Car ReviewsFirst Drive

2014 Hyundai i30 SR review

Isaac Bober’s first drive 2014 Hyundai i30 SR review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.

IN A NUTSHELL Warmed-up version of the garden-variety Hyundai i30, the SR variant gets a bigger engine and sports-tuned suspension.

PRACTICAL MOTORING SAYS Far from being a hot hatch the i30 SR is still a lot of fun and the suspension which has been tuned for Australian roads offers one of the best rides in the segment. The price is excellent for the amount of standard kit and only the too-flat seats knock the shine off an otherwise class act.

ARRIVING ON THE MARKET in August 2013, the Hyundai i30 SR was an instant hit and proved Hyundai was interested in producing more than just A to B transport. See, while the garden-variety Hyundai i30 had won plenty of fans as a solid alternative to the Mazda3, Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, and even Volkswagen Golf, the i30 SR was intended to show that Hyundai knew how to let down its hair…

See, Hyundai Australia’s engineers were let loose to develop an ‘Australian-tuned’ sports suspension set-up while under the bonnet a beefier 2.0-litre direct injection four-cylinder replaced the 1.8-litre four-cylinder in the rest of the i30 range. Throw in some SR-specific wheels, badges and trim and it became the halo car in the line-up.

So, just how beefy is the beefier 2.0-litre four-cylinder? Quite a bit actually, power is up from 107kW to 129kW (at 6500rpm) while torque jumps from 175Nm to 209Nm (at 4700rpm). The engine can be had with either a standard-fit six-speed manual or a cost-optional six-speed automatic with manual override (our test car was fitted with the automatic). Fuel consumption is 7.2L/100km for the manual, or 7.5L/100km for the auto.

Hyundai i30 SR review - Practical Motoring

Drive the two petrol-powered i30s back to back and you’ll notice the difference between the two, the i30 SR feels perky no matter the situation with plenty of grunt for tackling hills with the family on-board or overtaking traffic on the highway. The automatic is well suited to the engine and while we played with the manual shift option, which was quick to respond, we mostly left the stick in D and enjoyed it all the same.

It’s interesting to note that both Hyundai and Kia are now ‘tuning’ their vehicles for Australia and that shows when you throw the i30 SR into a tight series of bends. According to Hyundai around 43 different suspension variations were sampled, with the end result being a 4% increase in front spring rates and Sachs shock absorbers. The rear end runs a torsion beam, while less powerful 1.8-toting i30 features independent suspension front and back. Is that a problem? No.

The i30 SR sits flat with very little body roll through corners and manages to soak up mid-corner bumps without bouncing off line. It isn’t a hot hatch, though, nor even a very warm one, but it does at least allow for enthusiastic driving without going to pieces at the first sign of a corner. Things could probably be improved if the electric-assist steering was a little quicker and more feelsome.

Hyundai i30 SR review - interior - Practical Motoring

Sit behind the wheel and the i30 SR instantly appeals with the fit and finish and material quality equal to anything from Volkswagen. While other testers have criticised the layout of the i30’s dash, I thought it clean and easy to use with all of the major controls falling easily to hand and feeling solid and good quality to the touch.

One thing I did struggle with on the inside was the front seats; they’re just a little too flat in the base to be comfortable on longer drives (my commute is 100km one-way) and I found myself shifting around a bit by the end of my daily drive. I can’t critcise the amount of room in either the front or the back, though, and I managed to fit two childseats into the back with ease; both kids had plenty of legroom too.

In the boot you get 378 litres with rear seats in place and 1316 litres if you fold them down.

Our test car was priced from $30,190 (+ORC) but the manual-toting i30 SR lists from $27,990 (+ORC) and the specification list is impressive to say the least: 17-inch alloys (full-size alloy); sat-nav with seven-inch touch screen; reversing camera; dual-zone climate control; rain-sensing wipers, electrochromatic rear-view mirror, and more.

In terms of safety, the i30 SR gets a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating, seven airbags, and the usual array of active and passive safety systems like traction and stability control and ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, as well as the previously mentioned reversing camera.

2014 Hyundai i30 SR

Pricing From $27,990+ORC (manual); $30,190+ORC (auto)
Warranty five years, unlimited kilometres
Safety five-star ANCAP
Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol
Power/Torque 129kW/209Nm
Transmission six-speed manual (standard); six-speed automatic (cost option)
Body 4300mm (L); 1780mm (W); 1470mm (H)
Weight 1258kg-1380kg (depending on transmission)
Thirst 7.2-7.5L/100km

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober