Hyundai is looking to provide a big boost to its sales by refreshing the Volkswagen Golf-rivalling i30. Aside from the typical nipping and tucking on the bodywork the company has also introduced a new turbocharged petrol engine and twin-clutch gearbox.
Updates are happening across the range so the three-door, five-door and tourer will all get the same changes. Outside, a more prominent hexagonal grille features while new 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels can be specified along with three new colours – Polar white, Orange caramel and Jet black.
The range always lacked a sporty model to sit at the top and rival the Golf GTI so Hyundai has tried to rectify this with the i30 Turbo. With 183hp, it’s more of a warm hatch than a true hot hatch but it’ll still catapult to 62mph from rest in eight seconds and hit 136mph flat-out.
The 1.6-litre unit seems to be related to the 1.6 in the Kia Cee’d GT – they are both 1591cc. Unlike the Kia, however, the Hyundai’s makes a bit less power but is Euro6 compliant and more efficient to boot.
To mark it out at the top of the range, the i30 Turbo gets some extra equipment to help it look and feel the part. Its grille gets extra detailing, the bumpers get flashes of red trim, the front gets new LED lights while the rear gets twin exhausts. 18-inch wheels, sports seats and instrument cluster, and red detailing on the steering wheel, gearknob and doors complete the sporting makeover.
To help it handle better than the standard model, the Turbo gets lower, stiffer sports suspension and its steering ratio has been reduced to 2.78 turns from lock to lock – this should help the front feel more agile and keen to turn into corners.
What powers it?
Little else in the engine range has changed, so you still get two turbodiesels and two naturally-aspirated petrols. The 1.6-litre diesel comes in 108 or 134hp guises – the lower-powered of which is capable of 78.4mpg while emitting a tax-busting 94g/km of CO2.
You can have the 1.6-litre petrol without the turbo which delivers 118hp or a newly-developed 1.4-litre unit that makes 99hp. The newly developed 1.4 is 14kg lighter than the outgoing unit so pushes economy to 50mpg while emitting 129g/km of CO2.
This is the first application of Hyundai’s brand new seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox. Replacing the old-fashioned six-speed torque converter unit, the new unit promises both better acceleration and greater efficiency. The gearbox has been designed in-house by Hyundai – a bold move when many marques choose to use pre-developed units from their suppliers.
Joining the new gearbox in the fight to save fuel are low rolling resistance tyres, stop/start, an active aerodynamic flap in the grille, and a system that makes careful use of the alternator to maximise the car’s energy.
How much will it cost?
A Hyundai spokesman confirmed that prices are not expected to move far from where they are now – so a £14,605 starting price is a reasonable prediction. They were tight-lipped about the i30 Turbo, however, but taking the Kia Cee’d, which costs the same as a basic i30, a price of around £20,500 (the same as a Cee’d GT) should be in the right ballpark.
If you can’t bear the thought of having a badge on the bonnet that doesn’t come from Germany then take a look at our review of the Volkswagen Golf GTI or, for a little more money, take a look at the Audi S3 for a real hot hatch experience.