My stock-standard Hyundai i30 ActiveX/Series II GD3, 1.8l petrol unit cost me less than $23K on-road and has proven to be a very enjoyable car to drive, both in city and country traffic. The i30 is very 'nimble' and the 1.8l motor has proven to be a very free-revving unit (I use 98 Octane/Shell V-Power) with more than adequate power in traffic and for over-taking on the freeway.
Based on a 60:40 mix of urban/country driving I'm averaging 7.1 l /100 Km. giving me roughly 700 Km. between pit-stops. Ride comfort is firm, but comfortable and I use the blue-tooth features extensively.
I bought a $200 'Garmin' SatNav unit, which integrates with the i30's blue-tooth seamlessly and provides very comprehensive "Voice Command"-based SatNav and Smartphone facilities.
I can control the majority of both the Smartphone and SatNav features by voice command alone and find I rely on the Garmin's voiced instructions without the need to 'look' at the SatNav as I drive, which makes the whole experience much safer when driving.
My wife speaks pleasingly of her driving experience in the i30 and rear-seat passengers are also usually satisfied with their comfort levels.
I bought the i30 to replace a Ford AU Fairmont Ghia and there's actually more front headroom and width in the i30 than the current Ford sedan?!
The large front windscreen and large, folding side mirrors together with the rear-view camera combine to provide excellent viewing all around the i30 and also, make the i30 'feel' larger than it is.
Luggage capacity in the hatch is very adequate for most shopping trips and the rear seats fold very flat using some sort of fairly unique locking mechanism - perfect for my trips to Bunnings!
There have been times with five adult occupants, that I've wished for the extra torque of the diesel engine, but it's rare that I have five people in the car and I'd have a hard time justifying the extra $5K or so for the diesel option. Even with extensive country travel and many Km.'s, the standard 1.8l motor is very adequate.
I spent nearly 3 months cross-analyzing 'Family Sedans' and 'Small Cars' using extensive spreadsheet analyses and a lot of 'hands-on' test driving.
The Mazda, Ford, Kia, Mitsibushi and Toyota competitors all ran close, but 'peace-of-mind' was one of my selection criteria and the i30's 5 year, unlimited Km. Warranty together with the 'Capped Price' Servicing (approx. $269 pa) and an extended 10-year Roadside driving assist closed the deal for me.
Safety-wise, there's' seven air-bags (ANCAP Rating of 5) and I'd say the i30 best suits young people looking for their first 'new' car and retirees where in both cases it's usually only two people, plus maybe 1-2 kids + luggage.
I bought my i30 from Paul Wakeling Hyundai in Campbelltown, NSW and am very satisfied with their professionalism and courtesy - they've made my i30 'experience' very valid and I'd not hesitate to recommend them.
Overall, the i30 is not a BMW, or a 'Sports Car' or an SUV - it is a very comfortable and reliable means of moving from point A to anywhere, whilst making the driving experience enjoyable - I look forward each time, to getting behind the driving wheel, which is probably the most important criterion for any vehicle!