The popular Hyundai i30 hatchback, introduced in the US as the Elantra GT, has won several Car of the Year awards. These include such citations as "Best Family Hatch (2009, New Zealand) and "Best Family Car" (2012, Scotland).
That people everywhere look for slightly different things in a family car is apparent from a small survey of TV commercials. It also shows the various ways people try to wrap their tongues around the brand name. I don't have TV (much less Korean TV), but all of these ads can be found on demand at YouTube.
The UK "Live Brilliant" commercial touts the i30 as a car in which a family can have loads of fun: this ad is all about family, showing three children on the back seat. The back seats are sculpted but not very deeply, which makes it easier to arrange even three child seats. There is certainly room for a cello in the back, and the second row folds down to make a nice flat-bottom cargo space large enough to accomodates a child's bike or materials for your DIY projects.
The US Elantra GT commercial is firstly about the fun of driving it: its user-selectable steering allows dad to switch to "sport" mode when he's driving the car by himself (the other two modes are called "Normal" and "Comfort, because you can't very well call them "Boring" and "Sleepy"). Only at the end of the ad do we realise, by the child-safety rear camera come out of the logo, and the bike come out of the hatch, that the man behind the wheel is a dad.
The Korean ad is actually a series of ads, each featuring just one of the "Never-ending Ideas" engineered into the i30, such as that rear-view camera or the FlexSteer feature. Or the finger brake: that's the electronic parking brake that takes away the satisfaction of feeling and hearing the hand brake ratchet into place. Enjoy the suave Korean voice-over.
In Australia, the i30 is presented as a surprise package: the Korean car with the European "look" - whatever that might mean. This is the place that awarded the i30 the "Best Mid-Size Car Under $28,000" award. Mark that category: in Australia this car is considered Mid-Size (in the US the same car gets the claustrophobia-inducing "compact" designation, which I suspect makes it less popular than it could have been); it's one example of the power of names.
One of the Autralian ads featuring a scruffily adorable dog also introduces the turbodiesel version of the i30, as being "superbly efficient". The 1.6L turbodiesel engine is certainly efficient (47mpg in real life) if you compare it to the only other Australian option, the 1.8L gasoline engine (30mpg) that is the only option in the US.
It seems that American Hyundai customers aren't given much choice at all when it comes to the i30: in the table below, we're squeezed into the small orange box, where you can find the largest engine with the lowest mpg. That sounds far removed from the "eco-efficient" proclaimed on the US splash page for the Elantra GT.
Time to talk to your friendly Hyundai dealer to get that changed.
Europeans have enjoyed the benefits of efficient diesel for quite a bit longer; in fact, in the UK you have choice of six diesel configurations, all more fuel efficient than the three gasoline configurations.
In the table below, the mpg numbers quoted by the manufacturer show by whose test they were obtained, e.g. "EU" for the European test cycle, "KR" for the Korean test and "EPA" for the US EPA test cycle; the latter is the only one that's very close to the actual mileage from real-life driving. European and Asian test cycles tend to vastly overstate the mpg.
Hyundai i30 engines
|1.4 CRDi -- 89HP Man||57 (EU) |
|1.6 CRDi -- 109HP Man |
|64 (EU) |
|1.6 CRDi -- 109HP Auto||43 (EU)||X|
|1.6 CRDi -- 126HP Man||57 (EU)||X||X|
|1.6 CRDi -- 126HP Man |
|62 (EU) |
|1.6 CRDi -- 126HP Auto||43 (EU)||X||X|
|1.6 GDi -- 138HP||32 (KR)||X|
|1.4L -- 99HP Man||39 (EU)||X|
|1.6L -- 119HP Man||37 (EU)||X||X|
|1.6L -- 119HP Auto||35 (EU)||X||X||1.8L -- 148HP Man ||30 (EPA)||X||X|
|1.8L -- 148HP Auto||30 (EPA)||X||X|
It's a little difficult to compare the pricing in the UK and the US (see table below), but my estimate would be that the 1.6L Blue Drive diesel (110PS) would be comparable in price to the 1.8L gasoline version - for that same price, the diesel does have 50% better fuel economy.
Think about it: a Diesel Elantra GT would be very friendly to a family budget, in these times of rising fuel prices. Surely that's the least you can expect from a family car.
Hyundai Elantra GT, i30
|MSRP||$ 18,545||£ 16,895|
|City/Hwy quoted||26 / 37 mpg||57 / 67 mpg|
|Avg. quoted||30 mpg||64 mpg|
|Avg. actual||30 mpg||46 mpg|
|Carbon emissions, quoted||97 g/km|
|Engine||1.8L DOCH |
|1.6 CRDi 110PS |
|Power||148 HP @6500rpm||109 HP|
|Torque||131 lbs-ft |
@ 4700 rpm
|192 lbs-ft |
@ 1900-2750 rpm
|Length, mm(in)||169.3 in||4300 mm|
|Width, mm(in)||70.1 in||1780 mm|
|Height, mm(in)||57.9 in||1465 mm|
|Weight, kg(lbs)||2745 lbs||1360 kg|
|Trunk volume, liters(cuft)||23 / 51 cuft||378 / 1326 L|
|Turning radius, m(ft)||5.3 m|
|Top speed, kph(mph)||115 mph|
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