• Real world fun factor without needing to go flat out to access it...
    • ... but if you do push hard there's another exciting level to access
    • The exhaust note - surely something so good can't be legal!
    • No adaptive cruise control is a strange omission in this day and age
    • Sound system is lacking considering premium audio is in lower i30 grades
    • N Mode is too harsh for actual road use - luckily N Custom exists!
    Not tested

    About the Hyundai i30

    Cameron B purchased this Hyundai i30 new for $53,000 (including all on-road costs). Cameron B would buy this car again because: “Good purchasing experience and fantastic value performance car with a strong on-road fun factor. Matching the base attributes of the car to great community engagement from Hyundai themselves and a growing aftermarket means ownership of this car is a rewarding experience that’s not really replicated by any other brands with performance options under six figures.”

    How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

    Reliability has been a strong factor of ownership of the i30 N so far with no failures or issues with basic service items and no mechanical faults – except for an intermittent warning about Limited Slip Differential which, from research, seems to be a slightly uncommon side-effect from bubbles in the sealed LSD unit which can be fixed during a service.

    The factory 235/35R19 Pirelli P-Zero HNs have provided great levels of grip to utilise the performance of the i3 0N power plant however are prone to exacerbating the factory wheel hop due to softer engine pitch mount bushings, and are soft compounds causing quicker wear than one may expect.

    When replacement time comes up stock levels of the HN variant of the Pirelli are quite difficult to find as I found out after needing to replace one due to a nasty pothole…

    What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

    The ownership experience so far of the i30N Premium has been nothing short of spectacular and has bought to light several factors that were not expected coming into my journey with the car, having experienced multiple hot hatchbacks over the years.

    One of the biggest surprises apart from the real-world performance of the car (more to come on this!) is the community that has sprung up around the fledgling N brand, with fantastic owner engagement and camaraderie on the road and at events.

    Hyundai themselves have backed this up by fostering this even further by holding their own proper N events around Australia every year at tracks where people can test out the cars the way they were built, while bringing together “Nthusiasts” from around the state (and often other states too!) to talk about their vehicles.

    How has the purchase and aftercare experience been with your car?

    Luckily so far there has not been a lot of aftercare needed with the reliability of the car and only the first 1500km and first scheduled 10,000km services having been carried out. That being said, the experience with these items has been par for the course and were carried out quickly and easily with no untoward damage or problems.

    In terms of the purchase, my acquisition of the car was quite unlike most other new owners – especially currently with delays in production causing up to 12 months waits for these popular vehicles. As someone who enjoys their vehicle paint finish in a colour as opposed to a shade and with a penchant for rowing my own gears I happened to luck across a Premium Manual in the solid Engine Red colour in stock for immediate delivery which I jumped on, as you’d expect!

    With one of the facelifted model’s largest draw cards being the (admittedly excellent) eight-speed dual-clutch automatic it makes sense having a range-topping car with a DIY gearbox may have contributed to my luck here!

    Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

    Now this is where a couple of points need to be subtracted when it comes to the overall package of this otherwise excellent vehicle. Where the price is good for the performance on offer there are some strange things missing (and present) for the outlay.

    Some will trumpet the fact that there will always be compromises for a vehicle that is made for performance and while there is merit to that argument, there are some glaring omissions on the spec sheet for a vehicle marketed as the i30 N “Premium”.

    As someone who stepped out of a vehicle with a premium sound system from factory the ones featuring in the N, without mincing my words, are subpar. Considering the standard i30 variants below feature Infinity branded premium audio it’s strange you lose this by stepping further up the tree.

    Luckily there’s a different soundtrack from the rear of the car that takes the sting out of that…

    Another item that has been a bugbear of manual i30s as a whole is the lack of Adaptive Cruise Control. Having also been used to this on my previous car and several other brands being able to pair the gearbox with this system it is something that hurts to lose. but living with the car it hasn’t proven to be a deal breaker when the contrast of fast backroads and the fun the car proves to be there makes up for this particular shortcoming.

    The surprises don’t stop with the items lacking however with a couple of things featuring in the cabin that are genuinely unexpected. The i30N Premium brings the addition of the fantastic “N Light” sport seats that are trimmed in a lovely Alcantara middle with leather bolsters, N logos in the (fixed) headrests that illuminate alluringly on start up to add a bit of pizazz to the experience and even has heating functions for both driver and passenger for those chilly days.

