Hyundai i30 N

Originally Published: July 2019

It seems the Korean brand have made quite an entrance into the hot hatch market.

We’re going to get straight to the point: Hyundai’s first hot hatch, the i30 N, is brilliant. Forget the mundane information, like the fact this is a usable family vehicle with five doors and a decent boot – this is a car you want to get in and really drive.

Essentially, Hyundai has taken its respectable, if not dull, family hatchback, garnished it with a few tasteful styling tweaks and given it a spicy 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, providing the i30 N with a modest 250hp. But you don’t want this car. What you really want is the i30 N Performance, taking the car from mild masala to glorious madras.

This Performance derivative throws in bigger wheels and brakes, an electronic limited-slip differential and Pirelli P Zero rubber, 25 extra ponies and – most importantly – an active exhaust system.

The difference in price is £3,000. And it’s worth every penny. Now some of you may rightfully point out that even 275hp is a bit meagre when it comes to the hot hatch power stakes these days, but if you’re the type of person who cares solely about the figures on paper, then you’re probably the sort of person I’d avoid at a dinner party.

Hyundai and I would like to remind you that the biggest smiles aren’t always generated from the biggest power outputs. 275hp is more than enough for UK roads and it’s the sort of drive where third gear can provide you with all the fun you need. There’s more than a few driving modes to choose from, but do yourself a favour and whack it in N mode and lap up this car’s infectious hunger for fun and its constant rib-tickling ways.

Plant your foot, listen to the hilarious soundtrack with its machine gun bursts of pops and bangs, and revel in chasing the shift lights across the binnacle in front of you, or dropping a cog on the sweet manual ‘box to unveil the wonderful rev-matching feature. The i30 N is an absolute hoot.

Best of all, Hyundai hasn’t made the N something that can’t now be used for the everyday. Even in N mode, the car remains a non-teeth-shattering experience and doesn’t need to be taken to a track to be enjoyed.

Drop the kids at school in comfort, run round Tesco and complete your weekly shop, then head back out for a B-road bashing. The i30 N will do it all.

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