Prior to its official debut at the upcoming 2016 Paris Motor Show, Hyundai has revealed the looks and specifications of the third-generation i30. A popular car for the South Korean brand in Europe, the i30 has sold over 800,000 units in the continent since its debut in 2008. Not surprisingly then, the new i30 is designed, developed, tested and set to be manufactured in Europe.
The new i30 is also said to be the DNA car for Hyundai in Europe, previewing the future direction of the brand. For a market like ours where Europe-oriented Hyundais like the i10 and i20 are big-sellers, this is a crucial hint at how the next-generation variants of these cars would evolve.
Visually, the new i30 continues the trend that we first saw with the Sonata and, more recently, Elantra. Hyundai is doing away with the flashy styling elements, opting for subtler designs instead.
Debuting in the new i30 is what Hyundai calls a 'Cascading Grille', a 'blink-and-you-miss' evolution of the hexagonal grille that many automakers have fallen in love with. Hyundai says the new grille will become the identity of the brand going forward, so expect to see a lot more of these in upcoming Hyundais. Wraparound headlights with projectors and vertically-stacked air curtains with inbuilt foglights and LED DRLs define the fascia. The hood is long, the wheelbase is longer and the overhangs shorter, giving the i30 a solid stance. The profile is characterized by a prominent shoulder line that runs the full length of the car. While the split-taillight units look good, the tailgate has two creases too many.
The interiors are well-designed and elegant with the quality, fit and finish expected to be top notch as well. Eye-catchy elements include the beautiful three-spoke steering wheel and the optional 8-inch floating touchscreen in the center console. While some of us actually like this setup, there are a whole lot of folks who hate this show-off stuff stuck on to the dashboard. Hyundai claims class-leading passenger and luggage space in the new i30 and we don't doubt it. Crucially, the rear windows aren't kinked upwards like most Hyundai cars, so those seated at the rear don't have to fight claustrophobia as much as before.
Powering the new i30 are three petrol and one diesel engines. Petrol options include a naturally-aspirated 1.4-liter mill and two turbocharged units - a 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder T-GDI and the new 1.4-liter, 4-cylinder T-GDI delivering 140 PS and 242 Nm of torque. Flying the diesel flag is the familiar 1.6-liter turbo diesel in three states of tune. Mated to these engines are the 6-speed manual and the fairly-new 7-speed Dual-Clutch automatic transmissions.
The new i30 is said to be tested for dynamic prowess at the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife. Let's wait and see if that has translated into responsive steering and better handling, traits that Hyundai isn't known for.
When it goes on sale, the new i30 will have the most advanced safety package amongst all mainstream Hyundai models with a host of active and passive safety features including Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Front Collision Warning System, Driver Attention Alert (DAA), Smart Cruise Control, Bilnd Spot Detector, Rear-Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keeping Assist System, High Beam Assist and a total of 7 airbags.
While Hyundai has confirmed that the i30 nameplate will expand to include multiple body styles, we don't know what are they yet. Our guess is that a station wagon and a 3-door coupe would join the 5-door hatchback that we see here. That's not all. The new i30 will also get the first high-performance model under Hyundai's new 'N' sub-brand, come 2017.
How about bringing this here to India as your halo car, Hyundai?