    There’s even a heated steering wheel present. You almost can’t tell that these were built in Europe with standard features like this!

    What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

    There’s a very simple word that can be used to describe the breadth of ability and accessible performance that the i30 N offers: Stunning. The fact regular hot hatch money that would otherwise get you into “entry” performance options like a Golf GTI or Subaru WRX is a gold star review of the engineers that worked on this car.

    Under the bonnet lies an otherwise unremarkable go-fast hatchback layout of front engined, front-wheel drive 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder that pushes out a tasty 206kW in the facelifted version with its larger turbocharger unit and 392Nm of torque.

    This is enough to propel the car to triple-digit speeds in 5.9 seconds if you can nail that launch which can be quite challenging when channelling this much power through the fronts. Pair to this engine a slick six-speed manual with a very accurate rev-matching function which rarely puts a step wrong and this is an exciting car to put through its paces on a twisty back road.

    One of the draw cards of the N platform is of course the sound it makes. Nervous children, adults and wildlife beware – the rally-esque sound that comes out of the absolutely HUGE 5.0-inch across rear tailpipes seems borderline illegal with a raspy roar on acceleration and multiple gunshot bangs on the overrun.

    The soundtrack that accompanies your right foot presses and lifts elevate the driving experience to another level that is generally hard to find unless you’re spending tens of thousands of dollars more, or want to invest money in the aftermarket to replace mufflers and tune for that soundtrack.

    On top of the fantastic engine sound and the performance on tap you also have the ability to customise that experience with wheel-mounted drive modes including a normal, eco and sport on the left.

    There’s also an N-Custom (which allows you to adjust every parameter of engine response, rev match aggression, suspension stiffness, steering weighting and exhaust valve open or closed) and the full N mode which turns everything to 11 and turns off some of the safety systems to give you the full N experience.

    What do you think of the technology in your car?

    As with the rest of the features in the car the i30 N has enough to satisfy most new car buyers in 2022 with minimal items missing. As mentioned previously, adaptive cruise control and premium sound are niceties that would be very welcome (and Hyundai seem to have amended this with the i30 Sedan which has both of these along with ambient lighting and even cooling in the seats!) – but the base spec sheet of the car are more than enough for the vast majority of people looking to get themselves seated in their very own N.

    On the safety side of things there are all the normal technologies that a new vehicle is expected to have in the current day’s market. Blind spot monitoring is present through a light in the side mirrors, a reasonable resolution reverse camera with rear cross-traffic alert that shows a visible warning on the camera if triggered, the usual bevy of airbags for the driver, passenger, sides and curtains, and lane-keeping assistance which is reliable but tends to position you more to the left of the lane than the centre.

    If you like to cut corners or frequently struggle to stay in the right spot in your lane the warning system is extremely zealous jumping in to beep at you if you dare even touch your tyre to the markings and drastically dropping the audio of whatever you’re listening to while it performs its chorus of three staccato chimes.

    What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

    As you’d expect from a car which has handling at its core, with one of the N brand pillars being that the cars are “corner rascals”, the handling of the i30N is hard to pick fault with.

    When you’re pushing a little harder through a curvy road you can lean on the car through corners quite confidently with the LSD pulling you through and the limit of the tyres and chassis evident through the steering input and suspension feedback. Torque steer is mostly absent and invoking understeer is only really an issue if you plunge into a corner far too fast.

    If you’re looking for a bit more turn-in – the N’s chassis is beautifully willing to lift-off oversteer with a quick jump off the throttle resulting a comfortable and predictable rotation to clean up the exit of the corner when you’re chasing that little bit more – take a big corner and jump off with plenty of Gs and you’ll feel the car step right out if you’re really looking for excitement, at which point you can bury your foot in the accelerator again and feel the car pull itself straight with minimal fuss.

    It really is an incredibly engaging car to carve up corners on the road where the constant looming threat of speed cameras and overzealous law enforcement is ready to swoop at every kilometre over the limit. When the thrills of a lot of other performance cars lie in big power and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 0-100km/h times the i30 N balances satisfying acceleration, well-sorted corner dynamics, and an aural masterpiece at your back to elevate the experience no matter where you’re driving.

    Overall Rating

    Ride & Handling9
    Price & Features7.5
    Purchase & Aftercare9.5
    Performance & Economy9
    Ownership Experience9