• Reliable and cheap to maintain
  • Decent set of features for the price and spec
  • Overall decent car for your daily commute
  • The engine is sub par at best
  • Transmission tends to get confused in sports mode, especially at low speeds
  • Ride can be relatively harsh at times
5 Star

About the Hyundai i30

Menura L purchased this Hyundai i30 new with additional options for $29,990 (including all on-road costs). Menura L would buy this car again because: “Whilst it doesn’t excel in any specific area, overall the i30 Active is a surprisingly good hatch that offers excellent value for money. It won’t get your heart racing when you drive it, but for the buyer that needs a car to get from point A to B, the Active does a solid job of it. “

How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

While the review template says that we bought this car, it is actually a company car from my dad’s work (Hyundai/Kia Motors), and usually we’d get an SUV of some sort but due severe shortage of new cars (and the popularity of SUVs), they’ve been dishing out base spec vehicles.

That said, for the six or so months we’ve had it, it hasn’t put a foot wrong reliability wise. Everything you get with the car works and it works well. Reliability is usually a strong suit for Hyundais and Kias nowadays, from our experience at least.

Whilst our ownership may be slightly different to the regular buyer, the car is still the same. At no point in time have we had to take the car back for any issues or problems.

The car is still yet to reach the 15,000km/one year service interval but it is well and truly been ‘broken in’, having clocked up about 9300km mostly doing the work commute but it had copped a few harsh journeys thanks to my erratic driving.

Although there have been a few quality concerns regarding cheap interiors floating around on the internet, we are yet to experience anything wrong with our car. Overall, it’s what you’d expect from a modern Hyundai.

What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

The “ownership” experience has been excellent so far. As stated before we have had absolutely no reliability issues or quality concerns with the car. For the price, it has been an excellent daily driver and you get to see why they sell so well in our market.

Its small size makes navigating tight shopping centre carparks far easier and much more ‘nimble’ on the road especially in and around the city.

This car would make an ideal first new car for a P Plater who isn’t after the thrill of speed and just wants something relatively cheap, reliable and dare I say slightly fun (I’ll explain later on).

How has the purchase and aftercare experience been with your car?

As stated before we didn’t exactly purchase this car so I can’t exactly comment on the dealer experience. However, from past experience I can safely say that the aftercare support is excellent.

Before we were handed this car, we received a 2021 i30 Active and after a few days of use found there was a problem with the car as it didn’t turn on. The team at Hyundai were quick to get the car in for a check and found that something had eaten through a wiring harness.

This was all done within the span of half a day which was awesome. We were given the current car as a replacement.

The experiences we’ve had with Hyundai and Kia have been awesome and not to mention these cars comes with a five-year factory warranty. That gives extra peace of mind knowing they’ll look after you for a good portion of your ownership.

Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

In today’s new car market $30,000 usually doesn’t get you much, everything is stupidly expensive with the eye watering wait times and dealer mark-ups. In saying that, this car, for what is essentially a base spec, comes decently well equipped. I’ll put it like this, its got everything you need, and nothing you don’t.

It is very close to the bare bones of the i30 line-up and but you wouldn’t be able to tell unless you’re a car nerd.

The biggest and probably only sign that you’re sitting pretty low in the spec sheet is the assortment of blanked out buttons along the centre console and near the driver AC vent.

However, other than that the interior is cluttered with soft touch materials, mainly faux leather along the dashboard, door cards/handles and centre console bin lid and this really makes it a nice place to be. Being the Active, you get (faux) leather seats but that is probably the only noticeable difference between this and the pure base spec.

The boot is also generously sized and it has the ability to drop the rear seats in a 60-40 split to allow for more room. It also comes with a solid, good quality cargo blind.

You get cupholders in the centre console as well as the door bins both front and rear. In the rear you’ll find the flip down arm rest also has two cupholders and air con for the rear passengers as well as two seat pockets on the back of the front seats.

The front misses out on wireless charging (found on higher specs) but gets one USB charging port as well as a 12V outlet however the rear passengers miss out on these. Another small feature is all four windows are one touch wind up and down, which doesn’t sound like much but its a feature you’ll use the all the time without noticing.

On the outside you get a mix of LED and incandescent lighting. The coolest feature is the front indicators/day time running lights which consist of 10 individual LED. The main lights themselves are halogen and they do a decent job of lighting up the road, just not as well as LEDs would.

At the rear you find that the indicators, tail/brake lights and reverse lights are all incandescent. Finishing the exterior off you have 17-inch alloy wheels with a chrome/piano black finish.

As for the technology features, I’ll go into detail about them later on, but it should be noted you shouldn’t expect to get too many niceties for the sub-$30k price tag.

