AFFORDABLE EXCELLENCE: The new Hyundai i20 shows its
AFFORDABLE EXCELLENCE: The new Hyundai i20 shows its "Car of the Year” style. Troy Jegers

It's the Hyundai mouse that roars

THEY say a good salesman believes in his product.

And Pacific Hyundai's Gympie senior salesman Jonathan Robson may be an excellent example.

Having put his own money on the line by buying one, it seems he is not so much an owner as a disciple of his new Hyundai i30.

Judged by many to be the best small car on the market, especially in terms of value, the i30 is a marque that has made its mark.

Mr Robson has invested in pleasure as well as practicality by buying the SR version, the entry level of the sports range.

"They don't have air bag troubles because they make their own,” Pacific Gympie sales manager James Thomson said at Archery Park yesterday.

"They also picked the best ideas for braking systems and then built their own.”

And if you think the interior has a certain Euro look to it, that is partly because the South Korean giant killers who run the company have hired the best of inspired Euro car talent to help them design and build the new N version, now judged News Corp Car of the Year.

"They've got the head of BMW's M Section and the head of Audi's S Division,” Mr Thomson said.

"They've had two Germans developing this vehicle,” he said. "So there's no surprise in a Euro look and feel.

”The difference is you can get spare parts, services that cost hundreds instead of thousands of dollars and a five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty (which still applies even if you take it racing on weekends).

Mr Robson's new i30 is a step up from the standard version and represents the start of a sports range that continues right up to the N version which, at the top of the line, is another dimension again.

"You can drive it normally or you can press a button and it becomes a sports car,” Mr Thomson said.

"It's the only car on the road we know of which you can take to the race track on Saturday or Sunday and still have a warranty, so long as you don't make big racing car changes, like putting in a roll cage.

"They don't break and they're not expensive,” he said in summary.

"You will pay up to $50,000 for the N version and this one would cost about $31,000.”

Watching the bank account more closely, the i30 Go, the foundation of the rang, costs $20,990 and you can option it up.

"A safety pack provides automatic stopping if someone runs out behind you when you are reversing or if the car in front slows down.

And it reacts faster than humans can before you can.

"It's a very practical car you can use and not just worship, but some people do worship them too.

"One customer saved up her courage, took one for a drive and was completely sold.”