I bought this one second hand for $10,000 with around 20,000km on the motor, and 95,000km on the car.
- Fuel economy
- Cabin space for all passengers
- Driver comfort and all round vision
- Good quality sound system
- Air conditioning
- Felt a bit flimsy over rough terrain
- Automatic version not well synchronised
I bought this one second hand for $10,000 with around 20,000km on the motor, and 95,000km on the car. I was looking for a small diesel with good economy that was capable of carrying a load. Sadly I lost the car prematurely when it was filled with petrol (don’t ask) and the insurance company wrote it off due to the high price of new injectors.
Economy was magnificent: 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres outside the city and 6.5-7L/100km around town. The paintwork was in good condition and in the year or so I had this car nothing needed changing other than the oil. Handling was typical of front wheel drive hatches, and there was some creaking over rough terrain (4WD territory) when the front tilted one way with the rear going another. However it was obviously not built for this purpose so I’m not going to quibble.
On typical winding north coast roads it was sure footed with responsive steering. The driver’s comfort and all round vision was far better than the replacement Mk5 Golf that I bought with my payout, as was the quality of sound from the stereo and the usefulnesss of having AUX in and USB charging. I did try out the automatic version, however was not impressed with the gearbox – it stayed too long at the lower gear, and didn’t throttle back as expected when I lifted my foot. The Golf auto on the other hand is extremely intuitive.
As for boot space: it’s more like a larger wagon than a slightly-larger-than-usual hatch! I often carry sheets of plywood and assorted boat debris, and I’ve seldom had to use the roof racks, a real bonus. Couldn’t quite fit my 175cm frame in to sleep in it, however on long trips it was perfectly comfortable reclining the passenger seat for a nap in a layby for a couple of hours here and there. It’s also perfectly comfortable on long trips with four adults and their gear, with more legroom for the rear passengers than in the Mk5 Golf.
I looked for another i30 wagon with my insurance payout, but all those in my price range (10-12k) either had many more kilometres on the clock or had the clunky auto gearbox. This was a gem of a car and I’d thoroughly recommend the manual version. I have driven recent-model auto petrol i30 hatches and they seem to have fixed the gearbox issue now, but I wouldn’t know about the diesel auto though.
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