Our long-term Hyundai i30 SR is racking up the kilometres fast, and we’ve already had to call the NRMA out – though not for the reason you’re thinking – says Tony Bosworth, who takes us on a tour of the buying experience and life so far with Hyundai’s sporty i30.

Car: Hyundai i30 SR

Date bought: November 18, 2013

Price paid: $28,000 driveaway

Extras: Phantom Black paint – $450

Delivery kilometres: 38

Current kilometres: 1250

Fuel consumption (mix of E10 and 91 octane, depending on availability), L/100km: best: 6.5, worst: 6.7, average: 6.6

Service costs: Nil

Finding a dealer to supply our brand new Hyundai i30 SR was as easy as inputting my postcode on Hyundai’s website. Only thing is, I didn’t realize at the time the dealer it picked, and who we ended up purchasing the car from, wasn’t the nearest one to me…the Hyundai website had us going to Penrith, NSW, instead of McGraths Hill, for some reason, 36.4km as against 23.1km. Sorry, Windsor Hyundai – maybe it would be a good idea to have a word with your mates at Hyundai head office…

Having said that, the buying experience at Sinclair Hyundai was smooth and easy and the salesman could not be faulted.  He let me drive a new silver SR, even though I turned up with an open mind about which model we should buy.

Thankfully he refrained from hard selling it to me, merely pointing out some of the pluses. He was honest enough to say the SR was not an out-and-out sports version (it’s a warm, rather than hot hatch), and he had a first class knowledge of the entire i30 range, quickly ticking off the pluses and minuses of each one – from an equipment and engine point of view.

We wanted the car in black, so the sales guy had to source one from another dealer but he managed to do that within a week – a week earlier than he initially reckoned – and the finance was all sorted within days – very impressive.

The pre-delivery experience was not quite so impressive though.  Mind you, I have to underline one thing – never take your kids with you when you pick up a new car. I love my boys but if your youngsters are anything like mine – and yes they were excited about the new car – you’ll spend as much time telling them to stop tooting the horn and messing about as you will checking over the car. Checking a new car is not something that should be rushed, and here’s why…

…when I got the SR home that afternoon and really gave it the once-over I found the silver-coloured plastic front passenger door handle was scratched, I’m guessing when the dealer’s pre delivery folks took all the protective plastic off (see picture). I say this because on the driver’s door handle (also pictured) they had not taken all the plastic off, which speaks to me of haste, or lack of care.

Ther scratches on the door handle showed up after a couple of days.

But the bigger problem was a small rip in the leather seat trim on the base of the driver’s seat. (I say leather but Hyundai uses a mix of leather and leatherette, which personally I dislike intensely. To me it’s a cheap move and if you’re going to offer leather then it should be something originally worn by a beast, not made in a factory with copious amounts of crude oil pitched in).

Anyway, at first glance I thought it was an imperfection – a pucker, if you like – in the seat material but no, there was a jagged rip, the like of which you can get if you sit in a car with a screwdriver, or maybe a pen, in your back pocket. It hadn’t gone clean through, but I could lift the material with a fingernail.

We didn't notice the tear in the seat of the i30 when we collected it.The dealer fixed it straight away.

This has to be the worst possible place, as clearly the driver’s seat is used every day and will see the biggest amount of wear. A rip like this would soon grow.

In fairness to the dealer – and more specifically our friendly and ever professional salesman – there was never any question or hesitation about it being repaired under warranty, and it was booked in that very week. Originally they tried to get the leather repairer to come to my house but apparently he wouldn’t, as he didn’t like to travel…the 36.4km from Penrith.

That aside, the repair was made and it looks pretty good. And I was handed the keys to a Hyundai iX35 for the day while my SR was at the dealers, which was good customer service. Remember, these people had no idea the SR was a long-termer for Practical Motoring.

You can only really tell the seat’s been mended if you knew there was a rip in the first place. But I’ll be keeping my eye on it and hoping it doesn’t split open.

I have to say I don’t think Hyundai’s leather/leatherette looks too robust. If I compare it with the rich and tough-looking leather in Holden’s Cruze SRiV (a car that compares on price and size) there’s no argument the Holden’s looks like it will stand the test of time, and I reckon it will age gracefully. The Hyundai? We’ll have to see.

One little annoyance that almost wiped the new-car-buyer smile from my face was the half tankful of fuel. We’re talking around $25 to have topped it up – don’t you think, Sinclair Hyundai, that is a price worth paying to keep your customers happy? It just comes across as penny-pinching and frankly having ponied up $28K I think I deserve a full tank of fuel. It’s the little things like this that colour the new-car-buyer experience.

The NRMA? Well, you get up to seven years’ NRMA roadside assistance (or AA or RAC if you live in parts of the country where the NRMA doesn’t operate) as long as you always get your Hyundai serviced by a Hyundai dealer during that time.

I had to call the breakdown people out because I had a flat tyre (I spotted it while the SR sat in my garage). This is the 10th puncture I’ve had this year – that’s what you get when you live in a suburb also favoured by tradies. Why they can’t keep their nails and screws on their utes I just don’t know but I’ve almost enough now to start my own business.

The thing is, because all car wheels are bolted on by machines these days it’s impossible to unbolt them unless you happen to be The Hulk.

The NRMA took just under an hour to appear and about two minutes to take the wheel off and replace it with the spare. Here’s the thing, the SR – in common with all other Hyundai i30s – comes with a full-sized spare, and in the SR’s case it’s a full-sized alloy, just like the other four. Now, that’s an area where there has definitely not been any penny-pinching – thank-you Hyundai.

Next week: the SR goes in for its 1500km service, which is free and is essentially just a check on fluid levels, operation of brakes/handbrake and an electronic mapping check. I’ll let you know how that goes, and I’ll also give some opinion then on how the SR drives, rides and handles as it beds in and gets some serious kilometres under its belt.


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Practical Motoring

The team of journalists at Practical Motoring bring decades of automotive and machinery industry experience. From car and motorbike journalists to mechanical expertise, we like to use tools of the trade both behind the computer and in the workshop.

1 comment

  1. So you got this for $28K drive away? That’s very impressive as the list price is $27990 (with manual without sunroof). Normally dealer delivery rip offs can add up to another 4K on top, so as this is a brand new car, not a demo, you got a good deal! (I want the sunroof, but at $30K the SR is right next to the new Mazda 3 SP25 GT… to which the Hyundai cannot compete).

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