Is the Hyundai i30 sedan still a good car?

As Hyundai’s i30 Sedan variant received a thorough facelift at the end of 2023, we look at the Elite variant to see what’s changed.

What we love
  • Supremely economical 
  • Entertaining drive experience
  • Comfortable and large interior space
What we don’t
  • Sloping roof hampers rear head room 
  • Rear-view camera quality
  • Misses out on an ANCAP rating

2024 Hyundai i30 Sedan Elite

Of all the body styles and small car nameplates Australia has lost in recent years, small-sized sedan shoppers are still afforded a decent array of options. The Hyundai i30 Sedan is the most up-to-date option in 2024, alongside older Japanese rivals such as the Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla sedans.

All three ranges begin around the $30,000 mark, but whereas the Mazda and Toyota have seen little intervention since their launches (both well before 2020), the Hyundai i30 Sedan has received a midlife facelift that has brought new exterior lighting signatures, new safety features, and a new continuously variable automatic transmission.

However, this update only applies to the i30 Sedan variant. Those after a hatch body will need to wait until later in 2024 for more information about a hatch facelift.

The option of a hybrid variant is also available (as of early 2024), but the car this review centres around is the non-turbo 2.0-litre in Elite guise. This variant sits one up from the base specification.

How much does the Hyundai i30 cost in Australia?

Whereas the Hyundai i30 Sedan line-up begins at $29,000 plus on-road costs, buyers pay $4500 more for the Elite variant. At $33,500 before ORCs, it’s a sizeable jump between spec grades at this low end of the market – especially when it uses the same engine. This variant is now $1500 more expensive than the i30 Sedan Elite of 2023.

The i30 Sedan of 2024 gets new LED multi-reflector headlights which are said to offer a whiter, brighter light. It also gets parking sensors at the front and rear (for all variants) and USB-C outlets.

To select an Elite variant over the base specification affords 17-inch wheels, 10.25-inch screens for infotainment and the gauge cluster, Hyundai Bluelink connected services, leather-appointed seats, DAB+ digital radio, keyless entry, dual-zone climate, remote start and satellite navigation.

Buyers looking for alternatives will be attracted to the Mazda 3 Sedan Touring ($34,520 before ORCs) or the Toyota Corolla SX ($32,670 plus ORCs).

Power is supplied by a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that outputs 110kW and 180Nm to the front wheels. Those outputs are 7kW/11Nm down on the outgoing i30 Sedan’s figures. Drive is now routed through a continuously variable transmission (CVT) rather than the old six-speed torque converter automatic.

Options of a hybrid powertrain or a more powerful 1.6-litre turbo engine are available if you spend more money on better variants.

Key details 2024 Hyundai i30 Sedan Elite
Price $33,500 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Fluid Metal
Options Metallic paint – $595
Price as tested $34,095 plus on-road costs
Drive-away price $38,224 (Melbourne)
Rivals Kia Cerato | Mazda 3 | Toyota Corolla

How much space does the Hyundai i30 have inside?

Slide inside the i30 Sedan Elite’s cabin and you’re met with a nicely styled space. The door cards have intriguing stitch lines through them and there are metallic-coloured plastic elements for the handles, speaker tweeters, and across the dashboard’s air vent. Even the dashboard gets a soft-feel covering.

The remainder is covered in hard-touch plastics that aren’t quite as exciting – and particularly egregious is the plastic centre console shroud that sits proud of the storage space and feels a bit low-rent. Hyundai would have done well to introduce a soft-touch effect to this, like the dashboard covering.

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But the seats are comfortable and offer good support for the lower back, and there’s enough adjustability with the manual seat controls to get a nice driving position.

Storage-wise, there are dual cupholders that can be configured in deep or shallow format (depending on the size of your drink bottles), while the Elite stocks a wireless charging spot for your phone beside the gear selector. The centre console and glovebox are both decently sized for stowing away valuables.

Opening up the rear doors paves way to a surprisingly spacious area – even for my tall 194cm height. I wasn’t encumbered by the leg room or foot room, only my head was crowded by the sloping roof line. In any sense, it’s still a comfortable place to spend time and arguably more amenable than you’d find in a similar hatch-sized alternative.

There are two USB-C ports to charge devices, map pockets, air vents, a fold-down centre armrest with cupholders, and grab handles to keep stable when going around bends.

Pop open the boot using the hidden button beneath the ‘H’ logo and you’re met with a 474-litre space. It’s never going be as adaptable as the boot space you’ll find in a hatch, but 474L is generous in this size class.

