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  • Fuel economy; smooth handling; practical functionality
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2009 Hyundai i30cw Review & Road Test
2009 Hyundai i30cw Review & Road Test
by Matt Brogan

2009 Hyundai i30cw Diesel Review & Road Test

The perfect example of a diesel family wagon

Models Tested:

  • 2009 Hyundai i30cw SX CRDi; 1.6-litre turbo diesel; five-speed manual; wagon – $23,390 (RRP)
  • 2009 Hyundai i30cw SLX CRDi; 1.6-litre turbo diesel; four-speed automatic; wagon – $27,390 (RRP)


  • Metallic paint $320; cruise control & front fog lamps $400; Protectz Pack $700 (SX only)

CarAdvice Rating:

– by Rose Harris

There was once a time when the mention of diesel bought only negative connotations of dirty, smelly, oily vehicles with truck-like handling to my mind and I would have never dreamed of choosing a diesel-fuelled vehicle as my family car.

But times have changed and the Hyundai i30cw CRDi wagon is the perfect example of how refined diesel cars have become and how easily integrated into everyday life they can be.

2009 Hyundai i30cw Review & Road Test
2009 Hyundai i30cw Review & Road Test
2009 Hyundai i30cw Review & Road Test
2009 Hyundai i30cw Review & Road Test

In fact driving the i30 CRDi, which I tested in both automatic and manual guise, it was hard to pick the car from its petrol counterpart. Only when I heard the echo of the deep diesel rumble or waited that few seconds for the coil light to go off was I reminded of which pump I must stop at at the next refuelling station.

The sluggishness and rough handling I expected was nowhere to be seen. Rather I was driving a quiet, smooth vehicle and by the end of my test run, having driven the full complement of i30 wagons, I actually preferred the SLX and SX with the common-rail, direct-injection, intercooler with variable geometry turbo, over the petrol model and had completely changed any negative feeling I had toward diesels.

Economy is simply amazing.  The computerised fuel uptake estimate in the automatic SLX rarely went over 8.0 litres per 100km and spent most of its time at 6.5 litres. I tested both in stop-start city traffic as well as a long country run, mostly in windy and rainy conditions. After starting with a full tank the fuel light eventually flicked on at 596.5 km.

I had clocked up more than 600km when I hit the bowser, and was pleasantly surprised when the small country town pump clicked off at $50, taking 40.65 litres. That gave me my own combined fuel economy figure of around 6.7 litres per 100km, not far off the manufacturer figure of 6.0 litres per 100km in the automatic.

The manual SX I didn’t test as long so was unable to get some good kilometres on it, but fuel economy was obviously even better for the time I had it, the manufacturer puts the figure at an amazing 4.9L/100km.

Whichever way you look at it, the economy of the i30cw CRDi is hard to go past.  I have already mentioned the many family features the wagon boasts in my Hyundai i30cw Sportswagon review. This time around I tested the next model down, the SLX in the four-speed automatic and the bottom-of-the-range SX in five-speed manual.

The manual transmission is only offered in the SX which I feel is a bit disappointing. I loved the transmission in the SX, and it would be great to have that option combined with the extra features of the SLX or Sportswagon, and of course the further reduced fuel economy that comes with the manual transmission.

The five-speed manual transmission in the SX was direct and accurate. I enjoyed the driving experience with the manual and it injected more fun into this sporty wagon. I would like to see the manual transmission offered in the upper models. The manual version did have increased engine noise at the initial start-up, but certainly ran just as smoothly as all the rest.

It has lift-up-gate reverse gear selection which did make for some initial embarrassment in the Hyundai carpark, but thereafter I never had an issue with it. I actually preferred it, as there was no guessing if reverse was engaged, grinding to find it or selecting it accidentally.

Driving in the wintery conditions, I can also vouch for the front and rear wipers and front and back demisters, all worked perfectly.

Overall, the SLX is a neat, stylish model and just like the Sportswagon it is hard to fault.

One sticking point I did find in the wagons was the absence of rear air-conditioning vents. While the kids never seemed uncomfortable, I did find it strange that the rear seat was without its own set of vents which would come in handy on those really hot days, especially given that the rear seat does seem to get a fair bit of direct sunlight. They are equipped with heat ducting to the rear seat floor.

The full range of i30 wagons come with ESP and TCS as standard which means safety is never compromised in the vehicle. It feels like a safe car to drive and one I was happy to strap my kids into.

I tested the SLX through some pretty heavy rain and wind and I didn’t once feel as if I was going to lose control. The steering is very direct, more than I expected.

