Hyundai unveils new hatchback

Bobby Cheetham

HYUNDAI is set to launch yet another attack on competitors with the launch last week of their new i30 hatchback in South Africa.

We first saw the attractive hatch at the Frankfurt Motor Show late last year and were suitably impressed by its good looks and styling.

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The segment in which the i30 is pitched is the most competitive in the country and is populated by the likes of VW’s Golf, Opel Astra and Ford Focus among others.

The new-generation i30 will be available with a choice of two petrol variants, with power and torque outputs ranging from 95kW and 157Nm for the 1.6 litre four-cylinder engine to 110kW and 178Nm for the 1.8 litre in the top-end derivative.

Although a diesel engined model is available overseas it will not be offered in South Africa.

There’s a choice between manual and automatic six-speed transmissions.

The 1.6 litre engine is matched to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox with the choice of manual shifting, while the 1.8 derivative comes with a six-speed manual transmission.

An international contingent of Asian and African media were at the launch which took place in the Western Cape and featured the obligatory Franschhoek Pass which many manufacturers use.

Both petrol engines (the 1.8 is the same as used in the car of the Year Elantra) coped well at the coast and weren’t found wanting. Road holding and performance were up to the standards required in this segment.

As with other Hyundais, the specification level in the cars is very good.

This alone is a major drawcard for cash-strapped motorists who often have to cough up thousands for optional equipment in competitors but which is standard in Hyundai.

For example, drivers benefit from Hyundai’s new Flex Steer option which is situated on the steering wheel.

With three operating modes – comfort, normal and sport – the system can be used to vary the level of steering assistance and feedback in order to suit driving conditions and make the journey more pleasurable.

The i30 has been awarded the maximum five-star score in Euro Ncap’s impact assessment programme.

Active safety features include ESP (electronic stability programme), ABS (anti-lock braking system), VSM (vehicle stability management) and emergency stop signal.

In terms of passive safety, the new-generation i30 will be fitted with six airbags as standard – front, side and curtain airbags.

Hyundai’s marketing director Stanley Anderson says the new i30 is expected to chalk up sales of about 250 a month.

While these figures are nowhere near VW’s Golf (481 last month) the i30 is making inroads in South Africa’s motoring mindset (and sales) and only the foolish should ignore the very appealing hatch.

The i30 is covered by a five-year/ 90000km service plan and five-year/150000km manufacturer’s warranty.

Hyundai i30 GLS hatchback

Engine: 1591cc DOHC D-CVVT 16-Valve

Power: 95kW at 6300rpm

Torque: 157Nm at 4 850rpm

0-100km/h: 10.5 seconds

Top speed: 195km/h

Fuel consumption: 6.4/100km (claimed combined)

CO2: 152g/km

Price: R229900 (manual) R243900 (auto)

Hyundai i30 GLS hatchback

Engine: 1797cc DOHC D-CVVT 16-Valve

Power: 110kW at 6500rpm

Torque: 178Nm at 4700rpm

0-100km/h: 9.7 seconds

Top speed: 190km/h

Fuel consumption: 6.5/100km (claimed combined)

CO2: 157g/km

Price: R249900 manual

We like: The price

We don’t like: Not finding the Flex Steer button on the steering wheel!

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