The Hyundai i30 was a great package to begin with, but its keenly-priced range was begging for a go-quick halo model. Now we have one in the i30 N.
Developed at the famous Nürburgring in Germany (thus the N badge), the 2019 Hyundai i30 N is a track-focused road-going hot hatch.
The Hyundai hot hatch came decades after some others hit the market, with the i30 N they got it right first go.
The distinctive European language to the metalwork is not by accident it was designed in Europe.
The side profile has a distinctly Mercedes-Benz-A-Class flavor, while LED lighting all-round gives a sleekness to a body with neatly round corners, and sculptured lines.
Mud guards bulge over the 19” 5 split-spoke alloys.
The roof slopes towards a small spoiler over the rear hatch to give the impression of just a touch of downforce.
The lower bumper is trimmed in a red garnish – it is meant to be a “splitter”, and will need lots of attention when parking nose-in as the i30 sits 8mm lower than the regular i30.
The standard Hyundai i30 model has a beautifully designed cabin and this carries across to the hot hatch version.
You’ll be doing some spirited cornering so deep side cushions aren’t just there to look pretty – they hold you firmly while managing to feel fairly comfortable even on longer drives.
Driver readouts glow angry red in sport mode.
The steering wheel is festooned with no less than 18 back-lit buttons.
The Hyundai i30 N only comes in a six-speed manual with a short-ish throw on a low-rise gear lever.
A centre bin is roomy but gets in the way of changing gears if the seat is set too low.
Space in the rear is tight with four adults on board.
There was only a few centimetres between my knees and the driver’s seat.
Luggage space is 381 litres with rear seat up, 1287 litres with the seats laid down.
A stabilser strut braces the body and straddles the space between the rear wheel arches. It is one of the few visual cues of ‘N’ modifications.
Inside is where you most notice the upgrades the optional Luxury Pack brings.
Seats in the base model adjust with levers and have a hex-pattern fabric while the Lux adds leather/suede coverings with power/memory adjustment.
i30N has all the goodies that come with the less formidable i30’s, but adds the cool stuff. It’s a shame smart locking and auto wipers aren’t standard though (they only feature in the Luxury Pack).
Hyundai i30 N Standard Features:
- Performance brakes
- Limited Slip Differential
- Electronically Controlled Suspension
- Active Variable Exhaust System
- Launch Control
- Body styling package
- 19″ alloy wheels
- LED headlights, taillights and DRLs
- 8” touch screen with sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Digital radio
- Suede effect/leather seats
- Wireless smartphone charging
- Electrically adjusted front seats
- Park assist system
- Power folding exterior mirrors
- Heated front seats
- Heated steering wheel
A Panoramic Sunroof is an extra $2,000 over the Luxury Pack.
Drive and Engine
Power for the Hyundai i30 N comes from a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission.
The engine produces a hefty 202kW and 353Nm, and then up to 378Nm on over-boost.
In the standard drive mode the i30 N is sedate, switching to sports modes, or the manic N mode gives you a completely different vehicle.
The already firm suspension toughens up. Things get urgent and your senses are assaulted with noise, movement, and action.
The big drive mode buttons make switching between drive programs easy, and because there are no transmission paddles, your fingers are free to select whatever gets your juices flowing.
Speed bumps have to be taken with care, and as already mentioned, parking nose-in takes extra care.
Despite the i30 N’s wild nature the car is safe – it comes with a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Helping to achieve that score was an array of safety systems that come standard on the Hyundai hot hatch including Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and a Lane Keeping Assist System.
- Thoroughly engrossing drive
- Well thoughtout cabin
- Brilliant engine
Not So Good Bits
- Some plastic feels slightly cheap
- Centre bin too tall
- No auto wipers, smart entry/start on base model
With five-star safety, a five-year warranty and five years of roadside assist it isn’t a completely naughty purchase either.
The drive experience is just enough to live with daily, but exciting enough to make you want to take a cheeky spin to the beach.
I would recommend shelling out the dollars for the Luxury Pack as it takes what is a great car and makes it an excellent one.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Hyundai i30N
- Engine: 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbo petrol producing 202kW/353Nm (378Nm on over-boost)
- Transmission: Six-speed manual only
- Warranty: 5 years/ unlimited km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: South Korea
- Price: from $39,990