Having a ‘traditional’ wagon as our family car, I would start to take a wide circle in the i30cw only to be surprised at how quickly the car would turn. Both the SLX and SX have a turning circle of 10.34 metres.

The CRDi, thanks to the VGT, didn’t carry any noticeable turbo lag and hills weren’t a problem, in both the auto and the manual.  The diesel wagons obviously come with a lot more torque over the 2.0-litre petrol model, with 255Nm available between 1900-2750rpm.

The SLX had the cargo barrier fitted, a great feature which further amplifies the versatility of this vehicle. At first, it was quite distracting having the cargo barrier in the rear vision mirror, but it was only a matter of time before my eyes became trained to looking through it and before long

I didn’t even notice it, so I can’t complain about the barrier impeding visibility. The SX doesn’t come with the cargo barrier as standard, but it is available as an option.

Climate control is standard in the SLX and Sportswagon and is very simple to use. The large ‘auto’ and ‘off’ buttons along with the easy to read LCD screen make sure occupants are always comfortable. In the SX the climate control system is replaced with two standard air-conditioning knobs that are also just as simple to operate.

Forward visibility is fantastic, the windscreen is quite large, that combined with the skinny front pillars, it gives almost a panoramic effect.

Out the back, there is some vision blocked with the wide rear pillars as is often a problem with hatchbacks and wagons.  It is more a danger of blocking pedestrians or cyclists than other cars but using the heated power side mirrors and the reverse sensors to their full potential overcomes most problems.

The SLX has steering wheel controls, more trip computer options, chrome trim, alloy sports pedals, 16 inch alloy wheels, reverse parking sensors, extra speakers, illuminated ignition keyhole and climate control over the SX.

However, all that being said, the SX still doesn’t scream bottom-of-the-range. Hyundai has put in a big effort to ensure SX drivers are comfortable. The basic cloth seats might be without lumbar support and the added mesh comfort, but they still have a modern design and overall the interior remains neat and functional.

I did miss the revese sensors in the SX, the sensors are standard on the two upper models. I had become quite accustomed to that extra reassurance when reversing; they are an optional extra on the SX.

In fact, speaking of options, if I was to go out and buy an i30cw wagon, I would probably go for the SX simply for the manual transmission and option it up with a few extras.

The full range comes standard with an aux/USB audio input. The Apple software in the audio input automatically loads iPod data into the LCD display and makes the steering wheel controls active.

This is located in the very well thought out centre armrest. It has two compartments as well as a document holder inside the top lid and even a slot especially for the iPod cord so the cord doesn’t obstruct the closing of the armrest lid and doesn’t get damaged, now that is clever thinking. Its things like that which make for an overall neat and functional interior.

So let’s talk about space.  Why would you go for the i30 wagon over the hatch when, on paper, it offers only 75 litres extra space. As I stated in the Sportswagon review, I was initially skeptical of this. However, the i30cw constantly surprised me with what it could hold.

One of those surprising moments included a port-a-cot, several bags and a three-year-old’s bike (complete with training wheels) packed into the SLX boot, with space to spare and rear window visibility.

Sure, I’d love even more space in the i30, you can never have enough space when it comes to families, but that compromise between storage space and the city-accessible, easily parked car has to be struck. I would rather lose a bit of space and still be able to swing into any available park.

To me it is the best of both worlds, a lift-back with cargo barrier that can be stacked to the roof all in a car that doesn’t need to be parked at the other end of the shopping centre and is, above all, affordable.

While we are in the boot, there are several little storage recesses hidden under the boot floor.  All available space has been opened up and makes for great places to stash tools or the cargo net when not in use.  There is also a 12volt outlet and two bag hooks in the rear cargo area. The fob key also has a remote boot release button when you have arms full of shopping.

For me the i30cw is a great wagon for the small or growing family with the diesel option the icing on the cake, especially for families on a tight budget. A very worthy 4.5 out of 5.


CarAdvice Overall Rating:
How does it Drive:
How does it Look:
How does it Go:

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2009 Hyundai i30cw Review & Road Test
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  • RD

    Great review.
    Glad to see the i30cw living up to the standards set by the i30!

  • adam (aka mada)

    Hyundai did a great job bringing an affordable diesel vehicle to this market segment.

  • NacaYoda

    Wow. I wonder what’s wrong with it?
    Everything seems great!
    This vehicle will surely strip sales from my historical wagon favorite – Subaru.
    Cheaper and heaps more fuel efficient.

    Everyone should start buying these ASAP so I can get a 2nd hand one sooner, please.

  • Bret

    “A very worthy 4.5 out of 5.”

    Some people are very easily pleased it seems.
    I mean 4.5/5 for styling?? Must be a girl thing, because I find the i30 somewhat “blah”, and the wagon is worse.

