When Hyundai launched its N spin-off performance brand, eyebrows were raised.
Was Korea’s number one automaker, hardly associated with performance in the past, really ready to take the fight to a German great like the Volkswagen Golf GTI?
Yet, to the surprise of many and the delight of even more, Hyundai took its shot and didn’t miss. In its original incarnation, the i30 N was manual-only, track-ready and warranted, and sharp in all the areas where it counted. The only issue? While it launched to critical acclaim, its sales potential was ultimately held back by the lack of an automatic transmission.
Hyundai's eight-speed auto i30 N. (Image: Tom White)
As three-pedal enthusiasts will tell you, this is where things can go very wrong for a performance car. Many (quite rightly) curse Subaru’s continuously variable automatic WRX as an example of a car that trades away its soul in favour of chasing sales, and while the Golf GTI has only gone from strength to strength after converting itself to dual-clutch automatic-only, many still lament the loss of one of the best three-pedal setups for daily driving on the market.
Read more i30 reviews
- Hyundai i30 Hatch 2021 review
Fear not, though, if you’re reading this and thinking the i30 N’s new eight-speed automatic won’t be for you, you can still buy it in manual guise for the foreseeable future.
For everyone else curious to see if this auto version still has the chops, read on.
|Hyundai I30 2022: N|
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 8/10
The i30 N now has a few variants in its range, with buyers able to select a base car wearing a before-on-road cost sticker of $44,500 for the manual, or $47,500 for the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic version we tested here.
That makes it more affordable than its most direct rivals, like the VW Golf GTI (seven-speed DCT auto only - $53,300), Renault Megane R.S. Trophy (six-speed DCT Auto - $56,990) and Honda Civic Type R (six-speed manual only - $54,990), landing more on-par with the Ford Focus ST (seven-speed auto - $44,890).
Standard stuff on our base automatic includes 19-inch forged alloy wheels clad in Pirelli P-Zero rubber, a 10.25-inch multimedia system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, built-in sat-nav, a 4.2-inch TFT screen between the analogue dial cluster, full LED headlights and taillights, cloth-clad sport bucket front seats with manual adjust, leather-appointed steering wheel, a wireless phone-charging bay, keyless entry and push-start ignition, dual-zone climate control, LED puddle lights, bespoke styling to separate it from the rest of the i30 range, and an expanded safety suite from the pre-facelift model, which we’ll look at later in this review.
Standard stuff on our base automatic includes 19-inch forged alloy wheels. (Image: Tom White)
Performance touches include a front electro-mechanical limited-slip differential, bespoke ‘N Drive Mode System’ with performance-tracking system, performance brake package, electronically controlled suspension, active variable exhaust system, and a bump in performance for its 2.0L turbo engine compared to the previous version.
What does it lack? There’s no all-wheel drive, nor is there a steep increase in tech items like a full digital dash, for example. Then again, you can trade away some of this car’s sharp attitude for the more creature-comfort laden VW Golf if you’re so inclined…
Featuring a 10.25-inch multimedia system. (Image: Tom White)
This gets to the core of the issue defining ‘value’ for a hot hatch like this. Yes, it’s cheaper than some of its notable rivals, but potential owners will care more about which one is more fun to drive. We’ll get to that later, but what I’ll allude to for now is the i30 N finds a brilliant little niche of being better equipped for fun than the focus ST whilst falling short of the refinement of the Golf GTI.
Is there anything interesting about its design? 8/10
The i30 N only looks meaner for this facelift, with a new grille treatment, frowny LED headlight profiles, more aggressive spoiler and flair designs, which make up its bodykit, plus aggressive new forged alloys.
It’s perhaps more eye-grabbing and offers a more youthful flair than VW’s toned-down but quietly attractive GTI, whilst not being as obviously wild as Renault’s Megane R.S. As a result, it aesthetically slots into the i30 line-up seamlessly.
