$0-50K: 12th - Hyundai i30 SR

Baldness must be hereditary in the i30 family because before too long, you’ll notice a circular recession of carpet under your SR’s accelerator pedal.

You have to remind yourself that stepping on the accelerator pedal harder, when it’s already got a mouthful of carpet, will not magically reveal another 15kW and 30Nm.

And that’s one of our dominating memories of the i30 SR around Winton: throttle firmly pinned wide open.

On track, the i30 SR’s tall gears wed Winton nicely, but with its peak of 209 naturally-aspirated newtons hiding in the clouds at 4700rpm, it also meant you’re fixated on the tachometer, willing it to wind clockwise a little faster.

Tip into a corner and on a track and the i30’s chassis blemishes are exposed in all their nudity, too, given it tries hard to escape its passenger car origins, but just can’t quite get there.

I arrived at Winton with reasonable expectations for the i30 SR having belted one up my favourite road. I found its handling friendly and it earned my respect it for its surprising competence.

Unfortunately on the track understeer afflicts the i30 SR and affects its mid-corner grip. Let the numbers show the i30 SR logged the second-slowest apex speed behind the Mini.

The brakes were pretty crook, too, and before long it wasn’t just the accelerator pedal wearing a spot in the firewall carpet. Gulp. Of all the cars at Bang 2014, the SR took the longest to stop at 41.85 metres.

Corner encounters end with the i30 SR inevitably fleeing to the safe bosom of understeer. But in the faster stuff, with a lot of provocation, the i30 SR will oversteer, too. It’s not easy, but not impossible, and requires melon-sizes testes to make it happen.

It’s only when you climb into something like the Kia Proceed GT, immediately after the SR, that you also realise the little i30 has quite a few focus areas for development if it wants to wrestle with the big kids that get invited to MOTOR’s events.

But the i30 SR isn’t a terrible car. It’s blessed with an enthusiastic engine and its $27,990 price curried favour with the Bang formula, helping the underdog i30 SR take a few scalps during our testing.

In fact, the i30 SR finished 17th outright, embarrassing the five cars that finished behind it. Not bad for a wicked-up hatch trying hard to overcome its passenger car origins.

And that’s sort of the i30 SR in a nutshell: enthusiastic and zippy but held back by its genes. Baldness included. 

$0-50K placing – 12th
Overall placing – 17th
Judges’ ranking – 21st

0-100km/h – 8.50sec (20th)
0-400m – 16.37sec @ 140.49km/h (20th)
Lap Time – 151:50sec (20th)
Price – $27,990 (3rd

Engine: 1999cc inline-4, DOHC, 16v
Power: 129kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 209Nm @ 4700rpm
Weight: 1356kg
Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Suspension: struts, anti-roll bar (f); torsion beam, coil springs, anti-roll bar (r)
Brakes: 280mm ventilated discs, single-piston caliper (f); 262mm solid discs, single-piston calipers (r)
Wheels: 17 x 7.0-inch (f/r)
Tyres: 225/45 R17 91V Hankook Ventus Prime2 (f/r)

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