HYUNDAI i30 ACTIVE

The i30 holds immediate and convincing value-for-money appeal with its keen pricing, cheap running and repair costs and better-than-average warranty and dealer coverage. And that’s before the mild depreciation and comparatively kind insurance costs are taken into account.

But it isn’t just the dollar equation. Like with the costlier models in the Hyundai range, the maturity of the brand is apparent in the i30’s design, both externally and internally.

The 1.8-litre, direct-injection petrol engine with six-speed automatic is a flexible unit with reasonable mid-range pulling power, while at the same time achieving a good score for environmental performance.

However, it is not as quiet as the other two finalists when going about its business of delivering best performance. And plenty of others in the category equal, or better, the Active’s fuel consumption.

The ride is compliant over all surfaces and the equal of anything in the category. The steering feel can be altered by push-button settings of Comfort, Normal and Sport, which adjust the amount of power assistance. Most drivers will be happy with the Normal mode as it offers the right compromise of on-centre road feel for steering effort.

The i30’s cabin is spacious enough and the dash layout relatively uncluttered, the centrepiece of which is a five-inch, touch screen that controls information and entertainment systems, eliminating the need for mechanically-operated switches. The touch screen also displays the image from the rear-view camera, which is standard across the range.

Many buyers often have a nagging doubt about how safe a Small category car can be. In the case of the i30, their fears are allayed with a five-star ANCAP rating. Front, side and curtain airbags are standard.

SCORE
1ST: HYUNDAI i30 ACTIVE, 794
2ND: MAZDA3 MAXX, 778
3RD: FORD FOCUS TREND, 776