    And in responce to NacaYoda, nobody who regularly drives a Subaru Liberty/Outback would think that this scores any more than 3 at maximum for “How does it Drive” rating. Some people actually have standards.

  • NacaYoda

    Bret@: I haven’t driven an i30 to know how well it handles. I’m basing my response soley on the reviewers particular note of it. Have you driven one?

    I do know that my Gen3 Outback 2.5 is lucky to pull 500km from a full tank (60 or 65 litres?) of unleaded if I’m very kind to it. And I’m quite confident my previous car, a Subaru L-Series wagon, would not have competed with the i30 in the handling department.

    So in terms of price, practicality and fuel efficiency (power/performance sounds like it is ample too) – this review tells me this car is a long awaiting alternative to the Subaru Outback/Legacy wagon. Which although they look special… cost a lot to buy and fuel.

  • Bret

    Get better than 9.7 l/100km from ours, must be something wrong with yours?
    Don’t get me wrong, the i30 is probably OK, just as say, a Corolla is OK, and will suit many people, however for those that demand more this won’t be on the list. (Just as a Corolla wouldn’t be).

  • http://www.littlepixiegifts.com.au Gift-Ed

    4 1/2 for looks… that’s a bit generous isn’t it. Sure it’s pleasant enough, but hardly a work of art.

  • Alex

    Come on Bret, it doesn’t sound like you’ve even driven one so how can you comment on how it drives compared to your Subaru?
    However, why are people comparing it to Subarus? There is no Subaru wagon that small, not by far. Unless you count the Impreza hatch but I would have thought that that was in competition with the i30 hatch. The Liberty is one if not two size classes bigger.
    I also don’t think it looks that good. I think it still has an air of cheap Korean rather than expensive European about the design, but it looks much better than some of the competition. Ford should bring the Focus Estate here, it’s much better than this in every way and I think there is beginning to be a much larger market for this sort of car in Australia.

  • Bret

    Alex, I never said I’d driven one. But come on, nobody really believes that this is a 4.5 for the “How it Drives” rating, and that’s my point.

    NacaYoda brought up Subaru, and Hyundai are advertising this as a Mid size car. Liberty is a Mid size car.
    Perhaps Hyundai are stretching the truth then, and it’s not really a Mid sizer at all? Your call.

  • fishman

    Comparison with subaru is ridiculous – they are in different price and size brackets.

    To call liberty mid size is also ridiculous – in europe it’s classed a large car, and if you compare dimensions you can see the big size difference.

    At the moment the i30cw doesn’t have any competitors except the pricier 308 touring. In europe every mid size hatch has a wagon equivalent, they just don’t bring them over here…kudo to hyundai for doing so

    I have driven an i30 diesel and it’s a decent machine – not ground breaking, but nicely refined and reasonable quality. It’s not a VW or Mazda, but then it’s not priced there either….agreed 4.5 is overdoing it, but it’s a solid 3.5 for looks and drive, and scores highly for value

  • Baz

    Another generous review for Hyundai…
    How much money is CarAdvice getting from Hyundai, I wonder?

  • Daniel. W

    its just a sign of the times, Hyundai is just getting THAT good.
    although id still spend the extra dough and buy a Astra wagon

  • Alex

    Baz, why is it that car companies make good cars, CA tell us this and suddenly they’re on the manufacturers pay roll? Is it just possible that CA gave it a good mark because it deserved it?

    Bret, CA have told us in the past that they rate cars on how good they are for what they are. Think about it for a second; it’s diesel, it’s Korean, it has a four speed automatic, it’s a small station wagon, it doesn’t cost very much. Then factor in that until recently, Hyundai has never really given us much that was worth a second look. Now if you add all those things together and it comes out being a pretty good drive, for what it is, maybe it does deserve four and a half stars.
    And I never wrote that you had written that you had driven it, but if you haven’t actually driven it then you are in absolutely no place to comment on what it’s like to drive and you certainly can’t compare it to other cars if, once again, you haven’t driven it.

  • http://air-conditioner-101.blogspot.com/ loron

    the AC on this car is underperforming so much.

  • Bret

    Alex, the rating is overly generous, no matter haow you paint it. Obviously this new reviewer needs more experience, or is very easily pleased.
    Recently Pajero was critisised for handling like a 4WD, so inter class comparisons are relevant.

    Fishman, Subaru Liberty is a MID size car in Australia.
    Hyundai advertise i30 as MID size. It’s not my claims it’s theirs.

  • Pip

    I’ve got an i30 hatch. If the CW drives similar to that, then it’s no match for anything Subaru.

