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A three-door version of the Hyundai i30 hatchback is set to become a potential price leader in the small-car segment for the South Korean brand in Australia.

CarAdvice believes Hyundai Australia is about to make a U-turn on a previous decision to not import the sportier-looking variant of the i30.

The Hyundai i30 five-door hatch is currently priced from $20,990, giving the South Korean brand the opportunity to dive below the $20,000 mark with the three-door version that typically costs less.

The three-door i30 was revealed at the 2012 Paris motor show by Hyundai last September. It is built in the Czech Republic rather than South Korea, like the five-door, and is embellished with a distinctive design of its own.

Up front, the three-door gains a more aggressive-looking lower bumper, while the car’s beltline – the line that runs directly beneath the side windows – rises more sharply than the five-door’s, and into a more muscular-looking rear-three-quarter body panel.

The model is otherwise identical to the five-door in terms of suspension and engines, though Hyundai is likely to import fewer variants of the three-door.

With rival small cars such as the Nissan Pulsar, Toyota Corolla and the all-new Cerato from sister company Kia starting from $19,990, Hyundai may also be tempted to use the three-door as a catalyst for rejigging pricing for the entire i30 line-up.

Hyundai Australia already has form changing its mind on the i30 range. It originally decided against bringing in the Hyundai i30 Tourer (wagon) variant before launching it recently.