Last year we drove the Hyundai i30 diesel automatic and loved its built quality, refinement and comfort. However, it isn’t quite there yet in terms of driving dynamics.
So, here comes the Hyundai i30 SR, the first i30 in the world to be fitted with the company’s 2.0-litre direct-injected four-cylinder petrol engine. The 129 kW of power and 209 Nm of torque that it develops are a substantial 19 kW and 31 Nm more than the 1.8-litre multi-point injection engine, making it the most powerful engine in the i30 range.
Like the 1.8-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel available in the range, the new engine is amazingly refined and power delivery is strong off idle, which makes it right at home in daily urban commute.
However, from the perspective of a warm hatch, the i30 SR hasn’t got much to impress. There just isn’t enough torque to put those power onto the tarmac. The engine isn’t the most willing to rev either, and above 5k rpm there is pretty much nothing happening. It is also devoid of any characterful exhaust note one would expect from a sports hatch.
The i30 SR needs something with more grunt to back its sporty credentials, and the 1.6-litre turbo petrol from the Hyundai Veloster SR should shake things up quite nicely (hint).
The 6-speed manual we tested is smooth and allows slick shifts once you get off first gear but is hampered by the over sensitive accelerator pedal and poorly calibrated clutch, which can be hard to manage in stop start traffic. As there is not much performance from the engine to harvest with a stick, the 6-speed automatic transmission with sequential manual mode is the more practical choice.
On paper the i30 SR manual will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 7.7 seconds but in the real world the best we could manage was only 8.1 seconds.
If the i30 SR falls short in terms of out right power, it made up for it in its handling. The SR’s unique sports suspension is tuned and developed specifically for Australian taste. Across a wide range of roads, the suspension is well judged, with a good compromise between soaking up dimpled bitumen so characteristic of our roads, and carving up corners. The slightly firmer setup keeps body roll in checked, which improves the SR’s overall composure compared to the standard i30.
The steering however, remains a week point in the i30 range, including the SR. Although available with three assistance settings – Normal, Comfort and Sport, it is overly light and devoid of any useful feedback in both the Normal and Comfort settings. In Sport, there is a perceptible increase in weight, albeit artificially so.
Hyundai claims the combined fuel economy for the i30 SR manual is 7.2L/100km and the automatic is 7.5L/100km. On test, the SR averaged a reasonable 8.0L/100km with a good mix of urban, freeway and sporty driving.
The standard i30’s already attractively styled exterior gets a dose of updates to mark it as the SR model, which can be distinguished by the 17” machine face alloy wheels, black-out beltline moulding, sports front grille with piano black insert, LED taillights, rear sports diffuser and SR badges.
Inside, the i30 range topper adds to the well built interior an electrochromatic rear view mirror, alloy sports pedals and leather/leatherette upholstery and power driver’s seat.
The 2013 Hyundai i30 SR offers a little extra performance without sacrificing much of the base car’s commendable attributes. At $28k, it’s also good value. But it can’t quite call itself a warm hatch yet until it gets something more punchy under the bonnet and a sportier gearbox to match.
|Price (Excl. On-roads):||From $20,990 – $32,790. As tested: $27,990|
|Metallic Paint: $495.00|
|Warranty:||5 years/unlimited kilometres|
|Engine:||1.8-litre, 4-cylinder petrol, 110kW/178Nm|
|2.0-litre, 4-cylinder petrol, 129kW/209Nm (as tested)|
|1.6-litre, 4-cylinder turbo diesel, 94kW/260Nm|
|Transmission:||6-speed manual (as tested)|
|0-100km/h||7.7 seconds (claimed). 8.1 seconds (tested)|
|Fuel consumption (combined)||7.2L/100km (claimed). 8.0L/100km (tested)|
|Dimensions:||Length: 4300mm, Width: 1780mm, Height: 1470mm, Wheelbase:2650mm|
|Kerb Weight||1225kg – 1413kg|