Hyundai i30: A 2-day Test-Drive

Hyundai i30My wife and I traveled south to Canberra over the weekend to catch a footy (NRL) and hockey (AIHL) game. We had the chance to hire the new Hyundai i30 for the duration of the trip, which I was really keen to do, having heard so many rave reviews about the car over the last few months.

The i30 is Hyundai’s small/medium car designed to compete with the Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus and Mazda 3. Being the owner of a 2007 Ford Focus, I was very interested to see how the i30 competes with and compares to the Focus especially.

Does it? Well, having driven the i30 from early Saturday through to early Monday, I hope I can shed a little light on that question.


Design

The Hyundai i30, like many of the small cars on the market right now has a definite European look to it. The sleek front and Euro-hatch rear-end is nothing new to the car market and while the i30 does stick to the current trend of look, the car design has a unique quality to it.

i30rearThe back end of the car is actually incredibly good-looking, and to be honest, if i didn’t know this was a Hyundai, I would probably think it was some European car and not one from Korea.

The model we drove over the weekend had the 2L engine and low-profile sports tires, which really heightened the sporty look the car naturally has. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because it’s a Hyundai that it doesn’t have a bit of get-up-and-go either, as i’ll mention soon.

Interior

The interior space is incredibly roomy and would easily rival the Ford Focus, at least in the front. The boot space is more than adequate for a car this size and the low tail-gate bumber makes for really easy access to the rear space.

I’m not sure what the more pricey models of the car are like, but the model we had was really quite impressive with it’s interior space and features. There was loads of storage compartments in the front including a sunglasses holder in the roof, 2 dash compartments (top & front), a spacious glove box, and 2 mid-console compartments. There were also the standard door compartments.

i30dashAs you can see from the image on the right, the dash of the i30 is very easy on the eye. Electronic windows all round, a great blue-backlit screen on the radio as well as the dash and a nice sleek feel give the i30 an overall welcoming appearance.

The controls on the drivers door did cause a few problems, as there are quite a few buttons very close together. On more than a few occasions hit the wrong button when intending to lower my window. That isn’t such a huge issue however, as you would very quickly get used to that if you owned an i30.

One really great interior feature I was impressed to see was the USB adapter, which allows you to charge your phone/ipod/GPS while driving without the use of the standard power method (cigarette lighter plug).

Drive & Handling

Look and feel are all good and fine, but if it doesn’t handle or drive well, what good is the car… which brings me to this question… how does the Hyundai i30 drive?

i30engineThe model we drove had the 2L engine which has an impressive 106.6kW (143.0 hp) at 6000 RPM, slightly higher than the Ford Focus equivalent engine. The acceleration was punchy and when you put your foot down, the engine was responsive immediately. I personally liked the engine noise you got when your foot went down also, and you heard the engine revving up pretty clearly. While some may not like engine noice, I thought it worked well on this car.

It cruised incredibly well at 100km/h (60mph) and would jump up to 120km/h fast if you gave the pedal a bit of pressure. We didn’t get a chance to get it faster.. that would have been illegal, afterall.

As far as handling is concerned, the i30 did experience roll on cornering far worse than I am used to in my Ford Focus. While the rolling was probably perfectly normal and within the standards of “good”, I always felt a little worried about throwing it around corners. Saying that, when you did test the handling the car stuck to the road perfectly and you never felt “out of control”.

Would i recommend an i30?

I always like to think of a review summary as “would i recommend it…”, so that’s what I’m doing here. After driving the 2L Hyundai i30, would I recommend it as a car worth buying? To be honest… yes, but do your research and test-drive all options before deciding. The i30 really impressed me much more than I had ever expected. It’s a nice looking car packed with features and an economical yet responsive engine.

References:

Hyundai i30 on Wikipedia

i30 review on Web Wombat

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MOVED: Special Teams: Part 4 – Experience Vs Skill

Please Note: This article has been moved to the PPM Hockey Guides section.

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Special Teams: Part 4 – Experience Vs Skill

When I first started this series I had planned to do just the 3 articles. It was after reading a comment on the 2nd one (Penalty Kill) that really inspired this; you could say part 4 is more of an explanation than a new technique.

The comment in question raised the point that I had been innacurate when I had talked about experienced players. I wanted to explain that a little more as experienced players are not always the best guys to use, as I had previously stated.

What I should have said was “all things equal, experienced players are better”. In other words, if you had 10 players all of equal OR and Qualities, the experienced player is always the better option to go with on your special teams. This is never the case however, and many of us have superstar rookies who have killer skills and great qualities but have very little experience. In this case, the best option by far is to play the inexperienced rookie. Doing so will give your special team a boost in skill, and will also give your player more experience.