The new i30 N aesthetically slots into the i30 line-up seamlessly. (Image: Tom White)
Clean lines typify its side profile, and the black highlight trims either make for big contrast on the hero blue car, or a more subtle aggression on the grey car we had for our test. The tweaked chunky exhaust pipes and new rear diffuser round out this car’s rear, in my opinion, without overdoing it.
As good looking as this Korean hatch is on the outside, it approaches its interior design with surprising restraint. Aside from the bucket seats, there’s nothing about the i30 N’s interior that screams ‘hot hatch’. There’s no over-use of carbon fibre, no visual overload of red, yellow, or blue highlight trims, with the only real hints of the N’s potency being the two additional buttons on the wheel, and a subtle strip and N logo adorning the shifter.
Otherwise, the interior is the standard fare for the i30. Simple, subtle, pleasingly symmetrical, and totally no-nonsense. While it’s missing the digital flair of some of its rivals, I appreciate the interior space feeling mature enough to be as pleasant to use every single day as it will be on the track.
The new bucket seats deserve a mention, because they’re clad in a smart, hard-wearing and uniform cloth trim, rather than something with an alcantara strip or leather highlights, which will potentially date poorly.
To round it out, the new, larger screen helps to add just enough of a modern touch to stop the N from feeling out-of-date.
How practical is the space inside? 8/10
As a result of not straying far from the mainstream i30 on which it is based, the N loses pretty much nothing when it comes to its cabin space and ease-of-use.
The driver’s position, which felt a little high in the previous car, seems a bit lower, perhaps thanks to these new seats, and the design of the dash itself provides front passengers with superb ergonomics.
The screen, for example, has nice big touchpoints and shortcut touch buttons, and there are dials for volume and the dual-zone climate system for quick and easy control.
The design of the dash itself provides front passengers with superb ergonomics. (Image: Tom White)
Adjustability is great if you’re happy with manual seat adjust in this base N, while the leather-clad wheel offers both tilt and telescopic adjust. The dash is a basic dual-analogue dial layout – which just works - and there’s a colour TFT screen for the driver’s information.
Storage includes large bottle holders in the doors, two in the centre console next to the suddenly old-fashioned looking manual handbrake (I wonder what this is for…) and there’s a large bin under the climate unit for your phone. It also houses dual USB ports, the wireless-charging bay, and a 12v power outlet. A basic armrest console box with no extra connectivity also features.
Rear passengers are granted decent space despite the chunky bucket seats in the front. I’m 182cm tall, and behind my own driving position I had a little knee room and decent headroom. The seats are tilted back for comfort and space, and rear passengers are offered a single large bottle holder in the doors, or two smaller ones in the drop-down armrest. On the downside there are flimsy nets on the backs of the front seat (these never wear well…), and rear passengers get no power outlets or adjustable air vents, which is a bit of a shame given some lower variants in the i30 range do get vents.
Rear passengers are granted decent space. (Image: Tom White)
The rear outboard seats have a pair of ISOFIX child-seat mounting points, or there is the required three across the back row.
Boot space comes in at 381-litres. It’s wide, useful, and great for the class, although there’s space-saver spare under the floor, in place of the full-size alloy which appears in lower i30 variants.
Boot space comes in at 381-litres. (Image: Tom White)
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What are the key stats for the engine and transmission? 9/10
The pre-facelift i30 N was hardly wanting for power, but for this update some extra has been squeezed out of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, thanks to a new ECU tune and a new turbo and intercooler. These tweaks add an extra 4kW/39Nm to what was available before, bringing the total to a punchy 206kW/392Nm.
Featuring a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo. (Image: Tom White)
Further to this, at least 16.6kg has been trimmed from the N’s kerb weight, thanks to lighter seats and forged wheels. The auto transmission in this particular car adds a little weight back, however.
Speaking of the transmission, the new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic was specifically developed for application in N-branded products (rather than pulled from another model) and has plenty of neat software functions, which both remove some of the more negative attributes of this type of auto and add a launch control and specific performance functionality for track use. It’s great. More on that in the driving part of this review.
