Hyundai i30N – Their first performance car, and they’ve nailed it. Affordable and fun to drive
Before waxing lyrical about my time in the Hyundai i30 N Fastback, I just want to thank the COO of Hyundai, John Kett, for the opportunity to test drive the Hyundai range. I know that a lot of journalists, small and large, want to drive as many brands as they possibly can, myself included. But arguably there are more requests than there are cars, so it’s special when I get the opportunity to add one of Australia’s best selling brands to my portfolio. Thanks, John.
What Is it? The Hyundai i30N Fastback is the latest model as part of the Hyundai N Performance range. The N range was originally introduced to the Australian market in 2017 as the N hatch. Former BMW M Division chief Albert Bierman has been at the forefront of the N range introduction and his experience at BMW sets the tone for an exciting affordable performance segment.
One serious and class-leading aspect of the Hyundai i30n Fastback and Hatch models is that Hyundai won’t kill your warranty if you take it on track days. And that my friends is a first for any major brand in Australia. With their competitors, even the mere mention of a track day is enough for them to walk away from any warranty issues.
Competitors? So, its a bit difficult to say but Volkswagen Golf GTi and R are the obvious comparisons, but you’d also consider the Ford Focus ST, Honda Civic Type R and Renault Megane RS as cars you’d like to drive in this price range. Arguably the performance characteristics of the performance Hyundai is comparable to other ‘premium spec’ brands from Europe as well, but affordability isn’t the Europeans strong suit.
How Much? My Hyundai i30N Fastback was the Luxury spec without the panoramic roof. According to the Hyundai website, this prices out at $50, 124 drive away in Queensland. Pricing in other states will vary with their on-road charges
Its 2.0-litre turbo engine driving the front wheels, through a six-speed manual gearbox only but there online rumours that Hyundai will soon release their own design 8-speed DSG transmission and won’t that set the market alight
The i30N Fastback boasts sports seats with a good looking set of 19in alloy wheels with sticky Pirelli P-Zero tyres, and a full suite of adjustable driving modes with another segment surprise – launch control. You also get a switchable raspy sports exhaust, a limited-slip differential (Electronically controlled) for more accurate and precise handling
To summarize, this car is pure sensation. It might be a bit short of legs compared to a Honda Civic Type R and Ford Focus ST, but the whole story of this vehicle is to have fun as a driver.
And another aspec tof the Hyundai i30N fastback that I really did find to my taste was that at suburban around-town speeds it didn’t feel the lumps and bumps that more pure sports cars do. 9I reminiciss about a Lotus Elige that I drove a while ago and honestly I could wait to get out of it. It was almost unbearable as a daily commuter car – this Hyundai I can live with long term.
And I admit, it’s probably not a car that I’d buy – I’m 63 years old, a bit chubby and my left knee isn’t in all that good a nick. And for my back? Well, thats another story altogether. Getting in and out of the i30N Fastback was a bit of a challenge for my daily commutes, but it would serve well as my weekend car for all sorts of fun.
I’ve previously suggested, at least in South East Queensland, that my road test route of preference is from my home at Redcliffe, up the Bruce Highway via Steve Irwin Way to Beerwah and then up the bendy-winding mountain Beerwah-Kilcoy Road onto Peachester. From there, you take Bald Knob Road (b-grade back road) which leads out onto the climb towards Maleny on an a-grade circuit. A break at one of Maleny’s great cafes and back down the mountain through Peachester towards Beerwah and back to Redcliffe. It’s about 200 kilometres and nearly 3 hours excluding any stop-overs for food and fuel.
The i30N Fastback gets you in a good mood and definitely gets you thinking about driving a sports car is meant to be fun – and it is. You drive the Hyundai with your own foibles – good or bad without imposing race-driver type needs.
Hyundai i30N has been designed to respond well to whatever way you want to drive it. It’s certainly got stable reposne in fast corners, you can throw the gearbox through it’s 6-speeds and the exhaust just crackles – so whether you’ve got it on a track, or just in a series of bends, when you tril the throttle, it just snaps, crackles and pops.
And one of the features that boy-racers (and older ones too) will really like is what Hyundai calls Rev-Matching. It’s something that you can use in ‘normal’ drive mode with just the press of a button. rev-matching blips the throttle when you’re changing down by quickly increasing the revs to make the gear change down that much easier – no more heel and toe and getting the revs wrong. And for the serious boy-racer, it has an N race computer in the multimedia display – with lap/acceleration timer, g-force meter, power/torque/turbocharger boost gauges. Just what you need for a day at the track.
While other manufacturers only let you use their rev-matching when the stability control is on – making you heel and toe with e tech off, Hyundai lets you decide when to use it – marvellous.
Other aspects of the car that I drove include front seat extensions that can be extended or retracted and the ‘N’ performance button on the steering wheel that brings your favourite chassis settings accessible with just a press of the N button.
