RE: Hyundai i30 N Performance: PH Fleet

RE: Hyundai i30 N Performance: PH Fleet

Friday 30th November 2018

Hyundai i30 N Performance: PH Fleet

Our time with Hyundai's 275hp hot hatch is finally up - and we're rather sad about it



The muscular tone of that 2.0-litre four-pot up front and the gargle of the twin-pipe exhaust behind - sadly it's all a distant memory now. The i30 N is gone. Flawed, fantastic and now much missed with the winter setting in. No car left on the PH fleet is quite so good at turning the commute home into a night time rally stage. Or burrowing under the skin when all the day needed was pops, crackles and growls at the end of it.

No less lovable than its Sport+ mode was the ability to flick it all off again. It was brilliantly fun when the circumstances were right - like when you're faced with mile upon mile of traffic-free B-road - but in other scenarios, the car's quietened 'Normal' setting ensured that the i30 N never seemed like a one-trick pony. It made for a rather nice place to be - stuck in traffic or not.

If that makes it all sound a bit Golf GTI-like, then so be it - certainly that was the connection we were inclined to make upon receipt of Hyundai's first ever (proper) hot hatch back in the summer. But now, after a much longer relationship, it's clear this car is a quite different proposition to the perennial class leader from Germany. Its talent is just as broad - thanks to its maker's endless benchmarking - but this is far more adept at indulging the silly end of the spectrum.


For starters, the i30 N never fully shuts up like the Golf. So wound back is a GTI in Comfort mode that it'd be easy to confuse it for a base TSI. The i30 N never stoops so low. Were you blindfolded and in ski gloves, you'd know you were certainly not in a stock Korean hatchback. The burly engine note and always-weighty steering ensure that. The difference is that the i30 N is a sports hatch that's easy to live with, rather than a family hatchback with an attitude.

True enough, there are downsides to this approach. The car never exactly proved frugal, for example. Averaging 29mpg on a sedate motorway journey is fairly awful in a modern context. It made us think twice about taking it on some journeys - and that's a demerit in the big book of hot hatch excellence. On the other hand, it always felt like it was only a squeeze of the throttle away from becoming a five-seat touring car again - like it was Usain Bolt in a pair of loafers. And that's rather lovely.

Which leads us to the loafer-less elephant in the room: N Mode. It's been censured elsewhere, and, had we not done a track day, we'd be heading in the direction of the same opinion. No road surface delivered by the UK's topography is worthy of the damper's stiffest setting, that's true. But as soon as those Performance Pack 19-inch wheels and Pirelli P Zero tyres met the asphalt of Silverstone's GP circuit, it all made sense.


N Mode is sublime on track, as it was intended to be. You get motorsport-rigid body control and, in turn, immense confidence - even into very, very high speed corners. Without it, not only would the lap time be slower, the input from behind the wheel would be greater, meaning you'd have less capacity to really wring the car's neck. Most importantly, N Mode makes the whole track day experience that much more exhilarating. Which is kind of the point, no?

For us, the foibles were of a more personal nature. Yours truly, at a not exactly lofty five foot eleven, never found a seating position you'd call spot on, and mostly everyone who drove it felt just that wee bit too high up (save for Nic, of course, who's about four foot nine). The engine, too, is not quite the paragon of hard-edged performance its rivals can claim to feature. Volkswagen's EA888 and Honda's VTEC unit are faster revving and ultimately more sophisticated turbocharged motors than Hyundai's try-hard effort - certainly you get the feeling that Albert Biermann and his miracle workers have wrung everything possible from the powerplant they were handed.

Ultimately, it is their hard work which has paid off. We miss the i30 N already. Excellence across the board was required to top the class (something it didn't quite manage) but it is not needed to convince us of the car's calibre as a proposition for ownership. We'd recommend the N wholeheartedly to anyone, but in particular to someone looking for something a little different - and dead set on having a good time. Because that's what we've taken away in retrospect: on the fun factor Richter Scale, the i30 was an 8.9. Not devastating, or life changing - just a riot when it needed to be.