Under the boot floor is a full-size spare wheel – awesome!

2024 Hyundai i30 Sedan Elite
Seats Five
Boot volume 474L
Length 4710mm
Width 1825mm
Height 1420mm
Wheelbase 2720mm

Does the Hyundai i30 have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

The step up in screen size compared to the entry-level Hyundai i30 Sedan (which uses an 8.0-inch unit) is well worth it. Screen real estate with the 10.25-inch display is plentiful, and it’s a breeze to sift between menu systems in terms of button placement and system navigation.

However, I noted during my time that it was not the most responsive unit, often taking a second to register a button press. This was particularly annoying when you’d first get in to turn off the speed sign recognition, but more on that in the Safety section, below.

The system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity (through a genuine cable only) for those who prefer it, and it comes with a new Quiet mode that turns off the rear speakers for sleeping kids or rideshare passengers.

I loved the fact the i30 Sedan still comes with physical buttons for the air conditioning and most infotainment functions. These are housed immediately below the screen.

The rear-view camera quality isn’t fantastic – it’s a grainy picture that lets you know what’s behind the car, but not in great detail.

The Elite variant unlocks access to Hyundai’s Bluelink connected services. In addition to connecting to the car via a smartphone app to send navigation instructions to the car remotely (for example), the Bluelink system can also offer live traffic updates, calendar integration, weather information, remote climate control, and vehicle status information.

Is the Hyundai i30 a safe car?

The Hyundai i30 hatch was last tested by ANCAP in 2017 and was awarded a five-star ANCAP safety rating. However, this test does not extend to this i30 Sedan variant and its four-door body – only hatch variants are five-star rated, with an ANCAP rating set to expire in December 2024.

As such, the i30 Sedan does not get an ANCAP safety rating.

2024 Hyundai i30 Sedan Elite
ANCAP rating Untested

What safety technology does the Hyundai i30 have?

Despite its lack of an official ANCAP rating, the i30 Sedan Elite comes stocked with plentiful active safety measures.

These include autonomous emergency braking (with pedestrian, motorbike, and cyclist detection), adaptive cruise control with stop/go, lane-centring function, lane-keep assist, speed sign recognition, front and rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring, leading vehicle departure alert, safe exit warning, rear cross-traffic alert and avoidance assist, and a blind-spot monitor.

The car comes with six airbags for physical protection in the event of a collision, though this does not include the centre airbag between front passengers, which has become an important aspect of a five-star ANCAP score.

For the most part, the i30 Sedan’s safety technology is helpful in daily life, aside from one feature – the speed sign recognition. My gripes are echoed by the wider Drive editorial team, in which the system will falsely alert to a wrong speed limit. For example, you could be travelling along at 60km/h approaching a school zone and the system will flash up a 40km/h warning and begin beeping incessantly for you to slow down – despite not being within the time confines of school-zone speed limits.

It’s frustrating to have to turn this system off every time you get in the car, as it automatically turns itself back on between engine cycles.

How much does the Hyundai i30 cost to maintain?

Hyundais in Australia are covered by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. Hyundais also get one of the most generous roadside support programs in the country – 12 months of roadside assist is included every time you service the vehicle with a Hyundai dealership. This continues for the life of the car.

Services are recommended every 15,000km or 12 months (whichever is sooner), and the brand offers prepaid packages for three years ($975), four years ($1300), or five years ($1625). Alternatively, the first three services cost $325 each.

In comparison, the Mazda 3 Touring sedan costs $1278 and the Toyota Corolla SX sedan costs $735. This is over the first three years.

A year of comprehensive insurance coverage from a leading provider costs $1439, based on a comparative quote for a 35-year-old male driver living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.

For context, the same insurance quote calculator lists $1231 for that Mazda 3 Touring sedan and $1503 for the Toyota Corolla SX sedan.

At a glance 2024 Hyundai i30 Sedan Elite
Warranty Five years, unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs $975 (3 years)
$1625 (5 years)

Is the Hyundai i30 fuel-efficient?

One of the heralded benefits of moving to a continuously variable automatic transmission (as opposed to a torque converter automatic) is the fact that they often provide incremental fuel-saving benefits.

As such, the i30 Sedan’s updated combination for 2024 fares 0.9 litres per 100 kilometres better than before on a combined cycle at 6.1L/100km.

In practice, I was able to match that claim and even beat it during certain times in the week. Granted, much of my testing involved highway driving, but there’s little doubt the i30 Sedan is a relatively fuel-efficient petrol car, especially without hybrid assistance.

