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Hyundai i30 ecoLPG - exceptionally average
First things first, so let us explain why we're testing the i30 again (as you may or may not remember, we have tested one of them before). Well, since we focus on the autogas system rather than on the car as such, it's perfectly justifiable, because the hatchback features a completely different LPG injection system, which is in addition fitted to a different engine. Plus it's not an estate like the previous time. You may think the body style doesn't make any difference, but since there's an autogas tank inside or underneath the trunk, it kind of does, after all. But we'll come to that.
Meanwhile, let's have a look under the bonnet. There, instead of the 1,6-litre unit converted with an LPGTECH system, as seen on the previously tested i30 CW, we found a 1,4-litre unit with 100 PS and a BRC Sequent 24 autogas system. The conversion is a neat job, with good access to the components, especially that a diagnostic socket for connection with the ECU (itself hidden behind the battery) has been placed very conveniently on the "outskirts” of the engine bay. Should you consider the 1,4-litre unit's power too low, here's some good news – it actually generates 104 PS, and in LPG mode! Magic? No, we don't believe in that. The truth is that on petrol the surplus power is actually higher still at almost 9 PS. And so even despite the fact you lose 5 PS (along with 4 Nm of torque – from 128 to 124 Nm) when switching between petrol and LPG, you're still 4 PS ahead of what Hyundai promises. How cool is that? Plus, irrespective of the load or rev speed, the engine never needs a droplet of petrol once it switches over to autogas. And it switches over fairly quicky after start-up, too.
When taken for a spin, the i30 fails to impress with its performance (mainly due to the rather low torque) and if you want decent acceleration, you'll need to maintain high rev speeds, which is obviously reflected in poorer fuel economy. Of course, it's easier to accept thanks to LPG than it would be with petrol, but nonetheless it's worthwhile to tame the speed demon and boost your savings through driving gently, without unnecessary haste. Interestingly enough, the optimal gear shift "prompter”, unlike many similar systems on other cars, actually helps instead of annoying the driver. Once you decide to use its suggestions, be ready to say farewell to dynamics, but at least the engine doesn't seem to mind or beg for mercy – it doesn't protest through knock burning, so if you're keen on fighting for every drop of fuel, don't hesitate and use the clues. And when you do, how exactly does it affect fuel economy figures as displayed by the trip computer?
With a bit of self-restraint and good will, it's possible to achieve 6 l/100 km. Since not everybody has sufficient patience to drive hypereconomically, let's assume that average economy figures higher by approx. 1 litre per 100 km are more life-like. When driving on a highway, think 7,3-7,5 l/100 km, while in the city be ready for 8,5-9 l/100 km (lack of a start-stop system takes its toll). We're talking petrol here (the trip computer doesn't display autogas consumption), so add 1-1,5 l/100 km for LPG figures. With the 37,6-litre Stako torus tank full, we managed exactly 333,5 km of range (11,3 l/100 km), but we drove the car chiefly on highways and in the city, with a lot of time spent stuck in traffic. At lower speeds and with less congested traffic there is definitely room for improvement, but then again with LPG prices at roughly half the price of petrol many drivers will assume it doesn't make a difference.
inside? Is the LPG refueling valve conveniently
located? And is the i30 a good car overall? Read on!
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