Hyundai’s i30 is no pretender as it has class in pocket.

20121203_085714There’s a good reason why the Hyundai i30 is so highly regarded and a multiple award winner. It’s a class car in a pocket size. Handling, ride, interior feel, stylish exterior, nifty features such as a hidden reverse camera. With much the same underpinnings as the Elantra, recently awarded Car of the Year by Joel Helmes and his team at “Behind the Wheel”, it’s a fun car to drive.

A Wheel Thing spent week 3 of the Korean Sojourn, before moving onto the i40, with the i30 diesel Premium. Ride is firm, with plenty of grip under normal and somewhat sporting driving. The nose will push out in corners and roundabouts, with grip still there but not quite velcro like. With the firm suspension and 17 inch wheels, (lovely chrome inserts too!) riding on 225/45 tyres, smaller bumps intrude however there is a measure of compliance initially. The demonic speed humps that infest carparks and some roads are felt in more detail but there’s no rebound or po-going.

The specification level on this car is high, very high. Luxury features like a full panoramic glass sunroof, electronic park brake, rear seat cooling, keyless entry and start/stop plus folding miors (on approach will unfold, fold in on lock) and some well padded and supportive leather seats plus more airbags than a competent driver should need available across the three model range, it matches well against sterling opposition such as the Mazda 3.20121203_085702

The exterior design is part of Hyundai’s “Fluid Design” philosopy, as described in the review of the Santa Fe Elite. I have to say the metallic light aqua blue would not be my choice and doesn’t flatter the body at all. the wheels have a classy looking chrome inlay; they certainly garnered a measure of attention in a postive way. Under the bonnet in the Premuim is a 1.6L diesel, driving a six speed auto with manual shift, torquing out 260Nm from 1900rpm to 2750rpm while power peaks at 94kW @ 4000 rpm. It’s quick off the mark and sprints to freeway speeds pretty rapidly. The torque appears to taper off rapidly after 3000rpm, meaning overtaking needs to be more finely judged. Economy averaged out at just over 7.0L/100kms.

Ergomically, from the driver’s view, the dash is up to date with the centre readout also featuring a pictograph of the car, with a multifunction display operated from steering wheel mounted buttons. 20121203_085803The steering itself is multifunction with the same three mode choices (Normal, Comfort, Sport) as found on the Santa Fe, plus features an improved contact setup for audio and bluetooth for both phone and audio streaming. The centre console features the same look through structure under the dash, with iPod and USB connectivity. The seating, as mentioned, is comfortable, supportive, with electric adjustment and heating plus flat folding rear seats. Luggage space is fine and obviously increases with the seats down. The rear hatch door houses a rear reversing camera which shows the image on the seven20121203_085733 inch TFT screen; the camera itself is neatly hidden under the Hyundai badge, which pops open when reverse is selected.

20121203_085820Interior room is more than ample and, an added bonus, the driver and passenger door open wider than expected, allowing easier access for those that need it. It sounds.looks like something simple but it’s the engineering thoughtfulness that win.

It’s hard to pinpoint any one thing that makes the i30 the winner that it is; it’s certainly that and with the sum of its parts adding up to more than its whole, it’s no surprise the i30 is definitely a class in pocket (size).

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