RE: Hyundai i30 N Performance: PH Fleet

RE: Hyundai i30 N Performance: PH Fleet

Friday 2nd November 2018

Hyundai i30 N Performance: PH Fleet

The i30 N is a very entertaining hot hatch. But how does it compare to the big boys of the class?



It doesn't take three months with the Hyundai i30 N to realise that the word 'fun' must've ranked pretty highly on Albert Biermann's priority list when he kicked off its development. Compared to your average hot hatch it's downright silly, which is exactly why we love it. But very good doesn't necessarily mean great. And greatness was the company the i30N kept for a few days in August when we brought it along to the Lords of the Ring battle between the Honda Civic Type R, the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S and the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R. Sat on the shoulder of giants, just how would Hyundai's snap, crackle and pop machine measure up?

As far as its rivals are concerned, a number of things can be taken as read: the FK8-gen Civic is the most potent, with its 320hp turbocharged VTEC motor; the RS Megane is arguably more focused, with a stripped out interior and track-spec Ohlins dampers; and the GTI CS sits somewhere inbetween, having ditched its back seats and gained a circuit-inspired chassis. All three hit 62mph in 5.8 seconds and top out around 160mph.

Next to these cars our i30 N does admittedly look a little under gunned. It's got the least power and, with a full five-person interior onboard, it's almost as heavy as the Civic at 1,429kg - chubby by comparison to the 1,360 and 1,297kg weights of the GTI CS and Trophy, respectively. But that doesn't mean it's over before it's started; the i30 N is not overly interested in numbers or the stopwatch located by the Northern Loop's gantry. Hyundai's lack of interest in chasing a Nurburgring lap time illustrates this. It's about the experience first and foremost.


Set the car to its optimum mode, Individual, with the chassis in the middle ground Sport setting but with everything else - engine, limited slip diff and exhaust - turned up to the maximum and you've an i30 that's quick, agile and more vocal than the other three combined. Next to the muscular tone of the i30's 2.0-litre engine and the fireworks coming from its exhaust, the Honda sounds a bit plain. The Renault's blown four-cylinder has an addictive intake rumble, although its exhaust is a little monotone and gruff. The GTI CS sounds, to be honest, excellent and very racey. Although, to these ears, even its free-breathing exhaust doesn't sound quite as naughty as the i30 N's.

But get going in any of the hall of famers, and it soon becomes a feast for the critical faculties. The Megane is alive and apparently always on its tippy toes; the Golf is rapid and adjustable thanks to its phenomenal front end; and the Honda is almost identical at both of those things while also be more supple - and, with five seats, genuinely usable. It's immediately obvious that the i30 N's ability to switch direction isn't so incisive, nor is its engine as eager or its ride quality as well resolved.

Nevertheless, while it doesn't quite reach the bar set by its forbears, its individual components remain acutely well calibrated their relationship with each other. So while you drive the other three through gritted teeth and sweaty palms as you try and eke out every last drip of ability from the chassis, a stint in the i30 N leaves you grinning and with little care for whether or not you clipped the last apex. Truthfully, it doesn't feel like it's even trying to beat the others at their Nordschleife-infused games. If that makes its game face more smiley than steely-eyed, then fine; a good time is often more preferable on the public road to a heart-stoppingly fast one, after all.


Mind you, the back-to-back experience is not all plain sailing. Having more power dangled in front of you does tend to make you yearn for it, and the i30 N never quite feels like it's at the limit of its chassis the way its rivals do. Plus, as good as the Hyundai's seating position feels in isolation, compared to this lot you're sat about an inch too high. As ever, the extra distance subtracts from the overall experience.

The downsides are all fixable though, which makes us hopeful for the strides that might yet be taken by the updated car that's coming next year. But for now, rest assured that even against the toughest backdrop imaginable, the i30 N manages to remind you that Hyundai's way - against all the odds, really - still feels like an enjoyable one. And if that thought hasn't worn off after three months, one suspects it never will.

FACT SHEET
Car:
Hyundai i30 N Performance
On fleet since: August 2018
Run by: Sam Sheehan
Mileage: 13,084
List price new: £28,010 (As tested £28,895 comprising £300 for winter pack and £585 for metallic Clean Slate paint).
Last month at a glance: The i30 N faces the class's most capable champions but manages to hold its own.

Previous reports:
The i30 N joins the fleet
A holiday with a Hyundai
On track at Silverstone

Author
Discussion

Derek Chevalier

Original Poster:

1,819 posts

110 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
" it's almost as heavy as the Civic at 1,429kg "

i30N was 1477kg when EVO weighed it, Civic closer to 1400kg.

Ahbefive

11,464 posts

109 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
I like the i30N but didn't find it particularly exciting. Makes some nice noises and would be a great daily driver but imo feels bland compared to the FRS and CTR.

SidewaysSi

4,929 posts

171 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
Capable but dull is how I would describe this car.

It's fun if you come from a S Class (or that great sports car that is the Audi A8) but it's hardly the last word in communication and exploitability, particularly on road.

s m

17,042 posts

140 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
SidewaysSi said:
Capable but dull is how I would describe this car.

