Hyundai i30 N
(2017 - 2021)

  • Superb levels of performance and dynamics
  • Excellent warranty
  • Showing very good reliability
  • Retains the standard i30’s practicality
  • Lacks European competitors upmarket interior treatment
  • Pre-update manual transmission only
  • Holding its value so a distinct lack of bargains on the used market.
  • Ummmm…
Overview

In the past decade or so, few motoring newcomers have made quite an impact on enthusiasts circles quite as large as i30 N, Hyundai’s first foray into properly go-fast territory. In establishing the Korean carmaker’s N (for Namyang, the marque’s main proving ground) Performance brand, its debut hot hatch promised a big bang for modest bucks, quickly asserting itself as a bona-fide cracker to a skeptical reception.

With dynamic and performance capabilities beyond the much-loved Volkswagen Golf GTI and a price well undercutting the king-hitting Honda Civic Type R it was, around its March 2018 debut, the hottest topic amongst petrolheads. And an instant cult car.

Before it spawned a range offering sedan and coupe/Fastback guises and a choice of transmissions around this year’s face-lift, the i30 N first lobbed as a simple, six-speed-manual, hatchback-only proposition. At a tenner under $40k for the basic variant, it looked cheap to those in the know who’d discovered the Korean five-door benefitted from (just quietly) German-led design and engineering, with key development at the old Nurburgring. Its Euro genes also extend to its Czech Republic build.

Where it really stacks up was in credentials. For the performance and features offered, the i30N looked exceptionally good value, with or without the three-grand-extra Luxury pack, that includes select upgrades and faux-suede and leather bucket seats.

Its 2.0-litre turbo four plies 202kW and an “overboosted” 378Nm (advertised as 353Nm), out-punching rivals Subaru WRX and Ford Focus ST by a bit and, against the 169kW Golf GTI, a whole lot.

But it’s the long-list of go-faster features that brought go-fast credibility beyond much of the competition. In standard trim, the i30 N fits continuously adaptive suspension, an electro-mechanical LSD, launch control, rev-matching smarts, in-dash shift lights, specific rack-mounted electric steering, bespoke tyres, underbody reinforcement, a rear removable stiffness bar, and an active exhaust (with electronic sound generation) the sounds like firecrackers on the overrun. It’s a serious piece of kit.

Nor is it pauper when it comes to equipment and niceties. Full LED exterior lighting, electric seats, rear camera and sensors, cruise control, 8.0-inch sat-nav-equipped infotainment with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, plus Hyundai’s full-featured SmartSense safety suite.

Most importantly, it talked the performance talk, a feisty, fast and fun machine that fit enough for track work and responds impressively to sticky R-spec rubber. Australia also got a localised suspension tune and active damper calibration a little softer and more everyday friendly than the ‘global’ set-up, though it didn’t, and doesn’t, rob the i30 N of what proved to be thoroughbred dynamics.

The big-booted Fastback, that arrived in late 2018 for a $2k premium, hasn’t drummed up quite the same interest as the hatch with the fanboys and fangirls. And the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic option touted from i30 N’s debut was on such continual delay that it seemed it might never appear, eventually arriving in tandem with 2021’s face-lift that saw the turbo engine’s output rise to 206kW and 392Nm…in what’s now become a $44,500 entry proposition. There’s now a new wild-styled four-door sedan in the N Performance fold, too.

Of course, the red flag buying a used (pre-face-lifted) i30 N is potential hard use for a vehicle clearly intended for such a role. Needless to say, this comes with the territory. That said, examples that haven’t flaunted warranty terms and conditions still come with Hyundai’s five-year factory backing given the breed is, at the time of writing, just four years young.

How does i30 N fare as a second-hand proposition? Read on to find out…

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What goes wrong

What goes wrong? Honestly, not very much.

Our research showed that any issues are sporadic at best and there are very few, if any “common” problems.

We know of a handful of owners that have reported a slight rattle in the dash or around the windscreen.

There are the odd reports of the piece of plastic trim above the internal rear vision mirror falling out.

A few reports of the leather cracking or creasing over time and owners with sunroofs reporting that the sunroof can squeak and rattle and on occasion non-sunroof cars developing rattles in the headlining. Although again, these are not common problems by any means and all of those issues have generally been resolved under warranty.Mechanically, there are reports that 5th and 6th gear can crunch and the steering rack can bind up if you are extremely unlucky.
The Bi-Modal Exhaust Spring can wear and squeak.

