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  • Sleek coupe design; loads of standard equipment; price; cheap to run; plenty of space; slick six-speed transmission; comfortable ride and decent handling.
  • 1.6-litre petrol lacks punch; no rear vents.

OUR RATING
8 / 10



Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition
Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition
Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition

Less than a year since the concept debuted at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the Hyundai i30 three-door Special Edition takes over as the Korean manufacturer’s latest entry model in its small car line-up.

Priced from $19,990 driveaway, it is also the third and last body style we’re likely to see in Hyundai’s second-generation i30 range.

It follows the popular five-door hatch and more recently launched i30 Tourer (wagon) models.

It also distinguishes Hyundai as the only small car manufacturer to offer a three-door variant in Australia’s small car segment, with rival models such as the Toyota Corolla and Mazda 3 currently available only in five-door and sedan versions.

Oddly enough, Hyundai doesn’t produce an i30-badged sedan, choosing instead to call their small-car contender the Elantra in line with the car maker’s global naming policy.

As a general guide, three-door hatchbacks tend to look sportier than their five-door counterparts and the Hyundai i30 Special Edition is no exception to the rule.

By losing the rear doors, designers can take advantage of a cleaner canvas, allowing three-door hatches like the new Special Edition to boast a decent amount of designer flair.

Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition
Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition
Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition
Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition

Cosmetic tweaks include revised bumpers, new foglamps and a sportier grille, but the three-door i30 also gets a more rakish profile than the five-door thanks to its upswept beltline and smaller rear windows.

And despite its competitive price tag, the i30 three-door is anything but the usual poverty-pack normally associated with entry-level offerings in this segment.

For starters, there are LED daytime running lights with integrated front fog-lamps and 16-inch alloy wheels, with a full-size spare included. The remodeled lower bumper also houses rear parking sensors and new horizontal fog-lamps in the lower air dam.

Inside, the Special Edition boasts a host of standard equipment including a five-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio unit, Bluetooth phone and music streaming, and multifunctional steering wheel adjustable for both reach and rake.

Power windows, remote keyless entry, glovebox cooling and cruise control are also standard.

While the three-door layout is understandably less convenient than its five-door sibling when it comes to rear-seat access, it’s made less awkward by the easy ‘911-style’ front seat folding levers.

Rear leg and head space isn’t overtly compromised, either – in fact, it’s generous back there.

Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition
Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition
Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition
Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition

There are no rear air vents, though, and given the smaller rear windows don’t open, long stints in the rear seats may not be such a great idea, especially in summer.

There is plenty of luggage space, with up to 378 litres available with the rear seats in place – expanding to 1316 litres when folded (not flat).

An underfloor compartment that can take laptops supplements that space. There’s also a raft of additional storage spaces throughout the cabin for wallets, phones and drink bottles.

Styling is about the limit of this i30’s sporty pretensions. Power for the Czech-built hatch comes from Hyundai’s 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol engine, producing 98kW and 163Nm of torque – slightly less than the 110kW/178Nm output from the standard 1.8-litre unit in the five-door petrol version.

It’s certainly no firecracker, with peak torque not arriving until 4850rpm, but it is a smooth-revving engine and the six-speed manual gearbox is slick and precise, adding a modicum of pleasure to the on-board driving experience.

There’s also a six-speed automatic transmission available for an additional $2200, taking the driveaway price for the i30 three-door up to $22,190.

Hyundai claims 6.3L/100km combined fuel consumption for the manual (tested), but we could only manage an average of 8.2L/100km given there’s a tendency to want to rev this engine out more often than not, due to its lower torque output.

Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition
Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition
Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition
Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition

The ride, though, is excellent.

The Hyundai i30 three-door, like it’s Czech-sourced Tourer sibling, benefits from an independent rear suspension (the Korean-built five-door uses a simpler torsion beam setup) and European tune that effectively absorbs the bumps for excellent comfort.

The cloth seats help, too, providing plenty of backside- cushioning and better than adequate bolstering.

Hyundai’s ‘Flex-steer’ tri-mode electric steering is inherited from the five-door and, regardless of mode chosen, remains an area for improvement in terms of precision and weighting consistency.

