"Designed, developed, tested and manufactured in Europe" is the opening bullet point in Hyundai's announcement for this new i30, and the car maker is taking an almost Volkswagen-like pitch in labelling the i30 "a car for everyone”.
Australian-market i30s will be sourced from South Korea, but the point is clear: Hyundai wants buyers to view this new-generation i30 as its most advanced offering yet.
The Korean manufacturer's “DNA car” - a term that confirms this new i30 will inform the look and feel of future Hyundai models - offers new technologies such as wireless smartphone charging, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, driver fatigue monitor and blind spot detection.
A key feature in the new model’s design is the company’s “Cascading Grille”, revealing the evolved family face that will roll out across other Hyundai models in the coming years. The recent Santa Cruz ute concept marked our first look at this new style.
Flanking the front grille are slimmer, sharper headlights with LED low and high beam, sitting above LED daytime lights incorporated into an aggressive front bumper.
The i30’s nose appears wider and flatter, giving it an athletic stance, and ultimately a more premium look.
A prominent character line extends from the top of the headlights all the way to the tail-lights, while a sloping roofline and contrasting black spoiler add to the i30’s sporty character.
Hyundai says the i30 has a drag coefficient of 0.30, achieved using an active air flap behind the front grille and “air curtains” on each side of the front bumper. However, the Mazda 3 sedan still maintains its title of ‘most aerodynamic' car in its class thanks to its 0.26 drag coefficient.
Out the back, the i30 clearly draws inspiration from the Tucson SUV, with a meaty rear end featuring LED tail-lights, contrasting black trim on the lower section of the bumper and reflectors mounted on either side of the tailgate.
Filling the arches will be 15-, 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels depending on model, in addition to a choice of 12 exterior colours consisting of three pearl, seven metallic and two solid options.
Inside is a completely redesigned cabin, with a layout likely inspired by European brands like Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW that sees the infotainment screen sitting atop the dashboard in a tablet-like fashion.
A new steering wheel design further lifts the cabin ambience, as does the array of curved lines and asymmetrical air vents that differ greatly from the generic look of the current model.
Behind the tailgate is a 395-litre boot, up 27 litres over the current model, though its maximum 1301-litre capacity with the seats folded flat is 15 litres short of its predecessor.
In Europe, customers will have the choice of black-on-black, grey-on-black or blue-on-black interior colours, with seats trimmed in cloth or leather.
The front seats will offer heating and ventilation in selected models along with an electrically-adjustable driver’s seat with memory function.
Depending on the variant, the i30 features a 5.0-inch LCD touchscreen infotainment system with integrated rear-view camera, Bluetooth connectivity, while a larger 8.0-inch navigation system will be available on higher-spec models which includes a seven-year subscription to TomTom LIVE services.
TomTom LIVE offers real-time connected services including weather, traffic, speed cameras and online searches for points of interests.
New to the i30 are numerous driver assistance and active safety systems, including the aforementioned AEB and adaptive cruise control, along with driver fatigue monitor, blind spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, lane keeping assist, speed limit detector and high beam assist.
It’s not known yet whether all of these new systems will make it to the Australian market - namely the speed limit detector which scans road signs and displays the posted speed limit in real time.
Hyundai says it has increased the rigidity of the new i30 by 22 per cent with the new generation, through the use of high-strength steel, which helps to better absorb impacts and minimise distortion to protect passengers in the event of a collision.
The i30 has seven airbags, including one for the driver’s knee.
Powering the new small car in the European market will be a selection of three petrol engines and one diesel.
First is a new 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine mated to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch DCT transmission.
The new turbo four produces 103kW of power at 6000rpm and 242Nm of torque at 1500rpm.
Second is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol, producing 88kW of power at 6000rpm and 171Nm of torque between 1500 and 4000rpm.
The turbo triple is exclusively mated to a six-speed manual transmission, and it won’t be coming to Australia.
Third of the petrol units is a naturally-aspirated 1.4-litre that produces 73kW at 6000rpm and 134Nm at 4000rpm, and, like the 1.0-litre turbo, is mated exclusively to the six-speed manual transmission - also not coming Down Under.
The sole diesel engine is a 1.6-litre unit that comes in three states of tune; 70kW, 81kW and 100kW.
Shifting gears for the two lower-output diesels is a six-speed manual, while the high-output version gets the option of a seven-speed dual-clutch DCT transmission.
The new i30 will also form the basis of the first model from Hyundai’s upcoming N performance sub-brand, which will debut sometime in 2017.
Power is rumoured to come from a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing around 180-195kW, mated solely to a six-speed manual transmission at launch.
Hyundai Australia has confirmed it is targeting a local launch during the second quarter of of 2017.
Initial details for the Oz-bound i30 include a 2.0-litre petrol for the entry level model, replacing the current 1.8-litre unit in the base Active and ActiveX variants.
While outputs aren’t confirmed, it’s likely the 2.0 powerplant will be sourced from the current SR, which develops 124kW of power and 201Nm of torque.
An automatic transmission will be standard, riding on torsion-beam rear suspension.
The warmer SR models will ditch the current 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated engine for a 1.6-litre turbo mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT).
Again, outputs are undisclosed but this could mean the i30 SR will finally be fitted with the 150kW/265Nm unit from the Veloster SR Turbo - giving it the much-needed performance boost required for it to claim the title of ‘warm hatch’.
Hyundai Australia has also confirmed it will retain an updated version of the 1.6-litre turbo-diesel mated to a seven-speed DCT, which in current guise produces 100kW/300Nm, making the high-output diesel available in Europe a likely starter for Australia.
Importantly, the SR models will drop the regular line-up's torsion-beam suspension for an independent rear, acknowledging the expectations of keener drivers.
As with other Hyundai models, the i30 has already commenced its local suspension tuning program, with Australian models being sourced from Korea instead of Europe.
The company’s local arm has also confirmed the new i30 will debut Hyundai’s new-generation 8.0-inch infotainment system, which incorporates satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Final specifications and pricing are still being confirmed, though the company says it will target a competitive price/value ratio on all trim levels, and is confident the i30 will continue to be a big success in Australia.
Stay tuned for an update.