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Hyundai i30 Active petrol auto 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
8
Richard Berry road tests and reviews the 2016 Hyundai i30 Active petrol auto with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Richard Berry road tests and reviews the 2016 Hyundai i30 Active petrol auto with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

AFL, Taylor Swift and celery. All hugely popular, but actually terrible. Hyundai's i30, however, is popular, but only because it's good.

Last year 32,306 i30s were sold in Australia. That's more than the total sales of many car brands, and would keep Australia's two bestselling cars - the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 - awake some nights, but not enough to beat them. Still this year the little Hyundai has been edging ahead of them thanks to cut-price driveaway deals.

The i30 Active is the base camp of the i30 range, from here you step up to the Active X, then SR, the SR Premium and the Premium. But read on because there may be no need to climb any higher.

Design

The second generation i30 came out in 2012 and this updated version went on sale in 2015. Looks-wise there's not a lot of difference, but you can tell them apart by their faces - the updated one has a cleaner, flatter grille design with chrome blades. If you peer closely you'll see the inner moulds of the headlights have a more intricate design, too.

Despite the update the i30's looks are beginning to age now, especially when held up to the sleeker-styled Mazda3.

At 4300mm in length the i30 is 160mm shorter than the Mazda3 and 30mm less than the Corolla.

Plastic backs on the front seats might appear cheap but military-grade wipe-clean materials are great for families.

The i30's cabin is stylish but in a hard-wearing office furniture way with its cloth seats and plastics – don't forget that this is the base spec and things get more swish as you step up in the range.

Practicality

Size matters, but not how you might think. Despite being shorter than its two main rivals the i30's 378 litre (VDA) boot is 14 litres bigger than the Mazda and 98 litres bigger than the Corolla's.

Up front there's two cupholders in the centre console and another two in the fold-down rear centre armrest, while all doors have large water bottle holders.

The driver and whoever's riding shotgun have a roomy cockpit, while there's just enough legroom in the back for all 191cm of me to sit behind my driving position.

The three top-selling brands are absolutely tripping over themselves to compete for your money.

Plastic backs on the front seats might appear cheap but military-grade wipe-clean materials are great for families. Same goes for the cloth seats which are comfortable and supportive.

Map lights over the dash are pretty normal, but it's good to see another cabin light in the centre of the roof.

A centre armrest between the driver and passenger is welcome and not always there in some base-spec cars.

Price and features

The three top-selling brands are absolutely tripping over themselves to compete for your money. The result is great cars that offer excellent value.

The base-spec i30 Active with the manual gearbox costs $20,990. We tested the Active with the auto transmission that adds another $3290, it was also white which is the only colour you don't have to pay for otherwise it's an extra $495 for paint colours such as Platinum Silver, Phantom Black, Fiery Red and Marina Blue

In comparison the Corolla Ascent hatch with an auto goes for $21,790 and the auto Mazda3 Neo hatch for $22,490.

The i30 Active has a very decent level of standard features for an entry level car, such as a seven-inch screen, rear parking sensors, cooled glovebox and three 12 volt outlets. The update also added a reversing camera which hides under the badge on the boot and flips up when you put it in reverse.

Also added in the update was Apple Carplay which projects your iPhone's screen onto the car's display and lets you voice text and hear your messages without touching your phone. You can also stream music and navigate with your phone's maps – so no more driving with your phone leaning against the speedo.

Engine/s and transmission/s

The i30 Active comes with a 107kW/175Nm 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine or a 1.6-litre four cylinder turbo diesel with 100kW and 260Nm in the manual, or 300Nm in the auto. Our test car here is the petrol version and it's a ripper. Perky with a sharp throttle it has good get up and go to nip in and out of traffic.

 The ride is excellent and the handling is impressive for a small car at this price.

The petrol's six-speed torque converter auto is sluggish but very smooth, just like a slug. No worries here though, you'll probably hardly notice.

Fuel consumption

Hyundai says you should see an average fuel consumption of 7.3L/100km with a combination of highway and urban driving which is on the thirsty side of things and 10.3L/100km of purely urban driving. Driving mainly in city peak hour traffic and on my urban test route I recorded 13.1L/100km – not too bad considering the stop/start conditions and heavy throttle use while testing.

Driving

Hyundai has a local engineering team which tunes their cars for Australian roads and they have totally nailed it with the i30. I can barely fault it, the ride is excellent and the handling is impressive for a small car at this price. Combine this with accurate natural steering and that good engine and this car is fun and easy to drive.

Safety

The i30 was the first South Korean car to get a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating. There's traction and stability control, EBD, ABS. For child seats you'll find three top tether mounts across the back row and two ISOFIX points on the outside seats.

Ownership

The i30 has Hyundai's five year/unlimited kilometre warranty. The first service at one month or 1500km is free, after that servicing should be done at 12 month or 15,000km intervals and is capped at $249 per service for three years.

Verdict

There was a time when a South Korean car turned buyers off, but Hyundai has become a leader in the car industry thanks to its devotion to safety, value, technology, styling and tailor tuning the cars to Australian roads and the i30 is the little hero of this evolution. This car deserves the popularity it's experiencing.

Would you buy an i30 instead of a Corolla or Mazda3? Tell us why, or why not, in the comments below.

Click here to see more Hyundai i30 Active petrol auto pricing and spec info.

Pricing Guides

$16,977
Based on 408 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$12,988
Highest Price
$23,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
ACTIVE 1.8L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $13,988 – 18,690 2016 Hyundai I30 2016 ACTIVE Pricing and Specs
ACTIVE 1.6 CRDi 1.6L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $16,750 – 17,990 2016 Hyundai I30 2016 ACTIVE 1.6 CRDi Pricing and Specs
ACTIVE X 1.8L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $15,500 – 18,999 2016 Hyundai I30 2016 ACTIVE X Pricing and Specs
ACTIVE X (SUNROOF) 1.8L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $15,400 – 19,800 2016 Hyundai I30 2016 ACTIVE X (SUNROOF) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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