New car report: Let's drive baby
Expect Hyundai's adorable, and hugely popular 'driving baby' campaign - first used to market their Santa Fe crossover vehicle - to be revisited in the very near future.
In a new campaign, the now famous curly-haired kid looks the part behind the wheel of Hyundai's new i30 compact car.
Since our initial preview of Hyundai's i30 back in November we have now attended the official New Zealand launch of the vehicle, and thankfully we can report the i30 remains as good as the teaser promised.
Targeting younger purchasers (well, maybe not as young as the Television commercial suggests) the i30's sub $30k price point for the entry level 1.6 litre petrol ensures excellent value for money to temp first-time new-vehicle buyers.
Unfortunately however, supply restraints meant at the time of launch only the pricier 'Elite' models were available for test
If supply issues for the base models continue it could prove a sticking point for many potential customers; in our opinion it's the less extravagant versions that provide the best buying of the range.
The $30,990 base 2.0 litre model i30 is equipped generously by comparison to most class competitors, so it wouldn't surprise if - given the price-driven nature of the compact market - buyers may deem much of the $35,990 Elite's equipment nice to have, but not absolutely necessary.
Don't get us wrong, the Elite's leather interior, a chromatic rear view mirror, fog lights 6-disc CD player, rear centre armrest and glove-box cooler are all great features. But we see practicality, safety, fuel economy and styling as the motivators at this price bracket, all of which are consistently impressive across the whole i30 range.
Safety features are identical from entry level to range topping spec and include front, side and curtain airbags, ISOFIX child restraints, active head restraints and a reinforced chassis.
Of the Elite's additional specification, the only items really worth mourning are 17-inch alloy wheels, the reversing sensors, cruise and climate controls. The reversing sensors can be added at request as a factory accessory.
As New Zealand grows increasingly diesel savvy, the i30's excellent 1.6 litre variable geometry turbo diesel variants stand to be extremely popular. With the common rail diesel (CRDi) starting at $33,490, it's among the less expensive compact diesel vehicles in New Zealand and unlike most competitors, Hyundai have been able to source the diesel with an automatic transmission.
There's a slight compromise in agility with the CRDi due to more weight over the front axle and there's hints of steering rack rattle through mid corner bumps regardless of drivetrain.
The i30 matches a European hatch in styling, but there's still room for improvement in areas of chassis dynamics
That said, petrol or diesel, the i30 still offers a better drive than most similarly priced Japanese built rivals. Open road noise isolation and ride refinement are excellent and, with the exception of only the brand's luxurious Grandeur model, is the best of Hyundai's stable.
Leaving the occupants whatever their age to enjoy the comfortable cabin and quality audio system that'll integrate your i-pod, so you can control it effortlessly from the steering wheel. Brilliant.
Hyundai's new kid on the block is a lot of car for a lot of people. Stylish, inexpensive and cheery at one end of the line up, at the other, a very well appointed second vehicle for the household.
But for our money, it's the models in between that provide the best all-round buying.
Either way, the kids will love it.