Guest contributor Vani Naidoo, whose children are now beyond child seat age, is not usually a fan of small sedans, so can the 2021 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line Premium win her over?
Although the versatility of SUVs have made them a firm family favourite over the last decade, Australians, it seems, still have a soft spot for a small sedan. Hyundai is looking to continue to leverage that nostalgia with its i30 Sedan. You’d be forgiven for thinking it looks very much like a Hyundai Elantra, because, well it pretty much is. Unlike the i30 hatch, the sedan uses Hyundai’s latest platform and design language and gets a heap of new technology too.
Ok so confession time – I am generally not a fan of small sedans. Hatches, I can do because they can be fun to drive even though they are not super convenient for growing kids. But small sedans…
That said, after trying the i30 Sedan N Line Premium I was pleasantly surprised. It certainly is interesting to look at with sweeping lines, eye-catching rear and conveniences that belie its sub-$40,000 price point. Its chock-full of safety gear, has a sporty twist and will hold much more gear in the boot than you would think.
Other variants include the i30 Sedan N Line that you can have with a manual or automatic as well as the mid-spec Elite (automatic only) and entry level Active (manual and automatic). For fast families, the sporty and powerful i30 Sedan N is also available.
How good is storage in the i30 Sedan?
Storage options upfront include a covered centre console bin to fit a wallet and phone and slender door bins. Cup holders between the driver and front passenger are adjustable, which I found useful with my tendency to opt for smaller coffee cups.
The doors have little storage buckets in the arms which are great for all manner of things including those earrings the kids only remember to take out just as you get to soccer training. Map pockets on the front seatbacks give the kids somewhere to store their stuff, with the door bin fitting a slender water bottle and cup holders in the centre armrest.
The boot offers a useful 474 litres in space, roomy enough for us to get in the schoolbags and musical instruments as well as a fair-sized weekly shop. Oh, and a foray into Bunnings to get the spring garden supplies including bags of plant mix and seedlings. Wish I had picked up a green thumb while we were there. While the i30 Sedan's boot is deepish and long, the opening is a tad narrow for awkward shapes but that is to be expected. There is a space saver spare wheel under the boot floor.
How good is the media system?
In the sleek, streamlined i30 Sedan cabin, the dual 10.25-inch display screens are quick to catch the eye. One is for the driver’s instrumentation and the other, perched on top of the dash, is for the media system. The latter has touchscreen capability as well as buttons for the lead functions below so it is easier to operate on the go. The displays have good graphics and colour and are pretty sensible to navigate.
Smartphone mirroring through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto operates seamlessly and there is a wireless charging pad, DAB+ digital radio and it is capable of Bluetooth and audio streaming. Two USB ports are available below the centre stack, but none for rear-seat passengers through, which the kids insisted I log as an oversight.
How much space do you get in the i30 Sedan?
There is quite a lot of the room in the first row, where lodgings feel quite airy despite the large centre stack and dash that comes out quite a fair way. The i30 Sedan cabin was built to almost wrap around the driver and you certainly feel that with controls and dials close to hand and the console angled towards the driver. Surfaces feel nice to the touch but there are some cheaper hard plastics around the cabin that mark easily.
The back seat was pretty good for the kids with legroom decent rather than stretch-out luxury. It doesn’t take much for the forward seats to impinge on the rear seat passengers but that is to be expected. If you were travelling with tall teenagers in the back, two would be the sweet spot and the sweeping roofline can make headroom feel a bit tight. Given its shape, the i30 Sedan sits quite low to the ground and its easier to bump your head as you enter and exit.
Is it good to drive?
The i30 Sedan certainly looks the part with its swooping lines and stylish silhouette. The 10-way powered driver’s seat in this N Line Premium model makes it easy to find the optimum position and there is good visibility even out the sloping rear window.
It is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine which delivers 150kW of power and 265Nm of torque. The ride is refined with good bump absorption and very little body roll but there is a noticeable amount of road noise, especially if you drive along country roads.
The i30 Sedan's suspension has been tuned for Australian roads, which makes the drive more comfortable and the steering, though responsive, doesn’t offer too much in terms of feedback. The i30 Sedan moves along without too much fuss, it can sometimes head for a higher gear too soon to save fuel and did have to be persuaded up steeper inclines.
Our fuel economy for the week was around 7.9L/100km in comparison to the official 6.8L/100km, which won’t hurt you too much at the bowser. The i30 Sedan is covered by Hyundai’s five-year unlimited kilometre warranty with a lifetime capped-price servicing plan.
If the i30 Sedan good for safety?
The i30 Sedan is still to receive an ANCAP rating but do come equipped with a comforting list of standard inclusions. These include blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic avoidance assist and lane-keep assist (although that can be annoying) as well as forward collision warning, rear parking collision warning and autonomous emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection. A rear seat occupant alert prompts you to check the back seats on exit and those of you with little kiddies will find two ISOFIX points on the outboard rear seats and three top tether anchorages.
Did you like this review format for parents with kids beyond the child seat? Let us know in the comments below! If you need to know about how child seats and strollers fit into the Hyundai i30 Sedan, check that test here.