This Car Review Is About: Hyundai’s foray into the hot hatch arena. It’s not quite a hatch though, with its five door liftback/coupe styling, a body shared with Kia’s Cerato range. It’s the N badge that sets it apart from its lesser brethren.How Much Does It Cost?: Hyundai’s list price is $41500 plus on roads. The website lists it as $46,133 to $49,781 drive-away, depending on seeing the Luxury Pack (as tested) inside or not.
Under The Bonnet Is: A potent 2.0L petrol fed and turbocharged four cylinder, mated to a super slick six speed manual. In N spec it’s good for 202kW and a hefty 353 torques. There is an overboost facility that provides 378Nm. “Normal” torque is available from 1,450rpm to 4,700rpm. Overboost is 1,750rpm to 4,200rpm. They’re delivered in a very linear fashion, rather than a lightning bolt kapow. It makes for an extremely flexible drivetrain.Economy around town reflects the performance aspect though, with urban assaults seeing numbers north of 10.6/100km. That’s pretty much on the money for our drive. Hyundai quotes 8.0L/100km for the combined cycle. Our lowest figure was on the highway, not unsurprisingly, and clocked 7.5L/100km. That’s still above the 6.4L/100km from Hyundai’s official figures. Final overall was 9.4L/100km. Tank size is 50L and recommended fuel is 95RON.
On The Outside It’s: A somewhat subdued look. There are red painted brake calipers with the N logo clearly visible. A small rear spoiler sits above a curvaceous rump and lights that evoke Mercedes-Benz coupe and fastbacks. The front has a discreet N in the gloss black grille which sits between a pair of swept back headlights. Underneath is a chin spoiler that is perhaps too low. Every care was taken entering and reversing from the drive and it still scraped.Wheels are 19 inches in diameter and have a distinctive spoke design. Rubber is from Pirelli, they’re P-Zero and 235/35 are in size.
Paint is metallic red and highlights the longer than the i30 hatch body. The hatch is 4,335mm with the fastback getting 4,455mm. Maximum height is 1,419mm and that’s lower than the hatch. This means a slipperier, more aerodynamic profile.On The Inside It’s: An opportunity missed to stamp the N as a sports oriented vehicle. The air vents have red piping to the surrounds and that’s largely it in comparison to the largely otherwise unremarkable interior. The steering wheel has red stitching, and there is subtle red stitching in the seats. The look is subdued and dare we say, generic with unremarkable plastics, the standard looking touchscreen interface bar the N tab, and analogue dials where a full width LCD screen would have been better optioned.
The Luxury Pack is comprehensive. Push button Start/Stop, synthetic suede and leather seats (which are bloody comfortable and supportive) that feature a subtly embossed N logo, with both the front pews and steering wheel getting heating. There is a two position memory function for the driver’s seat plus 12 way power adjustment. Both front seats have extendable squabs for extra support available as an option. A wireless charge pad for compatible smartphones is also standard. Front sensors for parking and puddle lamps are part of the package too, as is privacy glass for the rear seats. The wing mirrors are powered and auto-dip for reversing.There is no tab for the central locking. This precludes anyone outside opening the door whilst the engine is running, meaning it has to be powered off to allow someone to get in. It’s a small but noticeable niggle. However Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, as is DAB audio. Curiously, the audio lacked bass, even with the equaliser moved up to full for that part of the sound stage. Mid-range and treble are clear and overtake the bass in in presence.The tiller has the drive mode switches; one for Sport/Normal/Eco, and one for the N performance package. The Sport engages the throaty rumble mode for the exhaust whereas the N selection firms up the steering and suspension, and offers a preset or customisable set of settings for exhaust, steering, engine and more via the touchscreen. Standard look is showing power, torque, turbo boost, and g-force readings, plus lap timings for track days.Inside the 436L cargo area is a brace bar to provide extra torsional rigidity. The cargo section itself opens up to 1,337L with the rear seats folded. A cargo net is standard, as is a space saver spare. A glass roof is an optionable extra. Shoulder and leg room, is fine and even rear seat leg room is good enough.On The Road It’s: A sleeper. Left in Eco and Normal mode it’s…normal. There’s a typical feel to the whole package in acceleration, noise, handling. The clutch is curiously heavier than expected and resulted in more than a few stalls. Hit the Sport mode and there’s a change of attitude. The exhaust suddenly gets more snarl, there’s an extra sense of weight to the steering, and sharper handling.
