Hyundai i30 sedan: Messy by design

2024 Hyundai i30 sedan 2

What is it?

Puffing out its chest Hyundai has declared its radically redesigned 2004 i30 Sedan is meant to turn heads.

It does, but not all for the right reasons. From most angles the car presents the characteristics of a sleek four-door coupe with sporty pretensions.

Then there’s the rear . . . oh dear! The boot lid has been crafted as an aero spoiler.

And, for some reason, in contrast to the rest of the car’s buffed body, it sticks out like a sore thumb.

The darker Ultimate Red duco of the test vehicle went some way to disguising this, but pix of the lighter colours unfortunately highlighted the blemish.

On the plus side, there is much to back the maker’s hyperbole.

2024 Hyundai i30 sedan 3

What’s it cost?

On test was the introductory i30 2.0 MPi CVT, replacing the Active variant.

Petrol-only models step up to the Elite 2.0 MPi CVT and Premium 2.0 MPi CVT, then the N Line chips in with 1.6 T-GDi 7DCT and N Line Premium 1.6 T-GDi 7DCT.

Hybrids are i30 1.6 GDi 6DCT, Elite 1.6 GDi 6DCT and Premium 1.6 GDi 6DCT.

Prices start at $29,000, plus on-road costs, for the entry level i30 CVT and top out at $41,500 for the N Line 1.6 T-GDi 7DCT Premium.

The 1.6 GDi Hybrid 6DCT is $33,000.

The i30 MY24 range includes upgraded convenience and safety, plus Bluelink connected car services for Elite and above.

And there’s impressive fuel economy from the debut of a petrol/electric hybrid powertrain claiming a combined urban/highway consumption of 3.9L/100km.

Upgraded 2.0-litre MPi and 1.6-litre T-GDi petrol-only power plants are continued.

Standard features across the range now include LED headlights and daytime running lights, front parking alarms have been added to rear versions, more advanced forward collision avoidance and intelligent speed limit assist.

Entry-level trim includes 16-inch alloy wheels, plus premium patterned black cloth seats, while the Elite model introduces Bluelink connected car services; Premium adds Bose premium audio and assorted new-to-the-model technology.

Sedans, in general, are not known for getting young buyers dancing to their tune, so Hyundai has deliberately set out to rectify this with a ‘sensuous sporty’ sedan that relies on geometric shapes, 3-D surfacing and sexy lines.

The result is an i30 that, ‘with its wedge shaped stance complementing a coupe-like body profile’, it is set aside from the conventionally-styled small sedan rivals.

Up front a split horizontal grille, with black parametric pattern incorporates a chrome highlight connecting the headlamps.

The standard LED headlights blend with the wide grille topped by optional LED indicators as part of LED daytime running lights.

The steeply raked windscreen and rear window connect the sleek roofline in a typically sporty profile.

As mentioned above, that’s where the ‘coupe’ comes a cropper.

From behind, the sedan is not only dominated by the sticky-out spoiler, but below is a deeper diffuser-style bumper, teamed with a standard H-lighting LED set-up.

For me it’s all a bit messy.

The MY24 i30 Sedan cabin includes a reworked wireless charging pad made for larger mobile phones, front and rear USB-C outlets, a customisable multi-function button on the steering wheel and newly-designed 4.2-inch digital instrument cluster, adding a sharper look.

Just a mention of Hyundai Bluelink connected car services operating through a 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen in Elite, Premium and N Line variants.

This enables app-based features such as calendar sync, remote services, find my car, remote vehicle check and more.

Complementary for the first five years, they are transferrable to subsequent owners during this time.

Hyundai SmartSense safety features six airbags, forward collision avoidance, driver attention warning, intelligent speed limit assist, smart cruise control, rear occupant alert, parking distance warning (front and rear), plus rear-view monitor with dynamic guidelines.

All MY24 i30 sedans are covered by Hyundai’s 5-year 100,000km warranty, complimentary roadside assist for 12 months, 1500km free first service, a dedicated customer care centre and myHyundai owner website.

2024 Hyundai i30 sedan 6

What’s it go like?

Moving right along, the cabin couldn’t be more accommodating.

The swoopy roof rear requires occupants to crouch on getting in and out, but inside, the cabin is surprisingly spacious.

The boot is unlocked via the key fob but is not hands free.

It can take 474 litres of cargo with the rear seat backs up.

Folded them comes by releasing a pair of latches under the opening.

The hinges intrude into the boot space with the lid closed.

The i30 sedan’s unique wraparound dash and centre console with large digital displays focus on the driver and fit in with the more dynamic features of the exterior.

A cleaner more modern appearance comes from premium-patterned upholstery in Obsidian Black.

Elite and Premium variants step up to a leather-appointed black interior, while N Line versions add sporty red stitching and highlights throughout.

The i30 Sedan carries a full-size spare wheel.

The entry-level i30 has an upgraded version of the preceding SmartStream G2.0 MPi engine with efficient Atkinson combustion cycle, two-stage variable intake system and dual-continuously variable valve timing.

This is mated with a new SmartStream Intelligent Variable Transmission tuned to copy a conventional automatic transmission, with eight virtual gears and a sequential manual mode, adding to improved efficiency and refined performance.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 6.1L/100km on the combined urban / highway cycle.

The test came up with 9.1L/100km in the city and 4.8L/100km cruising the motorway.

Keyless entry comes via buttons on the key fob but that’s it; no push-button start here.

The engine is fired up with an ignition key (remember those?) inserted into a steering column slot. How quaint.

The powertrain soon has the i30 Sedan back in the 21st century with the upgraded 2.0-litre engine quietly going about its job with little fuss.

Power is put to ground via continuously variable transmission taught to mimic a conventional automatic transmission through eight virtual gears, or a sequential manual mode.

Sharp throttle response delivers impressive power and torque together with pleasing fuel efficiency.

It’s a refined package well beyond its small sedan ‘pay scale’.

As with most Hyundais the i30 Sedan ride and handling have had the benefit of stand-alone suspension tuning especially designed for Australian conditions.

Steering has a respectable linear feel and is helpfully more weighty in Sport driving mode.

Speed limit recognition system needs more work, although it can be switched off.

2024 Hyundai i30 sedan 4

What we like?

  • Sporty profile
  • Accommodating cabin 
  • Sharp throttle response
  • Impressive fuel economy
  • Standard LED headlights
  • Larger wireless charging pad
  • Front and rear parking sensors

2024 Hyundai i30 sedan 7

What we don’t like?

  • Messy rear styling
  • Requires ignition key to start
  • Plunging rear roof lines requires occupants to crouch
  • Speed limit recognition system needs more work

2024 Hyundai i30 sedan 8

The bottom line?

Love it, or hate it, Hyundai has brought a new dimension to the small sedan segment with the MY24 i30.

2024 Hyundai i30 sedan 5


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Hyundai i30 2.0 CVT sedan, priced from $29,000
  • Looks - 5/10
  • Performance - 7/10
  • Safety - 7/10
  • Thirst - 6/10
  • Practicality - 7/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 7/10
  • Value - 7/10

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