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Hyundai i30N Fastback - Engineer Andy

Reading Andrew Brady's article:

www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/hyundai/hyundai-i3.../

Hopefully this will be the car I've been waiting for, or at least, if they fix the overly firm, choppy ride of the existing standard Fastback when developing its N brother, the standard car will be a worth successor to my aging (but still decent) Mazda3 saloon.

If only Hyundai can introduce their 1.6 T-GDi engine to the range instead of the 1.4 but with reasonably sensible, nice riding 17in wheels and tyres (or at least the option to fit them FOC when new) for those of us wanting a practical (it has an Skoda Octavia/Rapid-style hatch opening but saloon larger boot size) but nice looking, great-to-drive car.

I'd even go for a DCT (though would rather have a smooth and better [long-term reliability] TC box) as they generally seem to be far more reliable than the Ford and VAG equivalents. Especially Hyundais and Kias seem to attract decent discounts and have the amongst, if not the best warranties out there at the moment.

Hyundai i30N Fastback - SLO76
For my money and with your fondness for the brand and tendency to buy for the longterm in mind I’d put my money into a Mazda 3 2.0 Skyactiv SE auto long before I’d buy one of these. They’re better to drive, it’ll be more reliable and although Mazda’s do tend to rust a bit round the edges in their dotage Kia/Hyundai’s are bad for major rot underneath which is what usually writes them off in the end. Notice the disappearance of most of the second gen Kia Sportages? They’re terrible for subframes and crossmember rot.
Hyundai i30N Fastback - Engineer Andy

The problem for me is that I test drove the latest gen3 Mazda3 (as well as the same in the CX-3) and was decidendly underwhelmed by the performance of the 2.0 N/A petrol - in both manual and auto form. The handling (of the 3 and CX-3) was great, the ride was fine on the 16in rims but too harsh on 18in; the auto box was very smooth and I liked it very much, but it did sap quite a bit of performance in the 3 especially.

None of those I tested (4, 2 manuals, 2 autos) were much nippier than my 12yo 1.6 N/A petrol, which, given the standard (not the 165PS - only in the hatch, which I'm not so keen on, as well as its only available shod on 18in rims [a no-no]) 2.0 petrol engine should be considerably quicker than my car's 1.6. I felt I needed to thrash it to get any sort of decent performance out of it - despite the 0-60 time of 8.8-9 sec for both manual models, let alone the autos which are 1.5 sec (3) and 0.9 sec (CX-3) slower respectively. Its why I'm starting to lean more towards smaller capacity turbocharged engines, as long as the test figures for mpg and emissions can be believed and they prove essentially as reliable over the longer term as N/A if you drive sympathetically. I found the Scirocco 1.4TSI (122) was far nipper than both, never mind the 1.4/1.5 150 in the Golf and Leon. Shame they have the DSG for the reasons I gave before.

I also found that the latest 3 in Fastback form has an even smaller (height) boot opening that my mk1 saloon, meaning loading it for some items would be even worse - fine for my annual holiday, but embarrassingly bad if I need to buy something in person that comes in a larger cube shaped box - my last (desktop) PC had to be delivered to and then by (to me) my parents as the box wouldn't fit through the boot aperture or rear doors of my car, despite there being loads of room inside. My parents own a 2002-2008 Fiesta and esily got it in their boot, with the back seats down and parcel shelf taken out. Hence one of the reasons I was looking at the i30 Fastback - like the Octavia/Rapid/Toledo, its a saloon body with a hatch boot opening.

If Hyundais/KIAs are still prone to serious underbody rot over the longer term (ordinarily I'd be keeping my cars up until they're about 10yo), then I wouldn't consider them until that issue is resolved, so perhaps I'll be sticking with my aged car a bit longer. Odd why a make such as Hyundai/KIA that is striving to compete with the big Japanese names in engineering quality/reliability, and seemingly making a decent amount of progress, isn't doing the same in terms of the structural side of things as regards resistance to corrosion - pointless having engines etc that last well over 10 years if the body falls to bits soon after the warranty is up.

