Home / Car Reviews / 2017 Hyundai i30 Review – SR Premium vs Premium, Petrol vs Diesel

2017 Hyundai i30 Review – SR Premium vs Premium, Petrol vs Diesel




To the untrained eye both these top spec Hyundai i30’s come across as nigh on identical. Priced identically at $33,950 excluding on-road costs, both the diesel-powered Premium and petrol-motivated SR Premium have 1.6-litre four cylinder turbocharged engines, the exact same body and even the names are practically similar. So why is it worth comparing the two? The answer to that lies below the surface as these are two very different machines, if they were athletes one would be a sprinter and the other a marathon runner so which will best suit your needs?

Styling

Right out of the blocks it’s the i30 SR Premium that has the advantage in the looks department. The larger 18 inch wheels fill out the guards to give a more aggressive stance while the twin chrome tipped exhausts look right at home nestled in the rear and as a cherry on top that SR badge looks miles better than the 1.6D listed on the Premium that tells the whole world you’re driving a diesel.

Interior

After jumping inside both cars the decision becomes clouded. I’m quite fond of the of the cream white leather that can be found in the Premium, the color matches well with the silver highlights and black trim, it looks and almost smells like a cappuccino. In the SR Premium the mood is much darker with a sea of black complimented by red highlights on the seatbelts, various metal trim pieces and trim stitching. There’s also metallic sports pedals and far more snug seats to be found in the SR as it’s the more focused of the two as proven by the wheel mounted gearshift paddles. These little extras give the SR Premium the edge in my books over the Premium as they not only deliver in the looks department but add a splash of excitement inside that reminds you of the sporting credentials the SR Premium represents.

Both variations benefit from well thought out storage solutions and equally well built quality interiors with the gear shifters feeling particularly solid. The rear seats for both cars could do with additional knee room for extra comfort which is the only real downside to an otherwise excellent interior. Once on the move there’s noticeable wind and road noise from both cars as you push upwards from 80km/h, it won’t drive you mad but there’s room for improvement here for sure.

Performance

The i30 Premium never set out to blow away rivals with its 100kW of power and 300Nm of torque produced by the 1.6-litre turbocharged CRDi diesel engine. The power available is usable and 300Nm of torque is nothing to laugh at but in diesel form the revs to make use of it all just aren’t there. The silver lining for the i30 Premium is that when it comes to fuel economy it’s got its petrol counterpart firmly beaten with 6.6L/100km against the 8.3L/100km for the SR Premium.

In ideal conditions Hyundai claims that 4.7L/100km can be reached in the i30 Premium with the i30 SR Premium able to hit a best of 7.5L/100km. You won’t be making too many treks to the fuel station either as the range on the diesel powered Premium is vast. There’s no denying it’s a diesel either, at low revs the engine sounds like a bucket of rocks lacking the refinement found on European rivals and the petrol unit found in the SR Premium.

The SR Premium may not be as fuel efficient but what it sacrifices there it more than makes up for in raw power – 150kW and 265Nm from the fuel fed 1.6-litre turbocharged T-GDi engine. You’ll have to be careful with that right foot in order to preserve your tyres, as off the line the SR Premium loves to spin up the front wheels with the traction control seemingly ineffective in all conditions.

Driving the SR Premium in maximum attack mode does unearth some less than desirable gearbox characteristics. The 7-speed twin-clutch automatic holds gears for too long and isn’t as willing to shift down as it should be and there’s no option for a manual gearbox unless you spec it down to an SR which misses out on all the top spec toys.

In contrast, the gearbox in the torquier Premium does exactly what you’d expect of it by tirelessly working away in the background and not drawing attention to itself.

Having said that, the SR Premium benefits from larger and thicker brakes to cope with the additional power. They do a consistently solid job of pulling the car up to a stop though they do lack the feedback required to perform delicate braking on the edge.

Ride and Handling

It’s in the suspension department that these two show their true faces. The i30 Premium places comfort at the peak of its priority list and what an excellent job it does in that regard. Bumps are completely nullified and softened providing a silky smooth ride in all but the worst of roads.

In comparison the SR Premium sacrifices comfort in the name of performance, offering a moderately stiffer yet still rather comfortable ride. There’re big changes for the SR Premium’s suspension in the rear. While the Premium makes do with an archaic torsion beam axle, the SR Premium gets a much more modern multi-link setup, the end result is a more predictable rear end that grants more confidence when pushed.

The scales for the SR Premium weigh in at 1436kg making it quite a hefty hatch and nowhere is this more obvious than the handling. There’s noticeable push understeer and the turn in isn’t as crisp and sharp as it could be, it’s a fun ride but it won’t set your hair on fire that’s for sure. That task is reserved for the upcoming i30N hot hatch.


Equipment

As expected of the top spec models in the range both the i30 SR Premium and Premium come with all the expected mod cons. For convenience there’s keyless entry, push button start, auto headlights/wipers and the very motorised sounding electric handbrake. Vented and heated seats up front are sure to keep you happy on hot and cold days and the panoramic sunroof does a superb job of letting in extra light to the cabin.

