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:
 Published on 15 Oct 2017
All rights reserved. 
Elantra GT and GT Sport


It might be an effective way to transport you from A to B in hurry with minimum fuss, but never puts a smile in your face.


The European-built i30 is also exported to the North America, but with different mechanicals and a different name, Elantra GT. The regular Elantra GT is powered by a good old 2.0 naturally aspirated GDI engine that produces 161 hp and 150 lbft of torque. It terms of flexible power it is not going to match the European car's 1.4 GDT engine, because its peak power is not only lower but also arrives much later at 4700 rpm. Moreover, the engine is not particularly sweet to stretch, emitting a loud and coarse noise at higher revs. It can be mated with a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic, both are pretty good for its kind, but DCT is not available.

The ride and handling is fair without being remarkable. Note that for cost saving the i30's multi-link rear axle is replaced with a torsion beam. This simpler design fails to isolate harshness as well as multi-links, so Hyundai opts for a softer setup here. The result is reasonable ride comfort at the expense of body roll control. Unsurprisingly, Elantra GT is not a driver's car. Its steering feels vague and its handling is biased towards safe understeer, slightly more so than the i30. The North America market is now available with many world-class compact cars and hatchbacks, so the Hyundai will find a hard time competing with them.

Sitting above the regular Elantra GT is the GT Sport. In fact, it is the same car as the i30 1.6 GDT found in some European markets. This is a "warm hatch" powered by the company's 204-horsepower 1.6 direct injection turbo engine. It can be mated with either 6-speed manual or 7-speed DCT, but the manual is the better choice because it offers slick gearshifts and a smooth clutch engagement for pretty good fun. Unfortunately, Hyundai's 1.6 GDT engine remains better on paper than in the real world. It lacks the sweet revving manner and flexibility of many other warm hatches, let alone a melodic sound (though not many managed to do so). Multi-link axle is back to the car, and its suspension tuning is slightly sportier than the regular car. Nevertheless, like the rest of the i30 range, it is more about solid chassis and abundant grip. The rear axle never listens to throttle, and the steering doesn't talk with you. It might be an effective way to transport you from A to B in hurry with minimum fuss, but never puts a smile in your face.
Verdict:
 Published on 15 Oct 2017
All rights reserved. 
i30N


From M to N: Hyundai hired the boss of BMW M to head its N performance brand. Can he repeat the magic?


In the past 2 decades, Hyundai has risen from an economy car manufacturer to a superpower in the same breath as Toyota or Volkswagen. Its wide range of cars cover as low-end as i10 to as high-end as Genesis G90. More recently it also begins to inject a sport premium flavor into its cars, resulting in Kia Stinger and Genesis G70. The last piece of puzzle has to be a performance sub-brand like BMW’s M. It might be difficult to imagine how this can be achieved, but Hyundai found a shortcut: 3 years ago, it headhunted the chief engineer of BMW’s M division, Albert Biermann. Biermann spent more than 30 years in BMW, with the last 7 years as the boss of M. In fact, one of his first projects was the chassis development of the original BMW M3 E30 race car. If there were any better candidates to head the same role at Hyundai group, I don’t know. Biermann must be the Korean’s smartest recruit since Peter Schreyer.

Interestingly, Hyundai’s performance sub-brand is called “N”, so I suppose Mr. Biermann should feel at home. It is not his decision though, because the N performance label has been using by Hyundai’s WRC works team since the 2014 season. What does "N" mean? According to Hyundai, it has double meaning: Namyang and Nurburgring. The former is the location of the company's R&D center in Korea, while the latter is the place at which the N performance road cars undergo extensive testing and chassis development. The first of such cars is i30N.

The i30N is not an equivalent to Honda Civic Type R or Ford Focus RS though. Instead, it follows very much the formulas of Volkswagen Golf GTi and Peugeot 308 GTi to be a practical hot hatch that you will feel as comfortable to drive every day and go to supermarket. Like those cars, it offers two versions, one cheaper and another with higher performance, but both remains affordable. They are powered by the company’s 2.0 GDI turbo engine, producing 250hp on the base car and 275hp on the Performance model. Those figures are more than Golf GTi (230hp / 245hp) and on a par with 308 GTi (250hp / 270hp), but the larger engine of Hyundai offers more torque than the French, with 260 pound-foot available across a wide band between 1450 and 4700 rpm. The Performance model is additionally available with a short overboost to 280 lbft to aid overtaking. On the downside, the i30N is quite heavy by class standard. In top form it tips the scale at 1429 kg, 100 kg heavier than Volkswagen and even over 200 kg more than the lightweight Peugeot. Therefore, performance is about average. Both versions are capped at 155 mph at the top end, while 0-60 mph takes 6.1 and 5.8 seconds, respectively.



As the first fruit of Albert Biermann at Hyundai N, it has established a respectable baseline.


Still, on the road you will appreciate the engine’s flexible low-end, quick throttle response and barely noticeable turbo lag. It will rev to 6600 rpm before cut-out, but frankly it doesn’t need to rev so high. Its soundtrack is not particularly attractive at the top end either. That said, every all-out downshift rewards you with pops and crackles on overrun if you engage the hardcore N mode. Meanwhile, the 6-speed manual gearbox adds fun with a slick and tactile gearshift, accompanied with nice pedal placement for heel-and-toe action or an automatic rev-matching function. Nevertheless, the lack of dual-clutch gearbox option is an oversight for the car’s market positioning. Hyundai is developing one that can handle the car’s torque, but it is 2 years away.

The chassis of i30N is reinforced by 3 underbody braces across the front subframe. The Performance model is additionally fitted with an electrohydraulic LSD like Golf GTi Performance. It enhances traction through tight corners and has torque steer and wheel spin kept at bay. In addition to its bespoke Pirelli P-Zero tires on 19-inch wheels, the car feels grippy and you can push it quite hard with confidence. The Performance car also features adaptive dampers. Biermann’s team did a great job on the suspension tuning, resulting in a European-style firm but livable ride and good body control. Its steering is precise, fast (just 2.2 turns from lock to lock) but not nervous. Unlike many electric steering systems, it feels responsive just off center, giving you a stronger sense of connection to the road.

However, as good as the work of Biermann, you can’t help feeling the i30N is slightly handicapped by its weight. It feels more nose-heavy than Golf GTi and especially 308GTi. Turn-in is not quite as sharp. The chassis tuning is also more biased towards the safe side, with little hint of lift-off oversteer to play with. The larger brakes are dependable, but without a more adjustable chassis balance the i30N is not going to be a trackday weapon like the old Renault Megane RS. Factoring in its ordinary interior – the bucket seats are the only noticeable differences, yet they look cheap – and a slightly boring shape, it will have its work cut out to persuade hot hatch buyers shifting from European brands. As the first fruit of Albert Biermann at Hyundai N, however, it has established a respectable baseline.
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)
-
Elantra GT 2.0
2017
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4340 / 1795 / 1455 mm
2650 mm
Inline-4
1999 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
-
DI
161 hp
150 lbft
6-speed automatic
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
225/45R17
1335 kg
133 mph (est)
8.0*
22.0*




Performance tested by: *C&D





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)
Elantra GT Sport
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 / 6000 rpm
195 lbft / 1500-4500 rpm
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
225/40R18
1367 kg
143 mph (est)
7.0 (est)
-
i30N Performance
2017
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4335/ 1795 / 1447 mm
2650 mm
Inline-4
1998 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
275 hp / 6000 rpm
260 lbft / 1450-4700 rpm
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
235/35R19
1429 kg
155 mph (limited)
5.8 (c)
-



























Performance tested by: -





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Elantra GT Sport


i30N



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