What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

Now it should be noted that this is not a sports oriented vehicle, far from it. The 2.0L is getting quite old but it does the job the car is intended for. However it tends to be pretty gutless at times and you really have to rev it out to get it going as most of the very little power and torque it has is rather high up in the rev range, as shown by the official figures (120kW @ 6200rpm & 203Nm @ 4700rpm).

Additionally you have three engine modes; Normal, Eco and Sport.

Normal tends to work the best as an all-rounder giving you really good fuel economy but gives a slight punch off the line from a standstill. In fact it’s so good it almost renders Eco redundant as I am yet to see a massive difference in fuel economy.

Eco really dulls down the throttle and makes the car feel extra sluggish and as mentioned doesn’t do too much to help the economy.

Sport really brings the engine to life, although probably not in the way you want it. In this mode, the throttle response is sharper and it will happily let the engine rev out beyond 5000rpm at times and it does add that punchiness the car generally lacks.

However you’ll find that this mode makes little to no sense at low speeds. The car will hold high revs for slow speeds and it feels as if the gearbox is forced to do this as a means of making it feel sporty instead of being intuitive and picking a higher gear.

To make the most of this mode you’d need to put the car into its sequential mode and shift the gears yourself as the gearbox itself does a pretty poor job of it. Unless you’re on a winding road where you are constantly accelerating and decelerating, I’d recommend keeping the car in its Normal setting.

As for the fuel economy itself, we find it tends to sit between the 7.3L – 8.9L per 100km mark for a combined trip of highway and city driving but it will easily climb especially if you thrash it in sports mode.

It’s definitely not the best economy for car of its size and if you are purely after saving your hard earned cash, especially in the long run, a Corolla Hybrid is the way to go.

What do you think of the technology in your car?

As mentioned before, for the sub $30k price tag you don’t exactly get all the bells and whistles.

The car comes standard with a rather basic but very usable 8.0-inch colour display with shortcut buttons on either side and its biggest advantage over the 10.25-inch unit is the fact that it supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as a wireless integration, a feature that is still not very common even amongst cars priced at double that of the i30.

Additionally you get a 7.0-inch digital gauge cluster and while it’s not very customisable, it gives you all the information you need and is controlled via the steering wheel. You’ll find that physical buttons still control functions such as AC which is single zone only.

Finishing it off is a six-speaker sound system that also does the job but isn’t great in term of sounds quality.

The car also comes equipped with what is essentially semi autonomous driving in the form of lane-keep assist and radar/active cruise control. Whilst autonomous driving isn’t the intended use for these features and you should never rely on it to do so, they do work very well together especially on highways and the car does a good job of keeping you between your lanes and at a consistent distance behind the car in front, slowing you down when necessary in a slow and gradual manner unless overridden by the AEB.

However I’ve found the lane assist function tends to get confused on roads that are poorly marked or at night but otherwise works well.

As for safety, the car does come standard with front AEB as well as your standard rear parking sensors and reverse camera but misses out on blind-spot monitoring and extra safety equipment such as rear AEB. As mentioned before lane-keep assist and radar cruise come standard too.

What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

The i30 hatch variants miss out on the Aussie ride and handling tuning the sedans get. The ride is on the firmer side of comfortable and you can feel it on the road. It manages to filter out most smaller bumps but does let some bigger hits through into the cabin and the use of the 17-inch wheels adds to this.

However this slightly stiffer tune means the i30 performs surprisingly well in the corners and the front remains rather planted (for a car such as this). There is also a surprising lack of body roll into corners. Otherwise, there isn’t a whole lot to write about

The seats are also comfortable and have good adjustability and the steering column also has reach and tilt adjustment to help get into that perfect position.

Whilst the car has the capability of seating five, I would not recommend taking three adults in the back as it is anything but comfortable (trust me I’ve tried). The rear seats will comfortably seat two adults or three younger children at best (without booster seats).

Whilst driving, the cabin is also quiet, the car has little road noise and very little wind noise and it makes for a comfortable and refined ride. That said, when you do give it some right foot the engine can get thrashy and the rev-happy engine is definitely noticeable under heavier throttle applications.

Do you have any additional comments about your car?

Overall the i30 Active isn’t a bad car for its intended use. Whilst it’s not the best engine, transmission pairing or tune and sometimes the ride can be harsh, there’s a lot of positives especially for something in this price range.

The car comes decently kitted with technology and safety features and it really doesn’t have the base spec look to it.

However, if you truly are considering something in the i30 line-up and you are willing to stretch the budget a little bit more, my pick would be the i30 N Line as that has a far better engine, transmission combo (also comes in manual!).

Or if a slightly nicer interior is what you’re after the i30 Elite is the way to go. If not you could save yourself a couple grand and go for the true base spec i30 which still comes with everything you need, and nothing you don’t.

Also on CarExpert
Overall Rating

Ride & Handling7.4
Price & Features7.3
Purchase & Aftercare10
Performance & Economy6.4
Ownership Experience8.5