There are reports that the boost control solenoid and the steering rack bearing can wear prematurely.

Again, these issues are generally resolved under warranty and are far from common.”

Model range, pricing and features

N Performance

  • Price when new: $39,990 - $42,910
  • Price used: $37,000 - $65,000

The N Performance was the only model available in the i30 N range when it was first released.

Available only in a 6-speed manual transmission paired to the 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.

It built on the Elite spec models (and later N-Line models) in the standard i30 range and comes standard with a wide variety of safety, technological and comfort-orientated features.

Most importantly, it featured uprated brakes, performance suspension (Australian tuned), launch control and a variety of sportier exterior and interior additions.

A luxury pack and a luxury pack with panoramic sunroof could be added as an option to the vehicle for $3000 or $5000 respectively when new, and buyers should research used i30 N’s to see if these packs have been added to the vehicle at time of purchase.

Standard features:

  • Active variable exhaust
  • Electro-mechanical limited-slip differential
  • Drive mode selector (Eco, Normal, Sport, N and Custom)
  • Launch control
  • 19-inch alloy wheels with Pirelli P-Zero HN tyres
  • Chrome exhaust tips
  • Performance brakes
  • Auto headlights (dusk sensing)
  • LED headlights and tail-lights
  • LED daytime-running lights
  • 5-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2017)
  • 7 airbags: driver and front passenger, driver’s knee, side and full length curtain airbags.
  • Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
  • Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
  • Electronic stability control (ESP)
  • Traction control
  • Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
  • Forward collision warning
  • Lane keeping assist system
  • Lane departure warning
  • Driver attention alert monitoring
  • Reversing camera
  • Tyre pressure monitoring
  • Hill hold/assist
  • Alloy sports pedals
  • Electrically heated exterior mirrors
  • Electric windows with auto up/down for all windows
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Front sport seats in a cloth trim
  • Electric adjustment of the driver’s seat
  • Multi-functional leather steering wheel
  • Leather gear selector
  • 8.0-inch infotainment system
  • Satellite navigation system
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 6-speaker stereo system
  • DAB+ digital radio
  • Bluetooth phone connectivity
  • AUX input
  • USB input
  • 12V power outlet

Luxury Pack ($3000 when new)
Packs have been discontined with the MY22 model

  • Front parking sensors
  • Electrically folding exterior mirrors
  • Solar control windscreen glass
  • 12-way power front seat adjustment
  • Driver’s seat memory function
  • Heated front seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Upgraded front seats with leather bolsters and suede inserts
  • Smart key
  • Push-button start
  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • Privacy glass
  • Electrochromic rear-view mirror

Luxury Pack with Panoramic Sunroof ($5000 when new):
Packs have been discontinued with the MY22 model

  • Luxury pack plus Panoramic sunroof.

N

  • Price when new: $44,500 - $47,500
  • Price used: $47,000 - $56,000

The “N” model replaced the N Performance model as part of the MY22 model revisions.

MY22 specific updates included: Blind spot monitoring, Blind-spot assist (auto only), Rear cross-traffic assist (auto only), LED puddle lights, Power folding mirrors, Keyless entry and start, Wireless phone charging and 10.25-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The addition of a Premium model to the range also means that the luxury packs that were once on offer were discontinued.

 

N includes:

  • Active variable exhaust
  • Electro-mechanical limited-slip differential
  • Drive mode selector (Eco, Normal, Sport, N and Custom)
  • Launch control
  • 19-inch alloy wheels with Pirelli P-Zero HN tyres
  • Chrome exhaust tips
  • Performance brakes
  • Auto headlights (dusk sensing)
  • LED headlights and tail-lights
  • LED daytime-running lights
  • 5-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2017)
  • 7 airbags: driver and front passenger, driver’s knee, side and full length curtain airbags.
  • Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
  • Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
  • Electronic stability control (ESP)
  • Traction control
  • Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
  • Forward collision warning
  • Lane keeping assist system
  • Lane departure warning
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Blind-spot assist (auto only)
  • Rear cross-traffic assist (auto only)
  • Driver attention alert monitoring
  • Reversing camera
  • Tyre pressure monitoring
  • Hill hold/assist
  • Alloy sports pedals
  • LED puddle lights
  • Power folding mirrors
  • Keyless entry and start
  • Electrically heated exterior mirrors
  • Electric windows with auto up/down for all windows
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Front sport seats in a cloth trim
  • Electric adjustment of the driver’s seat
  • Multi-functional leather steering wheel
  • Leather gear selector
  • 10.25-inch touchscreen
  • Satellite navigation and
  • Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 6-speaker stereo system
  • DAB+ digital radio
  • Bluetooth phone connectivity
  • Wireless phone charging
  • AUX input
  • USB input
  • 12V power outlet

