Sold as the Elantra GT here in the U.S. and the Hyundai I30 in the rest of the world, Hyundai’s resident hatchbackentered its third generation for the 2017 model year. The four-door hatchback has already made its debut, featuring a new, angular look on the outside with a cleaner and more modern layout on the inside. Standardtechnology includes things like a rear-view camera, phone connectivity via Bluetooth, USB, Android Auto, or Apple Car Play. Under the hood, the I30 came complete with a handful of engines that includes a new, turbocharged four-banger that delivers 138 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. Now that the four-door hatch has made its debut, it should come as no surprise that our camera crew caught the longer i30 wagon putting in some work.
In most cases, shorter models turned wagon usual differ very little, but Hyundai has gone to considerable lengths to cover up this prototype. It should be identical to the four-door hatch from the rear doors forward, but the excessive wrapping and padding could suggest that there are some other differences to be found when the i30 Wagon bares it all. So far, it looks like the third-generation i30 lineup will include a four-door hatch, a four-door coupe, and this wagon. But it’s not all gravy because that means it’s unlikely that we’ll see the sportiest of all, the three-door i30 hatch, in this generation.
So, we’ll go ahead and let that sink in a little as we talk a little bit about this wagon and what it will bring to the third-generation i30 lineup.
Some seem to think that the dramatic covering of the i30 wagon is indicative of Hyundaitrying to have a different design compared to the design language of the four-door hatch that debuted a few months ago. While that could always be the case when a model is under this much camo and padding, it doesn’t look like it will be here. If you look at the front end, you can see the headlights and foglights in the corners that look identical to those of the four-door hatch. The grill is also low slung, and you can make out that weird little air dam vent down below it. So, I have to write this one off as sheer trickery as the exterior will, in fact, be nearly identical throughout the lineup.
The rear hatch will have an overhang that is similar to that of the four-door hatch.
So, if you really want to know what the front end will look like, check out the four-door hatch. IT will have that sporty, hexagonal front grille, sleek headlights with two circular beams, LED fog lights that are integrated into the corner air channels, and there will even be a tiny lip on the bottom of the front fascia that will help given the wagon an overall sporty appeal. Despite the fact that the hood is heavily padded, I wouldn’t expect to see that smooth, but contoured hood change from the four-door hatch. It should be noted, however, that this prototype is sporting roof rails, something that we didn’t see on the four-door hatchback.
Moving over to the side profile, don’t expect any change from the front fenders to the rear doors. The same aggressive body line above the door handles will carry over, as will the mild body line at the bottom of the doors. From the rear back, there is a ton of camo and padding (more so than on the front,) and that should come as no surprise because this is where things will really be different… or maybe funky – we’re not quite sure yet.
From what we can make out, the rear hatch will have an overhang that is similar to that of the four-door hatch. It was possible that would have used the same hatch door and just extended the rear quarters, but that doesn’t appear to be the case as the license plate recess looks to be a little higher on the wagon. The taillights are heavily covered, but the shape we can make out points to them being different as well. For now, we’ll just leave it at that, since there’s so mack camo and padding, but I wouldn’t expect too much in terms of wild design cues. If anything, Hyundai probably extended the rear quarter panels and rear quarter glass significantly to make the longer body.
Wagons used to be a big thing here in the U.S., but much like the Minivan, their appeal has faded over the years. That doesn’t mean that the i30 wagon will soldier on unopposed, though. Its primary competition is the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen, which carries a similar sticker price to that of the i30 and also features a sporty exterior. As far as body style goes, the i30 Wagon does compete with the BMW 3 Series Wagon and theVolvo V60, but those models are priced significantly higher, so they really aren’t direct competitors.
The i30 four-door hatch showed up with a completely redesigned interior that is sporty and elegant. There is a two-tone color scheme that some dark trim with contrasting lighter surfaces. There’s a floating touchscreen display on top of the center stack that screams luxury, not to mention the option for leather upholstery on higher trim levels. The steering wheel can be heated, while the instrument cluster features two primary gauges (speed and tachometer) with a small TFT display in the middle. Standard equipment includes a rear-view camera, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and an inductive charging pad for your mobile device. An optional eight-inch infotainment system is available that brings a seven-year subscription to TomTom live into the mix as well as 3D maps, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
The i30 four-door hatch showed up with a completely redesigned interior that is sporty and elegant. There could be some minor changes here, but I wouldn’t expect much.
