Hyundai i30 Fastback

N

Hyundai i30 Fastback N, front
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, rear
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, front
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, front
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, front
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, side
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, rear
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, interior
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, interior
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, rear
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, rear
Hyundai i30 Fastback N, boot

LIKE most of the population who have ever got behind the wheel of a car, I think I'm a pretty good driver when in fact I'm pretty average.

We may both have spent our childhoods in Stevenage, but that is where any similarity between Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and myself ends.

Where he is silky smooth in high-speed corners with reflexes honed by life behind the wheel of a grand prix car, I waddle through with reflexes honed by life behind a desk.

Everything is always someone else's fault with any minor errors put down to excessive traffic or the road surface while those around you are forced accept the self-delusion or get a taxi.

That was until I was introduced to the charms of the second performance model from Hyundai in the UK - the N version of the i30 Fastback.

As well as being pretty quick - 62mph is reached from a standing start in a shade over six seconds - it is fitted with some neat electronics that make you look a master of the road.

The electronic lockable front differential is a seriously dull name for something that allows you to have serious amounts of fun.

That is because it gives you four-wheel-drive levels of grip which, combined with torque vectoring control and a feature matching revs when you shift gear, leads your friends to the delightfully incorrect idea that you are indeed the new Lewis - when in fact it's the car who's the star.

This is a proper hot hatch developed under the guidance of former engineering boss for BMW's legendary M division, Albert Biermann, who is now Hyundai's head of research and development.

The performance model is more than three seconds faster under acceleration than the mainstream i30 Fastback and sits a fraction lower. It has the requisite hot hatch features such as 19-inch alloys, natty coloured brake callipers and smart rear spoiler on the boot lip, while red highlights on the facia vents and a triangular fog lamp at the rear complete the show. There is also an N badge on the grille - the ‘N' stands for both Nurburgring and Namyang which is Hyundai's global research and development centre in South Korea - and eye-catching red highlights on the bumper.

Step inside and the sporty theme is continued with figure-hugging sports seats and an eight-inch touchscreen that offers a wide range of information including the G forces you are incurring as you zip around town.

Sat nav is also thrown in as is wireless phone charging, parking sensors and autonomous emergency braking. Hooking up your smartphone is easy thanks to the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The cabin offers plenty of room for four adults - with plenty of cubby holes for their nik-naks - while the 450-litre boot expands to 1,351 litres with the rear seats down.

Push the start button and the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine roars into life - there are no quiet getaways in this car - but your fillings should be safe as the suspension is well balanced so keeps body roll under control while still being able to cope with the humps and hollows littering our roads these days.

The driving set up is adjustable with a custom function, individual drive modes and adaptive dampers allowing you to choose a whole host of parameters.

It is good value for a hot hatch and is reasonable when it comes to running costs as fuel consumption and insurance shouldn't break the bank.

FAST FACTS

Hyundai i30 Fastback N

Price:£29,995

Mechanical:275ps, 1,998cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:155mph

0-62mph:6.1 seconds

Combined MPG:34

Insurance Group:29

C02 emissions:188g/km

Bik rating:37%

Warranty:5yrs/unlimited miles

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