Base Hyundai i30 Active a head over heart decision
What we like:
- Interior space and design
- General build and finish
- Around town zip
- Overall comfort
Not so much:
- No rear camera
- Engine can be coarse
- Temperamental steering wheel mounted controls
- “Active” does little to disguise its entry level status
Hyundai’s i30 has attracted considerable and favourable attention from the buying public and motoring media alike, clocking up numerous awards along the way. The Motoring Guru sampled the entry level i30 Active, which won “Best Small Car Under $35,000” in 2013 and we were on a mission to see what the fuss was about.
Price and Equipment
The “Active” specification applied to entry-level models throughout Hyundai’s range and this also applies to the i30 hatch. The i30 Active offers very little in terms of luxurious frills, but there are practical features such as fog lamps, heated wing mirrors, a chilled glovebox and a four-speaker sound system with a 5’ touchscreen and two tweeters.
Prices start at $23,240 plus on roads for the six-speed auto and metallic paint is $495 extra.
Hyundai’s design team have done a stellar job of providing fantastic head and legroom for front and passengers. At 4300mm long and with a 2650mm wheelbase, the i30 is not a big car. But, no one will find their heads squashed up against the roof lining or their knees jammed up against the back of the front seats or the dashboard. The packaging exercise has been executed with more finesse than say a Mitsubishi Lancer hatch.
The seats themselves are a little firm and on the small side for our liking but they were never uncomfortable.
Like many of Hyundai’s current models, the interior design is comprised of a mixture of sharp and rounded lines and the colour scheme is comprised of silver, dark grey and piano black. The overall design is very modern and Hyundai has shrewdly mounted a USB port, auxiliary input and two 12 volt power outlets near the base of the centre stack within easy reach for both front seat passengers.
However, a lack of general flair cements the Active’s place as the base i30.
What’s more a little enclave is provided as a place to leave a phone or media device while connected or charging. Clever thinking.
A design feature that isn’t so clever is the placement of the handsfree buttons next to the head unit, rather than on the steering wheel. This is a pet peeve of ours and although the buttons are in easy reach, placement on the steering wheel would make more sense from a safety and ergonomic perspective.
Speaking of the head unit and its 5” touchscreen, it is simple enough to use and the colour display has clear graphics and large, highly legible fonts. An Achilles heel we found in our test car were that the sound system didn’t completely integrate with our smart phone and that the steering wheel mounted volume controls feel flimsy and were on occasion were temperamental in their operation.
Storage space isn’t bad either with a sizeable centre console, door bins that chilled glovebox and a cargo area of 378 litres with the rear seats up and 1316 with the 60:40 seats folded flat. The boot is also deep but as a consequence presents a load lip.
Engine and Transmission
At low speeds the 1.8 litre engine that develops 107kW @ 6500rpm and 175Nm @ 4700rpm offers enough zip for both the city and the open road. However, it can become quite coarse when the driver would like things to proceed a little more quickly and the six-speed box wasn’t as responsive as we would have liked.
Average fuel consumption was around 8.1 litres on test.
Ride and Handling
Hyundai has fitted the i30 with its tri-mode electric steering system which is slightly naff: Comfort is too soft and lifeless, Sport is a little firmer but realistically Normal is the best option. General steering feel is communicative if a little artificial.
Ride quality is comfortable, and handling is safe, planted and predictable and perfectly acceptable for nipping around suburbia.
Safety and Servicing.
Front, side, curtain and a driver’s knee airbag are standard, along with anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, stability control and traction control. All safety equipment add up to a five star ANCAP safety rating.
Disappointingly, a reversing camera is not available on the Active, instead rear parking sensors are fitted which slightly detracts from the car’s safety tool chest
Hyundai offers a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty and a life time capped price servicing, for the i30 Active like the one tested, you’re looking at $340 every 15,000 kilometres.
Verdict: Well made, good to drive, if a little basic. The i30 is popular and for good reason.
Overall score: 16/20
Make and model: Hyundai i30 Active
Engine type: 1797cc four-cylinder with double overhead cam, variable valve timing and electronic fuel injection.
Power: 107kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 175Nm @ 4700rpm
Transmission: Six speed sports automatic; front wheel drive
Fuel consumption: 7.1 litres (combined)
Dimensions: 4300mm long, 1780mm wide, 1470mm high and 2650mm wheelbase
Suspension: Front: McPherson Strut Rear: Torsion beam axle.
Steering: Rack and pinion
Country of Origin: Korea