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Thomas von Salomon

Hyundai drops the veil on new i30 hatch, but will it come back to the US?

Previous iterations of the i30 have come to the States under the Elantra GT badge.

It certainly resembles the US-spec Elantra enough to pass as one, but that interior is something else entirely.


The Hyundai i30 is a neat little hatchback that lives in markets outside the US. When it does come here, it does so under the Elantra badge -- it's been called both Elantra Touring and Elantra GT in the past. The automaker just unveiled its latest iteration ahead of the Paris Motor Show, but all I'm wondering is whether or not it will fit back into the US market.

The new i30, likely to debut as a 2017 model, downsizes its engines while expanding its tech offerings. In Korea, buyers get the choice of 1.4- or 1.6-liter gas engines. In Europe, the i30 will come with three different gas engines, and one 1.6-liter diesel engine with three different power outputs. It may have downsized the motors, but it sure didn't downsize choice.

As one would expect, the i30 touts its strong suite of safety systems. It'll come with autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring and driver attention alert. It will pack Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, as well.

So what chance does it have of coming to the US? I'm on the fence about this. I do believe that America could use more hatchbacks that aren't lifted up and called crossovers, and I think the i30 could come over as an Elantra GT without any physical alteration (they look pretty similar).

Here's the thing -- this doesn't look anything like the 2017 Elantra's interior, which could spell trouble if it returned to the US as an Elantra.


That said, a glimpse of the i30's interior shows a floating infotainment screen and a center-stack arrangement that looks nothing like the 2017 Elantra available here in the US. Hyundai's vehicles carry a certain interior design language that's pretty similar across its lineup, and the i30's interior is a little incongruous in that respect.

Hyundai might just swap in the Elantra's dashboard, but it would be strange if two different 2017 Elantra models had two distinctly different interiors. We'll know more once we grill Hyundai at the Paris Motor Show later this month.

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