Hyundai i30 2.0 Elite 2008 Review

Hyundai i30 2.0 Elite 2008 Review

Hyundai i30 Elite rq

Sitting firmly in my aging Generation-X bracket I’m trying to get my grey matter working enough to think what it will be like for the next generation. Hard, but in a comfortable way, I’d say. My first computer, when I was eight, had 48kb of RAM, so I’ve seen the progression and kept up with the technology. Someone born today has to learn a huge amount of information to even get context around basic everyday tasks. They know what a bug is in a computer program, but not why it’s called that.

Tomorrow’s generation will be Generation-Q. Generation-Q will constantly want everything faster, but will deal in a world so complex that many things get slower. The Q is for Queue; especially in traffic. But for now, Hyundai thinks we’re in Generation-i. We have iPod, iPhone, and it seems like many of the kids that sit in this generation are very much in the mode of “iWant”. Uh oh, a child of the 70s starts to sound crotchety.

Hyundai could be accused of trying to steal Mitsubishi’s thunder, naming its car the i30. It says it’s for the next generation of drivers, but Mitsubishi’s tiny i-car (click for review) came out in 2006. Is Hyundai behind? Certainly the i30 was worth waiting for as it sits near the top of the small car segment in terms of driveability and value for money.

One of my motoring writer compatriots wrote something like ‘It’s the best small car, ever.’ Well, that might be a bit steep because it’s got some stiff competition in the form of the Subaru Impreza, Ford Focus, Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, etc. But it is very good, actually making some of the competition look decidedly tired.

What you get for your money is a range that starts with a manual 1.6 through to two-litre automatic with lots of bells and whistles.

Our top-of-the-line 105kW, 186Nm, two-litre Elite with its four-speed automatic and leather interior is no speed machine, but it handles exceptionally well. Certain cars feel like you are connected to the road and in a kind of balance while driving, and this is one of them. It helps that it has ample tyres for the power on offer — 225/45R17 with 17-inch semi-chromed mags Ventilated front discs and solid rear discs are assisted by ABS, electronic brake force distribution and emergency brake assist, and these only have to stop less than 1300kg.

From your leather-bound perch inside, there’s what Hyundai calls a ‘restful blue-lit ambience.’ The next generation will definitely need that in tomorrow’s traffic jams. The blue LCDs give readouts for the air conditioning and stereo on the dashboard, and the trip computer between the dials.

Interior storage is reasonable for a mid-sized car with a dual storage central armrest that contains the connections for an external MP3 player (e.g. an iPod), and room for CDs. The Elite variant has a six-disc MP3-compatible CD player with six-speaker sound system, which can be controlled from the steering wheel.

Around town the i30 is currently a more common sight on billboards than in the flesh. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if fleet buyers choose this car over a Mazda3 or Toyota Corolla for something a bit more out of the ordinary. Also, the Hyundai’s impressive safety features (six airbags, for example), reasonable starting price (from $27,490) for the base 1.6-litre petrol manual model, and hatchback convenience and space would make it attractive. The boot capacity is a respectable 340 litres, and a cargo net and fire extinguisher come as standard. We’re not sure what including a fire extinguisher says about Hyundai’s faith in its products — though they catch fire far less than Ferraris we’d imagine. To cap it off a three-year/100,00km mechanical warranty with roadside assistance makes the package very attractive.

Hyundai has shown strong growth in New Zealand, having record sales in April 2008 (541 cars), and achieving second in the market (behind Toyota). If Hyundai introduces more cars like the i30, it will surely achieve these kinds of figures regularly — well before the next generation comes along.

Price: 2.0 Elite (as tested) $34,990. Base model 1.6 manual from $27,490

What we like

  • Value for money
  • Handling
  • Economy

What we don’t like

Acceleration doesn’t match handling prowess

Words and photos Darren Cottingham


Hyundai i30 Elite rq

Sitting firmly in my aging Generation-X bracket I’m trying to get my grey matter working enough to think what it will be like for the next generation. Hard, but in a comfortable way, I’d say. My first computer, when I was eight, had 48kb of RAM, so I’ve seen the progression and kept up with the technology. Someone born today has to learn a huge amount of information to even get context around basic everyday tasks. They know what a bug is in a computer program, but not why it’s called that.

Tomorrow’s generation will be Generation-Q. Generation-Q will constantly want everything faster, but will deal in a world so complex that many things get slower. The Q is for Queue; especially in traffic. But for now, Hyundai thinks we’re in Generation-i. We have iPod, iPhone, and it seems like many of the kids that sit in this generation are very much in the mode of “iWant”. Uh oh, a child of the 70s starts to sound crotchety.

Hyundai could be accused of trying to steal Mitsubishi’s thunder, naming its car the i30. It says it’s for the next generation of drivers, but Mitsubishi’s tiny i-car (click for review) came out in 2006. Is Hyundai behind? Certainly the i30 was worth waiting for as it sits near the top of the small car segment in terms of driveability and value for money.

One of my motoring writer compatriots wrote something like ‘It’s the best small car, ever.’ Well, that might be a bit steep because it’s got some stiff competition in the form of the Subaru Impreza, Ford Focus, Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, etc. But it is very good, actually making some of the competition look decidedly tired.

What you get for your money is a range that starts with a manual 1.6 through to two-litre automatic with lots of bells and whistles.

Our top-of-the-line 105kW, 186Nm, two-litre Elite with its four-speed automatic and leather interior is no speed machine, but it handles exceptionally well. Certain cars feel like you are connected to the road and in a kind of balance while driving, and this is one of them. It helps that it has ample tyres for the power on offer — 225/45R17 with 17-inch semi-chromed mags Ventilated front discs and solid rear discs are assisted by ABS, electronic brake force distribution and emergency brake assist, and these only have to stop less than 1300kg.

From your leather-bound perch inside, there’s what Hyundai calls a ‘restful blue-lit ambience.’ The next generation will definitely need that in tomorrow’s traffic jams. The blue LCDs give readouts for the air conditioning and stereo on the dashboard, and the trip computer between the dials.

Interior storage is reasonable for a mid-sized car with a dual storage central armrest that contains the connections for an external MP3 player (e.g. an iPod), and room for CDs. The Elite variant has a six-disc MP3-compatible CD player with six-speaker sound system, which can be controlled from the steering wheel.

Around town the i30 is currently a more common sight on billboards than in the flesh. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if fleet buyers choose this car over a Mazda3 or Toyota Corolla for something a bit more out of the ordinary. Also, the Hyundai’s impressive safety features (six airbags, for example), reasonable starting price (from $27,490) for the base 1.6-litre petrol manual model, and hatchback convenience and space would make it attractive. The boot capacity is a respectable 340 litres, and a cargo net and fire extinguisher come as standard. We’re not sure what including a fire extinguisher says about Hyundai’s faith in its products — though they catch fire far less than Ferraris we’d imagine. To cap it off a three-year/100,00km mechanical warranty with roadside assistance makes the package very attractive.

Hyundai has shown strong growth in New Zealand, having record sales in April 2008 (541 cars), and achieving second in the market (behind Toyota). If Hyundai introduces more cars like the i30, it will surely achieve these kinds of figures regularly — well before the next generation comes along.

Price: 2.0 Elite (as tested) $34,990. Base model 1.6 manual from $27,490

What we like

  • Value for money
  • Handling
  • Economy

What we don’t like

Acceleration doesn’t match handling prowess

Words and photos Darren Cottingham


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