Even better is the fact that its 47-litre fuel tank only requires 91-octane petrol.

Fuel Useage Fuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed) 6.1L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 6.1L/100km
Fuel type 91-octane unleaded
Fuel tank size 47L

What is the Hyundai i30 like to drive?

With respect to its sporty styling, the mechanicals under the i30 Sedan’s skin go a long way to elevate this car to being quietly fun to drive. Much of that is thanks to the inclusion of the new continuously variable transmission, which does away with the chop-and-change nature of the six-speed auto.

Instead of cycling through gears and revving out to redline in order to get up inclines, the CVT is smoother in its operation and provides adequate output for most scenarios.

It feels funny to praise a CVT over a torque converter automatic, but the pitfalls of the former (including an elastic-type feeling and buzzy noises) don’t make themselves known in the i30 Sedan.

The engine buzzes to life eagerly in the morning before settling down to a subdued hum when on the move, while the 110kW/180Nm outputs feel up to spec when driving around town. They’re nobody’s idea of swift performance, and you do have to plan certain overtakes, but the outputs routed through the front wheels feel well-suited to the car’s size and class.

Those after more pep out of the engine will gravitate to the 1.6-litre turbo engine of the higher-spec model grades.

The suspension is absorbent of speed humps and deals with minor road imperfections in a sophisticated manner. There are points where you can feel larger road joins transmitted through the front axle, though it’s a minor mishap for an otherwise sorted ride quality.

Road noise is also impressively subdued for this car segment too. Whereas I’d normally expect a degree of wind and tyre noise emanating through the interior, I didn’t notice all that much in my time with the i30 Sedan.

It’s an easy thing to steer through a set of bends and turn into parking spaces with a light feel for the driver, while this can be changed out for a firmer feel with the integrated Sport mode.

Brakes do need a firm push to extract maximum stopping power – there were a few instances where I misjudged my braking and needed to apply more pressure than first intended.

Its body control through corners is managed well and it never feels out of place – if anything it’s the lacklustre engine that belies this car’s unsuspecting sportiness.

Key details 2024 Hyundai i30 Sedan Elite
Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol
Power 110kW @ 6200rpm
Torque 180Nm @ 4500rpm
Drive type Front-wheel drive
Transmission Continuously variable automatic
Power-to-weight ratio 82.5kW/t
Weight (kerb) 1334kg
Spare tyre type Full-size
Turning circle 10.8m

Should I buy a Hyundai i30?

Small but practical sedans might get overlooked for their more popular SUV-type alternatives, but the i30 Sedan Elite proves there’s still merit in the humble, affordable four-door.

In fact, all three options I’ve mentioned in this review are nice cars in their own right – the Mazda feels like a premium car, and the Toyota is arguably the most affordable over the long run.

But the i30 Sedan Elite injects bold, new Robocop-esque styling to reinvigorate an unsexy segment and improves the outlook for small-car buyers with a slew of equipment. Its engine might not get the heart racing as much as the well-sorted chassis could handle, but the ongoing fuel economy, comfortable and spacious cabin, as well as its expansive infotainment system, offer all the functionality you could expect at this price point.

How do I buy a Hyundai i30 – next steps?

If this review of the i30 Sedan has opened your eyes to a four-door, sedan-shaped hole in your heart, Hyundai will be only too willing to plug it. You can even spend more on a Sonata N Line, but that’s a story for another time.

While this review focused on the mid-spec Elite variant with the 2.0-litre petrol engine, I’d be opting for a 1.6-litre variant for extra engine outputs.

You can go the other way too, with hybrid versions touting fuel-saving benefits available as of February 2024. In fact, the brand says 200 units will arrive in late January and another 400 will land in Australia the following month.

In terms of wait times and stock availability of regular, petrol-powered i30 Sedans, customers will have to wait longer. Hyundai quotes a wait time of less than three months for existing orders and wait times of between three and six months for new orders.  

If you want to stay updated with everything that’s happened to this car since we tested it, you’ll find all the latest i30 news here.

Ratings Breakdown

2024 Hyundai i30 Elite Sedan

7.8/ 10

Infotainment & Connectivity

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Tom started out in the automotive industry by exploiting his photographic skills but quickly learned journalists got the better end of the deal. With tenures at CarAdvice, Wheels Media, and now Drive, Tom’s breadth of experience and industry knowledge informs a strong opinion on all things automotive. At Drive, Tom covers automotive news, car reviews, advice, and holds a special interest in long-form feature stories.

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