As far as the capacity of the car, there’s plenty of room in the front for driver and passenger, enough room in the back for a couple of bigger people or a bunch of small ones and the boot is plenty big enough for the shopping, hardware store visits and perhaps a trip to Ikea. The Hyundai i30N Fastback has around 70 litres more space than its hatchback sister.
Hyundai N Division –
Rumour abounds that we’ll see a couple of other N Divison vehicles in Australia in the next year or two. An i20 hot hatch, an N Kona and Tucson may also join the lineup – perhaps not in the same mould as the i30N hatch and fastback but perhaps an N-Line version.
Better news is that an all new 8-Speed DCT transmission (two pedals for the ill informed) will be offered as an option in the hatch and fastback next year. And won’t that sort out those VW fan-boys who can’t drive a stick shift.
Service and Warranty
Hyundai i30N comes with a 5-year warranty and capped price service. This model’s service interval is 10,000 kilometres or 12 months whichever comes first. Hyundai do offer a 5-year service plan for $1595 (prepaid) but in normal capped price service expense, you’d expect to pay the same price other than CPI increases over the 5 years.
My strongest advice to a new car buyer is to keep servicing your car at a dealership. Manufactuers provide constant software updates for their cars and this is something you won’t get from your local mechanic or store. CApped Price Servicing is the price leveller and having your car serviced by a factory trained technician is something you shouldn’t ignore
Safety and Economy
According to ANCAP, there isn’t a safety rating for the i30N series. I’d be pretty confident, given the tech in the car that it would have scored 5-stars when lanched in 2017. The other more placid i30’s did.
Significant Safety Features
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) including;
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) ● ●
Brake Assist System (BAS) ● ●
Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) ● ●
Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) ● ●
Traction Control System (TCS) ● ●
Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) ● ●
Hyundai SmartSense ™ including;
Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) – City/Urban ● ●
Driver Attention Warning (DAW) ● ●
Lane Keeping Assist – Line (LKA-L) ● ●
Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) ● ●
Parking Distance Warning – Front (PDW-F) – 4 sensors, with guidance display ○1 ○1
Parking Distance Warning – Reverse (PDW-R) – 4 sensors, with guidance display ● ●
Rear view camera with dynamic guide lines ● ●
Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) – individual tyre pressure readout
Front airbags – driver & front passenger ● ●
Knee airbag – driver ● ●
Side (thorax) airbags – driver & front passenger ● ●
Side curtain airbags – 1st & 2nd rows ● ●
Impact sensing auto door unlock ● ●
Rear door child safety locks ● ●
Pretensioners, load limiters & height adjustable upper mounts on front seat belts ● ●
Seat belt reminder – front & rear seatbelts ● ●
Height adjustable front head restraints with tilt function ● ●
Height adjustable rear head restraints ● ●
ISOFIX child restraint anchors (rear outboard seats) ● ●
Top tether child restraint anchors (rear) – 3 anchors
As far as fuel economy is concerned (and why would you be in a hot hatch?) Highway and Suburban driving achieves 8 litres per 100klm, pure highway about 6.4 litres per 100klm and suburban driving 10.6 litres per 100klm. I returned 8.4 litres per 100klm with some heavy-footed driving so I was very happy with that.
I use RACQ online as my go-to insurer. I’ve used a male driver, 43 years of age with a clean driving record living at Ascot to gauge the insurance costs.
The annual insurance premium for the Hyundai i30N Fastback would be $715 with a $750 excess. Your own information may change the premium quoted.
Where to buy?
If I was shopping around for a new Hyundai i30N, the first thing I’d do is research through Google My Business. Search for Hyundai Dealer Brisbane (your suburb instead of Brisbane) to find the Hyundai dealers with the highest star rating. Here’s the result for South East Queensland
Grand Prix Hyundai Caboolture 4.8 Stars
Bartons Bayside Hyundai Wynnum 4.8 Stars
Gold Coast Hyundai Southport 4.6 Stars
Noosa Hyundai Noosa 4.5 Stars
I had a fabulous time in the Hyundai i30N Fastback – it might have had 3 pedals but the car is exhilarating to drive. If you’re in the market for a hot hatch, you MUST include with Hyundai on your shopping list. Affordable, fun to drive, track-day able and wonderful value for money.
If you’d like to know more about the i30N than I’ve talked about here, click on this link to go to the Hyundai i30N website
Hello. I’m Bob Aldons, the owner and editor of The Car Guy.
The Car Guy is an independently owned car review website. I’m currently testing cars for Mazda, Nissan, Kia, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Renault, Subaru, Hyundai and Jaguar Land Rover and writing about the 2020 Formula 1 season
I’m not paid by any car company for my opinion and my companies don’t receive advertising revenue to say nice things about them . I call it as I see it.
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