The turbo diesel engine pulls the i30 along with a relaxed gait and the six-speed automatic gearbox is very smooth.
Base price: $41,990.
Powertrain and performance: 1.6-litre turbo diesel four, 94kW/260Nm, 6-speed automatic, front-drive, Combined economy 5.6 litres per 100km.
Vital statistics: 4485mm long, 1510mm high, kerb weight 1503kg, luggage capacity 528 litres, fuel tank 53 litres, 16-inch wheels on 205/55 tyres.
We like: Style, space, diesel engine option.
We don’t like: Expensive by class standards, no Elite-specification available.
How it rates: 8/10
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
Small wagons are something of a Hyundai tradition in New Zealand, dating right back to the days of the Lantra (before it became an ‘Elantra’) in the 1990s. They’ve always been quite stylish and something of a favourite for fleets and/or small business owners.
Little wonder, then, that Hyundai New Zealand looked long and hard for a wagon alternative in its latest i30 lineup. It didn’t find one in Korea, where the hatchback comes from. But it was able to source the little load-carrier at what it feels is the right price and specification from the Czech Republic, where it’s being built for the European market.
The i30 wagon is available with either petrol or diesel powerplants. The petrol option is interesting because it comes in smaller capacity than the hatch. But keen for an oil-burner after a run of petrol i30 hatchbacks, we opted for a turbo-diesel version to test.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
Undemanding but capable. The turbo diesel engine pulls the i30 along with a relaxed gait and the six-speed automatic gearbox is very smooth. The CRDi has more torque than the petrol engine, which is no surprise; but it also has a little more power (6kW), so really it’s the automatic choice as long as you’re happy to pay the price premium.
Like the i30 hatchback, the wagon has Hyundai’s new FlexSteer system, which allows you to choose the level of power steering assistance in three stages: from Comfort to Normal to Sport. It’s a bit of a gimmick to be honest, as more weight does not necessarily mean more communication. But it does allow a level of personalisation to be given to the driving experience, which may appeal to some buyers.
IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH?
Hyundai is a very mature carmaker now and has certainly established its own interior design ethos: lots of curves, quite ornate and well-made, if leaning a little too heavily on low-cost plastics in places.
The i30’s cabin is a pleasant place to be, with clear instrumentation and simple controls – despite the somewhat fussy styling in places. There is one major difference between this and the Korean-made hatchback models: the indicators are still set up for Europe, on the left-hand side. A minor point, but still an annoyance when Hyundai (from a left-hook domestic market, remember) has always taken the trouble to shift the stalks to the right-hand side for right-hook markets like ours.
The cargo area is neatly configured. The rear seat squabs are hinged at the front, so that you can pull them forward and away to make space for the seatbacks to fold completely flat.
Even in five-seat configuration, the i30 wagon has a generous 528 litres of load space.
SHOULD I BUY ONE?
The i30 wagon is undeniably well-executed: it gives away nothing to the hatchback model in terms of style (some may even prefer it) and yet it still delivers on practicality and ease of use.
The appeal to private buyers is somewhat constrained by the lack of an Elite model in the wagon range. Hyundai may well introduce one further down the track, but in reality small wagons are primarily business cars – as a fleet driver, you’d have to be pretty pleased at getting tossed the keys to one of these.
Air conditioning: Dual climate
Audio: CD, iPod compatible
Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/yes
Cruise control: Yes
Driver footrest: Yes
Head-up display: Yes
Keyless entry/start: Yes/no
Leather upholstery: Yes
Parking radar: Yes with camera
Remote audio controls: Yes
Satellite navigation: Yes
Seat height adjustment: Yes
Split/folding rear seats: 50/50
Steering reach adjustment: Yes
Trip computer: Yes