However, there’s decent front-end grip from the 205/55 Hankook tyres and plenty of poise in corners.

Like its five-door counterparts, the i30 Special Edition comes with a comprehensive suite of active and passive safety gear including electronic stability control with traction control, anti-locking brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist and seven airbags.

The Hyundai i30 three-door also comes under the company’s iCare umbrella, which offers a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, capped-price servicing over three years ($219 for 15,000km, 30,000km and 45,000km services) and free roadside assistance for 12 months.

Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition
Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition

Overall, the Hyundai i30 three-door is a stylish and savvy choice for first-time buyers.

It’s not often that an entry-level price tag can offer such a comprehensive and generous range of standard features, teamed with such impressive all-round package. Throw in its stripped-back styling and the i30 three-door could well be a niche-defining hit for Hyundai.


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HYUNDAI I30 BREAKDOWN

Hyundai i30 Review: three-door Special Edition
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  • galaxy

    I so wished other i30s had IRS and had NOT had local tuning. The Euro ride and handling is superb… current i30 5dr is a little on the firm side for Australian roads. Who’s idea as a local tune was that?

  • Michael

    I’ve seen some owner reviews of the latest i30 and the common bad point is the ride quality. It appears that the 5 door i30 suspension setup is a problem. If the 3-door is good enough to be sold hear with European specs, why not source the 5-door i30′s from Europe as well. They would then have a better ride quality and would also get the “cool” looking DRL’s too!

    • F1orce

      First of, we are closer to Korea

      2nd, the European factory serves the European market

      • Michael

        Your comments are obvious. There is a solution. Hyundai Australia can take note of customer feedback and get Korea to manufacture cars similar to European spec, they don’t have to come from Europe’s factory. Obviously cars for Australia cannot be purely to European spec, but in this example the rear suspension could be more similar for a more comfortable car.

        • F1orce

          A better solution would be for Hyundai to manufacture cars in Australia .

          Hyundai has a much larger marketshare in Australia than in Europe.

          • $29896495

            I know where they can get a factory cheap.

    • Sumpguard

      I’ve driven one and the ride is more than fine. Certainly not harsh at all. If anything it’s more on the soft side.

  • Edward

    I would take a second-hand Veloster over this any day!

  • daniel

    hyundai/kias korean factories are operating at capacity and are at the mercy of militant unions further constraining supply.
    Sportage now comes from the Czech factory as does the the I30 Tourer and this I30SE, id be surprised if further models dont come from this source in future.

  • Sam

    “Slick 6 speed Transmission” – key point. By transmission, you mean gear-box. In the article it says gear box. Doesnt “transmission” imply “auto”?

    • chipped

      Who cares, the auto and the manual are both 6 speed anyway.

  • $29896495

    This is the one Hyundai I really like. I think it’s brilliant. I’ve seen one in person and they look great. Ok 2 lt would be the icing on the cake, but even without it, I can imagine this becoming a cult car. I know If this was around when I was 17 or 18 my friends and I would have been drooling over it.

  • Oz_Dart

    Just bought one, after cross shopping numerous other marques in the $18000 bracket. However, nothing came close in terms of value for money and just pure sense of satisfaction when sitting behind the wheel of this thing. I was interested in just the base models (as this is) of other manufacturers but their products were totally uninspiring. In the end, I managed to pick one up for $18250 drive-away, with free metallic paint, premium paint and custom mats. Admittedly, I did a lot of bargaining and hunting down of available cars but this was worth it. As a second car, destined to be passed on to my daughter, this fits the bill perfectly. The only compromise I have to make daily is that, compared to my MPS6, this engine won’t be imposing itself on any potential gaps in the traffic – if you follow what I mean. Similarly, the steering is too light for my liking (despite my setting the flexisteer to SPORT). Overall, minor quibbles and for anyone else considering a car in this class/price range, I recommend the i30 SE unreservedly. In fact, the 2door version is superior to its 4door siblings in handling and equipment.

  • Kylie

    Does anyone know what the difference is between the 2013 hyundai i30 GDe SE and the 2013 hyundai i30 GDi SE ?
    I’m trying to determine if the GDi and GDe are different in any way

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