How much fuel does it consume? 7/10
As a hot hatch you can hardly expect it to be the last word in efficiency, but with an official consumption of 8.5L/100km, it could be worse.
We all know that this will vary greatly in a car like this depending on how you drive it, but this auto version returned a decent 10.4L/100km in my largely urban week with it. For the performance on offer, I’m not complaining.
The i30 N has a 50L fuel tank regardless of which version you choose and requires mid-shelf 95RON unleaded petrol.
The i30 N has a 50L fuel tank. (Image: Tom White)
What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating? 7/10
The i30 N’s facelift has brought an increase in standard safety equipment, and as it turns out, opting for the automatic version will give you a little extra gear, too.
Standard active items include city-speed camera-based auto-emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning, driver-attention alert, high-beam assist, safe-exit warning, and rear parking sensors. This automatic version also gets the proper rear-facing gear, including blind-spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert with collision avoidance.
The i30 N’s facelift has brought an increase in standard safety equipment. (Image: Tom White)
It’s a real shame there’s no freeway speed auto emergency braking or adaptive cruise control here, as the N apparently lacks the radar system required to enable these technologies on other variants.
Seven airbags make up the i30 N’s complement, featuring the standard array of six front and side, plus a driver’s knee.
The i30 N is specifically excluded from the standard car’s maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating, which dates back to 2017 when it was awarded to the pre-facelift model.
It is notable that VW’s Mk8 Golf GTI has many of the up-to-date features this car misses out on, as well as a current ANCAP safety rating.
Warranty & Safety Rating
5 years / unlimited km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered? 8/10
Now here’s a good story, Hyundai covers the i30 N with the standard five-year and unlimited-kilometre warranty, which is specifically inclusive of non-timed track usage, with track tyres, too – something other brands distance themselves from with a barge pole.
It’s also setting the standard for hot hatches on the market, given its Korean and Chinese rivals don’t offer a car in this class.
Hyundai covers the i30 N with the standard five-year and unlimited-kilometre warranty. (Image: Tom White)
Servicing is required once every 12 months or 10,000km, and the most affordable way to service it is with the brand’s new pre-paid service plans, which can be chosen in three-, four-, or five-year packages.
The five-year pack, covering the time limit of the warranty and 50,000km of distance, costs $1675 or an average of just $335 a year – excellent for a performance car.
Your 12 months of roadside assist is topped up with each genuine service visit.
What's it like to drive? 9/10
Now to the important stuff, does the updated i30N, and more importantly, the new automatic, live up to the high standards set by the original version?
The answer is a quite confident "yes". Things have been improved across the board, in fact, and the new auto is a thing of glory.
Snappy, responsive, and importantly void of any of the annoying glitches often associated with twin-clutch setups, the new eight-speed unit is to be applauded for keeping the original spirit of the car.
For obvious reasons it’s missing that mechanical connectivity you’d experience with the manual, but with the instantly responsive paddle-shifters there’s still loads of fun to be had.
The new eight-speed unit is to be applauded for keeping the original spirit of the car. (Image: Tom White)
Unlike some early or particularly performance focused DCTs that rival brands have offered in the past, this transmission is particularly smooth from a standstill and between the first, second, and third gears.
This appears to be thanks to a software-controlled ‘creep’ function (which can actually be turned off, if you want to make the most of the hard start on the track) to make it behave more like a traditional torque converter in low-speed scenarios. It still does suffer from a bit of roll-back when you introduce a steep incline, as well as a bit of a delay engaging reverse, but other than those issues, which dual-clutch units are mechanically pre-disposed to, it’s generally devoid of skipping or grabbing incorrect gears.
Not bad for this car’s first shot at going automatic. Transmission aside, the i30 N formula has been improved in other areas. The new ride retains the rigid, raw feeling on the road the previous version was famous for, whilst injecting a little extra comfort in the dampers.
Not bad for this car’s first shot at going automatic. (Image: Tom White)
The whole package feels better balanced, with the nastier characteristics smoothed out enough to make for a more friendly daily drive, while also imbuing it with what feels like less body-roll in the corners. I only say ‘what feels like’ in this instance because the worst of the body-roll in the previous i30 was only really identifiable at track speeds, so it’s hard to really tell without having this new version at track-speed to compare.
