Sultry sedan designed to lure those with fashion sensibilities
Seduction is the name of Hyundai’s game when it comes to the new i30 Sedan.
Replacing the Elantra, this four-door is a completely different vehicle from the hatch variant with the same moniker.
Only sold in the United States and Korea, it was a challenging task for Hyundai Australia to convince the brand’s hierarchy to include right-hand drive production.
While pricing starts from $28,400 drive-away for the base Active model, stepping up to the Elite derivative is an extra investment of about $6000.
GRANT: Wow, that’s sharp. It has all the makings of 2021’s most underrated car ... for men over 60.
IAIN: Ah, you think anyone of working age is only buying SUVs and dual-cab utes. You’re wrong. Lots of smart people — myself included — still want sedans and wagons. And yes, the i30 Sedan is a fine, value-packed example of this.
GRANT: Not according to the parents at my school pick-up zone. Seems you’re in a minority with your sedan and wagon obsession, which probably also explains why you also started the Bring Back Manual Transmissions petition. But, for the coin, the i30 is a classy thing.
IAIN: I like its weird rear end styling, but I know plenty won’t. But yes, it’s once you get inside the i30 Sedan and are greeted by its quality-feeling cabin it does look strong value. Compare what you get in a normal $35k drive-away small SUV and the sedan space is where the smart shop.
THE LIVING SPACE
GRANT: There is genuine wow-factor inside. The leather trim, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, twin 10.25-inch screens, wireless phone charging, it reeks of something far more expensive.
IAIN: Perforated leather seats signify European premium luxury, and while Hyundai can’t rival a posh Benz, for example, you feel spoilt in here. Some Hyundai cabins can be very monotone, but I like this one’s mixture of shades, finishes and shapes.
GRANT: Throwing phones, wallets and keys into the various storage spots makes daily living easy, with decent cup-holders for the takeaway coffee and “bottle bulges” in each door.
IAIN: Yep, small car but great use of space. Even if you find the exterior looks challenging, the cabin’s where you spend your time, and you won’t be disappointed. Except maybe with part of the digital dash display. Why’s it blank?
GRANT: That’s the section featuring a white circle motif. The drive mode button goes there on N Line models, and does absolutely nothing on this variant. If you owned it, you could insert one of my studio shots for constant driving inspiration.
IAIN: Ah, so a constant reminder you didn’t splash out on the sporty one. Anyway, we’ve both got two kids. The cabin’s flush enough, but big enough for family duties?
GRANT: Four adults wouldn’t have many complaints in terms of head, leg and knee room, rear air vents ... I think a growing family would be pleased.
IAIN: You don’t have the lofty visibility of an SUV, but get a well set-up sedan like the i30 and the drive experience is much more enjoyable. Its light weight and low centre of gravity means it’s easy and fun to tackle the corners.
GRANT: It’s certainly adept when hitting the twisty stuff, although that often promotes right-foot urges and sadly the acceleration response doesn’t inspire keen drivers.
IAIN: True, but for the same money you could hop in an i30 N-Line with zestier 1.6-litre turbo, dual clutch auto and fancy go-faster bits. You don’t get the i30 Elite’s full luxe, but if performance is more your thing, it’s nice to have this alternative in the range.
GRANT: Pop the boot and there’s a sizable space, just shy of 500L which is bigger than a Mazda CX-5 or Honda HR-V. That’ll easily swallow the regular family grocery haul, or a couple of sets of golf clubs.
IAIN: Yep. If your life is more golf-filled than pram — or kids’ bikes-filled, the sedan boot’s a boon. Go the hatch version if you’re in the latter camp.
GRANT: One inclusion is the rear-cross traffic alert which warns if another vehicle is rapidly approaching. Great in those tight carparks. But while it also has auto emergency braking, active cruise control and lane-keep assist, there is no airbag between the front seats. That makes a five-star safety rating unlikely, and because it’s not sold in Europe (where we borrow some crash results from) there is no official ANCAP score.
IAIN: Hyundai Australia do set their cars up well. While it’s not specifically designed for back-road shenanigans, the i30 is surprisingly capable and even a bit fun on twisty roads.
GRANT: Absolutely. Not that anyone currently shopping for an SUV will listen, but the dynamics of a sedan or hatch are superior 95 per cent of the time. This is a beautiful cruiser with a quiet cabin.
IAIN: The tried-and-tested Hyundai 2.0-litre isn’t especially fast, responsive or economical, but it’s like catching up with an old mate for a beer. You know what you’re going to get and it’ll (hopefully) always prove trustworthy and reliable.
GRANT: Fuel consumption averaged 7.5 litres for every 100km during our test, and dipped to as low as 5.6 on a highway journey. That’s pretty reasonable.
IAIN: Okay. Sedans don’t quite do the family bit as well as SUVs, wagons or even hatchbacks. That said, it’s a good-size boot without the practicality of the others’ hatch opening, and rear seat space is ample.
GRANT: Budgets will appreciate the capped price servicing, $1495 covering five years is at the cheaper end of the scale.
IAIN: Hyundai’s SmartSense is included, and that brings clever stuff like blind spot and forward collision avoidance assist, lane keep assist and lane following assist. Hard to crash, basically.
GRANT: All the latest tech is there and I’d have no qualm putting the family inside long-term.
IAIN: The Hyundai i30 hatchback is a justifiably popular car, but if you don’t need the fifth door, this sedan is a compelling way to drive something a bit different. It’s smart, edgy design and this Elite grade has a pleasingly luxurious cabin. A decent package, but with so many small SUVs priced similarly, you know that’s where the bulk of buyers will shop.
GRANT: Many buying decisions are driven by better halves, and my wife had already pronounced it a ‘grandad’ car before leaving the driveway. The i30 Sedan deserves better. It looks and feels more expensive than the price tag dictates.
HYUNDAI I30 SEDAN ELITE
PRICE $34,550 drive-away (solid value)
WARRANTY/SERVICING 5 year /unlimited km warranty (par for course); $1495 for 5yrs (cheap)
ENGINE 2.0-litre 4-cyl, 117kW/ 191Nm (average)
SAFETY No ANCAP rating, auto emergency braking, adaptive cruise, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist (OK)
THIRST 7.0L/100km (above avg)
SPARE Full size (excellent)
BOOT 474L (big)