FACT SHEET
Car:
Hyundai i30 N Performance
On fleet since: August 2018
Run by: Sam Sheehan
Mileage: 14,476
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: Our hot hatch-cum-wannabe touring car has departed - and we miss it!

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





Author
Discussion

GTEYE

Original Poster:

1,208 posts

147 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
A pity the interior, the bit you see the most is sooooo dreary.

At least the Golf interior is a really pleasant place to be....and that makes a difference as a daily driver....it’s not all about track performance which the i30 does have as an advantage....albeit on that most owners will rarely or never experience.

kambites

55,583 posts

158 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
I think when building a hot hatch based on a bog-standard C-segment hatchback, you have the choice between "bland" and "bland with bits of tinsel stuck on". I wouldn't say any car in this segment exactly sets the world on fire in terms of interior charisma.

GTEYE

Original Poster:

1,208 posts

147 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
kambites said:
I think when building a hot hatch based on a bog-standard C-segment hatchback, you have the choice between "bland" and "bland with bits of tinsel stuck on". I wouldn't say any car in this segment exactly sets the world on fire in terms of interior charisma.
All true, but some do it much better than others, and the Hyundai is not one of the best. Functional, yes, but the quality is only to the minimum acceptable level, the Golf is way ahead IMHO...and that matters at this price point.

s m

17,042 posts

140 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
It always interests me how concerned people are about the interior on a sporty car
As long as the seats are comfy and hold you reasonably well and I can see the dials with the steering wheel set right I’m good
I guess if you spend a lot of time in traffic jams it becomes something you ponder on

mcpoot

109 posts

44 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
s m said:
It always interests me how concerned people are about the interior on a sporty car
As long as the seats are comfy and hold you reasonably well and I can see the dials with the steering wheel set right I’m good
I guess if you spend a lot of time in traffic jams it becomes something you ponder on
What's so odd about someone who enjoys driving a sporty car wanting to do so in a quality interior? Should the owner of the latest 8k big screen tv be expected to be happy to view it in a bare garage?

Advertisement

Kenny Powers

2,081 posts

64 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
s m said:
It always interests me how concerned people are about the interior on a sporty car
As long as the seats are comfy and hold you reasonably well and I can see the dials with the steering wheel set right I’m good
I guess if you spend a lot of time in traffic jams it becomes something you ponder on
People have different needs, tastes and priorities to one another thumbup

I like these cars but I don’t like that launch colour.

Limpet

3,197 posts

98 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
I really like these, and I think they drive brilliantly. Bags of character for a modern car as well.

I'd find that fuel consumption really irritating though, particularly coming from an M140i which has more of everything engine-wise, averages 30 mpg, and regularly gives me low 40s trip average on a journey with a lot of motorway miles in it.


tonker

55,188 posts

185 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
Engine not good enough
Ride sounds like it's noughties Audi harsh
Not relaxing when it needs to be
Interior old hat
Economy laughably bad for normal people who pay their own fuel bills and do normal mileage
Depreciation likely to be savage

Sounds like a modified MG ZR

Sorry, but the article reads like political spin. It reads like it's a defence of a modified hatchback that just isn't usable in the real world. With real people who spend real money. So let's just write about how it is always engaging and a rally car in a frock. Hide that it doesn't fulfil a normal customers brief....

It needed to be a great hatch and also do everything else. It clearly doesn't. Or people just won't buy it. I suspect people haven't bought them much. Yet VW has sold tens of thousands of Rs and GTIs. And even GTEs and GTDs.

It was rated pretty average by your big brother as well
https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/hyundai/i30-n...

They could see it's a one trick pony.



Edited by tonker on Friday 30th November 09:20

OppoLocksmith

27 posts

68 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
I suspect the weight doesn't help the MPG. A very intriguing car and given that car crime is at unprecedented levels where I live I like the element of stealth this gives you in the right colour. For me it would be a toss up between this and the 308 GTI which is another wolf in sheeps clothing but much better on the MPG stakes.

