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Expert Rating

Hyundai i30 N

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Expert Rating

Summary


Hyundai had no performance reputation to speak of before it launched the i30 N hot hatch, which landed in the UK at the start of 2018. With modest expectations, particularly as the N is based on the fairly uninspiring standard i30 hatchback range, reviewers were caught by surprise as to just how complete a package it was.

“This is a car that has been honed by bona-fide driving enthusiasts without yielding to marketing departments and the like,” enthused Top Gear.

The i30 N is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo engine driving through the front wheels, controlled as standard by a six-speed manual gearbox. Originally one could choose from two outputs but following an update in 2020 just the more powerful version was retained, now putting out 280hp and with the option of an eight-speed paddle shift transmission.

The i30 N is also now available with a Fastback body style alongside the five-door hatch – reviewers point out that the way the car is totally docile when needed makes it a hot hatch that can really can be an everyday family car.

One minor minus point of the first i30 N was its firm performance on UK road surfaces, but this has been addressed in the update, and according to Auto Express “it does feel a little bit more capable on UK tarmac.”

The interior comes in for mixed comments – reviewers are impressed by the user-friendly technology and such touches as the blue instrument illumination, less so by too much grey plastic. The Telegraph also highlights a steering wheel that is “a little bit labyrinthine,” thanks to its several large buttons.     

Generally, however testers praise the i30 N’s recipe of potent performance in a practical package. “Hyundai’s first full-strength performance car and it’s nailed it,” concludes Top Gear, “few hot hatches are this fun to drive.”

As of March 2022, the Hyundai i30 N holds an Expert Rating of 79%, based on 24 reviews to date. That’s four points higher than the Volkswagen Golf GTI.

i30 N highlights

  • Exciting to drive…
  • …but just as easy to live with
  • Improved ride quality from update
  • User-friendly interior tech

i30 N lowlights

  • Not as fast as some rivals
  • Interior plastics slightly dull
  • Big extra buttons on steering wheel

Key specifications


Body style: Medium five-door hatchback and liftback
Engines: petrol
Price: From £33,745 on-road

Launched: Winter 2017/18
Last updated: Autumn 2020
Next update due: TBA


Media reviews


Reviews, road test and comparisons from across the UK automotive media. Click any of the boxes to view.

The Car Expert

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Auto Express

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Auto Trader

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Autocar

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Car

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Carbuyer

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Carwow

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Daily Mirror

+

Evo

+

Honest John

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Parkers

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The Sunday Times

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The Telegraph

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Top Gear

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What Car?

+

Which?

+

Safety rating


Overall rating: 5 stars
Date tested: July 2017

88%

ADULT OCCUPANT

84%

CHILD OCCUPANT

64%

VULNERABLE ROAD USERS

68%

SAFETY ASSIST

While the specific Hyundai i30 N model has not been tested by Euro NCAP, the current generation mainstream i30 was tested on its launch in 2017 and was awarded a five-star five-star rating. Testers highlighted the standard-fit autonomous emergency braking but noted that pedestrian detection was only available as an option.

Eco rating


No eco rating

As of March 2022, the Hyundai i30 N has not been lab tested by Green NCAP. But a high-performance, petrol-powered hot hatch is unlikely to score highly on the eco scale.

Awards


Trophies, prizes and awards that the Hyundai i30 N has received

2019

  • Business Car Awards – Driver’s Choice

2018

  • UK Car of the Year Awards – Best Hot Hatch
  • Autocar Awards – Game Changer
  • GQ Car Awards – Life and Seoul of the Party Award

2017

  • Carbuyer Awards – Best Hot Hatch + Best Cheap Sports Car

Similar cars


If you’re looking at the Hyundai i30 N, you might also be interested in these alternatives

Audi RS 3 | BMW M140i | Cupra Leon | Ford Focus ST | Honda Civic Type R | Mercedes-AMG A 35 | Mini Countryman John Cooper Works | Renault Megane RS | Skoda Octavia vRS | Toyota GR Yaris | Volkswagen Golf GTI

The Hyundai i30 N holds its own in a small class of family hot hatches, competing against such signature models as the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Renaultsport Megane, and the Fastback version in particular seen as rivalling more extreme models such as the Honda Civic Type R and the Ford Focus ST. The Hyundai does not match some of these on pace, but on the fun-to-drive factor it beats some of the biggest names.    

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Want to see how this car ranks against its rivals?

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Hyundai i30 NThe Hyundai i30 N offers plentiful performance in a practical package, making it a serious alternative to better-known hot family hatches.