Car Reviews

2017 Hyundai i30 Premium Diesel

Isaac Bober’s 2017 Hyundai i30 Premium Diesel Review with pricing, performance, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.

In a nutshell: The i30 Premium Diesel offers a thrifty but grunty diesel engine, Hyundai’s full safety suite and a generous panoramic sunroof.

2017 Hyundai i30 Premium Diesel

Pricing from $33,950+ORC Warranty five years, unlimited kilometres Safety 5 star ANCAP Engine 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel Power 100kW at 4000rpm Torque 300Nm at 1750-3000rpm (as tested) Transmission seven-speed DCT Drive Front-wheel drive Dimensions 4340mm (L); 1795mm (W); 1455mm (H); 2650mm (WB) Turning Circle 10.6m Boot Space 395 litres Spare full-size Fuel Tank 50L Thirst 4.7L/100km (claimed combined)

THE THIRD-GENERATION Hyundai i30 went on-sale in Australia in April and marks a total reinvention of Hyundai’s best-selling model in this country. Available with three engines (two petrol and one diesel) and with both manual, automatic and dual-clutch transmissions there’s an i30 to suit just about every type of buyer.

Pricing starts at $20,950+ORC for the entry-level Active with six-speed manual transmission, which we road tested last week through to $25,950 for a manual-equipped SR variant and from $28,950+ORC for the Elite diesel variant. Our test car is the top-spec Premium diesel which lists from $33,950+ORC, which is the same price as the petrol SR Premium (Practical Motoring is running an i30 SR Premium as a long-termer with our first report dropping tomorrow).

What is the Hyundai i30 Premium Diesel?

Well, like its petrol-powered SR Premium sibling, the Premium Diesel shares the top spot in Hyundai’s i30 line-up. It offers a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine that produces 100kW at 4000rpm and between 280Nm (1500-3000rpm) and 300Nm (1750-2500rpm – depending on the transmission variant (manual and DCT, respectively).

2017 Hyundai i30 Premium Diesel Review

The Elite and Premium variants are known as ‘comfort’ models in the i30 range. Our Premium variant test car offers front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights and front indicators, panoramic glass sunroof as standard, solar control glass to help reduce cabin temperatures when the car is parked in full sun, power outlet in the boot, heated and ventilated front seats, leather interior, powered driver’s seat, and sun visor extensions. As well as Hyundai’s SmartSense active safety suite which is standard on Elite and Premium variants as well as both SR variants.

What’s the interior of the i30 Premium Diesel like?

Like other variants we’ve tested, the interior of the top-spec i30 Premium feels very nice indeed, although I wasn’t super sure about the cost-optional beige interior in our test car. I understand, Hyundai was/is trying to add a pop of colour and emphasise the leather interior, but as a family car, despite being hard-wearing, I think the beige leather would show too many marks over time. For me, the standard black interior is a much better choice. Moving on.

2017 Hyundai i30 Premium Diesel Review

The dash design, as I’ve commented in other reviews of the i30, feels like the interior from a more expensive car. Yes, even in this top-spec model there is still hard, scratchy plastic on the dashboard, but it’s in places you’re unlikely to touch regularly. And, when you do, it feels nicely textured with the matt finish helping to mask the fact it’s a ‘hard’ plastic. Only scratching your finger nail across the surface will reveal that its hard and scratchy.

The quality of the fit and finish and the general design of the i30’s dashboard make this a segment-leading interior both in usability and quality. There are plenty of hidey holes and outlets for 12V, USB and even wireless charging.

2017 Hyundai i30 Premium Diesel Review

There’s only one 8.0-inch infotainment screen across the range and it juts out from the dashboard but manages to look like it’s meant to be like that rather than a tacked-on afterthought. The system includes native sat-nav as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are two cupholders in the front and the front door bins will take a 500ml bottle but nothing bigger. The rear bins will also take a 500ml water bottle.

What’s the passenger space of the Hyundai i30 Premium like?

The front seats are broad but well-shaped with good under thigh support and enough adjustment to allow drivers of all heights to get comfortable behind the wheel (the depth of the seat base is around 52cm). The steering wheel offers reach and rake adjustment and there’s good vision from the driver’s seat right the way around the car. The leather used on the Premium variant feels high quality and hard wearing.

2017 Hyundai i30 Premium Diesel Review

The panoramic glass sun roof make the interior feel incredibly light and airy and because it extends all the way into the back, the back-seat passengers will also benefit. And, if you’ve got kids, the panoramic roof will likely become their favourite feature of the car… who didn’t like water drop racing as a kid.

2017 Hyundai i30 Premium Diesel Review

While we’re talking about the back seats, it’s worth noting that, unlike lesser variants there are rear air vents for the Elite and Premium models but there are power outlets in the back. There’s plenty of room in the i30 for two adults and two children, or adults in the back seat (the seat depths are 50cm). The middle back seat loses foot room thanks to the transmission tunnel and the shape of the seat itself is more of a perch than a ‘shaped’ seat. Still, in a pinch, you could use it as there’s enough legroom for passengers in the two outboard seats to share. There are ISOFIX on the two outboard.

What’s the boot space like?

Like the i30 Active, the diesel variants all get a full-size spare due to the torsion beam rear-end set-up. The i30 SR and SR Premium because of their multi-link rear-end receive a space saver spare. This was decided to ensure all i30 variants offer 395 litres of storage space in the boot. This can be expanded to 1301 litres with the back seats folded down. They don’t fold completely flat.

In our Premium variant, there’s a 12V outlet in the boot and the floor is dual height, meaning you can hide some stuff under the floor if need be. The shape is good; there are four tie-down points in the corners and two small storage bins at the backs of the wheel arches. There’s a boot lip measuring around 10cm.

