snowgood

New i30

In Hyundai, Volvo on November 17, 2012 at 12:57 am

Earlier this week I had the chance to try out one of the most significant medium sized hatchbacks to be launched this year.

The new i30 is commendably different to the last model.  Rather like the Golf you can see traces of the previous generation model, but this one looks more cohesive.

I could have taken an Audi A3 from our local car rental centre, but I thought I’d give the Korean a try instead.

First impressions?  Perhaps the Kia version is prettier?

The lady showing me around the car introduced a number of special features.  Wow, it’s packed with goodies, even on basic diesel version.

The most interesting was the Stop/Start fuel saving  device, which reminded me of an old Golf Formel E I once drove.  Then there was the excellent bluetooth link for my phone.  It paired very quickly.

I’m not convinced by the cheap 70s Japanese stereo system like centre dash design, nor the blue dials come to that, but generally the interior was fine.  The stalks controlling wipers and indicators were ultra tactile, whilst the polished metal collar on the gear lever was positively sensual.

The seats were nearly as good as those in my Volvo, and certainly better than the Golf estate I had recently.  I suppose the Golf is the real rival here.  In key areas the i30 pips the Golf, kit, comfort, and acceleration. The 1.6 oil burner certainly wasn’t quick, but there was more torque than a base Golf, and more bhp too.

I did find the road noise surprisingly loud, and wasn’t too convinced by the three weighting options for the steering.  Most owners probably couldn’t tell the difference, or care less.

I guess the real crunch on a car like this is MPG.  Here the Golf does better.  I got 49.1 mpg on the read out, but doing the maths this was a true 47 over 248 miles.  The Golf I drove gave me 5 mpg more.

There were too many controls on the steering wheel, and I wasn’t impressed by the 6 buttons on the radio. Add 4 more and it could have become a Volvo like phone key pad.

Could I live with one every day?

Possibly, but whilst the engine sounded refined I just struggle with any car that isn’t quick off the mark.  Perhaps a 3.3 petrol version would be more fun?

Darn, they don’t make one.

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