Volkswagen Golf R 2020 review: Final Edition
Six years is a long time in the car world, so why is it that the VW Golf R is more appealing now than ever?
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The i30's third-generation is due for its mid-life facelift with a new nose and tail and a few interior and technical upgrades. The range currently spans everything from the bargain basement i30 Go on steel wheels and cheap-cheap rubber, right up to the hyperactive i30 N hot hatch.
Also in the mix is the warm hatch N which I think - N aside - is the pick of the range for specification, handling and engine power. A closer look at the range, though, reveals two little orphans that I had completely forgotten about.
In the low-to-mid-$30,000s sits the i30 Premium, with turbodiesel or 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated engines. I genuinely forgot their existence, so let's take a look at it and see whether it is criminally ignored or a hidden gem.
|Hyundai I30 2020: Premium|
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
Since time immemorial, Hyundai has been all about value but the Premium might be pushing things slightly. The petrol comes in at $33,370 and the diesel a hefty $36,100, straying quite close to both N-Line Premium ($34,990) and crackerjack i30 N.
You do get 17-inch alloys, a seven-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, reversing camera, keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, active cruise control, electric driver's seat, sat nav, auto LED headlights, auto wipers, heated and cooled front seats, fake leather trim, powered and heated folding mirrors and a full-size alloy spare wheel.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen runs Hyundai's halfway reasonable software (way better than Toyota's hideous effort) on good hardware. With the USB ports you can hook up your Apple or Android phone with CarPlay and Auto respectively, which is always welcome. The system also includes DAB radio.
The Premium is a fairly timid sort of car, with none of the aero bits and bobs of the N or even the N-Line. Even the wheels are a bit dull, but if you're looking at a Premium in the first place, you're not after excitement, now are you?
Not that the sporty ones are all that spicy, that's been left to the facelift. Having said that, it's a clean modern design, with shades of the outgoing Peugeot 308 and Golfish middle-of-the-roadness that afflicts the segment.
The cabin is familiar and largely unchanged - it's shame it hasn't yet scored the big new screen found in the Ioniq - but it's all very nicely made and fitted. Some of the plastics could be less scratchy, but you have to go looking for them.
The materials used on the seats and wheels feels a lot like Nappa leather but rather stronger, so one imagines it's not real leather, not that there's any shame in that. Vegan types might be quite keen on it.
If you're in the front seat, you'll find two cupholders, a space under the climate controls for your phone and Qi wireless charging pad, sunglasses holder, a central console bin of a small but useful size and a glove box.
Rear seat room is okay for the segment while boot space is quite competitive at 395 litres and with the seats down, space increases to 1301 litres.
Each door has a bottle holder for a total of four in the car and the rear seat passengers score a pair of cupholders as well.
The petrol i30 Premium makes do with the 2.0-litre four-cylinder codenamed Nu. It doesn't do too badly, though, with 120kW and 203Nm driving the front wheels through a six-speed automatic, a relative rarity in this segment.
The turbodiesel has a nice round 100kW and 300Nm, also pushing the power through a six-speed auto.
The petrol's official combined cycle figure landed at 7.4L/100km, which lines up pretty well with our real-world trip computer figure of 8.2L/100km, achieved with a 50/50 mix of highway and suburban travel. Given the 50-litre fuel tank, you'll get just over 600km on a full tank of 91.
The diesel's official figure comes in at 5.6L/100km.
The i30 lands here from South Korea with seven airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, low-speed AEB with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning. reverse cross-traffic alert and driver attention detection.
The i30 range scored a maximum five-star ANCAP assessment in April 2017.
5 years / unlimited km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
The 2.0-litre model has longer intervals between services and is cheaper when you get there, which will add up over the life of the car. You need to head back to the dealer every 12 months/15,000km and the first five services will cost $1395. While that's $10 more over five years, it lets you cover up to an extra 25,000km during that time. Subsequent services aren't as expensive as the diesel's.
You need to service the turbodiesel-powered i30 Premium every 12 months (good) or 10,000km (hmmm) and all Hyundais carry a lifetime service plan, so you know how much a service is going to cost you for the life of the vehicle.
The first five services costs $1385, for an average of $277 per year, which is fine if you stay under the 10,000km but starts to add up a bit if you go over. The prices kick up substantially for the sixth and seventh services, but never hit AMG-stratospheric prices.
It took discovering that this car existed and then driving it for me to realise that it has been a long time since I drove an i30 with "normal" suspension rather than the sportier tunes. It reminded me that the i30 is a pretty plush kind of rider when you combine the 17-inch wheels, higher profile rubber and the independent rear suspension not available at the lower end of the range.
Surprisingly, despite being a bit softer, it handles very tidily and I spent the week rather enjoying the mix of pleasant ride and reasonably pointy handling. It won't scare a hot hatch either in the power or chassis department, but its relaxed yet poised nature was quite nice.
It's quiet on the freeway, too, pounding out west as I did one sunny morning in rather cold conditions. The heated seats worked very quickly (number one son thought they were perhaps rather too effective for his delicate posterior) and the cabin was at a pleasant temperature before I'd even hit the first set of lights.
The slightly squidgy tyres came into their own on the motorway, delivering a very quiet and comfortable ride and the usual panic-braking on the M7 when some goose in a truck sails into your lane to stop running into some idiot doing 60km/h in a 100km/h zone didn't unsettle it one jot.
As i30s go, this one is an oddball. It doesn't really belong anywhere and it's not even posh enough to whack the Golf in the nose. The N-Line models do that and they do it cheaper, too. It's a bit of a head-scratcher but I guess if you want a diesel i30 with lots of stuff, this is the car for you.
The petrol 2.0 seems even more niche - less power and torque than the cheaper N-Line Premium but, admittedly, cheaper servicing and a more comfortable ride. But you have to wonder: is anyone buying cars like this any more? If they are, they're getting a reasonable deal, no question about that, because, as ever, the i30 is a very good hatchback.
|Active||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$23,880||2020 Hyundai i30 2020 Active Pricing and Specs|
|Active 1.6 Crdi||1.6L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO||$24,080||2020 Hyundai i30 2020 Active 1.6 Crdi Pricing and Specs|
|Active 1.6 Crdi Smartsense||1.6L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO||$28,350||2020 Hyundai i30 2020 Active 1.6 Crdi Smartsense Pricing and Specs|
|Active Smartsense||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$25,630||2020 Hyundai i30 2020 Active Smartsense Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||7|
|Engine & trans||7|