More smarts, new hearts for Paddon-sanctioned i30

The new i30 has broken cover – and it seems set to offer New Zealand a lot more than just a heavily revised styling.

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NEW engines and a suite of driver assistance and accident avoidance aides are incoming with the next generation of Hyundai’s Corolla-competing i30 hatchback.

Hyundai New Zealand has yet to comment about how it intends to outfit the model for the local introduction, expected to occur around mid-2017, but our World Rally Chamiponship contender Hayden Paddon has had his two cents worth, having been involved in a video - featured below - made for the car's introduction.

In addition to making its racy movie, Hyundai has released the images seen here and also revealed a ton of technical information - all ahead  of a full world debut unveiling at the impending Paris motor show.

Everything suggests this car is going to be more involving and also a lot better loaded, even in its base form, than the current equivalent.

Some Hyundai models are the result of a global design and engineering process that pulls in styling effort from studios in South Korea, the US and Europe, but the i30 has always been part of that sub-group (also including the i40 and i20 small car, as rallied by Paddon but not sold in NZ) that have always been the exclusive work of the brand’s Europe arm, based in Germany. This results in a specific, improved dynamic and design flavour.

Though it utilises a completely overhauled version of the existing architecture that provisions MacPherson struts at the front and multi-link suspension as standard at the rear, Hyundai claims this i30 is more of a driver’s car than the current offer. It talks of “agile and responsive handling”, as well as a “dynamic ride”. The steering has been made faster and directness has been increased by a claimed 10 percent and the brakes have also been beefed up.

Does this add to a sportier drive? Certainly, the bloke from Geraldine seems to think the i30 is a pretty good steer. Given that, it's interesting Hyundai has installed a driver attention alert designed to detect reckless or fatigued driving and prevent potential accidents. The system analyses various vehicle signals such as steering angle, steering torque, vehicle’s position in the lane and driving time.

The model also stocks a radar and camera-guided autonomous emergency braking and front collision warning system that alerts drivers to emergency situations and brakes without driver input if preliminary audible warnings about an impending collision go unheeded.

This ties in with a smart cruise control, though unlike those in high-end cars Hyundai’s does not allow the i30 to run completely to a halt then regain pace – a feature useful in heavy city driving – but instead deactivates at under 10kmh.

The i30 also puts its radar to good use in the roles of blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert functions and also sports a lane keeping assist that not only sounds an alarm if it senses unintentional lane changing but also induces corrective steering to guide the driver back to a safe position.

A speed limit information function uses the front camera and information from the navigation system to identify road speed signs and display the speed limit in real time. The information is displayed both in the navigation system display as well as in the TFT cluster.

Finally, it follows the latest Mazda3 in also taking a high beam assist that detects both oncoming vehicles and vehicles in the same lane ahead at night and changes to low-beam as appropriate, reducing blinding effects on other drivers. Whenever there are no vehicles detected, the system automatically re-activates the high beams, maximising the driver’s range of vision.

Although i30 has lost ground in New Zealand, not just being bruised within its immediate sector – where it has been pushed around not just by the dominant, fleet-favoured Toyota Corolla but also the private sector darling, the Mazda3 – it remains of high importance to Hyundai.

That status will increase with this third generation version, in part because this line is destined for the first time to break beyond every day family and fleet use, with a high-performance N hot hatchback edition also coming. The work of the company's development centre at the Nurburgring, the sports model – now understood to be called the RN30 - has already been signed off for NZ introduction, potentially also coming  in 2017 albeit some time after the mainstream editions.

Hyundai has revealed the new i30 was benchmarked against every model in its segment, picking out the attributes of competitors that it wanted to focus and improve on.

Though the overall styling is quite generic, the next car builds upon the strong styling message that, the brand claims, has always helped sell the car.

The most distinctive first-glance feature is the ‘Cascading Grille’ at the front, a new signature that will be introduced across all of its models over time.

A body that is 28kg lighter than the current car’s, with kerb weight now starting from 1316kg, and 20 percent stronger is also slightly longer and wider, but also a bit lower. The new i30 is 4340mm long, 1795mm wide, and 1455mm high. The wheelbase of 2650mm is identical to the current car’s.

Hyundai is offering the i30 with three petrol engines and one diesel from launch, including a new 102kW, 241Nm 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine. Also in the petrol range is a base non-turbocharged 74kW 1.4 petrol and a turbocharged 88kW 1.0 three-cylinder unit.

The diesel is a 1.6-litre turbo with 71kW, 81kW or 97kW. Overseas’ reports suggest emissions of CO2 are as low as 89g/km in the most frugal version.

Transmissions include a standard six-speed manual, and an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic on the two most potent diesels and the turbo 1.4 petrol.

The latter will stand as the fastest-accelerating version, with a 0-100kmh in 8.9 seconds and a top speed of 210kmh, until the 250kmh RN30 comes.

Hyundai has equipped the i30’s interior with reduced switchgear and an optional 8in ‘floating’ touchscreen atop the centre console (a 5in screen is standard) to control infotainment and other functions.

The new car is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone integration, there's a wireless charging mat for smartphones and a TomTom-sourced navigation system with, in Europe at least, real-time traffic updates among other functions.

Interior space is claimed to be class-leading, with the feeling of roominess being further enhanced by an optional panoramic sunroof which can tilt or slide open. Boot space is rated at 395 litres, rising to a maximum of 1301 litres with the rear seats folded.