    However, I chose it over a Subaru for reasons apart from how it drives absolutely. The handling, while much more suburban drives very nearly as well for any normal use and is respectably more than adequate.

    There is more passenger room than you expect, sit in one, particularly in the back, you’ll be surprised. Oh, yes; panels fit well and no dashboard squeaks after 10,000Km. It’s a goody!

  • ComradeVodka

    Rose, ignore the petty losers above, which I am sure you do anyway. There are at least still some of us that have the respect for the reviewer and their opinions on the vehicle at hand.

    I am interested to know though, how does handle compared to the Cerato you are testing at the moment?

  • ChineseDriver

    Is there any standard at all when giving rating? Here is some interesting comparison:

    Hyundai i30cw
    CarAdvice Overall Rating: 4.5
    How does it Drive: 4.5
    How does it Look: 4.5
    How does it Go: 4

    VW Golf Gti Pirelli
    CarAdvice Overall Rating: 3.5
    How does it Drive: 3
    How does it Look: 4
    How does it Go: 4

    Skoda Octavia 2009
    CarAdvice Overall Rating: 4
    How does it Drive: 4
    How does it Look: 3
    How does it Go: 4

    I am confused. Is i30cw that good?

  • Toxic_Horse

    Ratings can only be based on the class/price bracket of the car. Else anything that isn’t the new Skyline GTR will get a 1 for handling.

    Styling is a personal thing, I mean some people think VW golf’s look good.
    If you want to get a idea of the styling, just look at the bloody photo.

    Subaru may handle well and look ok (depending on you tastes) but the maintenance costs are so through the roof that i would never buy one.

  • Reality

    hehehehe…anti-spam word was BMWM5. I can’t remember how well that rated. :)

    I guess, where the ratings are concerned, this car is a 4.5 star car in comparison to other small to medium sized wagons with a diesel engine. To the tester anyway. Anybody with doubts on the tester’s report should take one for a test drive and post back here with their opinion.

  • eh179driver

    I just say good on Hyundai for bringing the car here in the first place. A lot of people want the convieniance and economy of a smaller 4cyl wagon but not an SUV, which a lot of the competition offer. That it seems to be well built, economical and stylish makes it that much better.

  • Hagar

    Great review. I bought the Imreza R basic instead only because of more ground clearance and AWD. Getting 9L/100km and have done 500km. Otherwise i30 Diesel drove very well on test drive and was a solid 2nd position for me. Living on a Farm and using 20% dirt tracks it make it worth while at similar prices.

  • fishman

    Subaru Liberty wagon –
    length 4720mm, starting price from $35,490

    Hyundai i30 wagon –
    length 4475mm, starting price from $20,890

    Perhaps the meaningless comparisons can stop now….or maybe we should just believe everything advertisers tell us :)

  • Bret

    Camry SEDAN, one of the best selling MID size cars,
    Length: 4815, $20500 – $40000

    So perhaps the i30 really isn’t a MID size car afterall?

    Fishman, you have to accept that there are grey areas within car classes, and any comparison between cars within the class (or ones outside but close) may or may not be valid for different individuals.

    If I was shopping a 4cyl wagon, both of your examples might be valid, however, I would be confident of one still being a brilliant car in 5 yrs time (Subaru), and serious doubts about the other.

  • fishman

    Of course a $35k subaru should be a better car than a $20k hyundai, but so what?

    I also wasn’t aware that the Camry came in wagon format? Or is that just another meaningless comparison…

    Lets compare like for like and stop wasting peoples time who are actually interested in this car

  • Bret

    All I’m saying is if, as a company, you want to market a product as something, you had better be prepared for comparisons.

    Of course the Camry has a wagon version, it’s called a Kluger, but my point was, even though wagons are generally larger than their sedan siblings, a MID size Camry SEDAN is much larger than a MID size i30 WAGON. Both are MID SIZE and will be compared. You can’t make claims of fuel efficiency and then whinge that you don’t want to be compared for space and comfort because others are bigger. You keep your cake and I’ll eat mine.

  • fishman

    The Kruger is the wagon version of the Camry?! Maybe I missed something but the similarity passed me by…

    I hear what your saying about the car size brackets and I’m not trying to pick an argument, but Hyundai aren’t marketing this to compete with the above cars, so I don’t see the point in comparing them.

    This is targeted at familes who would normally buy a thirsty compact SUV, but are now looking for better economy while retaining the flexibility of a wagon. The Hyundai press releases have been very clear about the target market.

    I reckon Hyundai are onto a winner and other manufacturers would do well to bring over their equivalent models, but until they do this has the value compact wagon segment sewn up.

