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  • More grunt - especially in the mid-range; improved ride, handling and steering feedback; quick-shifting manual transmission; loads of features; 5-year unlimited Km warranty.
  • lacks low-down grunt; not much of an engine note; 'flex steer' system isn't fast enough;

7 / 10

Hyundai i30 SR Review
Hyundai i30 SR Review
Hyundai i30 SR Review

Ask anyone at Hyundai what the ‘SR’ badge actually stands for on the new Hyundai i30 SR and they’ll struggle to give you a straight answer.

While we were able to ascertain it doesn’t stand for ‘Street Racing’, the fact that the Hyundai now boasts a level of performance over and above the standard i30 range should warm the hearts of boy racers everywhere.

It’s also not the first time the Korean carmaker has used the badge on an i30, although the previous generation SR’s ‘go-fast’ credentials amounted to nothing more than a colour-coded body kit and a fancy set of wheels.

This year’s GD-generation of the SR is an entirely different proposition.

It gains a brand new engine and its own suspension tune – elevating the i30 SR to proper ‘warm hatch’ status.

Under the bonnet, there’s the latest 2.0-litre GDI naturally aspirated four-cylinder unit, lifted from the i40 range.

The result is a modest lift in power and torque to 129kW/ 209Nm (from 110kW/178Nm), though still short of its turbocharged rivals, the Nissan Pulsar SSS (140kW/240Nm) and Holden Cruze SRi-V (132kW/230Nm).

Despite the shortfall, this is a noticeably more willing unit than the standard 1.8-litre petrol.

Hyundai i30 SR Review
Hyundai i30 SR Review
Hyundai i30 SR Review
Hyundai i30 SR Review

But without the advantage of a turbo it’s not until about 4300rpm when you’ve got at least 200Nm under your right foot, that the i30 SR really starts to deliver.

Kept on-song, this is a car that rewards spirited driving with a satisfying level of mid-range poke.

That’s not to say it disappoints out of the blocks, as the SR offers a relatively short-shift transmission that allows for quick shifting.

Hyundai claims 7.7 seconds for the 0-100km/h dash for the manual i30 SR (tested) on a full tank of fuel, or 8.6 seconds for the six-speed auto, which disappointingly misses out on paddle shifters.

Our experience was that if brisk acceleration is to be maintained, it’s best to wind up the revs in second before shifting up, given that third is a predictably tall gear ratio.

Sadly, despite the additional engine displacement and subsequent lift in performance there isn’t much in the way of engine note – regardless of where you are in the rev range.

Combined fuel economy for the i30 SR manual is 7.2L/100km, while the automatic’s figure is 7.5L/100km.

Apart from the upgraded engine, Hyundai has thrown considerable resources and expertise at the SR’s suspension tune, which is unique to this model.

Hyundai i30 SR Review
Hyundai i30 SR Review
Hyundai i30 SR Review
Hyundai i30 SR Review

In an effort get it right, Hyundai’s engineers employed four test cars, evaluated 43 separate suspension combinations on road and track and 13 front and 23 rear damper builds before settling on what it believes is the ideal setup for Australian conditions.

The upshot is a production model i30 SR that has four per cent stiffer front springs and modified Sachs front and rear damper rates.

While it might not sound like a significant overhaul, the net result is a vastly improved ride and handling over the standard i30 range.

We found the SR a tad less supple over the proving ground-style bumps on our northern NSW hinterland test route, but still able to deliver a thoroughly pleasant ride (for driver and passenger).

It’s equally at home in the tight, twisty bends, with solid composure and good balance even when pushed. There’s also loads of grip at the front end on turn-in, though there’s a tendency for the SR to lighten-up in the rear as a result of mid-corner lift-off.

The i30 SR’s bespoke suspension tune has also paid dividends in the steering department. There’s significantly more feedback through the steering wheel along with greater feel and sharper response rates on the straight-ahead position.

The SR’s electric power steering also loads up nicely in the bends, (at least in the comfort mode) though Hyundai’s adjustable flex steer system dials in too much weight in the Sport setting to feel useful.

Hyundai i30 SR Review
Hyundai i30 SR Review
Hyundai i30 SR Review
Hyundai i30 SR Review

Priced from $27,990 (excluding on-roads), the i30 SR slots itself between the top-shelf $30,190 Premium model and the $24,490 mid-spec Elite variant, which the car is based on.

By way of comparison with rival hatches, the SR is considerably less than the $29,690 SSS, but more than the $26,490 SRi-V – though offsets its higher price tag with class-leading specification levels.

