Monday, September 15, 2014


Hyundai's i30 wagon for 2015 has been a smash-hit for the Korean company and a revelation to those of us who remember the car that preceded it. While the hatchback does battle with the Corolla and Mazda3, the Tourer has an even more formidable foe - the SUV that's so beloved of Australian motorists.

The i30 Tourer is the wagon version and naturally commands a premium. Kicking off at $24,990, the basic Active petrol is a sharp buy as long as you don't want to climb any hills when fully-laden - the 1.6 litre petrol is no fireball.

The diesel manual joins the range at $27,590 while the automatic stretches to $29,840. We went all out and got the automatic diesel with the optional ($495) aqua blue metallic paint. You can stretch even further to $33,440 for the Elite which brings upgraded stereo with sat-nav, dual zone climate control and leather-look trim.The full colour navigation system is displayed via a 7" touch-screen, operated by a fast and intuitive menu structure. The rear view camera image will also be shown automatically here, when shifting to the reverse gear.

Being the Active, the spec is basic but reasonably generous at the same time. Standard is tough cloth trim, air-con, six speaker stereo with USB and Bluetooth, cruise control with speed limiter, win–panel roof offers true open–air driving fun. At the touch of a button, the front panel opens and a wind deflector activates for passenger comfort.

It couldn't be anything but a Hyundai. The hatchback is a sharp-looking thing and the Tourer is a fine example of a wagon conversion - it only looks to have a little bit extra at the back but when you open the boot, it's huge inside. The boot is bigger even than that of the ix35 stablemate, an SUV that punches a much bigger hole in the air than the i30. The 16-inch wheels fill the arches well and there's little in the way of glitz.

Inside is regular issue i30 until you get to the scalp of rear seat passengers where the roof keeps going. The dash is well laid-out and the plastics are perfectly alright albeit on the hard-wearing rather than tactile side.

The old Hyundai i30 dropped 15 places in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, which indicates that it was falling behind newer rivals. Nonetheless, it still finished ahead of the Volkswagen Golf. Owners liked the in-car tech, but marked it down for performance and build quality. We would expect the current model to show improvements in next year’s survey.

Safety is excellent in the Hyundai i30 and it got a five-star rating when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP. The i30 gets electronic stability control, a seatbelt reminder that covers the front seats, and six airbags. LED Daytime Running Lights improve road visibility, while adding an elegant style feature to the i30. Safety is also enhanced by giving other vehicles an additional light source for reference. 

The small-ish but crisp screen gives basic access to smartphone functionality via USB or Bluetooth and standard AM/FM. The sound isn't too bad from the six speakers and the system seems more usable than that found in the Elite.

The i30 Tourer is the best of the i30s to drive, with the exception of the sporty SR. Built in the Czech Republic, the hatchback's torsion beam rear end is replaced with a more capable multi-link arrangement.

Ultimately, what this car does well is carry people and stuff. You can cram a hell of a lot into the Tourer, more than its external dimensions suggest. The load area is well-shaped and quite a bit more voluminous than its ix35 stablemate, but without the high floor. 

Dropping the seats leaves an almost-flat load bay that would cheerfully survive most trips to Ikea. Seats up, four adults will survive quite happily for extended periods with plenty of rear headroom, a happy consequence of the longer roof. The middle seat wouldn't be a lot of fun for an adult, but around town is more than adequate if the fifth occupant is a child.

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