The Hyundai i30 N is a great-to-drive, quick and practical family car, but you might hanker after alternatives’ more eye-catching looks and faster straight-line performance
The Hyundai i30 N is like a normal i30 that’s swapped its sensible shirt, chinos and shoes for a tracksuit and trainers – it’s just as practical as the standard car, but looks and feels sportier.
That said, your mates might not immediately spot you’ve bought the performance model – the i30 N’s body kit, twin exhaust pipes and big alloy wheels are subtle next to the Honda Civic Type R’s outlandish styling. But, if subtle suits you, then you’ll like the i30 N’s appearance.
It’s the same story on the inside – all that marks it out from the standard i30 is its padded sport seats and sporty driving mode buttons on the steering wheel. The flipside is that it doesn’t feel as special or as well-built as a Volkswagen Golf GTI’s cabin.
On the upside, the Hyundai’s infotainment system is logically laid out and easy to use, even if its graphics could be a little clearer.
There’s not much to complain about when it comes to interior space, however. The i30 N is roomy, with space for four tall adults and a boot that’s bigger than average for this size of car, although the more powerful N Performance models get a removable chassis-stiffening brace that does reduce boot space slightly. The driver’s seat and steering wheel have lots of adjustment and all models come with rear doors so it’s easy for your passengers to get in the back and also simple to fit a child seat.
Even when it’s fully loaded, the i30 N is not short on poke. The basic N model has 250hp, but the N Performance ups that to 275hp – it gets from 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds and Hyundai reckons it’ll get fuel economy of 40mpg.
The 275hp model is the better option, because it also comes with a limited-slip differential that helps the Hyundai accelerate hard out of corners, extra body bracing that makes it feel more stable and a sports exhaust that crackles and pops when you change gear – it feels and sounds like a proper race car!
The Hyundai i30 N drives like a normal i30 that’s drunk four cans of Red Bull and swallowed a packet of Pro Plus
Thankfully, the i30 N is as good to drive as it sounds. It has quick steering that lets you dart into corners, stiff suspension that keeps the car from rolling excessively and a limited-slip differential (LSD) that gives you loads of grip as you accelerate out of corners like an atom that’s been fired around the Hadron Collider.
The rest of the time though, you can transform the i30 N from a B-road blaster to a quiet and comfortable cruiser simply by putting the exhaust into a quieter setting and softening up the suspension. It’s even very safe.
Small wonder, then, that the i30 N comes highly recommended if you’re looking for a sensible family car that has a seriously fun side. It’s one of the very best hot hatches.