The new forged alloys look the part and trim a whopping 14.4kg of weight, and the corresponding roughness in ride they should bring on the suddenly slim-looking tyres has been counteracted by the suspension improvements.
The steering is as heavy as it is accurate, providing an enthusiast driver with the feedback they crave, although I will say with the auto it is hard to discern the bump in power granted by the extra 4kW/39Nm of the improved engine. I’m sure it’s there, it’s just hard to compare to the old car with the new transmission. Like the previous car, however, there’s plenty of pull on offer to overwhelm the front tyres and have the steering wheel tugging against you.
The new ride retains the rigid, raw feeling on the road. (Image: Tom White)
Things aren’t as rosy in the cabin as they are in Volkswagen’s new Mk8 GTI, however. While the i30 N’s main German rival has a sublime ride and all the creature comforts and high-tech refinements daily drivers will expect, the i30 N is comparatively unfiltered.
The steering is heavier, the ride is still more harsh, the digitisation takes more of a back seat with analogue dials and a manual handbrake is still offered to the driver.
Still, it offers a balance between the comfort of the VW and the all-out roughness of something like Renault’s Megane R.S. I think it will keep many an enthusiast happy by treading carefully between the two extremes.
The i30 N is still an absolute cracker of a hot hatch in a contracted but tightly contested field of players.
For those seeking a more raw and unfiltered experience compared to the sandpapered gloss of VW’s latest Mk 8 Golf GTI, without dipping too far into the realms of track-focused discomfort, the i30 N auto hits the mark.
It has lost very little in gaining a performance-oriented automatic transmission, which I predict will only exponentially increase its sales, and for 2022 it also gains a slew of welcome but not overly digital refinements.
No matter which model you go for, the Hyundai i30 should be a safe and dependable family car. The brand itself finished a solid 11th out of 29 in our 2022 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, ahead of well-established rivals such as Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen but behind Honda, Peugeot and sister brand Kia.Is the i30 N fast? ›
The i30 N is fast and precise, It gives a good sensation, similar to a race car.Can you daily i30N? ›
The i30N has true sports car capability when you need it, while also being extremely liveable and capable as a daily driver. The 2022 i30N has launched with a few variants in the range - Base N, Limited Edition N, N Line and N Line Premium.Who makes the Hyundai i30 N engine? ›
The i30 N's power comes from a 1998cc turbocharged four-cylinder 'Theta' engine borrowed from the wider Hyundai/Kia conglomerate. It's a simple enough unit, with one big turbocharger and a pretty standard electronically controlled direct injection system.What problems do Hyundai i30 have? ›
The windscreen on the i30 is prone to a higher than usual condensation build up. This problem is caused by a failure of the windscreen seals, which allow water into the cabin. With this problem, you may also notice that there are damp patches on the carpets or elsewhere in the front of the car.Is Hyundai i30 N fuel efficient? ›
2021 Hyundai i30 N DCT: Hear and watch it testing in Sydney.
|Hyundai i30 N PERFORMANCE Details|
|Fuel consumption (combined average)||8.8L / 100km|
While the current generation i30 N uses a front-wheel-drive arrangement, Hyundai engineers have pushed the platform to its limits with development mules sporting both AWD and substantial power increases.How much horsepower is an i30 N? ›
|Hyundai i30 N Details|
|Power @ RPM||202kW @ 6000rpm (270.9 hp)|
|Torque @ RPM||353Nm @ 1450rpm (260.3 lb-ft)|
|Number of Valves||16|
Powerful turbocharged engine.
For even more thrills on the road, the i30 N's powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged engine now delivers 206kW and 392 Nm of flat power, with even more torque and power for exhilarating performance. Overseas model shown.
Does the Hyundai i30 have heated seats? The only models in the Hyundai i30 range that have heated front seats are the i30 N Line Premium and the i30 N Premium performance flagships.