N mode lights the candle. There’s an extra depth to the anger of the exhaust and especially on up and downshifts. There’s a crackle, a sharp and hard edged note that’s evident on even light throttle. Go hard and the length and volume of the growl becomes longer thanks to some electronic assistance. Launch Control is standard and that’s activated via the disabling of the traction control system. Hold that button down, wait until a couple of lights flash to say things are happening, and then push down the clutch. Floor the throttle and somewhere around six seconds later it’s freeways speeds.There is torque steer but the electronic or “e-diff” makes a great fist of smoothing that out. Although hydralic in nature, the electron brains behind the scenes distrubute torque as per where the sensors say it should. It makes for a pretty much arrow straight line on a hard launch, and keeps both front wheels in contact with the ground. Steering is super precise and is just two turns lock to lock. This means input results in instant response. Rev-matching works on getting the engine to be in a rev range suitable for the cog selected on downshifts.
It’s slick and smooth, and gets the rumble and snarl from the rear happening. The selector itself is light, with Hyundai saying the actual feel was built in for “enthusiastic drivers”. For us, it felt accurate in throw, perhaps a little long, but also disconnected and remote from the driving experience. Braking is the complete opposite, with one of the best sensory experiences available. Think about where the pedal needed to be and it was, with instant response from the lightest of touches.
The N mode makes, as mentioned, for harder suspension. It’s noticeably different in quality and brings forth a benefit. That’s every corner, as firm as they become, being able to provide to the driver a picture of every ripple, every dent and ridge on a 20c coin without a feeling of being overly tight and taut. It’s a superbly tuned package and one honed by 500 laps of The Nurburgring. The torque spread makes for easy freeway driving, and overtaking is as simple as either squeeze and go, or drop a cog or two. There are shift lights and a shift indicator notification in the LCD screen in the driver’s binnacle.What About Safety?: There is no stinting here. The full Hyundai SafetySense package is available, with Forward Collision Avoidance, Driver Attention Warning, and Lane Keep Assist. The DAW in the liftback was overly enthusiastic, saying a break should be taken after just a few minutes worth of travel time. Quad sensors front and rear provide accurate parking measurements as does the clear view from the reverse camera which includes guideline assist. On the passive safety front there are seven airbags including the driver’s kneebag. Hill Start Assist was welcomed due to the vagaries of the clutch point.What About Warranty And Service?: Hyundai have done track day drivers a huge service here. Under most warranty guidelines, issues found to be as a result of track days aren’t covered. Hyundai disagree with that and do offer that coverage. Also, cars delivered by December 31, 2019, will have seven years warranty, instead of five. Service costs are capped (check with your Hyundai dealer) and items such as satnav updates can be done when a car is booked in for a service.
At The End Of The Drive. We must thank Hyundai Australia for the opportunity to drive the liftback version of the i30 N. It timed out well in one respect, one not made mention of This is your link for more information.until now. the car had well over twelve thousand kilometres on the clock when picked up, and there’s no doubt many of those would have been hard driven ones. No rattles, no squeaks, no unnecessary noises at all, indicating a very high level of build quality in the tolerances.
It’s an excellent all-rounder, family and enthusiast friendly, and bar the downmarket look and surprising lack of low end in the sound system, provides a wonderful environment in which to spend time in. Outside the liftback looked resplendent in red but didn’t visually yell it was an N spec. A matter of personal taste, one would suggest. This is your source for more info.