These types of cars used to be the go-to choice for Aussie drivers and a new version is attempting to mount a recovery.
Sedans used to be the car of choice for many Aussies, but as the demise of the Falcon and Commodore has shown, buyers want SUVs.
Despite that, there are still some excellent four-doors out there. We look at the new i30 sedan.
Cheap, drive-away deals on small cars used to be Hyundai’s forte, but as the brand’s reputation has grown so have its prices.
The four-tier i30 sedan range kicks off at about $28,000 drive-away for the base Active with a manual transmission and rises to more than $41,000 for the N Line Premium. We are testing the Elite variant — the second rung on the ladder — which costs about $34,500 drive-away.
Styling is crisp, with sharp panel creases, a bold grille and sharply folded rear end. It isn’t for everyone, but it gets plenty of attention.
Hyundai has pumped in plenty of creature comforts and handy tech features, while all the expected driver aids are available. A full-size alloy spare wheel —– a rarity in cars these days — is a welcome surprise.
All Hyundais are covered by a five-year/unlimited km warranty and servicing is capped at $1495 over five years.
The i30 is a much bigger car than its hatch sibling and that translates to an extremely roomy cabin. Passengers are treated to firmish faux-leather seats, while surfaces are soft to the touch.
The Elite variant scores a big 10.25-inch touchscreen in lieu of the entry-level Active’s eight-inch unit. It comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus Bluetooth and digital radio.
Satnav is included, but incessant chimes and warnings for speed camera and bus lanes might push you over the edge after a long hard day.
Dual-zone aircon performs admirably on hot days, and there are vents for rear passengers.
The i30’s suspension has been specifically tuned for local roads and does an admirable job of ironing out bumps.
The i30 sedan has no crash test rating but there’s a decent level of crash avoidance tech.
It will hit the brakes if it detects an imminent collision with cars, cyclists and pedestrians, while the lane-keep assist keeps you from straying into other lanes.
The i30 sedan will warn you of passing cars when you are reversing out of your driveway and brake if it detects a potential collision. It’ll also warn you before you open your door if a car is about to pass by.
Unfortunately these two safeguards aren’t available on the base Active.
Power comes from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine making 117kW and 191Nm, paired to a six-speed auto driving the front wheels.
The engine is adequate for a car of this size. It isn’t express but propels the i30 comfortably about town and is strong and smooth on highway stints. It’s a bit breathless under heavy acceleration, though. Hyundai’s 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder in the N-Line variants is a much more engaging unit with more low-down grunt. The sedan’s low centre of gravity means it hooks into corners and feels stable at speed.
There is decent insulation and road noise and tyre roar is only an issue on coarse chip roads. Fuel use is a claimed 7.0L/100km and we achieved a mark pretty close to that on a mix of urban and highway driving. It only requires cheaper unleaded fuel, too.
Strong value and capable performance will win over buyers looking for a small sedan.
Mazda3 G20 Touring sedan, from $34,000 drive-away
Good looking inside and out and great to drive. Not as roomy.
Toyota Corolla SX sedan, from $32,800 drive-away
Well built, reliable and a surprisingly good drive. Hybrid option available. Not as well equipped.
Kia Cerato GT sedan, from $34,990 drive-away
Punchy turbo engine and extremely well equipped, with a long seven-year warranty. Expensive to service.
HYUNDAI i30 ELITE SEDAN VITALS
Price: $34,500 drive-away
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol, 117kW/191Nm
Warranty/servicing: 5-year/u’ltd km, $1495 for 5 years
Safety: Auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert with auto braking, safe exit warning