Reversing sensors, cruise control, reversing camera electric folding mirrors, seven-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, auto-sensing headlamps and wipers and Bluetooth phone and music streaming are standard on the Elite.

The i30 SR adds 17-inch machined-face alloy wheels, Xenon headlamps, heated front seats with powered driver’s seat, leather/leatherette upholstery, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, alloy-faced sports pedals, LED rear lamps, a rear diffuser, and a unique SR-grille with a glossy black insert.

The only additional option is a panoramic sunroof for $2000, which is expected to have a high take-up rate based on forward orders from the dealers.

Along with its long list of features, the i30 SR easily outshines its supped-up rivals when it comes to cabin comfort.

Almost all the visible surfaces are soft-touch plastics with a premium look and feel to them, and the general ergonomics are excellent.

Passenger comfort is also impressive, with efficiently bolstered seating, though head and legroom falls short of that offered in the extraordinarily generous Pulsar SSS.

Hyundai i30 SR Review
Hyundai i30 SR Review

Nevertheless, the i30 SR is an entirely accomplished package; offering a noticeable boost in performance and improved ride and handling in a quality hatch bundle at a reasonable price.

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Hyundai i30 SR Review
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  • zahmad

    Great to see Hyundai bother with local suspension tuning. With turbocharged rivals in this segment though, hard task for Hyundai to match its rivals…

    • bd

      But a i30 SR Turbo is reportedly in development.

      • zahmad

        How much more expensive though? What’s the purpose of having three engines in the line up as well then?

  • MK

    You’d be mad to buy this (unless you are a P plater) with the turbo version not too far away.

    • anthony

      While we do know there is an i30 turbo in development – there is no guarantee that it will make it into production and whether it will be available in right-hand


  • galaxy

    the regular i30 range is too firm in the ride already… and this is firmer? Ouch on Parramatta Road

    • anthony

      It’s only a ‘tad’ firmer than the regular i30 – and it does a good job ironing out the bumps even when hammering along.

  • WhiteWolf

    For those who are not aware, the engine in this car is identical to the one found in the new Kia Cerato (Si/Sli models).

  • horsie

    those 17’s look smaller in the pics

  • Nabs

    The 1.8L in the normal i30 is the weakest and most unpleasant 1.8L to the ear.

    Despite claiming the most power torque and having six-speed.

    Talk about paper performance!

  • Poison_Eagle

    This v SSS v SRiV v Focus Sport.

  • Observer

    SR = Sport Range, surely?

  • Karl Sass

    Doesn’t look very sporty at all.

    • $29896495

      It does look low level

    • Hingle McCringleberry

      Neither does the Focus Sport, SSS or Cruze SRI. Nor -for that matter – does the Golf R, an actual performance model.

      • Adrian

        All the aforementioned cars are absolutely hideous when compared to the i30 too :

    • David

      Looks sporty enough for me! Some of us don’t like in-your-face boy racer stuff. I bought one! It’s a fantastic car.

  • $29896495

    Seems like a nice car, though I think Hyundai missed a trick i not using the 3 door body as well.

  • Tez

    @ whitewolf – given that Hyundai owns Kia are you really surprised?

  • A77

    Luke warm, maybe? Interested to see if this pulls harder than a Focus Sport, it may not. 129kW/209Nm versus 125kW/202Nm for a Focus.

  • i45 owner..

    It will live twice as long as a ford or vw,and cost far less in the long run

  • David

    Bought a manual one two months ago in the same red as the article + sunroof. This is about my 20th car over the years. I’ve owned everything from Ford, Holden, Toyota, Fiat, Renault, Alfa, VW, Audi, BMW and a few more.
    Absolutely brilliant!! Fit and finish is flawless, it feels quite classy inside, ride is a bit firm but a tradeoff for actually being a very good handler, performance is fine. Toss in a 5 year warranty and I’m a Hyundai convert. I turn 60 in a few weeks – if Hyundai launch a turbo SR I’ll look at buying one and looking for .a Sunday morning drive in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

    A great car for anyone but badge snobs. I got over that decades back.

  • Dave

    Correction – the i30 SR doesn’t have heated front seats. Only the i30 Premium gets that.

Hyundai i30 Specs

Car Details
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$15,510 - $17,630
Dealer Retail
$16,740 - $19,910
Dealer Trade
$12,200 - $14,100
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
260Nm @  1900rpm
Max. Power
94kW @  4000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
5.6L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:1300  Unbrake:500
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
205/55 R16
Rear Tyres
205/55 R16
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Torsion bar, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Control & Handling
Traction Control System
Trip Computer
Optional Features
Metallic Paint
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
60 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Under Driver Seat On Floor
Country of Origin