With that said, our camera team told us that even the interior of i30 wagon prototype was covered well, so there could be some minor changes here, but I wouldn’t expect much. That’s a good thing too, as for a cheaper model like this, it makes a pretty good proposition for the more expensive competition.
When it comes to comparing the i30 to a model like the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen, it’s really hit and miss as to which one is better. See, the Golf Sportwagen, like all entry-levelGolf models is more utilitarian in nature than anything. The rear seats fold flat to provide awesome cargo room (we assume, this is a feature the i30 wagon will have) while the dash features a rather simple layout. The instrument cluster is a traditional two-gauge design, while the infotainment system is integrated into the center stack between a large pair of HVAC vents and the HVAC controls. The center console offers little in the way of storage, but there is a pair of cup holders. The big feature in the Sportwagen is that large panoramic roof that provides a view of the sky above for front and rear passengers. We don’t know if the i30 wagon will have such a feature, but if it doesn’t, the Sportwagen will get our vote hands down.
Outside of this, I also want to point out that while the i30 wagon will likely be significantly cheaper than luxury models, the interior amenities and overall comfort is comparable to that of the BMW 3 Series wagon and the . When optioned correctly, the i30 Wagon will come complete with all of the technology needed to pose a strong opposition to these more luxurious models, including navigation, and phone connectivity via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Here’s a table of competing dimensions for all models:
|Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen||BMW 3 Series Wagon||Volvo V60||Hyundai i30 Wagon|
|Head room front/rear (inches)||38.6/38.6||40/4||38.7/37.6||TBA|
|Leg room front/rear (inches)||41.2/35.6||42.0/35.0||41.9/33.5||TBA|
|Shoulder room front/rear (inches)||55.9/53.9||55.1/55.1||57.0/56.2||TBA|
|Cargo Volume||30.4 cu ft||27.5 – 61.5 cu ft||43.8 cu.ft||TBA|
The chances are that Hyundai has absolutely nothing new in store for the heart of this wagon. That means that a good portion of the drivetrain options from the i30 four-door hatch should carry over. Due to the extended size and weight of the wagon, however, the 99-horsepower, 1.4-liter, gasoline engine probably won’t be an option and neither will the 94- and 108-horsepower versions of the 1.6-liter diesel. That leaves just three major engine choices. First up is a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder, gasoline engine from the i20. It delivers 118 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. This would leave the wagon pretty underpowered, though, so it may not be included. Next in line is the 1.4-liter gasoline mill with 138 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. This engine is more likely to carry over, as will the 1.6-liter diesel mill that’s rated at 131 horsepower and 203 pound-feet. If the 1.0-liter does happen to carry over, it’ll be fitted with a six-speed manual transmission. Meanwhile, the 1.4-liter gas engine and the 1.6-liter diesel will have the choice of a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic.
Before I dive too far into the competition, though, I want to point out about something for the potential engines. The power output available isn’t horrible for the smaller i30 four-door. It’s not exactly anything to write home about, but they are all efficient and should provide enough oomph to get the job done. The i30 wagon, however, will undoubtedly be heavier and therefore will need more power to provide the same drive quality of its smaller hatchback counterpart. This means that a massaging of at least two of the drivetrain options isn’t out of the question. If Hyundai could manage to squeeze and extra 40 ponies out of the 1.4-liter and 1.6-liter, it would compete well with the VW Golf Sportwagen, and would still be able to provide the same driving feel as its smaller counterpart. The question is whether Hyundai is willing to do it or not. We’re hoping they will, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
When it comes to competition, one of the biggest deciding factors is what motivates the car you’re looking to buy. If you go with something that is underpowered (like an i30 wagon that has barely 100 horsepower, for example) you’re going to find that getting up to speed can be annoyingly slow, and if you make good use of cargo space, that can slow you down even more. So, Hyundai really has to do something if it wants to compete with anything, even the VW Sportwagen. See, the Sportwagen comes standard with a 1.8-liter, turbocharged, gasoline engine that delivers a cool 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Like the i30, you won’t be winning any drag races, but it’s more than enough power to get you from A to B while achieving decent fuel economy. By the way, the VW Golf Sportwagen manages to achieve 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway – not bad for a wagon.
