2016 Hyundai i30 SR review
Isaac Bober’s 2016 Hyundai i30 SR review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.
In a nutshell: The refreshed Hyundai i30 SR is a cosmetic tweak only, but in manual form it is a fine little warm hatch.
2016 Hyundai i30 SR
Pricing From $26,550+ORC Warranty five-years, unlimited kilometres Service Intervals 12 months or 15,000km Safety five-star ANCAP Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol Power 124kW at 6500rpm Torque 201Nm at 4700rpm Transmission six-speed manual (as tested) Dimensions 4300mm (L); 1780mm (W); 1470mm (H) Turning Circle 10.6m Bootspace 378L Spare full-size Weight (Kerb) From 1260kg Fuel Tank 50L Thirst 7.3L/100km (combined cycle)
THE I30 HAS been an absolute sales runaway for Hyundai since the launch of the second-generation model in 2012. Updated in 2015 (called Series II), this refreshing of the i30 SR adds to the Series II interior and exterior tweaks further differentiating the i30 SR from its siblings.
The big changes for the i30 SR were to the interior which copped a new red-on-black colour scheme, black leather seats with beefed bolsters for the driver and front passenger seats. And the silver trim on the old model has been binned in place of dark trim. There’s a new paint colour, Phoenix Orange, and new 17-inch grey-metallic alloys. A panoramic sunroof can be had on the SR Premium, and is a cost option on the SR manual we tested which lists from $26,550+ORC.
What’s the interior like?
The thing that immediately impresses about the i30 SR’s interior is, besides the colour scheme, the comfortable and supportive front seats. The beefed-up bolsters keep the driver and front passenger securely located when the corners come thick and fast, yet provide enough under-thigh support to keep your legs from becoming numb on longer journeys. As someone with longer legs who regularly commutes more than 200km a day the seats were bang-on for this sort of car, and better than the seats you get in more sporting offerings, like the Subaru Levorg.
There’s plenty of adjustment for both the seat base and back, and the steering wheel offers reach and rake adjustment, so it shouldn’t be too tricky for drivers of different heights to find a sweet spot. There’s good vision right around the car too.
The dashboard layout will be familiar to anyone who’s sat in Hyundai in recent years and errs on the side of functional rather than flashy. Although the ditching of the shiny contrasting strips of the old model, for darker strips on this model do lend the cabin a touch of premium-ness. Exactly the sort of thing you’d expect from a design team led by ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer.
All the controls are easily identifiable and fall easily to hand with very little hard scratchy plastic around the cabin. Disappointingly, however, while the steering wheel is leather wrapped and feels good in the hands, the handbrake (and full credit for it being a manual handbrake) is hard with little room around it, meaning those of us with meatier paws will need to pay attention when applying it to avoid catching your fingers on the side of the transmission tunnel.
There are quite a few hidey holes for storing, phone, wallet or keys with a USB and 12V outlet at the base of the centre stack. There are two cup holders that are nice and deep, meaning that whether you’ve got a takeaway coffee cup or a 500ml water bottle stashed in there it won’t foul on your wrist while using the gear stick (and, yes, it feels as weird to write about a manual transmission in a car like this as I’m sure it is to read it). But nor are they so deep that you’ll struggle to lift a coffee cup out.
The 7.0-inch touchscreen offers Apple CarPlay and Android Connectivity as well as in-built sat-nav. Connecting and using your phone via this system is a cinch – you can simply connect it up via USB cable and either Carplay or Android Auto will automatically start up. Away from smartphone connectivity, the system’s native menu structure is well laid out and easy to use.
Climb into the back and there’s plenty of room for three adults, although the one perched in the middle might feel they’ve been ever-so-slightly short changed due to the flat shape of the seat. The two outboard seats are more comfortably shaped.
There are ISOFIX mounts for the two outboard seats and top tether anchors for all three seats. There are net storage pouches on the back of the front seats which can be used to hold tablets… used to say these pouches were for street directories. Netting is good because you can see instantly what’s in there.
Over in the boot the i30 SR gets the same handy 378 litres of storage space and a well-shaped boot. The back seats (split fold 60:40) can be dropped easily enough to grow storage space to 1316 litres. There’s a full-size spare beneath the boot floor.
What’s it like on the road?
Hyundai, like a few other brands now, runs an extensive localisation program which focuses on tweaking the ride and handling of its vehicles to make them more at home on our rubbish roads.
Now, the i30 SR isn’t a hot hatch although you could probably get away with describing it as a warm hatch. See, the i30 SR runs the biggest engine in the range, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine making 124kW at 6500rpm and 201Nm of torque at 4700rpm. In our test car, this was mated to a six-speed manual transmission – yay. Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.3L/100km which I managed to better that, slightly, returning an average over my week-long drive of 7.2L1/100km.
If you plump for the i30 SR with automatic transmission, then you’ll get flappy paddles mounted to the steering wheel which means you can pretend you’re in a Ferrari. But, in truth, the manual-equipped model we tested is a lot more fun… than the auto, not a Ferrari.
The six-speed manual doesn’t offer the most positive shift at around town speeds and the clutch is best described as being doughy with the clutch take up point masked. That said, things improve as the speed rises and you become more determined with the gear shift and clutch action.
Given it’s been a long time since we had a manual car across the driveway it was fun to have a play, blipping the throttle on downshift. That was a complete waste of time, though, with little achieved by playing at being an old-school rally driver on the road.
With 201Nm of torque at 4700rpm there’s enough grunt to keep the i30 SR up with traffic and able to overtake on hills if necessary – it happily pulled 80km/h (the speed limit) in sixth gear (at about 2000rpm) up a steep hill with three people on board. And being able to skip a gear or two to get the engine revving in the meat of its peak torque was handy.
The throttle response is good, although like the clutch action it feels a little spongey. As does the brake pedal. Thankfully, the nothingness of the first part of the brake pedals travel doesn’t translate into an all-of-a-sudden grabbing of the brakes, with reasonable progression in the brake application from about half way.
The steering offers Hyundai’s Flex-Steer with Normal or Comfort modes but there’s no point bothering with Comfort as it dulls the steering to the point of being pointless. Normal isn’t a whole lot better with virtually no feel coming through the steering, there is a positive, though, and that is the weight, which although it’s light is both consistent throughout the action and direct.
What about the safety features?
The i30 SR shares its five-star ANCAP safety score with the rest of the i30 range, which was tested back in 2014 and realised a total score of 35.69 out of a possible 37. This five-star rating applies to all i30 variants from January 2015 onwards.
Active safety features standard across the range, include both traction and stability control systems, brake assist, ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution. Beyond this there are airbags for driver and passenger (front and side thorax), driver’s knee airbag and side curtain airbags. There are seatbelt reminders for all seats, although only the front seats get load limiting pre-tensioner seatbelts. There’s central locking and a system which will unlock the car in the event of a collision, keyless entry and push button start (on SR variants and up). The SR also gets rain-sensing wipers, heated and folding external mirrors.