 N variant to arrive in Australia later this year, promising power somewhere north of 200kW. And the N will truly be something to look forward to, because the combination of Hyundai’s global design efforts and the brand’s formidable Australian-specific engineering tuning shop have created a hatchback that is dynamically sorted, with decent engines, pleasant steering, and an impressive ride quality in both the sporty SR models, which gain independent rear suspension, and the rest of the range, which retains an old-school, cost-effective torsion bar rear.

Chasing Cars drove the 2017 Hyundai i30 in each engine guise at the car’s Australian media launch in northern Victoria.

2017 Hyundai i30 SR Premium Rear End Driving

Key specs (as tested)

Single turbocharger
150kW at 6,000rpm
265Nm between 1,500-4,500rpm
Dual clutch
Power to weight ratio
112kW / tonne
Fuel type
Fuel capacity
50 litres
Average Range
666 kilometres
Front wheel drive
Engine configuration
4.34 metres
1.80 metres
1.46 metres
Unoccupied weight
1,344 kilograms
Cargo space seats up
395 litres
Cargo seats down
1,301 litres

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