• Fuel economy when driven sedately is phenomenal
    • Performance on offer is fun at any speed
    • Hyundai N events and track warranty
    • Tyre noise can get...err...noisy
    • Slightly cramped rear seats when seated behind giants
    • Overly-enthusiastic steering assist
    Not tested

    About the Hyundai i30

    Degan E purchased this Hyundai i30 new with additional options for $57,000 (including all on-road costs). Degan E would buy this car again because: “It offers the ability to dial up anything from a tech-laden, comfortable, fuel-efficient daily commuter with some personality, to a weekend mountain-pass-mauling weapon. It really is a bit of a choose-your-own adventure, all dependent on your mood behind the wheel at any given point in time. “

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

    Except for a family of rats that decided to feast on a sensor wire and purchase some prime real estate under my engine cover, extremely reliable, although I’d expect nothing less from a car less than six months old with a little over 5000km on the clock.

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

    It’s been a pleasure to own and drive so far. It’s been used as a daily commuter, multiple rug rat family hauler, road tripper, and back road blaster, and has handled all I’ve thrown at it with aplomb.

    Good word that, aplomb! The only thing it could do with is a touch more rear legroom for the poor human sitting behind my six-and-a-half-foot frame, but it’s still pretty spacious for what is categorised as a small to medium sedan, with enough space in the boot to swallow prams, shopping, umbrellas, car care products, and a smattering of random kids’ toys, shoes and clothes.

    The burgeoning community of Nthusiasts and regular N Owners events and offers really help you explore the car, make new friends and experience things normally reserved for owners of cars significantly more expensive.

    The fact the five-year warranty extends to non-timed track workouts is just icing on the cake.

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

    While I won’t delve too deeply into the purchase experience for fear of triggering some automotive PTSD, I’ve not experienced the same level of arrogance, indifference and downright rudeness from a dealer before.

    Scarcity of the desired configuration was the ONLY reason I went ahead with the purchase.

    The aftercare has been a bit of a mixed bag, too. The initial ‘complimentary’ 1000km service was the automotive equivalent of slapping a cow on the rump and calling it ‘medium rare’ and god-forbid you would ask them to check anything outside of the service book for peace of mind, let alone update the head unit software so you could enjoy some full-screen Android Auto action!

    In complete contrast to this was the handling of the free-loading rodents (mentioned in ‘reliability’ above) situation.

    Once the booking was made, the level of communication and service from the service manager (at a different dealer from the purchase) was spot on and exactly what I would expect for a new car with issues so early on in its warranty period and the main reason why this will be my preferred service centre for the remainder of the warranty period.

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

    With stock levels for my desired configuration pretty low, and wait times blowing out to almost 12 months at the time of purchase, I probably paid about $2k more than I should have, but a small price to pay (literally) for a test drive to pick up time of three days.

    It’s clear that there has been some cost-cutting going on at Hyundai, particularly in the interior materials used. There are plenty of hard scratchy plastics across the interior, but it’s still a nice place to spend time.

    Comfortable, supportive seats, killer leather steering wheel and some led lighting strips go some way to hiding the shame of the fingerprint concerto you’ve inevitably composed on the large slabs of piano black plastic on the centre console and infotainment screen.

    At this price point, the only other things I would probably expect as standard that are missing would be adaptive cruise and a heads-up display, neither of which were deal breakers for me, obviously. I have adaptive cruise in another car and it’s great until you find yourself sitting 10 below the speed limit.

    Heads-up would be great though, both from a safety perspective and would add a little something extra to the performance side of the car, particularly for those Nthusiast track days.

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

    Considering there was little to no consideration given to the fuel economy figures when researching, test driving, and purchasing this car, I have been utterly astounded by the fuel economy figures I’ve been seeing from a car with barely 5000km on the clock.

    On a 90-minute trip to Melbourne on a full tank in peak-hour traffic, I’ve managed 5.5L/100km a couple of times, but regularly see low to mid 6s. Even when the right foot starts feeling frisky, I’ve not seen anything over about 9L/100km which, given the performance on offer, is more than acceptable.

    It’s also welcome, as this thing has one of the smallest fuel tanks I’ve ever heard of in a performance car of this size, at 47 litres. Fuel economy and tank size combine for an average of about 550-600kms to a tank. Not too shabby.