It's fun if you come from a S Class (or that great sports car that is the Audi A8) but it's hardly the last word in communication and exploitability, particularly on road.
Be happy with your 328i Si


https://youtu.be/kABbEVlf_PQ

SidewaysSi

4,929 posts

171 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
s m said:
SidewaysSi said:
Capable but dull is how I would describe this car.

It's fun if you come from a S Class (or that great sports car that is the Audi A8) but it's hardly the last word in communication and exploitability, particularly on road.
Be happy with your 328i Si


https://youtu.be/kABbEVlf_PQ
Very true!

I get the "new cars are safer and better" but comparing them back to back and jumping from an "old banger" straight into a new hot hatch can be a bit of a shock.

And not good for the new car. It was less fun by a huge margin, something you don't realise if all you know is new stuff.

Advertisement

greenarrow

1,490 posts

54 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
SidewaysSi said:
s m said:
SidewaysSi said:
Capable but dull is how I would describe this car.

It's fun if you come from a S Class (or that great sports car that is the Audi A8) but it's hardly the last word in communication and exploitability, particularly on road.
Be happy with your 328i Si


https://youtu.be/kABbEVlf_PQ
Very true!

I get the "new cars are safer and better" but comparing them back to back and jumping from an "old banger" straight into a new hot hatch can be a bit of a shock.

And not good for the new car. It was less fun by a huge margin, something you don't realise if all you know is new stuff.
Its funny, but I was going to refer to this video too! I couldn't believe that the i30N was no faster than the 328i. Even with mods its still only making 225BHP and yes RWD is faster off the line, but i30N was only reeling it in very slowly!

We've been conditioned to believe that new is always best but it often isn't and good to see a few mods can make an old 'un very competitive.

My main issue with the i30N, like the new Megane is weight, so it simply isn't fast enough for a 270BHP car. 0-100 in 14.8 secs as tested by Autocar. Its time manufacturers stopped chasing BHP gains and started concentrating on weight. I.e the Peugeot 308 GTI 270 which is always ignored by Pistonheads and the others but was weighed by EVO at 1308KG. That's two grown adults lighter than the Hyundai and the Megane. How can that be?

So the i30N is clearly a great first effort by Hyundai, but one of the greats, er no.

Derek Chevalier

Original Poster:

1,819 posts

110 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
greenarrow said:
Its time manufacturers stopped chasing BHP gains and started concentrating on weight.
I think Honda haven't done a bad job with the Civic considering how big it is.

big_rob_sydney

2,181 posts

131 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
Weight... yes, if you compare cars with some of their earlier incarnations, you'll see that in a lot of cases, cars have become a lot like people; getting fatter as they get older frown

This is why I love the earlier cars like early Subaru's. A typical rally car from the 90's used to weigh in at around 1250kg, and was easily into 300 bhp. Even the WRX RA weighed 1185kg with bhp in the high 200's. That's almost unheard of these days for a 4 door that can shift.

If you really want an engaging car (without all the safety gear that adds weight, along with the 3 million watt stereo systems and doof-doof kitchen sink in the boot), have a look at some of the earlier cars. You may be surprised. Granted, they wont have the mod cons that today's 4 wheeled lounge rooms do.

s m

17,042 posts

140 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
Derek Chevalier said:
greenarrow said:
Its time manufacturers stopped chasing BHP gains and started concentrating on weight.
I think Honda haven't done a bad job with the Civic considering how big it is.
Yes, it’s a 100kg lighter than the i30N ( which Autocar weighed at 1478kg )

densil101

11 posts

83 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
Are they updating the i30N next year? When is it due to land?

Jon_S_Rally

182 posts

25 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
It's all well and good saying that cars need to be lighter, but that would be suicide for the manufacturers. The majority of buyers don't give two sts about weight. What they want is good equipment levels and safety. They don't care about perfect dynamics and a car feeling light and nimble. If their car has loads of toys, is comfortable safe, but still goes quite fast and makes some nice noises, that's fine.

The likes who post on here are a tiny minority of the car-buying world, so it makes no sense for manufacturers to cater for us, apart from knocking out the odd limited-run machine.

macky17

1,881 posts

126 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
Jon_S_Rally said:
It's all well and good saying that cars need to be lighter, but that would be suicide for the manufacturers. The majority of buyers don't give two sts about weight. What they want is good equipment levels and safety. They don't care about perfect dynamics and a car feeling light and nimble. If their car has loads of toys, is comfortable safe, but still goes quite fast and makes some nice noises, that's fine.

The likes who post on here are a tiny minority of the car-buying world, so it makes no sense for manufacturers to cater for us, apart from knocking out the odd limited-run machine.
Unfortunately, you are spot on. We can blame legislation as well.

RB Will

5,441 posts

177 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
Is this now the most heavily used road in magazine testing?

Every month in Top Gear mag there is at least one road test done there and its regularly popping up on PH now.