Hyundai i30N Fastback - galileo

Odd why a make such as Hyundai/KIA that is striving to compete with the big Japanese names in engineering quality/reliability, and seemingly making a decent amount of progress, isn't doing the same in terms of the structural side of things as regards resistance to corrosion - pointless having engines etc that last well over 10 years if the body falls to bits soon after the warranty is up.

Not noticed any corrosion on my 9-year old i30 as I checked the underside when it was on the lift for MOT this year.

I do trust SLO's invaluable, experience-based advice, he is, though, based in Scotland, where maybe more salt is used in winter, so corrosion may be worse, as in coastal areas.

Hyundai i30N Fastback - Engineer Andy

Odd why a make such as Hyundai/KIA that is striving to compete with the big Japanese names in engineering quality/reliability, and seemingly making a decent amount of progress, isn't doing the same in terms of the structural side of things as regards resistance to corrosion - pointless having engines etc that last well over 10 years if the body falls to bits soon after the warranty is up.

Not noticed any corrosion on my 9-year old i30 as I checked the underside when it was on the lift for MOT this year.

I do trust SLO's invaluable, experience-based advice, he is, though, based in Scotland, where maybe more salt is used in winter, so corrosion may be worse, as in coastal areas.

True. probably why John Cadogan on his YT channel recommends them - its not as though Australia gets much in the way of snow...maybe that's why my Mazda3 has fared better (wheel arch rust) than other mk1s from the early - mid 2000s - I live in the relatively dry East Anglia where we also don't get that much snow in winter. Hopefully Hyundai/KIA have improved wrt rustproofing - I'll certainly keep an eye out - fortunately I don't have to change my car...yet.

A shame that more makes don't offer their proper Sports cars as warm/hot saloons as well as hatches - I really could've gone for the Mazda3 MPS in a saloon. Its why I like the Golf GT and Leon FR 1.4/1.5 150ACT in 3dr form - better looking than the 5dr versions.

Hyundai i30N Fastback - SLO76
“I do trust SLO's invaluable, experience-based advice, he is, though, based in Scotland, where maybe more salt is used in winter, so corrosion may be worse, as in coastal areas.”

True but a spell spent googling the corrosion issues on them should flag up loads of examples but yes cars are hit hard up here with a combination of salt on the roads and the sea air. It’s certainly quite rare to see any Kia’s or Hyundai’s much past 12yrs old around here. I’m pretty sure the later cars will be a step up in this regard though as they certainly are in every other way. I wouldn’t touch an automated manual box however as no firm has managed to make it reliable even Honda and Toyota.


Hyundai i30N Fastback - badbusdriver

My mother in law has an '06 plate Kia Rio whaich she has owned from new. It is showing no signs of rust anywhere on the bodywork and there have been no MOT advisories for any rust underneath. The two places she has lived since getting the Rio have bothe been coastal towns.

Hyundai i30N Fastback - badbusdriver

Also, regarding the car in question, the i30N hatchback is currently recieving huge praise from the motoring press regarding how well it drives. So i wouldn't jump to any conclusions about it not being as good to drive as the Mazda.

Hyundai i30N Fastback - Engineer Andy

Also, regarding the car in question, the i30N hatchback is currently recieving huge praise from the motoring press regarding how well it drives. So i wouldn't jump to any conclusions about it not being as good to drive as the Mazda.

Not sure if you were aiming your comments to me, but the car I was referring to was the standard i30 Fastback (HJ's review says the car isn't as good at handling as the Mazda, Focus etc and has a hard choppy ride, even compared to its [standard] hatch sibbling). The (standard) i30 generally has improved in terms of handling, but its still not up to the standar of those I mentioned, taking the reviews into account. Its closer, and probably better than my older Mazda3 (even when new), but the others have moved on as well. I might have been underwhelmed by the perfomance of the latest Mazdas, but I couldn't fault their handling.

What I am hoping for is for the great dynamics of the N cars (and it seems, not that a hard ride given the cars they are) to be translated into suspension imporvements for the standard models - I don't really need an N version, the 1.6 T-GDI would be perfect, the 1.4 T-GDI is still likely better (driving wise) than the Mazda 2.0 (at least in 120PS form) and with a mid to upper spec model on 16in or at most 17in rims. More of a GT car than a hot hatch/saloon is what I want. If I could afford the N and it wasn't a really harsh ride (even after a few years), well....

