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Hyundai i30 Go 2018 review

Do you really need a bigger car? Or will a hatchback suffice?
Nedahl Stelio
Family reviewer

14 Mar 2018 • 13 min read

As far as family cars go, hatchbacks aren’t really considered one of them. You might have a hatchback while pregnant with your first baby, but things quickly escalate and before you know it, you’re signing papers for a seven-seater Toyota Kluger

The question is, do you really need a bigger car? Or will a hatchback suffice? This, coming from someone who confronted  this exact scenario after having their first baby - up-sizing from a Mazda3 to a Nissan X-Trail. I loved the X-Trail at the time, but if money was tight and I had a shot at doing it all over again, would I make the same decision?

To test out the theory, I drove a Hyundai i30 around for a whole week with my family of four. It was the Go model, which is the entry level version. Here’s my verdict on whether it worked as a family car. 

How does it drive?

Pretty well actually. I’m used to larger SUVs, but there’s something refreshing about jumping into a small car and being able to nip in and out of traffic. According to my CarsGuide colleagues, that’s down to the i30 having a lower centre of gravity than an SUV, therefore it’s much more nimble and adheres to the road better than a higher car would. It's a real difference after driving in cars that sit high off the road.

  • There’s something refreshing about jumping into a small car and being able to nip in and out of traffic. There’s something refreshing about jumping into a small car and being able to nip in and out of traffic.
  • It’s much more nimble than an SUV. It’s much more nimble than an SUV.
  • You can fit into much smaller car spots. You can fit into much smaller car spots.

It’s got a 2.0-litre petrol engine which has enough power to get me up hills quickly and I would feel confident taking this car on longer road trips, too. 

And while the handling is good, the steering wheel is slightly stiff, but because it’s a small car this is something I quickly got used to - the turning circle of 10.6m means you’re doing fewer three point turns than you would in a larger car, so you notice the steering less. 

The 2.0-litre petrol engine has enough power to get me up hills quickly. The 2.0-litre petrol engine has enough power to get me up hills quickly.

It’s also a fun drive. I was fitting into car spots I haven’t fit into in years, it almost felt like I'd dropped a dress size! And it really did impact on the ease of driving a car every day - especially if you live in an area where squeezing into tight parks is the norm, like I do. 

How spacious is it?

Let’s get one thing straight: I wouldn’t describe this car as spacious. But talking about it in terms of whether it has enough room and I think it really depends on what family stage you’re at.

The front seats are spacious for adults. The front seats are spacious for adults.

My 185cm husband had enough leg and headroom in the front seats, so tall people will be comfortable. At 161cm, I was able to fit neatly in the back seat, and my two children aged four and six had enough space. 

Sure, they weren’t swinging around like little monkeys as they do when I’m driving a bigger car, but they were not squashed either. 

The kids didn't have as much room as in an SUV, but they weren't squashed. The kids didn't have as much room as in an SUV, but they weren't squashed.

The boot is big enough for a pram, which doesn’t fit into some small SUVs, and I tested it with a full load of groceries, too. So, while I am a huge boot space fan and think it can be a deal-breaker for families, you also need to look at what family stage you’re at and whether you’ll really need a larger boot.

Whether the i30's boot space is enough for you will depend on your family. Whether the i30's boot space is enough for you will depend on your family.

If you’ve got older children and need to transport around two different kinds of sports gear to various weekend activities, perhaps the i30 is not enough. But younger families should think carefully about how they use the car and what they put in it, to see if the extra dollars are worth up-sizing to an SUV. 

How practical is it for every day?

It’s easy to get in and out of parks thanks to the size and reverse parking camera, and also to do u-turns and three point turns. Because it’s small my children could climb in and out quite easily. 

It was easy for the kids to climb in and out of. It was easy for the kids to climb in and out of.

However, it is lower, so you will be bending down more to lift groceries in and out of the boot, and you’ll also be bending down more to do the kids’ safety seats up, which can get annoying. 

There are two cupholders in the front but none in the back in this entry-level model, but there are bottle holders in each door and pockets on the back of the front seats, plus a decent sized centre storage bin.

There are no rear air vents, but because it’s a small car there was plenty of air flow from the front to the back and I had no complaints from my children. And I was surprised by the full size spare tyre, because some cars twice this size don’t come with a full size spare. 

The full-size spare was a nice surprise. The full-size spare was a nice surprise.

Because of the easy way I was able to drive around in this car, I found it practical, despite its lack of boot space compared to an SUV and the bending down to load things in. Again, it’s weighing up how you use the car and what family stage you’re at as to whether you really do need a bigger car or not. 

What does it look like?

Fairly snazzy. It’s got a cute, sporty exterior and is definitely the cool kid on the block. The i30 is basically like the car version of Isla Fischer - everyone’s best friend. 

Even though it’s the entry level model, the interiors don’t feel cheap, like some other entry-level cars around this price can. The fabric seats actually feel fine to touch and are comfortable to sit on.

All in all, it’s a lesson in 'how to do lower priced cars well'. All in all, it’s a lesson in 'how to do lower priced cars well'.

The bubble finish which I’m normally not a fan of, doesn’t look budget. The dash is good, the centre console is clearly set out and there’s no confusing overload of buttons. All in all, it’s a lesson in 'how to do lower priced cars well'. It can be done. Just look at the i30. 

What’s the tech like?

The i30 Go comes equipped with an 8.0-inch multimedia screen, which is pleasantly large for a car this size. Plug in your phone and you’ll be instantly connected through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and you will be able to use the apps on your phone like maps or Spotify. 

This model doesn’t have an in-built sat nav, but with CarPlay and Android Auto technology, you don’t really need one. It does have Bluetooth compatibility.

How safe is it?

There are airbags for driver and front passenger, plus side curtain airbags extending to the back row. It comes with two ISOFIX child seat anchors, plus three top tether points. 

It’s lacking more advanced safety features however. Things like auto emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and forward collision warnings don’t come into play until you reach the middle of the range Elite models. 

What does it cost to drive?

The Hyundai i30 Go comes in at $22,290, I drove one with metallic paint that costs an extra $495 and literally had rainbow glitter sparkles in it, which made my girls very happy. There’s a five year, unlimited km warranty which transfers to the next owner if you sell before five years.

Fuel consumption is at 7.4 litres per hundred kilometres on the combined cycle which is not bad, but not spectacular for a car this size, and may just be a more realistic reported figure from Hyundai. It’s better than most SUVs. 


The Wrap

I was expecting to be squashed into the i30 this week but my family of four was quite comfortable. Yes we’re a small family, so if yours is larger, do take note, but this week showed me we don’t all need to be driving around in huge cars just to do suburban routes and the school run.

Sure, you’re lacking that general airy feeling of space and the luxury that comes with that but the i30 does work if you need it to. It’s an affordable new car that fits into small parking spaces and I think we may have all let that go too easily. 

I gave it a family rating 7.5 out of 10 because ...  you can get bigger cars for your family. The question is, do you need to? My kids gave it a 7.0, it was a bit ordinary for their (now unfortunately) high expectations! 

Likes

Fits in tight parking spots
Exterior styling
Good value for money

Dislikes

Slightly stiff steering
Lack of extra space

Scores

Nedahl:

3.8

The Kids:

3.5

$17,800 - $25,990

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