2020 Hyundai i30 Premium review

  • Thursday 1st January 1970

The Hyundai i30 Premium is all the regular i30 money can buy.

Australians love the Hyundai i30, which remains the second-best-selling passenger car in the country, trailing only the Toyota Corolla on the new-car sales charts. It’s also easily Hyundai’s biggest seller, accounting for around 34 per cent of sales for the Korean brand. Yes, every third Hyundai sold is an i30.

This third-generation Hyundai i30 launched back in 2016 and, as is the way with mid-life crises, will undergo a facelift, those nipped-and-tucked models due here later this year. And that means dealers just might be willing to negotiate on price on current stock. Bring your best haggling game.

There’s a decent range of i30s to suit plenty of budgets, starting with the price-leading $20,440 (plus on-roads) i30 Go, and topping out with the slightly unhinged but oh-so-fun i30 N hot hatch priced at $41,400.

Somewhere between those two extremes lies this car – the 2020 Hyundai i30 Premium. It’s priced at $33,370 plus on-road costs pitting it squarely against upper-range rivals like the Toyota Corolla ZR ($32,695), Corolla ZR Hybrid ($34.695), and Volkswagen Golf 110TSI Highline ($36,490).

Circa-$33K also buys a lot of Mazda 3 (G25 GT, $34,090), a mildly warm Kia Cerato (GT Turbo, $33,490), and the new mid-spec Skoda Scala (Monte Carlo, $33,390).

A competitive arena, then, for Hyundai’s full-of-fruit i30 Premium to play in. How much fruit? Let’s find out.

The Premium badge suggests this incarnation of the i30 is loaded. And it is. Other than premium paint ($495 for a choice of six colours, including the Intense Blue of our test car) and $295 for a beige interior, there are no options to be had.

Standard highlights include 17-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, LED daytime running lights, adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, an 8.0-inch touchscreen running Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, leather seats, wireless phone charging, and a panoramic sunroof.

Slide inside the i30 Premium and you’re greeted by a well-resolved cabin that gives credibility to the ‘premium’ in its model designation. There are plenty of yielding surfaces (and a smattering of harder plastics), but the overall feeling is of a nicely appointed car.

The driver’s seat is electrically adjustable, with lumbar support, while both front seats are heated and cooled. They’re comfortable pews, too, with decent support and bolster, and working in tandem with the tilt-and-reach adjustable steering, finding your ideal driving position is a cinch.

The touchscreen sprouts from the dashtop and runs Hyundai’s proprietary sat-nav with SUNA live traffic updates, and AM/FM/DAB+ radio through a premium seven-speaker Infinity sound system that offers crisp, clear audio. There’s also Bluetooth connectivity complementing smartphone mirroring for both Apple and Android.

The whole system is looking a little dated, however, the graphics a little grainy and the camera resolution not as sharp as others we’ve experienced. Minor criticisms, though, as it all works well, is simple, and easy to use. But, here’s hoping the face-lifted model also gets some work done under the skin.

Storage solutions abound, including a nice and deep bin in the centre console that’s also home to a single 12V outlet. A pair of cupholders are nestled in front of that central bin, while the wireless charging pad is in a cubby in front of the gear lever, which is also home to a single USB port and an auxiliary plug. The door pockets can swallow bottles.

The second row remains a little cramped, even behind my driving position. It’s not uncomfortable, but if you’re sitting behind a driver taller than my 173cm, then knees will be abutting the seat back.

There are air vents back there and a pair of cupholders in the fold-down armrest, but no charging options of any kind. The seats are comfortable and visibility is decent, while the overall ambience is light and airy thanks to the panoramic roof. Nice.

For those with kidlets, three top-tether points as well as two ISOFIX mounts on the outboard seats have you covered.

Boot space is rated at 395L with the back seats in play, expanding to 1301L with the second row stowed away in 40:60 split-fold fashion. As this is the Premium, there’s a cargo net as standard, as well as four tie-down points and two bag hooks. A full-size alloy spare wheel lives under the boot floor. Kudos to Hyundai for not going down the temporary spare or, worse, goop path.

Under the bonnet lies Hyundai’s venerable 2.0-litre, naturally aspirated, four-cylinder petrol engine. It’s good for 120kW at 6200rpm and 203Nm peaking at 4300rpm. Not earth-shattering numbers, but they’re perfectly fine for the i30 Premium’s likely uses. Sending those outputs to the front wheels is a regular six-speed torque converter automatic transmission.

Hyundai doesn’t offer a 0–100km/h time for the i30 Premium, but there’s definitely some zing in the powertrain, the hatch moving away sharply from standstill. Despite the modest outputs, the i30 Premium never feels underdone in terms of performance.

Tootling along at city speeds doesn’t raise a sweat, while harder acceleration, like merging onto a freeway or overtaking, can be completed with purpose. The engine does get a little noisy under hard acceleration, thanks mostly to peak outputs not coming on song until high in the rev band, but overall it’s an adequate driving experience.

Around town, the i30 Premium remains comfortable and effortless, while cruising on the freeway at 110km/h does little to stress the powertrain. The auto transmission does its job instinctively, and unobtrusively, with smooth intuitive shifts. No paddle-shifters, though.

Drive modes – ECO, Comfort and Sport – alter engine and transmission characteristics, although are not transformative enough to make a huge difference. Leave it in Comfort is our tip.

Steering feel is nice and direct, and on the light side – ideal for running about town and makes for an easy parking experience. Front and rear sensors help, too.

On the road, the i30 Premium continues to highlight Hyundai’s commitment to local suspension tuning. With MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam set-up at the rear, the Premium offers a composed and supple ride.

Small blemishes disappear without a trace, while larger bumps are negotiated with minimal backlash inside the cabin, the hatchback settling quickly after a speed hump or larger hits.

The cabin remains quiet, too, even on the motorway at 110km/h. No doubt smaller 17-inch alloys shod with Kumho Ecsta 225/45R17 rubber help in this regard.

Hyundai claims the i30 Premium will soak up 7.4L of regular unleaded every 100km. Our week with the car returned an indicated figure of 8.4L/100km skewed towards urban but with some highway cruising thrown into the mix.

The Hyundai i30 wears a five-star ANCAP rating awarded in 2017, with an overall score of 35.01 out of 37. A full suite of airbags is complemented by active safety systems including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking including pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, driver-attention alert, and adaptive cruise control with stop&go function.

Hyundai covers the i30 with its standard five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, although is currently offering seven years' surety across the range as part of a promotion. Roadside assistance is capped at 12 months.

Servicing intervals pop up at 15,000km/12 months, and can be pre-purchased for three ($783), four ($1143) or five ($1404) years. Reasonable.

It’s easy to see why the Hyundai i30 remains a popular seller in the small-car segment. And in this Premium specification, the i30 makes a compelling case for those after a hatchback with more than just the bare minimum in terms of equipment.

With plenty of safety technology married to a perfectly fine powertrain, and enough creature comforts to offer a ‘premium’ experience, the 2020 Hyundai i30 Premium is definitely one to put on your consideration list. And with a face-lifted model just around the corner, there should be some pretty sweet deals to be had on the incumbent model.