Juggling the experience vs skill situation can be challenging, especially as your team becomes more developed. You may end up with loads of players all of whom could play on the special teams but are only able to select a handful of them. That’s part of the great part of this game… it’s not as easy as just throwing together 5 guys with good skills. Obviously, your PP and PK units want to have high OR, so they have a higher combined line strength. But, you also want to make sure your best players are getting the ice time, and there will be times that your best players are lower OR rookies with great average qualities.

As a general rule, trust your instinct. Make sure your guys are playing on their preferred side, have great attributes and where possible, have experience. As i mentioned in the previous articles, if you find your special teams have problems, don’t be afraid to pull them apart and try new things.

Good luck out there!

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New Bonsai Tree: Buxus Harlandii

Buxus Harlandii (Harland Boxwood)Now that my Juniper has been wired and repotted into a larger pot, I figured I would go out and get a new tree to work on. I had originally planned to get a semi-established tree that I could work on straight away, but when Wendy (my wife) found this little gem, I couldn’t say no.

It is a Buxus Harlandii, or Harland Boxwood. Right now, it stands at just shy of 6 inches tall and as such, has a lot of growing to do before I do any major work on it.

The Harland Boxwood is native to china, and is quite often used as a bonsai subject. It is a hardy plant that that withstand a lot of bending and can tolerate dryness very well, so is good for the warmer climates here in Australia. The leaves are small and glossy, and with time and care should become even smaller.

Continue reading

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MOVED: Special Team: Part 3 – Tracking and Record Keeping

Please Note: This article has been moved to the PPM Hockey Guides section.

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Special Team: Part 3 – Tracking and Record Keeping

Recording  PPM Special TeamsOver the previous 2 days I described a few tips on creating successful Powerplay and Penalty Kill units. In those articles I talked about the importance of tracking your PP and PK. In this, part 3 in the special teams series I am want to briefly talk about the tracking, and hope to offer a few tips to help in your team research.

You will need something to track your stats on. You can use anything you like to do this, although I personally suggest using a spreadsheet. If you use MS Office or Open Office, you can use their included software (Excel or Calc respectively). I personally recommend using Google Docs, as this ensures you have access regardless what computer you’re on or location you’re in.

What To Track:

What you choose to track is purely optional. I personally recommend tracking as many details as you can, including the following:

  • PP/PK Data
  • Shorthanded Data
  • Relevant scorers from PP, PK and SH

You might find it easier to use 2 separate sheets on your spreadsheet to track this.

Note: I know this may sound like a lot of work, but the time you take here can save you a lot of time down the road.

PP, PK & SH Data:

In your first sheet/tab you want to keep track of your game data relevant to PP, PK and SH. The way to do this to have the following headings across the top of the sheet (order is optional):

Game, Total PP, PPG For, Total PK, PPG Against, SH Goals For, SH Goals Against

Down the first column you want numbers 1 through 38, so you have a row for every league gameday of the season. I only track league games, as these are the most important games for your team. You can of course track all games if you so choose.

To track the data, after each game simply add the relevant figures in the appropriate column. If you had 3 PP chances and 1 PPG in game 1, then in the game 1 row, add 3 under Total PP and 1 under PPG. You can keep a running summary of your Totals using spreadsheet formulas.

Note: Your PP% is your total powerplays divided by powerplay goals. Your PK% is worked out by (Total PK – PPGA)/Total PK (ie. PKs, 1 PPGA = (6-1)/6×100, or 83.3%).

Scoring Data:

Tracking who actually scored the PP or SH goals is purely optional. I track my teams entire stats in a spreadsheet, so this data is used to add to the total stats. What this data can provide is an idea of who plays which role on your PP, and is useful if you plan to change your PP/PK lineups from time to time.

To track it, simply put a list of your teams players down column 1, and then across the top add headings for PPG, PPA, SHG & SHA. If you feel like it, also have a column for GWG and OTG (game winner, and overtime goal).

Tracking the player data takes a little more time, but once you have the hang of it, is really only about 2 minutes work each game-day. I think you’ll agree that 2 minutes is a pretty short time for such valuable data.

Why Track Data?

Simply put, tracking this information will help you further develop your team. You can use the data to help adjust your training methods or simply figure out which players do or don’t perform well on special teams.

But more importantly, why not track it? PPM don’t fully track this information, and until they do it’s up to us as managers to track it ourselves.

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