Limpet

3,197 posts

98 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
tonker said:
Not relaxing when it needs to be
The review said:

"No less lovable than its Sport+ mode was the ability to flick it all off again. It was brilliantly fun when the circumstances were right - like when you're faced with mile upon mile of traffic-free B-road - but in other scenarios, the car's quietened 'Normal' setting ensured that the i30 N never seemed like a one-trick pony. "

tonker said:
Depreciation likely to be savage.
I really hope so. These could be an absolute bargain at 2-3 years old, with a good chunk of manufacturers warranty left on them to boot.

tonker said:
Yet VW has sold tens of thousands of Rs and GTIs. And even GTEs and GTDs.
This is much to do with the badge as anything else, I suspect. A lot of people wouldn't be seen dead in a Hyundai. I've been quite enthusiastic about this car since I drove one, and the reaction I get from most people when I mention it to is either to laugh, or respond with something like "Yeah, but it's a Hyundai. No thanks!". Quite honestly, the thing could ride like a Bentley, go like a GTR and handle like a GT3 RS, and a big chunk of people out there wouldn't give it the time of day.

Terminator X

7,030 posts

141 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
Good on them, sounds good and looks great.

TX.

tonker

55,188 posts

185 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
It also said that it never shuts up. It has constantly heavy steering and it's always a sporty car and doesn't dumb down to be a shopping hatch for Normal driving.

All the successful cars here triumphed as cars you can use every day and do all jobs, or have ludicrous amounts of power (A45 AMG)

Don't get me wrong, it's not a 1.3 Toyota Corolla, or a 2.0sdi Golf, but it falls short in so many areas. The way I read the review. It has a great talent, to drive it balls out it's a riot. But dial it back and it's still trying to be a riot, like trying to do coke and then going to a funeral....

And most buyers of these cars have to have them do a number of jobs. Thus does one great. Others do a lot more. And it doesn't seem to be cheaper to own as I suspect the finance deals (which matter outside PH land) won't be anywhere near as good as the Germans.

TaylotS2K

1,600 posts

144 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
GTEYE said:
A pity the interior, the bit you see the most is sooooo dreary.

At least the Golf interior is a really pleasant place to be....and that makes a difference as a daily driver....it’s not all about track performance which the i30 does have as an advantage....albeit on that most owners will rarely or never experience.
Each to their own. Both interiors are decent enough and pleasant enough to me. I always think VW interiors look a bit dated, despite their perceived quality.

Sford

73 posts

87 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
Why oh why would you want a normal car for driving. Modern cars are dull. Had a loaner 220d tourer the other day. Boring. Got a loaner 220d coupe today. Boring. Even in sport+ mode it's a dull car. The i30N I drove was just so much more interesting. Interior finish was all fine as well.

We went to buy an Volvo XC40 a while ago and wanted the blue exterior colour with the orange interior. They said that we couldn't have it as a colour combination! No explanation.

The i30N is a breath of fresh air where it doesn't take itself too seriously in a saturated segment. I'm looking forward to the coupe version coming out.


Limpet

3,197 posts

98 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
tonker said:
And it doesn't seem to be cheaper to own as I suspect the finance deals (which matter outside PH land) won't be anywhere near as good as the Germans.
Yes, the higher depreciation will make PCP monthly payments (or lease costs) higher, and there don't seem to be the same deposit contributions that BMW and VAG often throw in. Certainly, looking at the PCP calculator on the site, a standard N Performance model would cost me £60 a month more than my M140i for the same deposit, time, and mileage.

I'm more interested in it as a used proposition though. If the PCP GFV being quoted on the Hyundai site is any indicator, you'll be able to pick up a 3 year old one with 36k on the clock for somewhere in the order of £12k. Still with 2 years of warranty left on it as well. That is a lot of car for the money.