Key specifications for N Line plus:
Panoramic glass sunroof. Satellite navigation with live traffic updates. Power driver's seat. Heated and ventilated front seats.
Completing the “second generation” of Hyundai's range of N cars, the new i30 Sedan N arrives in a sole choice of variant, the fully-loaded Premium, priced from $49,000 before on-road costs – $1500 above an i30 N Premium hatch, with a manual transmission.Where is i30 N made? ›
The i30 N sports car will be the third variant of the Hyundai i30, produced at HMMC in Nošovice. The largest share of car production here is the Tucson (68 %), followed by the i30 (24 %) and the ix20 (8 %). More than a quarter of a million cars have left the Nošovice factory this year.Where is the Hyundai i30 n made? ›
The i30 N hatch comes out of the Czech Republic, while the sedan and Kona N are made in Korea.Does i30 N have adaptive suspension? ›
Suspension. The Hyundai i30 N uses an adaptive damper system that worked very well. I didn't even notice all the adjustments it was making on the move, which is a great sign that they have really sorted the system.What are common problems with Hyundai? ›
- Engine Problems. The engine is the heart of the vehicle and when it isn't functioning properly, it can be frustrating and in many cases, worrying. ...
- ABS Problems. ...
- Automatic Transmission Problems. ...
- Steering. ...
- Self-Healing Paint Problems.
"The Hyundai i30 has recently been updated with better tech and mild-hybrid engines. It's still not particularly exciting, and rivals are better to drive, but it's a solid, comfortable and refined family hatchback with an excellent warranty."Is i30 comfortable? ›
|Key details||2021 Hyundai i30|
|Power||120kW @ 6200rpm|
|Torque||203Nm @ 4700rpm|
|Drive type||Front-wheel drive|
|Transmission||6-speed torque convertor automatic|
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The Hyundai i30 N sits in insurance group 26 out of 50.Will there be a new i30 N? ›
The big news for the new 2022 Hyundai i30 N is a box-fresh Limited Edition model. You'll be able to spot this car easily because it comes in just two colours: black and white.Is the Hyundai i30n 4 wheel drive? ›
Its 2.0-litre turbo engine drives the front wheels only, through a standard six-speed manual gearbox. Leasing.com Group Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.Does the Hyundai i30 N come in automatic? ›
For the 2022 model year Hyundai introduced a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission for the i30 N, broadening the hot hatch's and catching the eye of more people. We tested the top of the range 2022 Hyundai i30 N Premium DCT to find out if the auto version of Hyundai's excellent hot-hatch is as good as the manual.What does PS mean in cars? ›
95PS – PS stands for PferdStarke (literally, 'horse strength' in German). This is basically metric horsepower as opposed to the imperial or mechanical measure of horsepower denoted by HP or BHP.How much is a Hyundai i30 N performance? ›
2021 Hyundai I30 N Performance Pricing and Spec Configurations. Interested in a Hyundai I30? You could expect to pay $32,800 – 43,010 based on third party pricing data.Is the i30 N manual? ›
The 6-speed manual retains its feel from the previous generation of the i30 N. Short throw, notchy and it feels almost like it's gated. Not a bad experience to be had. It's a comfort to drive in any road condition and is very forgiving in rush hour traffic.What is the difference between I30 N and I30 N line? ›
Where the base i30 relies on a naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre engine, the N Line has a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol with 150kW of power and 265Nm of torque. Although a six-speed manual is standard, the majority of buyers are expected to opt for a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic instead.What is the difference between N and N line? ›
N Line N Line models are outfitted with styling and performance upgrades that set them apart from standard trims. The sporty design elements boost both looks and aerodynamics. With more power, better handling agility, and premium tires, each vehicle makes driving an invigorating rush.What is the difference between I30 N line and N Line Premium? ›
As well as a 25 per cent power bump over standard models, the N Line variants get larger brakes – up from 280mm to 305mm – while the N Line Premium gets heated and ventilated seats, and a 10.25-inch infotainment screen (up from 8.0 inches) with satellite navigation, DAB+ digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, ...
