Hyundai ups the ante

2012-07-21 08:41

The South Koreans have been making waves ever since they launched their latest models with fluidic sculptures.

The popular Hyundai i30 has just been replaced with a new-generation model and it’s made the usual suspects of the C-segment hold on to all they have.

The first i30 was launched in 2007 and, according to Hyundai Motors, they’ve sold more than 360 000 units in Europe alone, putting it at sixth place in the C-segment rankings.

Hyundai Motor Europe’s chief designer, Thomas Bürkle, was also present at the local launch and said that when the new i30 was designed, they used strong fluid lines to sculpt a car which looks athletic and exudes a sense of constant motion, even when stationary.

“We gave the car a bold stance, transmitting a confident attitude through sporty characteristics and dynamic proportions, making the Hyundai DNA easy to recognise,” said Bürkle.

The range at launch includes the 1.6 GLS manual and auto models, and the 1.8 GLS manual unit.

Besides the looks that have every one talking, the new i30 is ticking all the right boxes when it comes to what motorists want. It’s
stylish, comfortable, an easy

drive and comes with a host of standard features one would usually have to fork out some extra cash for.

The Western Cape is usually wet and windy this time of the year, and this occasion was no different.

It was raining so much I couldn’t even leave the window down far enough for a ghost to slip through!

And, with two best friends suffering from verbal diarrhoea, the windows kept fogging up. But thanks to the auto demister, the windows would clear up quickly before even noticing.

It’s those kind of comfort items that make all the difference, and which makes it terribly difficult to find something not to like.

I got a few extra days with the car and there were constantly things I picked up which I hadn’t at the launch in Franschhoek, about 50km out of Cape Town.

I spent some time with my cousins, and they happen to be in the market for a new car. They have been sharing their Opel Corsa to get to work and university.

The eldest is 24 years old and is ready to buy something new. She was smitten with the i30 and immediately tried to start working out instalment payments if she were to buy it.

She said: “What you see is what you get with this car. You don’t need to add anything else like so many other options in the market. There are no extra costs to make it look pretty and it has everything I need, like a USB port and a socket to charge my phone.

“It’s spacious, has a big 1.6-litre engine and you have the option of going for an automatic model or even the bigger 1.8-litre model.”

The only thing her sister didn’t approve of was the fact that the rear cup holders in the door panels were too small.

“I was quite annoyed that it couldn’t hold my small Wembley milkshake. You know how I love my milkshakes, so it’s crucial that any car we’re going to drive has larger cup holders,” said the 22-year-old.

It got me thinking about what I didn’t like. And I couldn’t think of anything. I called my best friend and she said: “The boot was kind of small.” I said it wasn’t; it could fit two of my large suitcases.

I drove the 1.6 automatic model because I knew I was going to do a bit of driving.

Like most automatic models in smaller cars, they’re not the greatest but they get the job done. Although the gear shifting was smooth, there was the odd occasion where the gearbox was searching for the right gear.

Other than that, it turned out to be exactly what I needed when caught in peak-hour traffic on a Friday afternoon.

The Hyundai i30 is a heavy contender alongside the Golf VI or Toyota Auris, and with a bigger service plan and five-year warranty included in the price, it makes for tough competition.

» Follow me on Twitter: @SpeedQueen

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