2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Premium v Mazda 3 G25 Astina Comparison Test | carsales

2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Premium v Mazda 3 G25 Astina Comparison Test | carsales

Our love affair with SUVs may be well documented
but all is not lost for the humble small car. In fact Australians have bought more than
50,000 of them so far this year. And these two are Aussie favourites. It’s the Mazda 3 and Hyundai i30. But there’s not much humble about these
models as their manufacturers push towards premium territory. On test are two of the priciest models in
their respective line-ups. The Mazda 3 G25 Astina sits atop the new Mazda
3 range. While the new i30 N-Line premium is Hyundai’s
take on high-level small car motoring. Sitting one row down from the raucous i30
M. The Mazda 3 is almost completely all-new. It’s sleeker than its predecessor, has better
features, and increased safety technology. But its engines and transmissions are carried
over from the old car. So it’s the same two point five litre petrol
engine and six-speed automatic transmission that powers the new top spec Mazda 3 G25 Astina. Whereas Hyundai has opted to add a zesty new
one point six litre turbo petrol engine paired with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission
to this, the new i30 N-Line which replaces the outgoing SR model. Hide the Mazda badge and you could almost
be convinced you were in a prestige vehicle. The Mazda 3’s cabin design is super stylish
and there’s a great use of materials throughout and clever storage options too including hidden
cup holders and this great moveable arm rest. These are typically features that you’d
see in a much more expensive vehicle. The i30 N-Line premium doesn’t have quite
the same level of finish. However the focus here is on sports oriented
design cues like this gear shifter. While the trim in the i30 doesn’t exude
the same high-end feel as the Mazda 3 the N badging throughout the interior red seatbelts
and red stitching help to deliver the feel of a car with some sporty promise. For audiophiles Mazda has finally come to
the party with Apple Car Play and Android auto compatibility. It’s all driven through an intuitive rotary
dial with sound emitted from an impressive 12-speaker Bose stereo system. And Hyundai also includes smartphone integration
but through a touchscreen interface. The i30’s dash layout is easy to use with
bold buttons which are clearly labelled. Size wise the new Mazda 3 is longer than the
i30 but the length doesn’t translate to either boot space or space for rear passengers. With the seats up the i30 promises more luggage
capacity than the Mazda 3. And it feels more spacious in the rear too
with plenty of headroom in comparison to Mazda 3. And the addition of a large panoramic sunroof
adds to the feel of spaciousness. But it is pretty tight in the back of the
Mazda 3 which is a car that definitely favours front row occupants. The Hyundai’s stereo is down by five speakers
but instead it offers both heated and ventilated front seats against the Mazda’s heated only
front seats. It’s the Mazda 3 that wins out when it comes
to safety technology and driver assistance aids however. Both cars have autonomous emergency braking
and adaptive cruise control with lane keeping assist but it’s the Mazda 3 that features
a head up display, front and rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot monitoring. Surprisingly while rear cross traffic alert
and blind spot monitoring are available on more affordable models in the i30 range, Hyundai
tells us they’re just not available on N-Line models. Mazda also includes rear braking that stops
the car should it sense an imminent collision and its reverse camera is enhanced with a
360 degree view. Mazda engineers have gone a long way to address
some of the criticisms of the older Mazda 3. This one is much quieter and offers a more
refined ride. In contrast the i30 N-Line’s engine is noisier
and there’s some more tyre noise penetrating the cabin. The one point six litre turbo and that dual
clutch offer plenty of get up and go. And while it’s no i30 M the N-Line doesn’t
disgrace its sibling’s nametag. It’s fun to drive and has loads of character. It may not have the turbo but the two point
five litre petrol engine in the Mazda 3 is definitely responsive enough. It’s actually a revelation compared to the
two litre engine that Mazda’s carried over in the entry model Mazda 3’s. So while on paper the i30 N-Line promises
more pulling power, the 3 is not necessarily second best. It’s not as overtly sporty but it’s no
slouch either. Which one should you choose? If design and all of those safety features
are your priority then the Mazda 3 is certainly going to be worth you taking a look. But if extra room and saving some dollars
are more up your alley then you won’t be disappointed with the Hyundai i30 N-Line premium. That said we’re going to recommend the Mazda
3. It wins a close comparison thanks to its superior
safety equipment and drives and feels more like a high-end euro which is important at
this price point.

About the Author: Michael Flood


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