Hyundai i30N (Price, as tested, £26,345)


HYUNDAI goes high performance.


'Born in Namyang and honed at the Nürburgring' is how Hyundai bill the i30N.

If you needed any indication of just what the i30N brings to the party then that statement alone should be enough.

But should the likes of Volkswagen and Ford with their long-established GTI and ST brands be worried?

Well, while beads of sweat are probably not forming on their executives' brows, they should at least be looking over their shoulder. For the i30N is a genuine hot hatch contender.

Under the bonnet is either a 247bhp or 271bhp 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine.

Nought to 62mph comes up in 6.4 seconds and it will go on to a top speed of 155mph.

In and around town it took me back to the days when I would go cruising along Cleethorpes seafront in my Mini Cooper.

In low gears, there's a throaty roar from the exhaust, followed by a smile-inducing 'pop'.

The i30N can be tailored to your particular mood, which is important as this is just as much an everyday car as it is a track day performance machine.

There are five drive modes to choose from, going from Eco all the way up to N Custom, and these change the character of the engine, dampers, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Electronic Limited Slip Differential (E-LSD), sound, steering and rev-matching. There's also a 'launch control' setting which it is probably best not advised to initiate at your local traffic lights.

The 'N' badging is designed to look like a chicane and so unsurprisingly this car does not disappoint through the bends, with high levels of grip breeding driver confidence.


'Oh no, not those figure hugging seats again,' was the response from my wife on getting in. However, when I was putting the i30N through its paces she was glad of how they held her in place as we negotiated the twisty bits.

There are other sporty touches and garnishes but, technology aside, the interior is rather unremarkable. However, if you are of the Playstation generation then there is more than enough to keep you entertained, the majority of which is housed inside the very easy to use touchscreen.


EQUIPMENT includes 18ins alloy wheels, exclusive front and rear bumpers, exclusive radiator grille, rear spoiler, red brake calipers, shark fin antenna, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, driver's seat extendable seat cushion, driver's seat lumbar support (electric), rear seats - split folding (60/40), automatic wipers with rain sensor, climate control, privacy glass, smoked tail lights, front and rear electric windows with anti-trap mechanism and one touch control, intelligent stop and go, front and rear parking sensors, rear camera and guidance system, keyless entry with engine start/stop button, height and reach adjustable steering column, audio control with voice recognition, Bluetooth, DAB digital radio, steering wheel mounted controls, 8ins touchscreen satellite navigation, USB, wireless phone charging pad, remote central locking, electronic stability control, hill-start assist, aluminium pedals, drive mode, electronically controlled suspension, launch control, rear diffuser, sports seats, N-mode button, performance tyres, rear stiffness bar, rev-matching system, torque vectoring, twin exhaust pipe.


WHILE this is undoubtedly a car tailored towards the sporty end of the market, it can also be used as a relatively comfortable family vehicle. It retains all the hatchback prerequisites of interior space, functional boot and in-town manoeuvreability. Four can sit in comfort - five at a squeeze - though leg room is perhaps a little less plentiful than in other cars.

With the rear stiffness bar in place - you'll see it as soon as open the rear hatch - the boot has 381 litres of space, increasing to 1,287 litres. Remove this and you can increase the load area to 395 litres and 1,301 litres respectively.


HYUNDAI say it should be possible to get 36.7mpg on the combined cycle. I managed 27.4mpg. CO2 emissions are 176g/km


A bona fide hot hatch that challenges the current hierarchy


Honda Civic Type R, VW Golf GTI, Peugeot 308 GTI