Car Reviews

2018 Hyundai i30 Go Review

Dan DeGasperi’s 2018 Hyundai i30 Go Review with pricing, specs, performance, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.

In a nutshell: Hyundai has wound back the price – and features – to create a new entry-level i30 called the Go. But is that going to make it a better base for the range?

2018 Hyundai i30 Go Specifications

Price $22,290+ORC Warranty five-years, unlimited km Safety 5-star NCAP Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol Power 120kW at 6200rpm Torque 203Nm at 4700rpm Transmission six-speed automatic Drive front-wheel drive Dimensions 4340mm (L) 1795mm (W) 1455mm (H) 2650mm (WB) Seats Five Boot Space 395 litres Weight 1276kg Towing 600-2300kg Fuel Tank 50 litres Thirst 7.4L/100km claimed combined/8.9L/100km as-tested

AUSSIES can be a finicky bunch. We no longer want ultra-cheap light hatchbacks for $13,990 driveaway, as evidenced by sales of those models trending downwards and some brands (such as Ford with Fiesta) pulling out of the segment altogether.

Yet in the next-size-up small hatch class, when Hyundai tried to creep beyond the $19,990 driveaway-with-auto sticker of the previous-generation i30, some buyers resisted the move.

Practical Motoring says: The i30 Go is only slightly more affordable than a better-equipped Mazda3 and pricier than a better-equipped Cerato – and it really should be a bit closer to the latter. The pace of change means that the value (and active safety) benchmarks are changing, but there probably should be a wider pricing gap between the Go and the i30 Active, which should especially have AEB standard. The point is, bargain hard with your dealer, and work towards a decent discount on this very decent small hatch.

The one-year-old, new-generation i30 deserves to be priced higher than the old one because it is a much better car. Thankfully, however, Hyundai executives haven’t been sitting on their hands in boardroom meetings. Instead, the purchasing public has been heard, with the former entry-level i30 Active graduating to one-up-from-entry status. And now, this all-new i30 Go nameplate joins and aims to become a cheaper, better base for buyers on a budget.

It’s not quite a $19,990 driveaway-with-auto special … but it’s now much closer to the mark.

What is the Hyundai i30 Go?

The Go is the all-new entry-level i30 priced from $19,990 plus on-road costs (+ORC) with a six-speed manual, or $22,290 (+ORC) with the six-speed automatic tested here. That’s a $960 reduction over the old entry-level Active, which stays in the range as a next step up.

Yet at the time of writing and for the month prior, Hyundai was throwing in on-road costs for free, plus offering a $500 cashback – which makes for a $21,790 driveaway for the five-door auto. Still costlier than before, sure, but this i30 is worth the extra spend from the off.

Practical Motoring says: The i30 Go is only slightly more affordable than a better-equipped Mazda3 and pricier than a better-equipped Cerato – and it really should be a bit closer to the latter. The pace of change means that the value (and active safety) benchmarks are changing, but there probably should be a wider pricing gap between the Go and the i30 Active, which should especially have AEB standard. The point is, bargain hard with your dealer, and work towards a decent discount on this very decent small hatch.

Meanwhile, for the near-$1K price reduction, the i30 Go loses the Active’s 16-inch alloy wheels and picks up steel wheels with hubcaps. It also forgoes its electric-folding door mirrors, rear parking sensors, integrated satellite navigation and a digital radio – though it retains its high-resolution 8.0-inch colour touchscreen with reversing camera included.

Dusk-sensing on/off headlights, remote central locking (but no keyless auto-entry), power windows and mirrors, cruise control and cloth trim all remain standard as well, however the autonomous emergency braking (AEB) standard on all versions of the all-new Kia Cerato and revised Mazda3 is disappointingly still optional here (see What about safety features?)

What’s the Interior Like?

Superbly well-built, with a modern design, comfortable front and rear seats, plus a big boot – those are this practical five-door hatchback’s clear highlights inside.

There is nothing exciting or inspiring about the i30 Go interior, though. In fact, the endless grey plastics could be considered too demure, especially given that the door trims no longer feature cloth trim inserts like the previous-generation i30 Active did. Some silver-plastic inserts helps enliven the mood slightly, but this largely does look like a base-model interior.

Practical Motoring says: The i30 Go is only slightly more affordable than a better-equipped Mazda3 and pricier than a better-equipped Cerato – and it really should be a bit closer to the latter. The pace of change means that the value (and active safety) benchmarks are changing, but there probably should be a wider pricing gap between the Go and the i30 Active, which should especially have AEB standard. The point is, bargain hard with your dealer, and work towards a decent discount on this very decent small hatch.

Ergonomically, however, everything falls to hand effortlessly and the newly downsized steering wheel is a delight to hold – even if leather wrapping would be a nice-to-have.

The touchscreen is also bright and quick, with a simple swipe-and-slide interface familiar to any smartphone owner. And, speaking of which, the USB plug-and-play for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring works instantly – the only caveat being that the screen remains too bright at night, even in its dimmest setting. Otherwise, four door pockets and bottle holders, twin front cupholders, a decent-sized glovebox, a console storage tray and a centre console box (with lid) combine to deliver practical storage options.