    As mentioned above, it’s clear there have been some cost-cutting decisions made on the interior and some tech inclusions. What’s also clear is that those savings have been poured into the performance side of the equation of this car.

    Having only owned and driven a couple of ‘semi’ performance cars prior to this (WRX, Mk5 R32 and a VF2 SSV Redline), I’ll admit I always thought of front-wheel drive cars as half-baked, poor mans’ performance cars.

    Typically, in my mind at least, they were understeer monsters, with 0-100 times that were borderline embarrassing for anyone wanting to impress at the traffic light grand prix.

    Not so here. 0-100 in 5.3 seconds, which is plenty fast for mere mortals such as me. And yes, of course, there is some scrabble under power from the off (206kW and close to 400Nm of Torque through the front wheels will do that).

    There is understeer at the limit, but that limit is so high thanks to the LSD trickery and a decent set of tyres, that you need to be travelling at speeds well above the posted limit to induce it. If you’re doing that, well, you should really probably be heading to a track day. Something I intend to do at the annual Hyundai N Festival later this year.

    In the meantime, I’ll simply dial up my Custom N settings (suspension and steering in comfort, everything else maxed out, in case you’re wondering) and chase the snaps, crackles and pops of the, frankly obnoxious, exhaust on my favourite back roads.

    Overall, a massive tick for both economy and performance and a big reason why I’m loving this car so much. In short, big smiles on the dial.

    What do you think of the technology in your car?

    I’m a bit of a tech nerd, so this thing really fits the bill. As mentioned above, the omission of Adaptive Cruise and Heads-up is a minor annoyance, the rest of the car full of all the good things.

    The digital dash, which is customised for each drive mode (I particularly like the flame animations when you flick it into N mode) is crisp and gives you all the information you need. Android Auto is wired, meh, but this is easily fixed with an aftermarket wireless dongle, if you’re into dongles.

    One thing to note if you are a dongle fan, battery drain from phone connection to the dongle renders the charging from the wireless charging pad redundant and the phone gets bloody hot!

    The stereo quality is only average and could do with being a little louder and having a bit more bass, which is slightly disappointing, but I believe there is an amp upgrade that solves both those issues.

    The eight-speed wet clutch DCT is a pretty refined little thing. It has a little bit of elastic feel off the line in anything other than N mode, but once on the go shifts are barely perceptible, making commuting quite a relaxing proposition. It does have a hill hold function, but this doesn’t seem to function until you’re on quite an incline. A gentle slope like my driveway will see you have a little bit of roll back/forward, but this is easily conquered with a bit of old-school handbrake start, which is achievable because it has an old-school hand brake! Remember those?!

    Safety tech is well catered for too, with AEB, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and steering assist, rear cross-traffic alert, safe exit warning, which mostly all work as well as you’d expect.

    The one gripe here is the lane departure and steering assist function which are, at best very annoying and, at worst, potentially dangerous, almost steering me into the truck at 100km/h in the left-hand lane when I moved to the edge of the right lane to overtake on the freeway in the wet. Scary stuff. Fortunately, it can be turned off. Unfortunately, this needs to be done each time you start the car. Overall, auto tech nerd satisfied, nervy rug rat Dad anxiety level low.

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

    As mentioned above, there have been monies reassigned from the ‘refinement and quality’ bucket into the ‘performance’ bucket and this is evident from the driver’s seat (and every other seat come to think of it).

    While it was a sacrifice I was willing to make, if it’s refinement and serenity you’re after in your next car, to paraphrase the great Obi-Wan, this is not the automobile you’re looking for. Might I suggest a trip to your local Lexus dealer?

    There is very noticeable tyre roar on most surfaces at highway speeds, making the inevitable never-ending debates with back-seat mini-humans as to why Amy Shark is a better option than Baby Shark a noisy and headache-inducing proposition and can make for a less than serene ride without the stereo pumped to compensate.

    Despite its performance chops, although it is firmer than your average family sedan, it always feels secure and stable and never skittish, even in inclement weather. The level of adjustability in the steering, suspension, exhaust, engine and transmission, along with the very comfy faux leather seats (heated and cooled in the front) make this a very comfy car to travel long distances, even with a full family onboard. It might even make you want to take the scenic route to your destination!

    Overall Rating

    Ride & Handling9
    Price & Features8.5
    Purchase & Aftercare6.5
    Performance & Economy10
    Ownership Experience9.8