The Final Hurrah: Hyundai i30 Hatchbacks Bid Farewell as Australia Prepares for Updated Models
In a bittersweet moment, Australia's final batch of regular Hyundai i30 hatchbacks has rolled off the production line, marking the end of an era for the popular model. This hiatus, expected to last almost nine months, is part of a strategic move by Hyundai as production shifts from South Korea to the Czech Republic. The temporary farewell will pave the way for an updated model set to debut later this year, bringing with it a blend of changes under the hood and a potential shift in the price tag.
Production Shift and Stockpiling
As reported last year, production of the South Korean-built Hyundai i30 hatchback, including both the regular 2.0-litre and N Line 1.6-litre turbo versions, concluded in December 2023. A Hyundai Australia spokesperson revealed that approximately 2300 vehicles have been stockpiled to meet the demand during the hiatus. However, with sales expected to outpace supply by April or May 2024, consumers may experience a brief drought before the arrival of the updated models.
The Updated Model: What to Expect
The upcoming Hyundai i30 hatch is poised to receive its second facelift since its 2017 debut, extending its lifecycle until the middle of this decade. Spy photos hint at mild styling changes, but the most significant updates will occur beneath the bonnet. The European-built model will face a 5 per cent import tariff, resulting in a likely price increase. This shift is due to the absence of a free-trade agreement with the Czech Republic, unlike Hyundai's previous production location in South Korea.
Under the Hood: Turbocharged, Mild-Hybrid Engine
The heart of the new i30 hatch will beat with a more complex turbocharged, mild-hybrid engine. This 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, coupled with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, promises enhanced fuel efficiency. While this engine offers similar power output to the current 2.0-litre engine, it boasts more torque and improved fuel economy, aligning with stricter European standards.
Price Hike and Market Impact
With the introduction of the 5 per cent import tariff and increased shipping distances from the land-locked Czech Republic, consumers can anticipate a price hike. The current i30 hatch is priced from $24,000 plus on-road costs, but the new model's additional features and import costs may push the entry-level price higher. Hyundai executives suggest that during the hiatus, customers can explore alternatives like the Kona small SUV, Venue city SUV, and i30 Sedan, with the lattermost available for $31,990 drive-away with an automatic transmission.
The Unlikely Reprieve and Future Uncertainty
The i30 hatchback, which accounted for 78 per cent of Hyundai i30s sold in Australia last year, finds itself in an unexpected stay of execution. Initially poised for imminent discontinuation given Hyundai's typical six-year life cycle for passenger cars, the i30 hatch could now be the last of its kind. Plans for an all-new i30 hatch with petrol power remain uncertain, adding an air of nostalgia to the farewell of the current model.
As the automotive landscape evolves, Hyundai enthusiasts will eagerly await the arrival of the updated i30 hatch, marking the end of an era while ushering in a new chapter for this beloved model.