Hyundai i30


Debut: 2017
Maker: Hyundai
Predecessor: i30 (2012)



 Published on 20 Jan 2017
All rights reserved. 


Hyundai follows Peugeot to carbon-copy the formula of Volkswagen Golf. Is it good enough to match the class leader?


I like the last generation i30 for its sporty, tasteful yet original styling. However, it seems that Hyundai has changed its mind and decided to follow the footsteps of Peugeot 308 to replicate the conservative, quality-oriented theme of Volkswagen Golf, which is admittedly quite successful on the Peugeot. So the second generation i30 gets boxier, with a solid shoulder line and thick C-pillars reminiscent of Golf. Meanwhile, the Genesis-like prominent front grille attempts to bring a premium image but it looks a bit odd on a compact hatchback. The car is once again designed at Hyundai's European styling center in Germany, engineered at Russelsheim and built at Czech Republic. A lot of test miles were clocked in the great Nurburgring Nordschleife to make sure it drives like a European car.

Despite the boxier shape, its drag coefficient remains unchanged at 0.30, thanks in part to the active grille shutter which reduces intake area at higher speeds. The monocoque body is now constructed with high percentage (53%) of high-strength steel, including even stiffer hot-stamped steel at parts of crash structure. More extensive use of structural adhesives also helps the monocoque to increase torsional rigidity by 22 percent, while its weight is reduced by 28 kg. Nevertheless, other enhancement means the whole car is slightly heavier than before. It is also heavier than the equivalent Golf, Opel Astra and particularly the lightweight Peugeot 308.



While it follows the industrial trend closely, it fails to break any new grounds or introduce any innovations.

The underpinning platform is an evolution from the last one. It keeps the 2650 mm wheelbase and continues to employ suspensions consisting of MacPherson struts up front and multi-link arrangement at the rear. Since the foundation is stiffer, ride quality and NVH suppression should be improved. Meanwhile, the electric power steering is geared 10 percent quicker to improve agility. While it follows the industrial trend closely, it fails to break any new grounds or introduce any innovations. This make it less appealing to automotive journalists and customers seeking surprises. Unlike Golf, its essence is just as conservative as it looks.

The same can be said to its engine lineup. All motors are up to date enough, but none of them are worth special attention. The industrial trend favours downsized turbocharged engines, so the Hyundai gets a 1.0-liter three-cylinder direct injection turbo. It offers a respectable 120hp output and is accompanied with decent refinement, but it does not feel as remarkable as the triples of Ford, Volkswagen, Opel and PSA (though better than Renault’s), while the heavier i30 is slower than its rivals. Need more speed? The 1.4-liter DI turbo four-cylinder is the answer. Naturally, it is slightly smoother than the three-cylinder, and 140 horsepower is good enough to propel the car to 60 mph in 8 and a half seconds. Even so, the car feels brisk only if you keep pressing it. It feels most comfortable and refined working at the mid-range though. Besides these downsized engines, there are also two larger and older engines on offer: 1.6 turbo diesel (136hp) and 1.6 DI turbo (204hp, from Veloster). As we already know, they are not exactly world-class.



While its chassis feels solid and the handling is predictable, it is tuned too safe to the extent of boring.


The i30 is not a car that you would enjoy to push to the limit. While its chassis feels solid and the handling is predictable, it is tuned too safe to the extent of boring. The steering feels numb and the chassis response lacks interaction with the driver. Its best asset is cruising refinement, as its cabin is remarkably quiet and the suspension is well damped over speed bumps. Nevertheless, the suspension setup is too stiff for town or backroads. Again, most of its key European rivals are more rewarding to drive.

Inside, the interior design, packaging and build quality are decent but not good enough to shake Volkswagen, or even Peugeot or Renault Megane. The sleek dashboard makes the cabin feel airier, but it looks a bit flimsy and low on texture quality. The dash top is soft-touch plastics as in most rivals, but the middle section is hard plastic, whose light color and shiny surfaces make it feel cheaper still. The same goes for the freestanding infotainment screen whose housing looks cheap and fragile. We don’t doubt the fit and finish of Korean cars nowadays, but they still need to work harder to deliver the perceived quality of European cars. The front seats are comfortable, while the rear bench offers just enough space for adults – providing the front occupants are not too tall. However, the boot volume is generous for this class.


We don’t doubt the fit and finish of Korean cars nowadays, but they still need to work harder to deliver the perceived quality of European cars.


Disappointingly, the new i30 does not quite match the high standards of Volkswagen Golf despite its similar looks and philosophy. It is hard to think of any reasons to choose it instead of the sales champion. Meanwhile, without spending enough efforts to improve its handling and performance, it has wasted an opportunity to lure buyers from Ford, Mazda or Opel.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
i30 1.0T-GDI
2017
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4340 / 1795 / 1455 mm
2650 mm
Inline-3
998 cc
DOHC 12 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
120 hp
127 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
195/65R15
1269 kg
118 mph (c)
10.4 (c)
-
i30 1.4T-GDI
2017
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4340 / 1795 / 1455 mm
2650 mm
Inline-4
1353 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
140 hp
178 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
225/45R17
1279 kg
130 mph (c)
8.4 (c)
-
i30 1.6T-GDI
2017
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4340 / 1795 / 1455 mm
2650 mm
Inline-4
1591 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
204 hp
195 lbft
7-speed twin-clutch
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
225/40R18
1360 kg (est)
143 mph (est)
7.4 (est)
-




Performance tested by: -





AutoZine Rating

General models



    Copyright© 1997-2017 by Mark Wan @ AutoZine