For the past 3 years, the i30 has been Hyundai’s best selling car in Australia.
In 2021 Hyundai gave the i30 a facelift. There’s a refreshing new design, and tonnes of new features - and a few of the old ones we loved too. We believe that with this new model the i30 is gearing up for another strong year of sales, and continuing the legacy of Hyundai’s most popular range.
Before we get into it here’s a disclaimer, if you’re looking for an affordable small car, you just might fall in love with the new i30. Whether you prefer a hatchback or a sedan, the new i30 gives you the choice of both options at a great price.
In this post, we’ll review the base i30 and tell you exactly what’s new with the Hyundai i30 in 2021. We’ll also talk a bit about the premium models and the additional specs they offer.
The best base model is one that doesn't leave you feeling like you settled for a lesser car to save a couple of bucks. The i30 does exactly that. The second you jump into the driver’s seat you’ll notice the crisp digital display, with your speedo and all your other instruments.
You’ll notice the build quality, the styling, and the attention to detail that give this cabin its premium feel, that you don’t often get in base models.
You can choose between 3 different driving modes, depending on the driving experience you’re looking for. There’s the Eco mode for fuel efficiency, the Normal mode for everyday driving, and the Sports mode if you’re feeling the need for speed.
The i30 comes with Hyundai's cutting-edge driver assistance system called “Smart Sense”. All varieties of the 2021 i30 have an active cruise-control system with lane-trace assist, something which you usually only find on a more expensive car.
The i30 gives you 6 colour options to choose from. Our favourites are the intense blue and the fiery red colours which feel more vibrant with this year’s model.
So, what else about the exterior has changed? Hyundai’s 2021 version dumps the cascading grille design of the previous i30s and introduces a new and bigger grille. The reflective metal on the grille gives it a beautiful shine under sunlight and it looks mean.
The 2021 i30 comes with 16-inch alloy wheels and has a chromium finish on the outside, which gives a dynamic appeal to the wheel.
The headlights have halogen projector lights, with a cool-colour LED cluster (10 small LED lights) at the bottom. This is a refreshing new addition, as the previous i30s didn’t have the LED clusters in the front.
The taillights aren’t LEDs, they have a basic set of incandescent bulbs. It gives a decent enough glow, and at this price point, you can’t really complain.
Overall the exterior design of the 2021 i30 is a big refresh from Hyundai, and it’s a welcomed one. There’s no mistaking it, this is one handsome car.
The interior of the new i30 feels much closer to the design of its predecessors. It has that same 8-inch integrated touch screen as the original i30, but Hyundai has added a lot of new technology into the touch screen, which we’ll talk more about in the tech section.
The higher-end models, Elite and above, come with a new 10.25-inch touch screen.
The interior does feel a little dull, with all dark colours. You only get one colour choice for the interior, which is the ‘Black Trim’ colour. It would’ve been nice to see a few colour highlights and a couple of more colour options.
The materials and the touchpoints are soft and comfortable. The build quality also feels nice and solid. The fabric seats look and feel quite average, which is what you’d expect from a base model. If leather is important to you, the N-Line model and Active model both come with leather seats.
All models however come with a leather-appointed steering wheel, which gives a very comfortable driving experience.
One thing you’ll notice in the interior is that there’s a lot of storage spaces. You can easily place your accessories, smartphone, water bottle and other accessories in different slots without creating a mess. There’s also a sunglasses holder at the top which is really cool.
Comfort does take a big hit in the second row. If you’re over 6 feet (185 cm), you won’t have any toe room, and your knees will likely be right up against the driver seat. There are air vents for the back row, which is good. For the most part, it’s comfortable but just a bit tight for adults.
In Australia, you get six variants of the Hyundai i30. There’s the base i30 and the Active i30, which are the entry-level models. Then you have the premium models, which are the N-Line, Elite, and N-Line Premium.
The entry-level i30 is powered by a 2-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine. It has 161 HP and 203 Nm (newton meters) of torque. And that’s all integrated into a 6-speed automatic/manual transmission.
Now it doesn’t sound like a very powerful engine, but it holds a good performance in proportion to its smaller size. In terms of fuel economy, you’ll get around 7.5L per 100 km.
On the N-Line models of the new i30, you’ll get a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. It’s a more powerful engine with 201 HP and 265 Nm of torque. You’ll get around 6.8L per 100 km. It is a more fuel-efficient and powerful engine than the base models but given the $13,000 price difference, the engine performance doesn’t feel drastically different.
