2009 Hyundai i30cw Review & Road Test

$20,990 Mrlp
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  • Engine Power
  • CO2 Emissions
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2009 Hyundai i30cw Sportswagon Review & Road Test

The next big thing in small family motoring

Model Tested:

  • 2009 Hyundai i30cw Sportswagon, 2.0-litre petrol, four-speed automatic, wagon - $28,990 (RRP)

  • Metallic Paint $320

CarAdvice Rating:

- by Rose Harris

These days when it comes to family cars, the choice has widened quite considerably. Options are no longer limited to frumpy people movers that embarrass your children when they are dropped off at the school. There is no longer a need to compromise style for space simply because you now have full-time back seat passengers.

Hyundai’s i30cw Sportswagon is one of those family cars offering a splash of style into everyday life. While there isn’t anything amazingly jaw-dropping about the i30CW, there is also not much to dislike about this wagon.

In keeping things simple Hyundai has put together a winning family formula – safety, functionality and style. By no means do I mean ‘simple’ in a negative light, I am not fond of a million bells and whistles on a car that are really there for no other reason but to give the owner the illusion of feeling superior to the next person at the traffic lights.

Functionality is the key to win me over, if a car does step into the ‘field of fancy extras’ they had want to be easy to use and demonstrate a clear purpose.

Now I cannot speak for every family in the world, although I know when it comes to mine, as well as the functionality, a car needs to be drivable, practical for the environment for which it is to be driven, comfortable for long hauls and accessible for even the smallest passenger, and of course, above all, safe. Add on a clear ability to manoeuvre city traffic and parking and fuel efficiency and the family checklist is quite a long one.

Initially when I first laid eyes on the i30CW, its compact nature had me I doubting the ‘wagon’ title. I couldn’t envisage packing mum, dad and the 2.5 kids along with pram, luggage and all the other sundries required for a family weekend away. However I was surprised, while the boot space isn’t a big as a ‘traditional’ wagon, I found it adequate to pack in all required for a weekend trip. But it did take a little more thinking than just throwing in item after item like we are used to.

The cargo area is versatile as well, when back seat passengers aren’t a consideration, the 60/40 split rear seats fold down to amplify the usual 415 litres of space to 1395 litres. The Sportswagon also comes with a cargo barrier which is easily fitted and can be moved from the conventional boot position to just behind the front row of seats to safely transport items with the rear seats folded down - delivery van style. The cargo net is great for tying down loose loads and also has the option of being fitted in a hammock position to further use all available space.

Back to the family stuff, the wagon is fitted with three child seat anchor points which are cleverly positioned on the boot floor, located close to the seat backs meaning the straps don’t cut across any of the boot space.

Another little thing, further highlighting the vehicle’s functionality is that the anchor point covers are clearly labelled as are the cargo hooks, little things like that making life a bit easier in the chaotic times of loading up the family car.
While three anchor points are fitted, the back seat is at capacity with two child seats, there wouldn’t be room for a third child seat and it is a bit too squashy to even fit in an adult passenger between seats, however a child passenger would be possible.

On the locking system, the doors automatically lock at 40km/h but unlock just as easily as soon as the door handle is pulled (when the car has stopped obviously) no need to turn off the engine or remove keys from the ignition. This is part of Hyundai’s HALO (Hyundai Active Locking Operation).

The car handles very well and has good road stability, I felt an air of safety about the vehicle before even reading the long list of active and passive safety features and with that comes a priceless peace of mind. The Sportswagon and the SLX come fitted with the full quota of airbags – driver and front passenger, driver and front passenger side and front and rear curtain airbags. The full i30 range is fitted with ABS, EBD and ESP and carries a five star ANCAP rating.

In the driveability stakes, I did find the steering pulled to the left in the car I tested and I was having to constantly correct it, however the test car did have 3500km on the clock, so it could have well been an isolated problem.

Other than that I found the vehicle to be very manageable on both long trips to the country as well as a city runabout. The 105kw at 6000rpm produced by the four-cylinder engine was ample for my purposes and I didn’t come across any real issues with the four-speed automatic transmission.

Another gear in the 'box wouldn't go astray to make everything a bit more relaxed but the four-speed does an adequate job.

Around-town short trips saw the fuel economy sit at around 9.5 to 10 litres per 100km. The urban estimate by the manufacturer is 10.2 litres per 100km. On a long trip, cruise control on, the lowest the fuel economy dropped was 8.5 litres per 100km, and that was in fairly windy conditions.

The manufacturer puts the combined fuel efficiency figure at 7.7l/100km for the 2.0-litre petrol version I tested. While I didn’t see it drop that low, I had the feeling if I had a little more time to get used to the vehicle and in better conditions, it would have gone below that 8.5.

The Sportswagon is the top of the range, which of course meant a leather interior. Call me ungrateful but my beef with leather interiors and children remains, and I could easily tire of cleaning the tiny pinhole like detail, maybe when the kids are all grown up I’ll treat myself to the luxury interior.

The driver’s seat offers lumbar support which I found surprisingly comfortable and for the height challenged like myself, the seat is height adjustable via a pump lever.

The Sportswagon also brings with it rain sensing wipers which were quite effective, auto lights on control and 17 inch alloy wheels with chrome inserts.

The six-speaker (including front tweeters), six-CD stacker sound system puts out plenty of noise and is standard issue in the Sportswagon. The integrated auxiliary audio input jack is cleverly located inside the padded twin compartment front centre armrest as is the USB audio input which is loaded with all the Apple software for full iPod compatibility.

Fingertip controls are at a premium. The Sportswagon’s steering wheel was fitted with stereo controls as well as easy-to-use cruise control. On the driver’s door, there is electronic control over all four windows (as well as rear window lock), door lock button and electronic mirror adjustment as well as a clever little button that automatically folds the side mirrors in.

There is ample storage in the front, starting with the air-conditioned glovebox through to top and lower dash compartments and a roof mounted retractable sunglasses holder. The climate control is easy to use and well located to keep the car at a comfortable temperature.

The sleek headlights and the indicator lights located on the back of the side mirrors all work together to create a car I would be happy to pull up in the soccer carpark in.

That is, alongside all the fuel-guzzling monster SUVs and while I might not be carrying that all important badge, with the Hyundai i30cw I would most certainly have the quiet satisfaction of a car that is functional, practical, suits city driving and of course leaves a softer environmental footprint.


  • Hyundai i30cw SX - $20,890 (M) / $22,890 (A)
  • Hyundai i30cw SX CRDi - $23,390 (M) / $25,390 (A)
  • Hyundai i30cw SLX - $27,390 (A)
  • Hyundai i30cw Sportswagon - $28,990 (A) - As Tested
  • Hyundai i30cw SLX CRDi - $29,890 (A)


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