7

10

Model

Active Petrol Hatch

Price

$20,990

The Numbers

1797cc 4cyl, 107kW, 175Nm, 7.1L/100km

The Topgear Verdict

Quiet, spacious, practical and safe, but not especially exciting.

2014 Hyundai i30 Active Petrol hatch

Who is this car good for?

First drivers, commuters and small families.

What’s it got going for it?

A big boot – 378 litres of room in the back end, compared with 308 litres in the Mazda3 Neo hatch, and 280 litres in the Corolla hatch. So if you lug around a lot of stuff, or have a couple of kids, the i30 hatch is a good proposition.

There’s very decent head room inside, too – we easily fitted a 6’2” adult in the front with inches to spare between skull and headliner. In fact, the i30 is very roomy inside in every way, given its exterior dimensions – there’s shades of Doctor Who’s Tardis involved in the thing – with quite comfortable amounts of rear legroom as well.

There’s a five-inch touchscreen on the dash controlling the six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth phone and audio, and steering wheel controls for the audio, cruise control and trip computer.

It also has seven airbags, and a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

What’s it like to drive?

Hyundai has made leaps and bounds in tuning their cars for Australian roads, and for family drivers and commuting, the i30 Active is a comfortable and quiet ride. We tested it both in the city and out on rougher rural roads, and it soaked up every surface without complaint or transmitting noise or vibration into the cabin.

The four-pot engine mated with the six-speed auto is polite enough in ordinary driving, though if you ask more of it (say you need to overtake a particularly dozy Sunday driver in a short space), it really does take the noise to the next level – the auto box will handily hold onto gears when you need to accelerate hard (peak power is up at 6500rpm), though you’ll never win any street races in it.

The i30 does have selectable steering modes on the wheel – Sport, Normal and Comfort – that change the weighting of the steering – but not in any way that improves anything, and any way you cut it, this isn’t a sporty ride. Best to just leave it in Normal and try not to touch that button again.

What’s it worth? And is it worth the coin?

The i30 Active starts at $20,990 with manual transmission, though we tested the auto transmission which is $2000 more. That puts it right on par with its competitors – although the i30 is cheaper to own long-term, thanks to Hyundai’s capped price servicing.

Would you take this or a Mazda3?

The Mazda3 is more fun to drive, more eager if you need (or just want) to go quickly, and more balanced if you punt it through corners. On the other hand, if you’re not looking for racy performance and just want a quiet, comfortable ride with loads of interior and boot space, then the i30 is probably more your speed.

Driven: June 17, 2014