N Limited Edition

  • Price when new: $49,000 - $52,000
  • Price used: $48,000 - $53,500

The N Limited Edition is a special edition model for the N Coupe (Fastback), and limited to 500 units.

The limited edition model was released as a last hurrah for the Fastback body style, as it will be replaced by the i30 N Sedan.

The N Limited Edition also has the ability to be selected with the dual-clutch automatic transmission.

N Limited Edition includes:

  • Australian-tuned electronic controlled suspension
  • Auto-dimming interior mirror
  • Autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Lane-following assist
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Reversing camera
  • Rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights
  • 360mm front brake discs
  • 19-inch forged alloy wheels
  • 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • DAB+ digital radio, satellite navigation
  • Wireless phone charging
  • 4.2-inch colour trip computer
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Heated front seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Power-folding exterior mirror
  • Keyless entry and start

N Premium

  • Price when new: $47,500 - $52,000
  • Price used: $47,000 - $59,000

The N Premium is the top of the range model for the MY22 revision of the i30 N, and adds on additional comfort and convenience features.

The N Premium replaces the Luxury Pack option that were able to be added to the N Performance model prior to the MY22 revision.

N Premium buyers also have the option to add a panoramic sunroof at extra cost.

N Performance includes:

  • Front parking sensors
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Rear privacy glass
  • N Light bucket seats
  • Leather and Alcantara trim
  • Auto-dimming interior mirror
  • Heated seats
  • Heated steering wheel
Should you buy it?

If you require a car with a fancy European brand name and the associated image that comes with that to feel good about yourself, then no, you shouldn’t buy an i30N.

As brilliant as the i30N is, and as much as it can match and beat even some of the hottest hatches in terms of performance and driver engagement, the one area that it still can’t match the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, is in the slightly pretentious appeal that it still feels only European brands can provide.

However, if you couldn’t care less about brand identity and the bells and whistles that comes with the European car image, then yes, you should buy an i30N.

Even after a few years and thousands of kilometres, the i30N is still a superb hot hatch. Engaging performance that will hold its own amongst far more expensive rivals while not compromising on it’s everyday usability, genuine practicality and great levels of tech and safety, its under the radar looks that subtly hint at its sporty demeanour all supported by a brilliant warranty and support network of fans make buying the i30N something of a no brainer.

In the used market, the i30N is the intelligent hot hatch to buy. Not taking anything away from the likes of the Golf GTI, Focus ST and Megane RS and all of the other alternatives, all very good at what they do, but, the i30N just makes sense.

Warranty & servicing

Warranty:
5 years/unlimited kilometre warranty

Servicing:
12 months/10,000km

Tech specs

Body style:

  • 5-door hatchback
  • 5-door coupé – from MY19 (PDe.3)

Engine:

  • 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine

Power:

  • 202kW (2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine)
  • 206kW (2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine) from MY22 (PDe.4)

Torque:

  • 353Nm (2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine)
  • 392Nm (2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine) from MY22 (PDe.4)

Transmission:

  • 6-speed manual transmission (all models and body styles)
  • 8-speed dual clutch automatic transmission – from MY22 (PDe.4)

Fuel Consumption:

  • 8.0 – 8.5L/100km – 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine

Height:

  • 1447mm – 5 door hatchback
  • 1419mm – 5-door coupé

Length

  • 4335 – 4340mm – 5 door hatchback
  • 4455mm – 5-door coupé

Width:

  • 1795mm

Kerb weight:

  • 1520 – 1541kg
Disclaimer

Information correct as of November 19, 2021.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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