Hopefully as they sell (though, like the Mazda3, I suspect the i30 Fastback generally won't sell that many, in comparison to the hatch - smaller saloons [even the Audi A3 one] just don't sell well in the UK), some owner's reviews will filter through to this website. Maybe having a N car in the range will help sales of them generally.

Hyundai i30N Fastback - landmarked

Andy have you considered the Civic 1.5T? Seems like it might be up your street - Japanese, strong turbo engine, independent rear suspension with decent ride...

Hyundai i30N Fastback - Engineer Andy

Andy have you considered the Civic 1.5T? Seems like it might be up your street - Japanese, strong turbo engine, independent rear suspension with decent ride...

I like the latest version's interior (except for the rubbish voume controls via the touchscreen - not a safe feature), performance and (hopefully, according to the review) drive, not so much the exterior looks. However, there are two things that means its a no, for me anyway:

1) The price - Hondas now are VERY expensive, on a par with Audis and rarely can you secure more than a few £000 in discounts at dealers, and even when you can via brokers, a Civic still costs about £5k more than an equivalent Mazda3, SEAT Leon or Skoda Octavia. It may have better engineering than the Mazda, but not to that extent (costing 1/4 - 1/3 more).

2) Its too big. Its nearly the size of the current Mondeo (and probably why, for this and the last gen Civic, sales of the Accord plummeted and is now not sold in the UK). Realistically, I would like a car the size of the 3dr Golf or Leon SC (same boot size as the 5dr), and at most the same size as my Mazda3 (the current model is essentially the same size as my mk1). I already find it difficult (no parking sensors and a high bootline) to park my car, so I wouldn't want a car that's even bigger. The latest Mazda3 and i30 Fastback (similar size) are the maximum size I'd go to.

If they had not made the current car bigger (and if they'd made it in a 3dr version [similar to the Golf and Leon - why I like those] like the early 2000s Type R), then I might of forgone issue 1) if it met every other criteria. I'm personally not a fan of CVT autos either (OK for pootling, sound like a vacuum cleaner when you put your foot down a bit), which counts against it compared to the smooth TC in the Mazda, even if that does sap some performance.

I may be a bit picky as regards whatever car I'm going to buy next, but I'd rather wait until something comes along that I can live with. If Hyundai can (or have done, in the case of rust proofing [only time will tell]) resolve some issues as regards the standard i30 Fastback, then I would consider that over the Mazda3.

Saying that, the mk4 with its HCCI or SCCI petrol engine and seemingly great looks (at least for the hatch, if the motorshow version is anything to go by) might tempt me - if it turns out to be reliable and meets my driving comfort/dynamics criteria. It should be noted that this new model won't initially get the new engine type across the range - the current 1.5 and 2.0 N/A GDI engines will continue on for the mid and lower end models, which, as I've said before, won't be enough for me.

Hyundai i30N Fastback - SLO76
“if they'd made it in a 3dr version [similar to the Golf and Leon - why I like those]”

I really rate the Leon in 1.4 TSi FR spec. Sporty but not overly so, gutsy but economical and the later belt driven engines are so far proving utterly reliable. I’d have one of these before a high spec Kia or Hyundai that’ll crash in value. The FR Leon will appeal to younger boy racer buyers as it ages which will help resale.
Hyundai i30N Fastback - skidpan
I really rate the Leon in 1.4 TSi FR spec. Sporty but not overly so, gutsy but economical and the later belt driven engines are so far proving utterly reliable. I’d have one of these before a high spec Kia or Hyundai that’ll crash in value. The FR Leon will appeal to younger boy racer buyers as it ages which will help resale.

As most will know we had 100% reliability form our Leon 1.4 TSi and it was absolutely brilliant to drive and ride in. Ours was a SE with the standard 16" wheels with 55 profile tyres since I did not want the 17" wheels with 45 profile tyres but they do appear to cause an issue on the used market. Ours was imaculate with a full Seat history and 18 months of Seats warranty remaining when we sold it. It sat on an independant VAG specialists forecourt for 9 months before being sold. With an FR badge it would have flown off the forecourt in weeks (if not days).

