Hyundai i30 Active 2017 Review
When the new generation Hyundai i30 landed In Australia earlier this year we were concerned that while the package might be good, the price may not be – but we needn't have worried.
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This is really interesting. You're pin-pointing your new vehicle search down to not only the top-selling car in Australia – the Corolla – but the most popular type – the Ascent Sport hatch.
Being an Aussie favourite doesn't necessarily make it better than its competitors, or right for you.
But have you, through your own powers of clever deduction and investigation, already discovered the true value-for-money sweet spot in the Corolla range?
|Toyota Corolla 2017: Ascent Sport|
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
This current Corolla has been around five years and it still looks great thanks to a good initial design and successful styling updates along the way.
I like the sharp nose, the sleek headlights, the profile, even the ‘egg splat' tail-lights. The hatch is so much more attractive than the sedan, but struggles a bit in the beauty stakes against the new Mazda3 and Hyundai i30.
Inside, the cabin has barely changed in years, but I'm still a big fan of its swooping dash and clean design. The new touchscreen modernises the interior, the instrument cluster is clear, grown up and stylish, while the blue lighting throughout is a great ambient touch.
There are eight paint colours to choose from for the Ascent Sport (only four for the Ascent). As mentioned our car was 'Inferno' (a burnt orange) but there are seven other colours to choose from including 'Blue Gem', 'Citrus', 'Crystal Pearl', 'Silver Pearl', 'Ink' (black), 'Wildfire' (bushfire blonde) and 'Glacier White', which I happen to like the most, and not just because it's free.
Wondering if the Corolla hatch is more practical than the sedan? No, of course you weren't. So, consider it trivia that the hatch has far less rear legroom (at 191cm tall I can just squeeze in behind my driving position) but more headroom back there.
The boot is smallish at 310 litres (110 litres less than the sedan), but it will fit the CarsGuide pram, just. The hatch tailgate gives you a bigger opening than a sedan boot and by folding the seats forward the car is better for cargo carrying.
Storage inside is not bad with two cupholders in the fold down centre armrest in the back, and two more up front, plus bottle holders in all of the doors. The centre console bin upfront is deep but, not large because the handbrake eats into the space. There's also a small hidey hole in the dash under aircon dials for bits and pieces.
There are five types of Corolla hatch, and the Ascent Sport, with a list price of $23,250 for the automatic (the manual is $21,210), is the second rung up that ladder. That's only $980 more than the entry-level Ascent. So what's the point of the Ascent Sport?
The point is, by paying the extra grand you get 16-inch alloy wheels and a 7.0-inch touchscreen, plus the ability to option sat nav (as our car had) which you can't get on the Ascent with its 6.1-inch screen. Other standard features include a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth connectivity and halogen headlights.
The value is good and the rivals are a close match. The Mazda3, for example, is $24,890, but comes with built-in sat nav. The exception to the rule, though, is the new Hyundai i30 hatch. The base spec i30 has the same list price as the Corolla Ascent Sport, but comes with an 8.0-inch screen, wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Outstanding.
The update also brought a new advanced safety package. It's the best $750 you'll ever spend (read more about what cool tech this brings below).
Also optioned on our test car was sat nav ($1000) and 'Inferno' premium paint ($450).
All Corollas, sedan or hatch, regardless of grade, come with the same engine. It's a petrol, a 1.8-litre four-cylinder with a power output of 103kW (torque is 173Nm). Actually that's not true. There's a petrol-electric hybrid Corolla hatch. Did you know that? Here, read my road test.
Okay, back to the Corolla Ascent Sport. You have two transmission choices: a six-speed manual and seven-speed CVT auto. Ours was the CVT, and if you're looking for something which shifts automatically and smoothly, go for this one. But if you're really into driving, you'll want the manual.
The Corolla Ascent Sport we tested had the seven-speed CVT auto. These transmissions are known for their efficiency, but lack a sporty personality. When you ask them for more acceleration, they tend to drone noisily, rather than dramatically increase your speed.
Toyota says that the hatch with a CVT should consume 6.1L/100km of regular unleaded petrol for the combined (urban, extra-urban) fuel economy cycle. That's more efficient than the same engine in the sedan, which gets 6.6L/100km. We took our car on mainly urban adventures/chores and saw 11.5L/100km.
Being happy to drink the cheap 91 RON petrol should make filling the 50 litre tank easier on the budget, too.
Surely if something has the word 'sport' in its name it has to be sporty, or connected to sport or performance in some way. You know deodorant, or a watch, or trousers. Not so with cars. Nope the Ascent Sport is in no way faster or higher-performance or sportier than the Ascent or any other Corolla grade. It doesn't even have a stripe down the side of it.
So, if you're buying it because you want performance or better handling, forget it, and buy a Toyota 86, which doesn't have the word sport in its name at all, but is possibly the best sports cars for Corolla money on the planet.
Driving the Ascent Sport is easy: easy to park, easy to see out of, easy to use, with enough power to overtake easily. The ride is comfortable and the handling is good for a small car. I'll be honest with you though, the Mazda3 Maxx is more fun to drive, and so is the Hyundai i30.
That's mainly because both have traditional autos, which feel more responsive, and it's also down to small tactile things, which make a big difference, such as the steering wheel shape. The Mazda and Hyundai's felt fitted to my hands, while the Corolla's is hard to grip comfortably. Handling is not bad, but it's not as agile as the Mazda3.
Then there are those the headlights. They're halogen, and adequate, but could be brighter. The LED headlights on the ZR grade are excellent, but you'll have to pay more to step up to that spec to get them.
3 years / 100,000 km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
The Corolla Ascent Sport hatch has the maximum five-star ANCAP rating, but nearly every new car does now, and while the score is a good place to start take a look at the advanced safety equipment offered – that's what really separates the safe from the safer.
The 2017 update to the Corolla Ascent Sport hatch brought an optional safety package which is well worth the $750 asking price. The pack includes AEB, lane departure alert and auto high beams. Of all the options you could go for this one can save your life.
|Ascent||1.8L, ULP, CVT AUTO||$13,990 – 20,950||2017 TOYOTA COROLLA 2017 Ascent Pricing and Specs|
|Ascent Sport||1.8L, ULP, CVT AUTO||$15,490 – 20,990||2017 TOYOTA COROLLA 2017 Ascent Sport Pricing and Specs|
|Hybrid||1.8L, Hyb/PULP, CVT AUTO||$21,950 – 27,880||2017 TOYOTA COROLLA 2017 Hybrid Pricing and Specs|
|SX||1.8L, ULP, 6 SP MAN||$18,771 – 25,990||2017 TOYOTA COROLLA 2017 SX Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||7|
|Engine & trans||6|