Based on the reaction I've had from an admittedly small sample of friends I've talked about the car with, the badge is going to make these a cracking buy after a few years because a lot of people simply don't want to drive a Hyundai, however good it is. People do however want to drive a VW, Audi, BMW etc, arguably however bad it is.




unsprung

2,601 posts

61 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
Limpet said:
I'm more interested in it as a used proposition though.
this car is going to make countless secondhand owners the most happy hot hatch drivers in Britain

- new, it's an interesting proposition

- used, and properly cared for, it's likely to be a value-for-money juggernaut

and either way:

who isn't interested in a characterful modernist that refutes the usual? this car builds anticipation at what Hyundai and the N series can become over the next couple of years

pity I'm on the wrong side of the Atlantic for this one!



Edited by unsprung on Friday 30th November 12:34

F4R

50 posts

2 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
I think these are an absolute bargain. Yes there a few flaws but for a hot hatch that accelerates, handles and looks as good as this for relatively small money it is a gem. I'm bored of seeing the same old semi sporty German hatches on the roads, so a Korean hot hatch is much more interesting in my opinion.

OpulentBob

10,312 posts

117 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
Having run a sister Kia (ceed and i30 are essentially the same car) for 3 years and 75k miles, I have no complaints about the quality or interior. Toys aplenty, no rattles, it's a very pleasant place to be, warranty is utterly superb and it's needed only one set of front and rear pads and a clutch (and a few tyres) in that time. Certainly more reliable that any of the VAG stuff my team drive (2xgolf, 1xa3 but all reasonably low spec).

I wouldn't buy one of the N's new but 2 years old it would be a brilliant, solid used buy, and on my list for when the kia warranty runs out at 100k.

Ajax Treesdown

32 posts

65 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
I bought mine new. Had it 6 months now and done just over 6000 miles. MPG average over those 6000 miles is 34.5 which I consider to be adequate, gets driven properly when it can, along with mixture of town/city drivings and motorway. The interior everyone seems so keen to comment on is just fine. It does everything it needs to do. Its actually a nice place to sit. The equipement level as standard over the Golf GTI is the main reason i chose the Hyundai over the Golf. The price difference between the two once options added (Only 1 option available for the N which is winter pack) was staggering. I know people will say the residuals for the golf will be much better but at the end of the day it's the person who is buying the car's choice on what to go for. I did get the 'but it's a Hyundai' comments when I told people what I was buying but once they have seen the car and actually been in it, they are pleasantly surprised.

Everyone will have a reason as to why they bought or won't buy any car. Everyone is different otherwise it would be a boring world, but I can honestly say the Hyundai N Performance is a great car that can be used everyday transporting the kids around, doing the shopping and the everyday stuff but then can be an absolute riot with the right buttons pressed.

stevekoz

115 posts

99 months

Friday 30th November 2018
quotequote all
TaylotS2K said:
Each to their own. Both interiors are decent enough and pleasant enough to me. I always think VW interiors look a bit dated, despite their perceived quality.
Yeah i am with you on this one. The Golf GTI is not the pinnacle of interior pleasantness. By any stretch. I mean. Comparing the two - there is hardly vast amounts of difference and VW's are not as buttoned up as well as they once were, the i30N may introduce some rattles earlier but not by much in my experience.



vs



Honestly i don't see either as brilliant but not so far as being anything but a good place to be if you are having a hoot.

As for the comments about the fact it always feels on it rather than off/on. Maybe if you were doing 40k a year it might get tiresome. But there are plenty of cars that are raw all the time but do multiple jobs quite well. Yes the AMG Mercs have all the power and all the presence and all the comfort but they also come with all the price tag.

Give it a couple of years i know which used bargain i will be looking at.

Personally, I love the i30N and like to, instead of comparing it to every other hot hatch out there from brands that are tried and tested, remind myself this is new from a company that lets face it made your moms commuter cheap SUV or city box for the last god knows how many decades. If that is their first foray into a proper drivers car hot hatch then i look forward to seeing what some feedback, money and future development could bring. More so than bl**dy golf and yet another GTI that looks and feels much the same. IMHO.