Hyundai i30 Fastback N Review & Prices
Fantastic handling, exciting performance and a memorable driving experience are the trade off for poor ride quality and bad visibility
What's not so good
Find out more about the Hyundai i30 Fastback N
The hot hatch market is plentiful, and the regular Hyundai i30 N is a strong contender among the likes of the Honda Civic Type R, Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST. However, the i30 Fastback N takes that winning recipe and alters it with a sloping, coupe-like rear end.
A bit like Korean films have burst onto the scene and proved hugely popular in the West in recent years, so too the i30 N hot hatch appeared out of nowhere in 2018 as a serious contender to more established hot hatches. The Fastback N is another twist on this formula that makes this Hyundai stand out from the crowd.
So why’s it different? Well, the most obvious difference is in the roofline, which swoops down at the rear into the boot. There’s also a prominent spoiler that arches across the rear for that extra sporty edge. And, well, that’s just about where the differences end.
Up front it’s the same between the hatchback and the Fastback, so you get a sporty body kit that gives the car a much more aggressive and desirable appearance over the standard family car.
Inside, the changes over the spice-free i30 Fastback are more subtle. Sure, you get some cosseting sports seats, blue stitching and some metal pedals, but it’s generally as you were. More racey upgrades would be nice and the design is looking a little dated now, particularly with some cheaper-feeling chunky buttons.
That said, there’s raciness to be found in the menus. Fire up the engine and, once you’ve got over the deep bark from the exhaust, your eyes will be drawn to the blue drive mode buttons on the wheel. These let you flick between more comfortable and sportier settings, as well as a highly customisable mode to suit your own preferences.
A 10.25-inch infotainment display sits atop the dashboard and houses all the usual stuff like radio and navigation, as well as having wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. More interesting are the N menus, which can display lots of interesting stuff like lap times or display how many G you’re pulling in corners. Probably better for the Nurburgring than your local ring road, but it shows how seriously Hyundai is taking its performance cars.
And that shows in the way the i30 Fastback N drives, too. Even in its normal setting it’s not particularly relaxing and jiggles its way along the road. It’s not like it rattles your bones, but if you don’t want to sacrifice too much comfort for more fun on the occasional back road blast you might be better off looking at the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
The Hyundai i30 Fastback N has a more raw, old school character than most modern hot hatches, which makes it stand out from the crowd
In its sportier settings, the i30 Fastback N is great fun for a twisty road. It’s still a bit stiff, but it’s bearable and feels like a slightly less refined Civic Type R. The Honda feels like it’s working with you a bit more, but the Hyundai is arguably more of a thrill ride.
However, chuck it in full N mode and it becomes a car that’s only at home on the race track. The throttle response is sharp and the exhaust sounds like a bin bag full of bees is trying to escape from the boot. The suspension has all the comfort of a rollercoaster. Great on a track day but not so much the road, so we’d recommend going into the custom settings to make most settings sporty, but with the most comfortable suspension setting.
Under the bonnet sits a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine making 280hp and 392Nm of torque, powering the front-wheels. Those figures put it somewhere between the Civic Type R and Golf GTI, but it definitely feels closer to the Honda, giving a sense that it outperforms its figures.
Our test car had the automatic transmission, but this robs some of the fun and costs more, so the manual is where we’d put our money.
Aside from ride comfort being questionable, the Fastback’s other issue around town and on the motorway is rear visibility. That sloping roof and narrow rear window mean you can’t really see what’s behind you until it’s close, and makes for some chunky blind spots.
Rear seat space is decent but adult passengers might struggle for legroom behind a tall driver, while headroom is similar between hatch and Fastback, which is good. Fitting a child seat is easy because the ISOFIX covers are spring loaded and easy to locate.
Front seat passengers get large door bins for big drinks bottles and cubby holes in the centre console. The boot is actually more capacious than the hatchback – at 450 litres it’s about 50 litres up. Despite the coupe-esque roofline it can comfortably carry a large pram. However, like the hatchback, seats down space is impacted by the large strut brace that helps makes the car handle better.
The Hyundai i30 Fastback N is an excellent hot hatch, with a character clearly inspired by more raw, analogue old school driving fun than some of its more grown up contemporaries. The Civic Type R is still the standard bearer in this class, but the new one is really expensive. The Focus ST, Golf GTI and Octavia vRS do the daily stuff better, but are nowhere near as fun on a country road. The Hyundai is pretty uncompromising, but offers a distinct driving experience over the others.
The Hyundai i30 Fastback N has a RRP range of £34,940 to £37,465. Monthly payments start at £515. The price of a used Hyundai i30 Fastback N on carwow starts at £29,250.
*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.