This week we look at the practicality of our Hyundai i30 SR, and also wonder why its headlights don’t see far enough ahead… Tony Bosworth reports.

Car: Hyundai i30SR

Date bought: November 18, 2013

Price paid: $28,000 driveaway

Extras: Phantom Black paint – $495

Delivery kilometres: 38

Current kilometres: 4035

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

OUR LONG-TERM HYUNDAI I30 SR is swiftly racking up the kilometres with a daily mix of motorway, city, and country driving, so I’m really getting to see how the car is in all environments, at different speeds, day and night, and on different road surfaces.

One thing bugging me are the headlights which are modern HID Xenons but they simply don’t illuminate far enough ahead. This is a real issue because a lot of my driving is at night and in the country where street lighting pretty much doesn’t exist. What I’m finding is that on full beam it’s uncomfortable to be going more than 80kph in the dark, simply because I can’t see far enough ahead. Go faster than that and it’s not a confidence-inspiring feature.

The headlights on the i30SR don't seem to light up enough of the road

Now, just in case some over-eager sub-editor decides to erase this comment on the basis my eyes are not up to the task, I have to tell you my wife does not much like driving the SR at night for this very reason either. I’d rather take my Mitsubishi 380 out because it lights the road ahead for twice the distance the SR manages.

On the motorway it’s okay because you’re going in a straight line and there are usually other cars around, and in town it’s not an issue at all.

I’ve been driving a fair number of Hyundais lately and each has the same issue. Why doesn’t this feature in road tests in other publications? Who knows, but perhaps they rarely take their test cars for drives at night anywhere other than the city…The point is, we feel it’s an issue and we will be testing it further.

Now, let’s have a look at practicality, and we’ll start at the front.

The leather seats are quite comfortable and support pretty well, and there is adjustable lumbar support too (electric on the driver’s seat). Side bolstering is not brilliant though considering this is supposed to be the sporty i30, but again it points to this being a warm hatchback and not a hot one. I initially found the front seat base a bit short with barely enough under thigh support, but I’ve got used to it now and it’s barely worrying me.

The driver’s seat features electric adjustment fore and aft and also up and down, and there’s an electric lumbar adjuster too. The front passenger has to manually adjust their seat.

The back seats in the i30 SR are fine for three kids or two adults.

This is a five-door so access to the rear bench is easy and the bench itself is comfy enough, so it’s fine for two adults. We often have three boys in the back (aged eight, 10 and 11) and it’s bearable for them as long as the distance is not too far. They do have plenty of head and legroom though, as do the front seat occupants.

There are no rear vents for heating and air conditioning as such, but under the front seats there’s a piece of piping – ducts, according to Hyundai – which directs air flow to the back.

You get a decent sized glove box in the front and on the SR it’s also cooled so you can keep a small drink bottle cool. You won’t get more than one decent-sized bottle in there, but it’s a feature few other cars offer, at any price.

There are two cup holders in the front centre arm-rest and the door pockets – in both front and rear doors – are also segmented so in the front of each you can prop a spare drinks bottle up, so that’s all good.

Just above the top-centre of the windscreen surround there’s a holder for spectacles, which is very useful.

Above 15km/h the doors automatically lock.

The rear seats split fold 60/40 and on the SR the rear seat base can be folded forward first so you end up with a flat load floor. If you have a driver over 1.53m in the front it’s unlikely you will be able to get the 60 bit down flat unless you take the headrests off completely, and if the driver is, say, six feet tall you definitely won’t be able to have that section of the rear seat down completely flat.

The base of the back seat flips forwards and the back folds down to create a flat-ish load space

The backseats in the Hyundai i30 SR don't fold totally flat

The boot lip is not too high off the ground, which is good, but boot space is robbed by the full-sized 17-inch alloy spare under the boot floor, but then you can’t have it all ways. On balance I think it’s best to have that full-sized spare.


With the rear seats folded flat the i30 offers a huge boot of 1300L plus.

Hyundai quotes 378 litres of cargo space with the rear seats in place, and 1316 litres with the seats folded flat. These figures are useful for comparisons with other cars but, that aside, they mean little to me. What I want to know is can a surfboard or golf clubs be slotted in the back – yes they can – and can the car digest the family’s luggage?

The boot is big enough to hold all of the stuff you need to transport when you've got kids.

Well, the boot is sizeable, if not class-leading, and as family transport we haven’t so far found the SR to be any problem, though in fairness it’s mostly been loaded with the weekly shop or day trips to the beach, rather than a full-blown holiday, with all the luggage that entails, so I’ll report on the full-as-can-be ability in a future report.

Reliability issues? Nothing to report this week, and the SR seems to have bedded in well and is performing without fuss, though I continue to really dislike the clutch bite point in first gear (it did get a bit better a few weeks after we bought the car, but it’s not improving any further), and it’s juddering a touch in reverse too. I’ll keep my eye on that.

Fuel consumption has also slightly worsened to an average of 6.7L/100km, from 6.6, but the weather’s been hot so whenever I’m driving the SR the air-con is on full blast, which usually means fuel thirst increases.

Don’t forget, if you own an i30 and either agree or disagree with anything we’ve said, drop us a note in the comments section below.


Abarth 695 Edizione Maserati First Drive Car Review


BMW 320i First Drive Car Review

About Author

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. I read comments in another review for this car wherein one owner also commented on the headlights’ lack of range (he said it was the only thing he didn’t like on the car). But he said with the driving/fog lights on, it fixed the problem (but he said laws prohibit using the fog lights where he lives, though I’ve used mine everyday for years (for 4am work drive) and have never had any trouble). Could you confirm if the fog lights help at all? (And what happened to Review #6?)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also