What’s the i30 Premium Diesel like on the road?

Well, in the way it rides and handles it’s very similar to the Active we reviewed last week, given it runs the same front and rear suspension set-up that’s to be expected. Sure, it gets bigger wheels and thinner, grippier rubber and so it feels a little firmer than the Active and, as a result feels a little better on turn in and when cornering hard; not that that’s something most buyers will be doing.

2017 Hyundai i30 Premium Diesel Review

The key differences in the way the two models ride and handle is down to their different engine and transmission types. The Premium Diesel runs a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine that produces 100kW at 4000rpm and 300Nm from 1750-2500rpm with the DCT (Hyundai’s name for DSG) our test car was fitted with.

This chunk of mid-range grunt from the diesel means it’s a very easy car to waft around in and very rarely ever feels stressed whether you’re pushing it up a hill or overtaking on the freeway. And there’s good noise insulation too, to the point where you can barely hear the engine, even when pushing it hard… and even then, what you do hear doesn’t sound like a clattery diesel.

2017 Hyundai i30 Premium Diesel Review

The transmission is another point of difference and the one element that really does change the way the whole car feels. Now, full disclosure, I’m a fan of dual-clutch transmissions and Hyundai’s in-house developed seven-speed unit is a good one. But there is occasional hesitancy when you’ve rolled off and then jumped back on the throttle. But this is the same with VW Group seven-speed DSGs and is a trait of the transmission type.

All the pedals, as in other models we’ve sampled, feel nice and progressive in their action and the brake pedal is particularly good. Allowing you to creep the car along easily while riding the brakes.

2017 Hyundai i30 Premium Diesel Review

Hyundai said it’s local ride and handling team worked hard to ensure there was a family feel across the i30 range. Hyundai says its team, gleaned data from 168 test drive data runs across the i30 range involving 208 different damper specifications, front and rear. Also tested and assessed were seven different anti-roll bar combinations together with 13 spring set combinations. The steering is also faster on Australian variants than on models sold overseas, almost half again as quick. And this makes a big difference to the way the i30 feels. It feels lively and responsive, indeed the steering set up would easily be the best in the segment.

What sort of safety features does the i30 Premium get?

Like the rest of the range, it gets a five-star ANCAP safety rating. But it also gets everything single piece of active safety equipment that Hyundai offers for the i30. This means, Hyundai’s SmartSense suite, which includes autonomous emergency braking and forward collision warning that works from 10-64km/h (pedestrians) and up to 180km/h (for cars), it also has blind spot detection and lane change assist, as well as lane keeping assist which includes lane departure warning for when you’ve wandered out of your lane, and both standard and active lane keep assist to keep you within the lines if the system senses you’ve not corrected the lane wander. Part of SmartSense is also driver attention alert and rear cross traffic alert, as well as smart cruise control.

In all, SmartSense is an impressive active safety system that Hyundai is hoping to roll out across its entire range by the end of this year. Beyond the mentioned features, the i30 comes standard with reversing camera, rear parking sensors, traction and stability control, seatbelt reminders and ISOFIX mounts.

So, what do we think about the Hyundai i30 Premium Diesel?

Well, there’s no doubting that it’s loaded down with features, and the active safety suite, SmatSense, is one of the best at this price point, if not the best. There’s a decent amount of room in the i30 although I’d save my money and not buy the cost-optional beige leather interior trim. The panoramic glass roof is cool and the ride and handling put this thing at the top of its class.

2017 Hyundai i30 Premium Diesel Review

Editor's Rating

What's the interior like?
What's the infotainment system like?
What's the passenger space like?
What's the boot space like?
What's it like on the road?
What about safety features?
Practical Motoring Says: The i30 Premium Diesel is a great small car with a thrifty and grunty engine that will be ideal for those whose commute is longer than the average or for fleet buyers where drivers spend a lot of time driving. The ride and handling is excellent and the features for the money and long five-year warranty make this the diesel pick in the segment.


  • Jacques LaFeet

    The DCT gearbox in this car is now subject to a US class action. Not a good look for Hyundai or DCTs generally.

    • Hi Jacques, the class action in the US is a law suit and not actually a class action. It’s one couple that’s taking Hyundai to court over the DCT in its Tucson. Yes, Hyundai has admitted that in some earlier models that were fitted with the seven-speed DCT that the control module was overly sensitive to high temperatures and constant cycling and would stop working. This is not good. So far, the i30 is not embroiled in this law suit. I understand that Hyundai has tweaked the software in its transmission control module to overcome the issues that placed the odd early-generation transmissions. Cheers Isaac

      • Jacques LaFeet

        Thank you for the detailed and fact based reply Issac. It puts this in perspective.

      • Carl Gruber

        Thanks for this explanation Isaac. However, as much as I love the features and specifications of this car which are perfect for my needs, I can’t help worrying about the long-term reliabilty of DCT transmissions in general (not specifically Hyundai’s version). Particularly the dry clutch versions seem to be susceptible to heat-related problems. Also, as a mechanical engineer, I’m a bit perplexed how a software update can fix an issue where the electronic module stops working due to high temperatures. Is this the exact same transmission as that in the Tuscon?

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober was born in the shadow of Mount Panorama in Bathurst and, so, it was inevitable he’d fall into work as a motoring writer. He began his motoring career in 2000 reviewing commercial vehicles, before becoming editor of Caravan & Motorhome magazine. He then moved to MOTOR Magazine before going freelance and contributing to Overlander 4WD, 4×4 Australia, TopGear Australia, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, The Australian, CARSguide, and many more.