2009 Hyundai i30cw wagon - the lifestyle

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2009 Hyundai i30cw Wagon - the lifestyle

The i30 hatch has been a runaway success for Hyundai, not to mention a benchmark for the brand, in terms of styling and quality.

Building on this, Hyundai has introduced the i30cw Wagon - touted as the lifestyle choice for the budget buyer. To demonstrate this aspect of the car's intended market, Hyundai invited lifestyle journalists to participate in the launch of the i30cw.

Entitled "Full of unexpected surprises", tying in with Hyundai's image for the car, we were loaded up in 17 wagons, and directed to the Hunter Valley wine region of New South Wales. Hyundai says that this sort of trip is what buyers of the i30cw will be undertaking, once they settle in to ownership.

The drive route took in all sorts of surfaces and styles of driving, to enable us to explore fully the dynamics and ability of the new wagon. Straight roads, freeways, smooth, pockmarked, lumpy bitumen, windy, wide, narrow - you name it, it was thrown at us.

This is a good thing, too, because normally, car makers focus on the strengths of their cars only, and drive programs are tailored to suit. The route we had marked out threw up some interesting features of the new car.

Firstly, the wheelbase has been increased by 50mm, which liberates more rear legroom. It also allows the wagon boot, which, if we're honest, isn't huge, but it's certainly bigger than the hatch. There are standard roof rails, so any bigger loads could be taken care of - along with a myriad of accessories which cater for various lifestyle choices.

The ride also is said to be similar to the i30 hatch, although it did seem a little stiffer, which might be down to the wheelbase change. Certainly Hyundai tells us that it has tried to emulate the hatch as closely as possible.

The engines also mirror the hatch, with a 2.0-litre petrol, and 1.6-litre turbo-diesel on offer.

Surefooted it was, too, hanging on in wet and dry conditions, with superb body control, and neutral handling. The diesel is the pick, too, with its ability to climb hills without changing down gear, unlike the petrol.

David Twomey will have a more comprehesive look at the technical aspects of the i30cw wagon in the next few days, so we’ll change tack slightly, because Hyundai had some other surprises up its sleeve.

What does a family do when holidaying in the Hunter Valley region? Go to Cessnock airport and have a joyflight, of course.

After arriving at the airfield, two Czechoslovakian fighters called Yaks, and a Tiger Moth awaited the eager crowd. But before we could strap ourselves in, an engine revved in the hangar. The new Hyundai i10 launched out, and whizzed its way through the motorkhana set up on the apron. Clapping ensued.

Not a moment after, a deeper, gruntier engine was heard from inside the hangar. Blasting out was a bright, green, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, piloted by none other than Hyundai’s own tame racing driver 'The Stag'. A drift session through the cones followed, with cheering from the assembled media.

CarAdvice had a word with Hyundai’s affable PR manager, Ben Hershman. Something to the effect of “Bring it! Bring it! Bring it! Bring it! Bring it! Bring it! Bring it!”….

After our joyflights, replete with barrel rolls and steep take-off angles, designed to test our stomach's integrity, we were treated to a ride in the passenger's seat of the Genesis Coupe with The Stag, whose sideways skills were certainly never in doubt.

What is in doubt is whether Hyundai will bring it to Australia. With a collective cross of the fingers, we ask that you all wish it to be here. Trust me, it’s worth it.

A slalom challenge in the i10 was next, with everyone asked to run two up, zigging and zagging through the cones, and a small straight, before braking hard at the finish line. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to announce, the winner of the i10 slalom challenge – me. Yes, CarAdvice was at the top of the field.

Apart from car racing, and fighter flying, what else do you do in the Hunter region? Drink wine. And lots of it. So, the obligatory reds and whites were sunk in the evening (after all the driving was done, of course). In the morning, when everyone’s head was sore, we took off from behind the hotel, in two hot air balloons, for a peaceful ride across the valley.

If you've never done it, I highly recommend the experience, despite the early start. It's as peaceful and quiet as you can get, save the occasional blast from the burners. And at this time of year, the Hunter is about as green as you can get, thanks to flooding several months ago.

Sure, it was aimed at helping us experience new things, but the message from the i30cw launch is clear. Grab a Hyundai wagon and get out there. Make the most of life, and go and see some new things.

The i30cw wagon is a neat little package, that offers good space, practicality, and decent prices, with the petrol positioned at $20,890 and the diesel at $23,390. Forget the petrol, go the diesel, and benefit from the five year warranty included with it.

Oh, and keep wishing for that Genesis Coupe.