Both engines can go from 0 to 100 in around 8-8.5 seconds. All models of the i30 come with a dual-clutch transmission gearbox. It’s fairly responsive, but not lighting fast. At normal speed, it doesn’t affect your driving experience. However, at low speed, it can be really jittery and just feels like it’s shivering for no reason. It’s unfortunately one of those annoying characteristics of a dual-clutch gearbox.
Now let’s talk about the fun stuff. The new tech features on the 2021 Hyundai i30.
On the base model, you get an 8-inch infotainment display. It’s a touch screen, but you also have shortcut buttons on each side, making it easier to keep your eyes on the road. There’s no built-in satellite navigation. Navigation can only be used on the screen by pairing your phone.
For smartphone pairing, you have both Apple Car Play and Android Auto, and it’s wireless. So, you don’t have to connect a cable from your car display to your phone. There’s also voice recognition which takes the smart features on the i30 to the next level.
The 8-inch display is a little smaller than what you’ll find in most modern cars, but not much, and it performs like a high-end display.
It gives you full-screen integration and a smooth scrolling experience. In front of the driving wheel, you have a 7-inch display with analogue gauges for speed meter, temperature, and fuel. This is where you also switch through different driving modes.
All of these features are something that you’re used to seeing in a car that costs almost double the amount of a base 2021 i30. So, these are some really cool and important features that make the i30 an amazing cost-efficient option.
On the more premium N-Line models of the i30, you get a 10.25-inch infotainment display. It has a built-in satellite navigation system, unlike the base models. It also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone mirroring, but surprisingly it’s not wireless pairing like the base i30 models. It also doesn’t have full-screen integration, as the smartphone is projected to only two-thirds of the whole screen. There’s also a 10.25-inch display in front of the driving wheel, with a digital speedometer and trip computer.
The infotainment features on the N-Line and N-Line Premium model surprisingly falls behind the base i30 models, which is really disappointing as you’re paying between $7000-$13000 more for these models.
The Hyundai i30 scores a five-star safety rating from ANCAP. It comes with pedestrian detection and autonomous emergency braking. You get a lane departure warning and a lane departure assistant with a semi-autonomous steering function. You also have radar cruise control for a safer driving experience.
On the N-Line models, you get blind-spot monitoring built into the side mirrors. The i30 also comes with a rear parking sensor and a 180-degree rearview camera. In addition to these features, the N-line models also come with a front parking sensor.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Great value.
- Packed with high-end tech features.
- The exterior looks premium and superior to most other cars at this price.
- Not the most comfortable and spacious interior.
- Some of the features on the base model outshine the premium models.
The entry-level Hyundai i30 hatch starts at $27,490 AUD. The N-Line models start at $35,170, and the N-Line premium starts at $40,120. You can also choose a sedan for any of these models, which will cost you around $2000 more.
With the i30, you also get the option to choose a manual transmission, which costs $2000 less. There’s also two mid-range variants of the i30 that only comes with automatic transmission. It’s the i30 Active and Elite. The Active model starts at $30,500 and the i30 Elite starts at $34,000.
The Hyundai i30 gives you great value for money and comes with all the latest bells and whistles. If you’re looking for an affordable 2021 model that has a premium looking exterior and a lot of high-end tech features, then the Hyundai i30 is definitely for you. Whether you’re looking for a sedan or a hatch, a manual or automatic gearbox, the i30 has an option for everyone.
Also, the i30 is tuned right here in Australia, giving you the assurance that it’s built for Australian conditions.
Other Options to Consider
If you’re looking for something more fuel-efficient than the Hyundai i30, the 2021 Toyota Corolla is a good alternative for you. The Corolla gives you the option between a standard 2-litre petrol engine and a 1.8-litre hybrid engine.
With the hybrid engine, you get 3.5L/100km. So, it’s a great fuel-efficient alternative that starts around the same price tag as the Hyundai i30. You also get more safety features on the Toyota Corolla, including high-speed cruise control, active cornering assist, hill-start assist, and much more.
The 2021 Kia Cerato is a great choice if you want a car absolutely packed with safety features. The newest model of the Cerato has endless safety features.
In addition to the traditional safety features, you get electronic stability control (ESC), front and reverse parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, rear occupant alert, exit assistance, advanced driver attention alert and so much more. The GT models of the Cerato also come with a glass sunroof for that extra premium vibe.
If you’re looking for something more sporty and compact, the newest Honda Civic will be the option for you. This car has a bit of everything. Firstly, the premium sporty exterior makes the Civic stand out wherever you go. Its 1.5L standard engine provides great fuel efficiency.
The Civic also has a dual-zone climate control system that gives you the perfect environment inside the car. Overall, it’s a great alternative if you’re willing to spend over that $30,000 mark.