Hyundai i30 N 2.0

T-GDi

Hyundai i30, front
Hyundai i30, front
Hyundai i30, side
Hyundai i30, side
Hyundai i30, rear
Hyundai i30, rear
Hyundai i30, rear
Hyundai i30, interior
Hyundai i30, interior
Hyundai i30, interior
Hyundai i30, front
Hyundai i30, rear

MENTION hot hatches and Hyundai is not a name that immediately springs to mind.

The Veloster arrived amid high hopes and fizzled out fairly swiftly, but now the Korean marque has launched the blisteringly-fast i30 N.

The ‘N' brand will be familiar to rally fans around the world, but for day-to-day drivers this is a new dimension for a fairly straight forward family hatchback.

And if any further explanation was necessary, the car was created at the company's R&D centre in Namyang and further developed at the Nurburgring so hence that ‘N' suffix.

The i30 N stands out from the standard car thanks to some dynamic styling cues such as N Exclusive bumpers and radiator grille, 18-inch alloys with performance tyres, smoked tail lights, a rear spoiler, tinted windows, twin tail pipes and red brake calipers which is always a guide as to what's in store.

And if you're looking for a little extra reassurance that this Hyundai is a little bit special there is an N Exclusive rear diffuser, N Exclusive Sport cluster, N Exclusive Sport seats, aluminium pedals, an N Mode button (I'll come back to that), active sound design and lots more besides.

Power is courtesy of a 2.0-litre 250ps petrol engine with 353Nm of pulling power. It can fire its way from 0-62mph in just 6.4 seconds, maxes out at 155mph and can deliver combined fuel economy of 36.7mpg (if driven with a degree of respect) with carbon emissions of 176g/km.

And when it comes to pricing, it's competitively marketed at £26,345.

The interior is beautifully styled with supportive and quite firm seats plus a whole array of techno treats to explore.

There is full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, Bluetooth with voice recognition, a DAB digital radio, a six-speaker sound system, an eight-inch touchscreen navigation system, air con and wireless phone charging.

Comfort levels within the car are great upfront, but legroom is a little restricted for back seat passengers.

The boot can accommodate 395 litres of luggage - a limit that increases to 1,301 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere there are door pockets, cup holders, a glovebox, a front armrest with storage bin and a rear armrest with cup holders.

But this is car that's all about performance and that's where it excels. It starts up with a roar and the driving dynamics match the raucous outburst. There are different driving modes called Normal, Sport and Eco that alter the way the i30 N handles.

The Normal and Eco modes are great for more relaxed driving or in the wet when the i30 N behaves in a calm, responsible manner. Sport mode is for more spirited driving but the most interesting button is discovered on the steering wheel with a chequered flag design. It's called the N mode - press that and the i30 N suddenly behaves like a hot hatch that's sizzling with heat.

The active exhaust sound becomes more vocal and booms when you change down through the gears. The display screen adjusts to show G-force and power flow readouts and the handling is perfect for a day at the track.

On our somewhat ‘ruined' UK road network, you'd have to take a bravery pill before travelling too far in the N mode. That's because the car's responses become incredibly sharp. It's easy to lose grip and composure especially if a little rain has fallen and bends need to be given a fair amount of respect.

For me, Sport mode ticked all the right boxes for a thrilling driving experience and leave the chequered flag to the track where it was designed to show off its true capabilities. That said; it is still guaranteed to put a smile on your face on a winding country lane with little other traffic as company and glorious sunshine.

FAST FACTS

Hyundai i30 N 2.0 T-GDi

Price:£26,345â¨

Mechanical: 250ps, 1,998cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 6.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 36.7

Insurance Group: 27

C02 emissions: 176g/km

Bik rating: 36%

Warranty: 5yrs/unlimited miles

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