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Hyundai launches i30 to SA

2010-03-23 06:34

Hailey Philander

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Hyundai
Model i30
Engine 1.6 and 2.0 petrol with DOHC and 16-valve
Power 89 @ 6 200 r/min; 105 @ 6 000 r/min
Torque 153 @ 4 200 r/min; 186 @ 4 600 r/min
Transmission five-speed manual
Top Speed 188 km/h; 195 km/h
Fuel Tank 53 l
Fuel Consumption 8.6 l/100 km; 7.5 l/100 km
Boot Size 340 l
Steering power assisted motor driven power steering system
ABS with ABS, EBD and ESP
Airbags front, side and curtain
Tyres 205/55 R16; 225/45 R17
Front Suspension McPherson struts with coil springs and anti roll bar
Rear Suspension multi-link with coil springs and anti-roll bar
Service Intervals 15 000 km
Service Plan five year/100 000 km
Warranty five year/150 000 km
Let the family hatchback wars begin! Hyundai is stirring things up with the attractive and budget friendly i30 range. 

Following i10 and i20 introductions to South Africa, the next model in is the i30. First launched about three years ago, the high cost of importing would have killed the budget-friendly trump card Hyundai usually pulls. So the car’s South African introduction was stalled – until now.

Entering the crowded sub-compact segment, Hyundai has big hopes of taking on the class leading Golf 6 (which, it was recently announced, is also the most recent Car of the Year winner).

We think that mighty ambitious, although of course, it does not mean there’s no market at all for the latest addition to the Hyundai line-up. The i30 continues with the hard sell on big value, offering the space and comfort of a car in the sub-compact segment, but with high specification at extremely reasonable prices.

Something "different"

It’s also targeted at those buyers who would like something “different” and understandably, makes the job of those shopping around in this segment that much tougher.

i30 is the first C-segment hatchback for Hyundai, and will be marketed alongside the decidedly less glamorous Elantra sedan. The Elantra range continues unchanged.

The new model shows off the attractive new Hyundai face first seen on its smaller siblings, although this will be taken up another notch still when the ix35 is introduced here soon.

Until then, the i30 details a low bonnet leading to a gently raked A pillar and a largely inoffensive side view with neat upswept detailing of the glasshouse from the C pillar onwards. Clever detailing includes the electrically folding side mirrors with integrated repeaters.

The bold taillight cluster makes the car stand out, although its resemblance to the rear end of the BMW 1 Series is truly uncanny…

All eyes are expected to be on the i30, which comes with a raft of equipment, two petrol engines and a decent price tag. It doesn’t drive too badly, either.

Two engines

Power is supplied by either a 1.6-litre or a 2.0-litre with a five-speed manual gearbox feeding power to the front wheels on both. Outputs are 89 kW and 153 Nm for the smaller engine, while the range-topper’s powerplant produces 105 kW and 186 Nm.  The 2.0-litre comes with variable valve timing for better efficiency and more flexibility. 

The i30 comes with fully independent rear suspension, something previously reserved for only the top performers in this segment, and it comes across in a ride that is pliable and comfortable. We were not really called to test the cars’ dynamic ability since the launch route was mostly flat and straight, but it’s assumed this car will spend most of its time on the suburban run. Here, the i30 should excel at its tasks.

Although i30’s wheelbase is a generous 2 650 mm long, short overhangs result in an overall length that is just over 4 240 mm. This makes i30 shorter than most of its rivals and the car feels physically smaller when driving it, too. 

However, piloting the i30 is a mostly pleasurable experience with a cabin environment that is uncluttered (the blue backlighting adds a nice touch) with the metallic finishes kept to a minimum.

Generally, the cars felt rather refined with shift action through the manual gearboxes notchy, but accurate. As for performance, both the 1.6 and 2.0 offered a fair amount of go, although at the higher altitude the 1.6 seemed to run out of breath fairly easily. However, at the price, many people may be happy to spend time on the far right lane for limited periods only.  

On bad roads, the McPherson front and multi-link rear suspension does a good job of soaking up the bumps. Steering feel via the MDPS motor driven power steering system is good, too.

Safe and sound

On the safety front, all i30s comes with six airbags, disc brakes all round with ABS, ESP and EBD, and active headrests.  

The level of standard equipment is astounding. The 1.6 comes with alloy wheels, leather upholstery and trim, height and reach adjustable steering, multi-function steering wheel, an audio system with USB and auxiliary inputs, electro-chromatic rearview mirror, auto-locking doors, automatic air conditioning and power windows all round.

The only items added on the 2.0-litre, apart from the more powerful engine of course, are cruise control and an electric sunroof with tilt and slide functions.

At second glance and with a very competitive sticker price, the i30 range makes a compelling argument. It’s attractively styled, is comfortable for both the driver and passengers, and comes with a five-year service plan.

The choice between a 1.6 and 2.0 with one gearbox may appear limiting, but the pragmatic Hyundai feels it is on to something. A turbodiesel engine and an automatic gearbox are under consideration for South Africa, though. Unfortunately, a hot hatch in the vein of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST or Mazda3 MPS is not an option with this i30.

We don’t see the Hyundai loyal being to disturbed by this news, even if the i30 took some time to arrive in South Africa. As a value-for-money option in a crowded family hatchback market, the i30 stands out. 


1.6 - R189 900
2.0 – R229 900


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