Hyundai: 2015 i30 Series II Diesel Elite review

Hyundai: 2015 i30 Series II Diesel Elite review

The i30 has been given a mild cosmetic update to freshen up its appeal in the showroom, plus some mechanical updates to increase power from 94kW to 100kW and improve fuel economy from 5.6l/100km down to 4.9l/100km.

Back in 2012 when I drove the previous model from Auckland to Napier and back, I said there was nothing to worry about – it was practical with a good warranty and excellent interior storage.

Hyundai i30 Elite 2015 front interiorThe main change is a move to a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox which does swap gears very quickly and allows for manual control. It’s lighter than the previous 6-speed automatic and is coupled to a 1.6-litre 16-valve 4-cylinder diesel with a variable geometry turbo.

The acceleration is nothing to write home about; engine noise is minimally intrusive in the cabin. On rough surfaces there’s a bit of tyre roar.

If you want to drown any engine or road noise out, Hyundai i30 Elite 2015 dashboardgone is the CD player of the previous model; instead, you can stream audio from your smartphone. There’s a 5-inch touchscreen which looks small in comparison with competitors’ models, and if you want a 7-inch screen you need to go for the petrol Elite Limited.

Interior storage is excellent. The boot is 378 litres, and you can fold the rear seats flat to create a large cargo area. Legroom in the rear is quite reasonable for such a short car.

The driving position required me to have the steering wheel pulled out as far as possible to feel comfortable. The seats have plenty of side bolstering and the seat squab is firm but not overly so. The driver and front seat passenger have 2-stage seat heaters which are sufficiently fierce on a chilly night. The air conditioning is dual zone, too.

My only gripe with driving the i30 is the spongy steering wheel feel. There are three mode (Flex Hyundai i30 Elite 2015 rear quartersteer) comprising Comfort (too light), Sport (far too weighted to the centre), and Normal (OK but not that precise).

The exterior has had a tasteful cosmetic upgrade. New 17-inch alloys are understated, the grille is more prominent and not a whole lot else has changed. There’s still a strong crease line running through the door handles and down the arc of the rear lights giving the i30 a very forward-leaning stance.

I see the i30 as being like the Suzuki Swift and the Toyota Hilux. Their dominance meant that they didn’t innovate fast enough, they didn’t fix what wasn’t broken and, consequently the Ford Ranger is now noticeably better than the Hilux and the Mazda2 is now considerably better than the Swift.

While the i30 was never streets ahead of the competition in its last iteration, it did have an opportunity to surge ahead. Undoubtedly the new i30 is slightly better than the old one and it’s likely to continue to be popular because it lacks any major flaws.

Today is a different vehicle landscape to what it was back in 2012, though. The i30 hasn’t leapt forward like some of the competitors have and, with some sharp pricing out there, the i30 will have to work a lot harder.

While it’s arguably better than the Corolla, which has lost its way, it’s in the wake of the Mazda3. As there will be several years until another facelift, the i30 is at risk of being left out in the cold.

Price: $43,990

Pros

  • Better gearbox
  • It’s still a decent family hatchback

Cons

  • Steering feel
  • Hasn’t leapt forwards enough


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