As for Kias rusting I am not convinced this really happens. Loads of aging Kias round these parts (Kia is the only new car retailer in town) and only rarely do you see one in poor condition and that will mostly be one of the unloved models from 15 or so years ago (think Mk 1 Rio). Only seen one rusty Ceed and that car had been crashed and never repaired, any brand would have rusted with that treatment.

Hyundai i30N Fastback - Avant

Before we all have fun choosing your next car for you, Engineer Andy, can you confirm that it needs to be an automatic?

If not, the Leon sounds as if it would suit you perfectly, as it did Skidpan - but his was a manual and I can understand the qualms about the dry-clutch DSG if you plan to keep the car for as long as you've kept the Mazda.

Hyundai i30N Fastback - Engineer Andy

Ideally I'd like to change from a manual to an auto, mainly to make the driving experience more relaxing, especially when driving in urban areas/heavy traffic. You're right - as I keep my cars a long time, I would be very concerned with a system (the DSG and Ford equivalent) that isn't reliable and consistently useable (i.e. the hesitation/jerkiness problem with some dual clutch systems) over the ownership period I would envisage. Its the reason why I prefer TC auto boxes, but that means I need to buy a more powerful car to offset the reduction in performance sapped by the TC box.

If there were no other significant 'issues', I could (unless I was commuting solely in urban areas) accept a manual gearbox or the Hyundai DCT (if that still proved reliable/useable over the long term). I probably wouldn't want a CVT if part of my driving was (as it is now) on faster, open roads where driving (occasionally) more spiritedly doesn't fit with the way CVTs work (even if the Honda and Toyota/Lexus versions are reliable)

As I've admitted before, I'm being VERY picky about my next car - fortunately, for the moment at least (touch wood), I don't need to make that choice, so am mulling over options, and Hyundai reworking the i30 Fastback into an N version may hopefully give me another option if they (as part of the process) improve the ride quality of the standard models in that range, making the 1.4 T-GDI 140 (like the 1.4/1.5 150 ACT TSi in the VAG cars) a decent prospect, especially as the boot opening is significantly larger than the Mazda3 equivalent.

I still have some reliability doubts (more electronics than anything else, which is why I don't like top spec models - as long as I can have climate control and electric windows, that's fine by me) as regards VAG cars, though perhaps not as much (avoiding the models with lots of gizmos) as I did a year or two ago. The customer care and overall honesty of VAG as a whole (e.g. Dieselgate, Monkeygate, others) does still worry me - to be honest, Mazda's post-sales patchy customer care does as well, but this is less important due to their better long term reliability, at least on their petrol-engined cars.

Besides my personal circumstances (trying to change my career [no ideas at present[) meaning a change of car (even though I can afford it) isn't a smart move at present, none of what's currently on offer either meets all my minimum requirements for the next one or ticks enough boxes (especially improvements over what I already have) to justify changing. I'm just hoping Hyundai's move here will help my process move forward.

In general, I like the way Hyundai and KIA are progressing (more than Mazda, although they are doing so with more limited R&D resources), especially on the driving dynamics and customer care/car reliability front, which mean a lot to me.

I wasn't really planning on making this thread devoted to my car-change issues, more using my journey in that regard to illustrate my hope for what the N car for the i30 Fastback might do for that model range more and, hopefully, for small saloons more widely, which I like but aren't that popular in the UK. If I were living in North America or Down Under, I'd have far more options as more of these type of models, and higher powered ones (e.g. the Mazda3 Fastback is available in 2.5 N/A petrol form).

The other thing that often means cars get crossed off my list is firm ride due to the combo of large wheels, low profile tyres and firm suspension setups, often for styling purposes, but sometimes to hide poor handling compared to rivals that can 'stand' having softer setups and more 'normal' tyres. My bad back won't take such a ride, and many mid-spec cars don't even offer a 17in wheel/tyre option on them and just come with 18in rims - even if the brakes (you don't need 18in brakes on a mid-spec engine like the 1.4/1.5T, perhaps on a 2.0 version) are only a 16-17in dia type and can accept a smaller wheel. This means taking a substantial financial hit when purchasing the car to change all 4 (maybe 5 depending on the type of spare carried) wheels and tyres. I also won't, EVER, consider a car that can't take a spare wheel in the underboot area: only a tube of goo = no sale.