    However, it’s not all good from Hyundai – it’s poor show that you can only get the manual on the lowest SX model, and a $2.5k premium on the diesel (forget the petrol) makes quite a dent in the value this car offers.

  • DesignEngr

    No you didn’t miss the simalarities, it’s under the skin.
    The Kluger has it’s origins from the Camry platform, and is the reason Toyota dropped the Camry wagon.
    The original series made it more obvious, but the latest version the connection (by design) is much more vague, but it does explain the fundamental handling defficiencies that the Kluger has.

  • Fred

    Great car. Pity about the lack of cruise control on the diesel (very hard to understand why) and the cheap looking chrome garnish on the bonnet.

  • Paul

    I want an SX diesel wagon with safety pack! Why does nobody stock this combo? When will prices come down?

    Open Road magazine have rated this wagon above the VW Golf diesel!

  • richie

    Very Good review mate, I totally agree with you, i’m actually ordering one now. I test driven it 5 times same as the VW Golf 2.0 TDI and I ended buying the I30. It could have been really good if they put in some rear air cond. vents.

  • Him

    I have driven and owned i30 which unfortunately has been damaged by hail-storm. Hopefully, it will be written off and I will be totally refunded by insurance. Now, I have a chance to change car and start on the clean slate. I have budget of $25000, I test drove ix35, honda civic, second hand 2008 Toyota Camry, Ford Focus, Holden cruze, VW Golf and just for the heck of it Hyundai i30 wagon. I eventually went for i30 Wagon. Now call me stupid or whatever, I felt the comfort behind i30 unparalled.

    As far as the looks go, it believe it is much better looking then all but Honda Civic. I am discounting ix35 as it turned out be much beyond my budget. For that price I’ll rather go for Honda accord whose looks I just adore.

    Call me old fashioned/senile but I find it much better looking than Golf, Cruze (it comes close), Focus and New Mazda 3 (which I struck off my list as I find the new looks completely ugly). and by the way I liked its interior design more than others as well and no it is not chrome one, just the basic black. Now am I wrong or is there something wrong about my taste. I may not give it 4.5 but definitely 4. I say it is based on individual tastes and comfort. there is no right or wrong. So all those haters out there get a life and stop commenting on looks. Everybody has a choice and preferance. I takes all kind of people to make this world.

    As far as the quality and features go, it is definitely world class. it may not be an Audi, BMW, Mercedes or high end VW but then who is. Just look at the price and corresponding features and quality. It is good value for money for those who don’t have Thousands upon thousands of dollars to spend and aren’t really spoiled brats and give into snobbery of brand name. Try it before you knock it off. I am afterall buying it the second time after promising myself that I’ll be trying some other brand.

    All those people who are considering to buy a car with lots of space with lower price tag and running costs but still offering world class quality and feel. My suggestion is ….. Go For It.

    Cheers from Perth

  • Steve

    WOW. It never ceases to amaze me how personal people take these forums and feel the need to put their 2 bobs worth in when they haven’t even driven the vehicle.

    Not sure I’ll have any luck with this bit I’ll give it a bash…..

    Is is possible for some feedback on this vehicle now, some 2 years since it was released, from anybody that has owned one?

    • Ross

      I purchased the deisel SLX hatch auto in late Feb this year. Have now done 13,500km in both city and highway driving. Very happy with the car and the way it drives. The fuel economy is about the same as the manufacturers claims (which I have never believed in the past.) As for the comments about looks, well beauty is in the eye of the beholder – if you don’t like it then don’t buy it. Have had no handling problems in either dry or wet weather. The aircon works very well which is good in the climate up here. Overall I am very happy with my purchase and I have owned a variety of cars over the years.

      • Steve

        Thanks for that Ross. I’m more looking at someone who purchased a 2009 model but that comes in handy

  • http://alan@southernphones.com.au alan

    try out many other car models went with the 2009 130 dieselgreat drive good on the fuel and my neighbor is jealous because he has drives a lesser vechile but after knowing my car we know what his next car will be

Hyundai i30 Specs

Car Details
cw SLX 1.6 CRDi
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$11,660 - $13,250
Dealer Retail
$13,140 - $15,620
Dealer Trade
$9,300 - $10,600
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
255Nm @  1900rpm
Max. Power
85kW @  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)
6L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:1200  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
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Automatic Air Con / Climate Control
Control & Handling
16 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Traction Control System
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Power Steering, Trip Computer
Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors
Cloth Trim, Power Windows
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats, Side Front Air Bags
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Metallic Paint
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
60 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Pass Side Under Front Seat
Country of Origin