With that out of the way, let’s look at some of the more expensive models out there. While the i30 wagon seems to compete pretty well in the looks and interior departments, in the drivetrain department, more luxurious models like the Volvo V60 and the BMW 3 Series Wagon take the cake in the drivetrain department. The V60 comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged mill that delivers 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, but for $2,000 more, the V60 can be had with all-wheel drive. It also achieves similar fuel economy, garnering 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Moving over to the 3 Series Wagon also gets you’re a turbocharged 2.0-liter with 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Shifting duties on the 3 Series are handled by an eight-speed automatic transmission.
So, as you can see, the Hyundai i30 Wagon really doesn’t have a chance against theVolvo or the 3 Series, but the point is that Hyundai could do just a little more and have this much cheaper model compete against luxury models. The interior and exterior are dialed in enough; it’s just up to Hyundai to come up with a more powerful engine option for the i30 Wagon, and we could have an underdog in the ring. Until then, however, look to the VW Golf Sportwagen, which also offers superior performance, as the main competition.
|Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen||BMW 3 Series Wagon||Volvo V60 T5||Hyundai i30 Wagon|
|Engine||1.8-liter inline four cylinder||2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder||2.0 Liter 4-Cylinder, Turbocharged, Direct-Injection||TBA|
|Horsepower||170 HP @ 4,500 RPM||248 HP @ 5,200 RPM||240 HP @ 5,600 RPM||TBA|
|Torque||184 LB-FT @ 1,600 RPM||258 LB-FT @ 1,450–4,800 RPM||258 LB-FT @ 1,500-4,800 RPM||TBA|
|Curb weight||3,063 LBS||3,867 Lbs||3,670 Lbs||TBA|
|0 to 60 mph||7.0 seconds||5.7 seconds||6.4 seconds||TBA|
|Top Speed||125 mph||130 mph||135 mph||TBA|
If the i30 Wagon was coming to the U.S., it would be offered as a Variant of the Elantra GT. Over in Europe, the i30 Tourer is currently going for £17,395. Expect to see that price increase by as much as 1,000 pounds. At current conversion rates, that would put the i30 at about $23,000. That’s significantly cheaper than models like the 3 Series Wagon and the Volvo V60, and a little more expensive than the Sportwagen, which starts out at around $21,580. Of course, the Sportwagen still beats the Hyundai in pricing and horsepower on the entry-level model, so that’s certainly the way to go if you want as much power as possible without diving into the $35,000 luxury models.
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF SPORTWAGEN
The Volkswagen Golf was updated for the 2014 model year and is going through a refresh for the 2018 model year, so when it comes to choosing between the Hyundai and the Golf, you’re looking at two fresh designs. As far as looks go, the Sportwagen will be a little less eventful compared to the i30, so if you want more aggressive styling, the i30 is the way to go. But, the Golf features similar amenities inside and comes with more power, so if power feeds your desires, you’re best bet is the SportWagen hands down. At the time of this writing, the Sportwagen goes for $21,580 here in the U.S., but can go for as much as $29,970 in the range-topping SEL trim. Either way, it’s a stout alternative to the i30, and will probably offer more power all the way around.
While the materials used inside, and the overall look and feel of the i30 is well above what you would expect from a car priced in the low $20,000s, the i30 – in any form – is underpowered compared to the competition. This plays a major role in decision making for a lot of people, and if that’s you, going with its main competitor, the VW Golf Sportwagen, is the way to go. Of course, if you don’t mind spending a little extra money, you could go with more luxurious models like the V60 and BMW 3 Series, which also offer significantly more power, but come at a much higher cost. At the end of the day, the i30 represents an exterior look that is pleasing, an interior that is upscale, but less power than desired by most. It’s not a bad vehicle, but the Golf Sportwagen seems like the better option all the way around. We’ll just have to see what happens when the i30 makes its official debut before we make any permanent judgment.
- Should have a sporty exterior
- Awesome Cargo Room
- Will probably be significantly underpowered
- Will likely cost more the the Golf Sportwagen