Entertainment is taken care of by a 6-speaker sound system hooked up to an 8-inch touch screen display supporting DAB+, bluetooth, AUX/USB, Apple CarPlay / Android Auto and Satellite navigation with SUNA live traffic updates.

The quality of audio from those six speakers is average at best which is a real shame as it ticks all the right boxes in other areas.

There’s all manner of safety devices included including the reversing camera, blind spot detection, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors and forward collision warning.

Those of you blessed with wireless charging equipped smartphones will be able to take full advantage of the charging pad hidden in the front centre console. The other big ticket feature is the active cruise control which works great on freeways but less so in urban streets. The issue is that unless certain conditions are met it can’t be activated making it hit and miss outside of freeways.

One advantage the i30 Premium has going for it is the inclusion of the full sized spare where the SR Premium makes do with a space saver. We’re sure you could haggle Hyundai into offering a full sized alloy for your SR Premium if you twist their arms hard enough.

Verdict

2017 Hyundai i30 SR Premium 2017 Hyundai i30 Premium
Design and comfort: 8/10

Performance and handling: 8/10

Quality: 8/10

Economy: 8/10

Features and equipment: 8/10

Our Score: 4/5

 

Design and comfort: 8.5/10

Performance and handling: 7/10

Quality: 8/10

Economy: 9/10

Features and equipment: 8/10

Our Score: 4/5

 

When choosing between the two models the i30 SR Premium starts off strong and grabs the early lead. You get more for your money inside and out with a number of additional styling features and extras not found on the Premium, not to mention the obvious mechanical upgrades.

So job done right, grab the SR Premium? Well it’s not that easy, in the long run it’s actually the i30 Premium that takes the lead when it comes to value for money. Every 12 months the Premium only needs to be serviced every 15,000km rather than the SR Premium’s 10,000km. Then there’s the fuel economy from the efficient diesel engine that saves you further cash each time you need to fill up. W

What it really comes down to is what you value, being sensible and boring or stylish and excitable, easy choice in my mind.

Pros:

  • Strong features list
  • Great fuel economy (i30 Premium)
  • Grunty engine (i30 SR Premium

Cons:

  • Engine sounds coarse at low revs (i30 Premium)
  • Traction control can’t handle turbo power (i30 SR Premium)
  • Average stereo audio quality

2017 Hyundai i30 SR Premium Price and Specification

Price (Excl. on-road costs): From: $33,950

As tested: $33,950

Warranty: 5 years/unlimited kilometers
Country of Origin: South Korea
Service Intervals: 12 months/10,000km
Engine: 1.6-litre turbocharged, direct-injected inline 4-cylinder petrol:

150kW @ 6,000rpm, 265Nm @ 1,500-4,500rpm

Transmission: 7-speed DCT automatic
Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
Power to Weight Ratio (W/kg): 104.5
Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km): Claimed: 7.5 / Tested: 8.3
RON Rating: 91
Fuel Capacity (L): 50
Body: 5-door Hatch, 5 seats
Safety: 5-star ANCAP, 7 airbags, ABS, BA, EBD, Hill-start Assist, TCS, VSM, blind spot detection, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, reverse camera, rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring system, space saver spare, ISOFIX
Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm: 4,340/1,795/1,455/2,650
Boot Space (Expanded) (L): 395 (1,301)
Kerb Weight (kg): 1,436
Towing Capacity (kg): Braked: 1,300kg / Unbraked: 600kg
Entertainment: 8-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, SUNA live traffic updates, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, digital radio, AUX/USB, 6-speakers

2017 Hyundai i30 Premium Price and Specification

Price (Excl. on-road costs): From: $33,950

As tested: $33,950

Warranty: 5 years/unlimited kilometers
Country of Origin: South Korea
Service Intervals: 12 months/15,000km
Engine: 1.6-litre turbocharged, common-rail direct injection inline 4-cylinder diesel:

100kW @ 4,000rpm, 300Nm @ 1,750-2,500rpm

Transmission: 7-speed DCT automatic
Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
Power to Weight Ratio (W/kg): 69.5
Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km): Claimed: 4.7 / Tested: 6.6
RON Rating: n/a
Fuel Capacity (L): 50
Body: 5-door Hatch, 5 seats
Safety: 5-star ANCAP, 7 airbags, ABS, BA, EBD, Hill-start Assist, TCS, VSM, blind spot detection, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, reverse camera, rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring system, space saver spare, ISOFIX
Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm: 4,340/1,795/1,455/2,650
Boot Space (Expanded) (L): 395 (1,301)
Kerb Weight (kg): 1,445
Towing Capacity (kg): Braked: 1,300kg / Unbraked: 600kg
Entertainment: 8-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, SUNA live traffic updates, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, digital radio, AUX/USB, 6-speakers

Competitors: Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Citroen C5, Ford Focus, Holden Astra, Honda Civic, Kia Cerato, Mazda3, Mitsubishi Lancer, Peugeot 308, Renault Megane, Skoda Octavia, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Golf

2017 Hyundai i30 SR Premium

2017 Hyundai i30 Elite (Blue) shown instead of 2017 Hyundai i30 Premium

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