The "N" in the name i30N stands for Namyang, home to Hyundai Motor's global R&D centre in Korea since 1995, where the idea was born, and also for the Nürburgring (of course), home to Hyundai Motor's European test centre, where the i30N was further developed and tested.Does i30 N have cruise control? ›
Steering wheel-mounted controls.
We understand the need to stay both connected and safe, which is why the i30 Sedan has phone and volume controls positioned at your fingertips. For added safety, cruise control can also be activated from the steering wheel.
The i30 N comes with a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that produces 276bhp.Is the Hyundai i30 N line premium worth it? ›
The Hyundai i30 is comfortable and worth looking at if you can secure a really good deal. Otherwise, it's a bit pricey for what you get: a car that feels average in quite a few areas, most notably space and safety. Newer models, like the Seat Leon, are much better to drive, too.What is special in Hyundai N line? ›
N Line is characterized by N specific design and performance-enhancing elements. Sharing powertrains with its regular Hyundai siblings, the N Line vehicles are instantly recognizable by differentiated design elements.What features does the Hyundai N line have? ›
- 28 MPG Combined, 25 City/34 Hwy
- 201-hp 1.6L Turbo GDI 4-cylinder
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Multi-link independent rear suspension
- Hyundai Digital Key
- N Line sport seats
About the 2022 Hyundai i30 N PREMIUM
The i30 is a front-wheel drive 4 door with 5 seats, powered by a 2.0L TURBO 4 engine that has 206 kW of power (at 5500 rpm) and 392 Nm of torque (at 2100 rpm) via an Eight-speed Auto Dual Clutch.
It'll pick up Michelin Pilot Sport 4s, so that takes care of the tyres as well."How much does an i30 N weight? ›
The i30 measures 1445mm (56.9 inches) in height, 4340mm (170.9 inches) in length, 1795mm (70.7 inches) in width with a 2650mm (104.3 inches) wheelbase that brings about a total of 1447kg (3190.1 lbs) of unladen weight. The i30 N comes standard with 235/35 R19 91Y front tyres and 235/35 R19 91Y rear tyres.Are Hyundai i30 diesel reliable? ›
Is a used Hyundai i30 estate reliable? In one word, yes. The i30 Tourer, along with its hatchback sibling, came 3rd out of 28 family cars in our most recent reliability survey – a thoroughly excellent result. Hyundai as a brand came 7th out of 32 manufacturers, which is also great news.
All diesel cars since 2009 should have DPF's. The only way it won't is if someone has removed it. The easiest way to find out is to look under the vehicle and follow the exhaust pipe to the engine and it will be a big box attached to it going on to the engine or turbo if one is fitted.Is Hyundai i30 engine good? ›
"The Hyundai i30 has recently been updated with better tech and mild-hybrid engines. It's still not particularly exciting, and rivals are better to drive, but it's a solid, comfortable and refined family hatchback with an excellent warranty."How long do Hyundai diesel engines last? ›
On average, a Hyundai's engine has a lifespan that is anywhere around 250,000 km to 400,000 km. Depending on how much you drive each day, your car's engine could be in perfect working condition for 15 to 20 years.How much does it cost to fill up a Hyundai i30? ›
Hyundai i30 2017 Running Costs.
|TYPE||AVERAGE YEARLY COST*||3-YEAR TOTAL COST*|
|Fuel Consumption Costs||$1,588||$4,763|
Do I need AdBlue for the car to run? AdBlue isn't required for the engine to work. However, because it keeps emissions within legal requirements, the car's engine is programmed to stop working if there is insufficient AdBlue, or another liquid in the tank.Does Hyundai use AdBlue? ›
See how much AdBlue your Hyundai consumes.
It includes each variant from years 2015 to 2021.
Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)
All Hyundai vehicles have a DPF fitted to help in the reduction of harmful contaminants being expelled into the atmosphere. The soot emitted by diesel engines is particularly harmful to people who suffer with respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.