Practical Motoring says: The i30 Go is only slightly more affordable than a better-equipped Mazda3 and pricier than a better-equipped Cerato – and it really should be a bit closer to the latter. The pace of change means that the value (and active safety) benchmarks are changing, but there probably should be a wider pricing gap between the Go and the i30 Active, which should especially have AEB standard. The point is, bargain hard with your dealer, and work towards a decent discount on this very decent small hatch.

Unlike with an entry-level Cerato, there are rear map pockets, though the Kia responds with a centre armrest missing here. At least there’s heaps of rear headroom, though, if not legroom, which only rates as reasonable. And rear air vents should be standard, not optional. The biggest upside to buying a base small car rather than an up-spec light car, though, is the boot – the i30’s 395-litre cavity is among the largest in the class, and country buyers will especially love the full-size spare wheel (absent from the Kia and the Mazda3).

What’s it like to drive?

Whether taking off from the traffic lights, or overtaking on a country road, this Hyundai delivers among the strongest performance at this cheaper end of the small hatch class. Its 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder is instantly responsive, with a great six-speed auto helping its cause – it manages to combine clever intuition with super-slick shifts when transitioning from no throttle to full throttle. Pleasingly the engine is refined and sweet, too.

Practical Motoring says: The i30 Go is only slightly more affordable than a better-equipped Mazda3 and pricier than a better-equipped Cerato – and it really should be a bit closer to the latter. The pace of change means that the value (and active safety) benchmarks are changing, but there probably should be a wider pricing gap between the Go and the i30 Active, which should especially have AEB standard. The point is, bargain hard with your dealer, and work towards a decent discount on this very decent small hatch.

If anything this Go’s engine and transmission are too focused on delivering perky performance and instant drivability. With peak torque produced at a high 4700rpm, the tachometer likes to sweep there quickly but to the detriment of fuel usage. Officially this Hyundai claims to use 7.4 litres of regular unleaded per 100 kilometres, but around town this skyrocketed to 12L/100km on test, before lowering on the freeway.

Something like a base model Volkswagen Golf may be around $3000 more up-front, which can seem hefty especially given it needs to run on premium unleaded. But our experience has found its 5.7L/100km maintains a circa-2L/100km lead over this i30 around town, thanks to providing more torque at one-third of the revs.

Practical Motoring says: The i30 Go is only slightly more affordable than a better-equipped Mazda3 and pricier than a better-equipped Cerato – and it really should be a bit closer to the latter. The pace of change means that the value (and active safety) benchmarks are changing, but there probably should be a wider pricing gap between the Go and the i30 Active, which should especially have AEB standard. The point is, bargain hard with your dealer, and work towards a decent discount on this very decent small hatch.

Thankfully this new-generation i30’s steering and handling far surpasses that of previous generation. Although weighted a little too heavy around town, the steering is sharp and responsive, while the handling is quite fun and agile. As with the performance relative to practical considerations of consumption, if anything a little extra pragmatic focus on ride quality over dynamics could earn this Hyundai higher points. Its suspension can be noisy over deep potholes, even if they are dealt with well, and smaller ones create some jiggling.

What about ownership?

A five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty sweetens the deal, particularly given that arch-rival Mazda only offers three-year, unlimited-kay cover.

Competitive annual or 15,000km servicing also include a capped-price program that asks an affordable $777 over three years or 45,000km.

What about safety features?

Dual front, side, curtain and driver’s knee airbag coverage. There’s a reversing camera but the rear parking sensors of the i30 Active have been deleted for the i30 Go.

An optional (for $1750) SmartSense package adds forward collision alert with autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane-keep assistance, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic alert (plus a colour trip computer screen, rear air vents and electric park brake).

So, what do we think?

The small car segment moves fast. Within the year since the new-generation i30 launched, Mazda has added alloy wheels and a digital radio to its 3 Neo Sport, which already had AEB standard. While it still costs $1200 more than this i30 Go, you do get a lot for your cash. Or, the sedan-only Kia Cerato S is $21,490 driveaway with digital radio and AEB standard. The i30 Go is a better car than the latter, but an AEB addition is surely required right about now.

Subtracting some cost (and features) from this Hyundai helps create a better base model, given that the Active’s talents in the areas of interior styling, boot space, strong performance and good steering and handling remain. But complete with hubcaps and basic trim, perhaps the Go should be destined to go even closer to $19,990 driveaway-with-auto.

Practical Motoring says: The i30 Go is only slightly more affordable than a better-equipped Mazda3 and pricier than a better-equipped Cerato – and it really should be a bit closer to the latter. The pace of change means that the value (and active safety) benchmarks are changing, but there probably should be a wider pricing gap between the Go and the i30 Active, which should especially have AEB standard. The point is, bargain hard with your dealer, and work towards a decent discount on this very decent small hatch.

Find the best demonstrator car deals for Practical Motoring readers around Australia on our Live Deals website. 

Editor's Rating

What's the interior like?
What's it like on the road?
What about safety?
Practical Motoring says: The i30 Go is only slightly more affordable than a better-equipped Mazda3 and pricier than a better-equipped Cerato – and it really should be a bit closer to the latter. The pace of change means that the value (and active safety) benchmarks are changing, but there probably should be a wider pricing gap between the Go and the i30 Active, which should especially have AEB standard. The point is, bargain hard with your dealer, and work towards a decent discount on this very decent small hatch.

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Dan DeGasperi

Dan DeGasperi