Is the sedan dead? The 2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan proves there’s still life left in small sedans, and maybe even a little vibrancy.
- Fun to drive
- Value for money
- Stand-out design and spacious inside
- Road noise in cabin
- Jerky dual-clutch at low speeds
- Low roof line affects second-row habitability
Sedans, like the 2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line Premium, are a dying trend. It’s a fact.
Our Australian-made ones are extinct, and many of the European ones have been replaced by high-riding SUVs. And what’s left is amalgamating into fully electric crossover things, like a 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 or 2022 Kia EV6.
However, Hyundai still thinks the sedan has legs.
So much so, Hyundai Australia has gone to the effort of introducing the car better known globally as the Hyundai Elantra, rebranding it as the Hyundai i30 Sedan just for Australia, and then offering multiple versions – including a high-performance version with a manual transmission – for good measure.
Brave, but it’s a fantastic product, as we’re about to find out.
Before we do, let’s take a look at one of the widest ranges of compact sedans on the market today. The 2022 Hyundai i30 Active sedan starts from $25,690 with a manual transmission or $27,690 with six-speed automatic, both quoted prices being before on-road costs.
Power comes from a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine with 117kW/191Nm, and standard features include autonomous emergency braking with car, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keeping assist with line and road edge detection, and adaptive cruise control exclusively on automatic models.
Moving up to the 2022 Hyundai i30 Elite sedan costs $31,690 – $4000 more than the entry-level i30 Active – and comes exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Bonuses for spending more money include front parking sensors in addition to rear ones, rear cross-traffic alert, keyless entry and start, a 10.25-inch infotainment screen, amongst others.
Up next is the 2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line, and our test car, the 2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line Premium. The biggest desire for opting for either models could be one of two things: the sports styling both inside and out, or the turbocharged engine with 150kW/265Nm and dual-clutch (DCT) auto.
The regular N Line sedan comes as a six-speed manual for $31,190 and seven-speed DCT $33,190, whereas our test car, the N Line Premium, comes solely with the DCT and asks for $38,190 before on-roads.
It means our car is also the most expensive of the regular i30 range before you get to the hyper N performance models. On the road, and in the free colour choice of Polar White, it costs about $42,300.
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Aside from the hopped-up turbo motor and quick-firing seven-speed dual-clutch auto, there are plenty of high-end touchpoints like heated and ventilated seats, a Bose premium sound system, and a digital instrument cluster too.
Let’s explore the 2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line Premium.
|Key details||2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line Premium|
|Price (MSRP)||$38,190 plus on-road costs|
|Colour of test car||Polar White|
|Price as tested||$38,190 plus on-road costs
$42,300 drive-away (Sydney)
|Rivals||Mazda 3 | Subaru Impreza | Toyota Corolla|
If you’re familiar with the Hyundai i30 hatch, then you’ll notice the i30 Sedan has a totally different interior.
If you’re not, the fact is the i30 Sedan’s cabin improves on the hatchback’s. Not only does it look more contemporary, but both of the large 10.25-inch displays have been smartly integrated into the dashboard, giving the impression the i30 Sedan’s insides were designed more recently than the hatch.
I know picking on the integration of screens in a cabin seems trivial, but it makes a huge difference to perceived quality and the way things feel. Another nice point about the Hyundai i30 Sedan’s layout is its driver-focussed nature, with a large grab handle squaring off the cabin and its controls making them solely for the driver.
I know it feels exclusive, but your friends shouldn’t be touching your radio anyway – that’s sacrilege according to the passenger code of conduct. Visibility from the driver’s seat is good, but its low-down ride height means you’re forever peering left or right past traffic to see what’s going on ahead.
The steering wheel is nicely thin-rimmed and shod with plenty of buttons to control everything, and the paddle shifters big enough to fire gears even with the sloppiest coordination.
Aside from some business coming from a red-stitched interior, the rest is quite clean and minimalist. A strong horizontal line cuts through the dashboard’s middle integrating and almost hiding the air vents, and its screens are literally joined by the same piece of plastic panel as well.
It helps to keep the design tidy and simple. Over in the second row, space is good for the class of car. Behind my own driving position – I’m 183cm tall – I found there to be enough in the back for me to get comfy.
My feet were able to kick out a little under the front pew, my knees well clear of the seat back, and head far off the headlining too. If you move kids about, there’s plenty of space for a Britax Graphene convertible car seat.
This seat can be used from birth to four years of age, and in both forward- and rearward-facing fashions. The former is easy to conduct due to a large rear door, whereas the latter is a touch more challenging due to the car’s sloping roof design.
Other features in the second row include a pair of air vents and bottle holders in the doors. Its boot will hold a massive 464L, some 80L more than the hatch’s, but bigger is not always better.
The Hyundai i30 Sedan’s boot opening is smaller than the hatch’s, so those who ride pushbikes or need the girth should consider this point. However, it posed no issue for the boring and lazy old me, despite loading a mid-size Micro scooter (for my son) alongside our fortnightly grocery shop.
Under the floor lies a space-saving spare wheel and brilliantly not a repair kit. The rear bench will split-fold 60/40, too, meaning trips to Bunnings for longer-than-usual items can be conducted in this car.
|2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line Premium|
Infotainment and Connectivity
Both screens in the 2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line Premium are 10.25 inches in diameter, meaning they look consistent in terms of design.
The infotainment system is backed by strong hardware, too, so its software package sports slick graphics and handles plenty of speedy interactions. It also features the usual forms of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, alongside DAB+ and AM/FM radio.