I similarly like (a bit less so than the small saloons) the small crossovers/SUVs like the Mazda CX-3, Hyundai Kona, KIA Stonic, VW T-Roc & Co, but, like the small saloons, in the UK, if you want/need a petrol engined version, you oftenonly get the option of lower powered ones (Stonic), they are firm riding (the Kona) or are expensive for what they are in comparison to similar (and often larger, better equipped) hatches/saloons (Mazda CX-3 and T-Roc), many of them attracting far less discounts, even via brokers, despite them selling in far less numbers than hatches.

Only the (IMHO) not-so-good models such as the Nissan Juke get decent discounts, probably because they don't have a good reliability record compared to rivals.

See what I mean: picky. Hopefully I'll get there in the end. Probably best to concentrate more on the generalities of Hyundai making an N version of the i30 Fastback, although I very much appreciate everyone's comments and input on my (future) choice.

I should probably stop now before I send you guys to sleep (as you can see, I have a LOT of time on my hands at present)!

Hyundai i30N Fastback - BMW Enthusiast

I fully understand you feel. When choosing a new car especially one that you want to keep for a long time it's a definitely a jungle out there. If I was you I'd go for a Hyundai or Kia depending on your annual mileage if it's high then definitely Hyundai over Kia because of the 5 year unlimited mileage warranty rather than the Kia 7 year 100,000 miles warranty. Their DCT gearboxes are proving to be reliable according to HJ.

Hyundai i30N Fastback - SLO76
“As for Kias rusting I am not convinced this really happens. Loads of aging Kias round these parts (Kia is the only new car retailer in town) and only rarely do you see one in poor condition“

It’s deceptive as the body resists as well as any Euro rival its the underside, particularly bolted on parts such as subframes that rot on these. I’ve seen Sportages scrapped that looked hole and hearty on the surface. You’ve got to get under them and a quick look here has stopped me buying loads of them over the years. Though to be fair I’ve never really seen the Rio as badly affected, maybe it’s the lower local mileages these tend to cover. Yes my local weather and road conditions are a big factor here but other males survive it much better.

Edited by SLO76 on 18/08/2018 at 17:39

Hyundai i30N Fastback - Avant

Ford's new 8-speed TC auto in the Focus may be an answer to your prayers, Andy. They seem to have realised that the F in Powershift is a no-cost delete option.

Hyundai i30N Fastback - Engineer Andy

Ford's new 8-speed TC auto in the Focus may be an answer to your prayers, Andy. They seem to have realised that the F in Powershift is a no-cost delete option.

Maybe, although my interest in Fords has waned since they owned and partnered with Mazda back in the 'good old days' of the early to mid 2000s when I bought my Mazda3 (the Focus 1.6/1.8 petrol [hatch or rare saloon] was on my 'possibles' list back then) - rather too many 'issues' with the latest Ecoboost engine range and other engineering quality issues to currently tempt me - plus I'm not keen on the styling of the current crop of Fords (I preferred the mk2).

I do find John Cadogan's typical Aussie take on the name 'Powershift' very amusing as well as apt though - I suppose they are at least listening to their customers (or perhaps more likely their lower profits as a result of the problems with that dual clutch system) and changing to a 'tried-and-tested' TC system.

I wonder why many car firms are going over to auto boxes with higher and higher numbers of gears - won't it seem as though you'll be forever changing gear in such cars? I think the latest Merc has 10, maybe more...that's silly. I found that the 6 in the Mazda CX-3 I tested was more than adequate. To be honest, I find the 5 in my 12yo Mazda3 manual more than adequate in number, if somewhat off in ratios compared to other cars I've driven.

Hopefully by the time I do want or need to change my car these issues will have been resolved.

Hyundai i30N Fastback - Manatee

It would be interesting to know if a car like the Mercedes with 10 speeds 'block changes' in some circumstances. It's one thing having a larger number of close ratios to optimise the overall reduction in any situation, quite another to step through all the gears up and down.

Presumably the highest gears will be very long. There's absolutely no point changing down one gear when the driver lifts off downhill or brakes for a bend.

I would however be a pain to drive 'manually' with a normal sequential gearchange. Not that I would want to.

 

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