SimoneDC

2 posts

3 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
Well lately I'm looking at hyunday with interest, inspecting their cars and getting to know how they are made, they look reliable and fast. I would love to try the i30

3yardy3

134 posts

51 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
Jon_S_Rally said:
It's all well and good saying that cars need to be lighter, but that would be suicide for the manufacturers. The majority of buyers don't give two sts about weight. What they want is good equipment levels and safety. They don't care about perfect dynamics and a car feeling light and nimble. If their car has loads of toys, is comfortable safe, but still goes quite fast and makes some nice noises, that's fine.

The likes who post on here are a tiny minority of the car-buying world, so it makes no sense for manufacturers to cater for us, apart from knocking out the odd limited-run machine.
Completely agree, I absolutely loved my Ep3 Civic Type R (Currently for sale if anyone is interested) It was fast, nimble, "LIGHT" and made a great noise! But guess what... I now own a Audi S3, It's got everything i need from a car, sat-nav, wireless music, heated seats cruise control, the list goes on. its dynamics are nowhere near as good as the older generation of cars and if on a great day on a great road I would wish I was in my old Ep3 but realistically 80% of my driving is your everyday commute with the 20% having fun when traffic is low etc... and for that why have the old back to basics car?

Fingers crossed I win a bit of money and I could have both a sensible car with all the mod cons and a fun car with back to basics dynamics... I dont, like a lot of people so i'll settle with the modern ones that give fun a damn good try whilst keeping all the modern tech.

greenarrow

1,490 posts

54 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
Jon_S_Rally said:
It's all well and good saying that cars need to be lighter, but that would be suicide for the manufacturers. The majority of buyers don't give two sts about weight. What they want is good equipment levels and safety. They don't care about perfect dynamics and a car feeling light and nimble. If their car has loads of toys, is comfortable safe, but still goes quite fast and makes some nice noises, that's fine.

The likes who post on here are a tiny minority of the car-buying world, so it makes no sense for manufacturers to cater for us, apart from knocking out the odd limited-run machine.
Sorry I have to disagree. The 308 I mentioned is about 170KG lighter than the i30N yet has a bigger boot and plenty of kit. It can be done. A lighter car also emits less CO2 allowing manufacturers to meet their ever tighter emissions targets. You also get better MPG, which is something buyers look for these days. The aforementioned 308 is one of the best hot hatches you can buy for MPG.

So far from being suicide as you put it, making your car a bit lighter is a good thing for a manufacturer.

If Peugeot and VW/Seat can bring a sub 1400KG 5 door, fully equipped hot hatch to the market, why cant Hyundai and Renault?

I agree also with the comment about the Civic Type R. Its a big car so 1400KG isn't bad really.

SidewaysSi

4,929 posts

171 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
greenarrow said:
SidewaysSi said:
s m said:
SidewaysSi said:
Capable but dull is how I would describe this car.

It's fun if you come from a S Class (or that great sports car that is the Audi A8) but it's hardly the last word in communication and exploitability, particularly on road.
Be happy with your 328i Si


https://youtu.be/kABbEVlf_PQ
Very true!

I get the "new cars are safer and better" but comparing them back to back and jumping from an "old banger" straight into a new hot hatch can be a bit of a shock.

And not good for the new car. It was less fun by a huge margin, something you don't realise if all you know is new stuff.
Its funny, but I was going to refer to this video too! I couldn't believe that the i30N was no faster than the 328i. Even with mods its still only making 225BHP and yes RWD is faster off the line, but i30N was only reeling it in very slowly!

We've been conditioned to believe that new is always best but it often isn't and good to see a few mods can make an old 'un very competitive.

My main issue with the i30N, like the new Megane is weight, so it simply isn't fast enough for a 270BHP car. 0-100 in 14.8 secs as tested by Autocar. Its time manufacturers stopped chasing BHP gains and started concentrating on weight. I.e the Peugeot 308 GTI 270 which is always ignored by Pistonheads and the others but was weighed by EVO at 1308KG. That's two grown adults lighter than the Hyundai and the Megane. How can that be?

So the i30N is clearly a great first effort by Hyundai, but one of the greats, er no.
Agree entirely.

I thought the i30N wasn't actually that fast at all. Rapid as you would expect but lacked the grunt I expected it to have.

In addition I thought the gearchange was average, steering feel poor and pedals not particularly well spaced. A capable chassis but limits are quite high so little fun to be had on road.

An effective if somewhat dull device.

VeeFource

861 posts

114 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
Any news on when the I20N is due to land? Would have thought it'd be here before the next gen I30N.

df76

1,808 posts

215 months

Saturday 3rd November 2018
quotequote all
VeeFource said:
Any news on when the I20N is due to land? Would have thought it'd be here before the next gen I30N.
I was really hoping that this would appear, but think the project’s been canned..

VeeFource

861 posts

114 months

Saturday 3rd November 2018
quotequote all
df76 said:
I was really hoping that this would appear, but think the project’s been canned..
That's a shame. Seems the Fiesta ST will rule alone once again in which case.