Although it requires a USB connection to access smartphone mirroring, there’s also a wireless charging pad alongside a 12-volt power outlet too. And, as our test car was an N Line Premium model, it benefitted from an eight-speaker Bose stereo complete with external amplifier.
In terms of audio quality, Tame Impala’s Mind Mischief came across bright and impactful, although driven quite heavily from the centre speaker, whereas Ty Segall’s Feel sounded honest, twangy, and almost as fuzzy as it needs to be.
I’ve discovered that Bose stereos – in anything other than Porsche vehicles – can be hit-and-miss, but Hyundai’s system is better than what’s found in some Mazda vehicles also branded as Bose.
The 2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan range has not been officially tested by ANCAP, but the Hyundai i30 hatchback benefits from a five-star, 2017-dated crash rating.
Take from that what you will. Our test car is the flagship version of the regular i30 range – excluding those awesome N performance stand-alone models – meaning it’s packed full of advanced driver assist systems.
That includes lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert with avoidance assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic high beams.
Overall, the 2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line Premium is decently equipped in terms of advanced driver assist systems.
|2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line Premium|
If you want a good-looking, sporty and compact sedan, you only have a few choices.
If you like the idea of performance, then the 2022 Subaru WRX could be a likely choice. Priced from $48,990 before on-roads with excellent CVT automatic, it’s more expensive, but also far quicker and more spacious to boot.
Another more price-aligned choice is the Mazda 3 sedan, and in particular the 2022 Mazda 3 GT. Priced from around $46,000 drive-away and coming with a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated engine means it’s not underpowered, plus its stylish design and upmarket interior could be enough to convince you otherwise.
|At a glance||2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line Premium|
|Warranty||Five years / unlimited km|
|Service intervals||12 months or 10,000km|
|Servicing costs||$897 (3 years), $1495 (5 years)|
Maintaining a 2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan is a simple and affordable affair, with the first five services costing $299 each. It means three years of maintenance costs $897, and five years $1495. Intervals are 12 months/10,000km, whichever comes first.
Comparatively, a 2022 Mazda 3 G25 costs $2108 over the same period, and features the same 10,000km interval between each service.
Fuel economy hovered around the 6.9L/100km mark, finally settling on 7.2L/100km. The official combined claim is 6.8L/100km, so consider that a great result.
|Fuel Useage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||6.8L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||7.2L/100km|
|Fuel type||91-octane regular unleaded|
|Fuel tank size||47L|
Before we discuss how it drives, it’s worth discussing the effort Hyundai Australia and its merry band of ride-and-handling engineers put into our Australian cars.
Most Hyundais undergo severe scrutiny by said merry band of engineers, who later and usually go to adjust and edit the global suspension tune specifically for Australia. They do so by covering thousands of kilometres on Australian soil, and slowly changing the springs, dampers, bushes, and even recalibrating the rack-mounted power-steering system to feel in tune with our conditions.
Their efforts with the 2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line Premium are brilliant.
Sure, the engineers are working with better stock considering that i30 N Line sedan models receive independent rear suspension and not a crude linked torsion beam rear, but it still stands out as a genuinely warmed-up and fun-to-drive offering.
It offers fantastic body control for when the road gets twisty, and the powertrain is equally as fun in a similar environment. Its performance figures are not eye-opening, but the quick-shifting dual-clutch auto certainly makes it feel faster and far more fun than the on-paper figures suggest.
It’s just a shame that the downshifts are not as crisp as the ones on the up and under load. While we’re here, another foible of the dual-clutch auto transmission is its low-speed engagement. Reverse parking up a slight incline can be tricky, and general quick starts or rash decisions behind the wheel can catch it out and cause some hesitation and lurching.
Still, once you’re mostly across how to get the best and smoothest operation from it, the 2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line Premium remains plenty comfortable around town.
Some pitted road surfaces caused harshness to be felt in the cabin, but overall it’s polite and well-mannered on our poorly maintained and poorly repaired Sydney road network.
You could easily make do with the ride quality and comfort as a family car; however, the road noise on higher-speed roads can be frustrating.
It’s a common theme with other Hyundais in the range, too, as the tyre noise on coarser-chip sections of Sydney’s motorway network can create loud, irritating and continual tyre roar – enough to crank the stereo to compensate.
Other competitors don’t do the same on the same sections of road, so they either need to add more tar and deadening to the vehicle, or reconsider the fitment of Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres.
Aside from the cabin noise, it’s top marks for a fun and engaging drive with a near-on $40,000 price tag.
|Key details||2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line Premium|
|Engine||1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol|
|Power||150kW @ 6000rpm|
|Torque||265Nm @ 1500–4500rpm|
|Drive type||Front-wheel drive|
|Transmission||Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|Power to weight ratio||108kW/t|
|Tow rating||1100kg braked, 610kg unbraked|
If you’re not interested in buying a small or medium SUV, or simply prefer the value-for-money equation of buying a sedan, then the 2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line Premium is an ideal choice for you.
Aside from being smartly priced and loaded with tech, it features a hearty warmed-up turbocharged powertrain with quick-firing dual-clutch to go with it.
It’s also a surprise package in terms of fun and driver enjoyment, but does a great job around town when the roads are more regular.
The cabin is spacious front to back for adults and kids alike, too, making it usable for SINKS, DINKS, empty-nesters, or maybe even a young and upcoming family that enjoys a bit of spice.
Either way, it’s a great alternative to that SUV you were also maybe considering.
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