Hyundai i30 N Review 2024

Hyundai i30 N At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
Hyundai might be new to the world of hot hatches, but it's got everything right with the i30 N. This thing is an absolute revelation. It's hugely enjoyable to drive, has all the performance you need and handles superbly. It even rides well. 

+A real revelation of a hot hatch. Superb handling. Impressive performance. Seriously quick. Really good fun to drive. Undercuts most rivals on price. Traditional handbrake, not an electrical switch.

-Very low profile tyres cannot absorb poor road surfaces.

On average it achieves 81% of the official MPG figure

The Hyundai i30 N really is a proper hot hatch. It doesn’t feel like a half-measure or a case of "almost but-not-quite". Perhaps the biggest compliment we can pay it is that once behind the wheel, you forget you're in an i30. Instead this is a great hot hatch in its own right.

Since the mid 2000s, Hyundai has undergone a huge transformation, with the brand producing ever improved and better quality cars. It's a remarkable success story for a manufacturer that not that long ago was knocking out the best-left-forgotten Sonata...

And now Hyundai is turning its hand to performance cars. Well, a hot hatch to be precise. It's taken the worthy if rather drab i30 hatchback and made it the first N car. The Hyundai equivalent of Golf GTI or Focus ST.

Not that this is Hyundai's first foray into 'sporty' cars. It launched the much underrated Veloster in 2012, but it only lasted three years on sale in the UK. However, the Hyundai i30 N is more focussed on the performance element.

Hence why it's powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. Originally when launched there was a standard version with 250PS and a Performance version with 275PS. Both had the same peak torque of 353Nm, however the Performance Package means it keeps producing it 500rpm further up the rev range, from 1450 to 4500rpm.

Picking the Performance Package also added larger 19-inch wheels wrapped with Pirelli P-Zero tyres, in place of the standard 18-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sports. There’s also an electronic differential designed to improve control in corners.

There was a £3000 premium for the higher spec car, but pretty much everyone opted for it. So much so that when the i30 N was given a midlife update in 2021, Hyundai dropped the lower-powered version. Hyundai also took the opportunity to increase the power to 280PS, sharpen up the design further, fit some new 19-inch forged alloy wheels and make a few interior updates. 

On top of this, the i30 N is now available with an optional dual-clutch transmission that has been developed specifically for Hyundai's first hot hatch. Don't worry, a six-speed manual is still standard. 

And while this is a genuinely superb hot hatch, it's still an i30, so that means a well built and practical car that also comes with a five-year warranty. Plus being a Hyundai, the chances of anything going wrong are slim.

Why N? According to Hyundai, the N brand was created at its R&D centre in Namyang. And then honed at the Nürburgring. Yes, they had to mention that didn't they. Apparently the ‘N’ symbolises a chicane, what Hyundai describes as 'the essence of its high-performance car development.' It also means Hyundai can use the phrase 'thrilling to the Nth degree'. See what they've done there.

Ask Honest John

What's the best affordable hot hatch?

"I'm looking at buying a hot hatch to complete my garage. I will be using it as one of my daily drivers, and the main purpose of it will be to have fun down the back roads. I have discounted the Hinda Civic Type R, as I found the infotainment system utterly dreadful and I couldn't live with that. Plus I have also discounted the M135i as I'm not a fan of the looks. I have also discounted the new Golf GTI as I didn't get that "feeling" when I drove it. I'm unsure of what to buy, any help would be appreciated. Budget isn't an issue, nor is fuel economy, but ideally it shouldn't be too expensive or too harsh on fuel. Currently, my favourite car that I've driven is the Focus ST. Should I buy this or something else?"
Try a Hyundai i30N Performance. It might be one of the more affordable hot hatches but we reckon it's also one of the best. It sounds terrific, is a riot to drive and has a better interior than the Civic. Chuck in a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty and it's a really good purchase. Otherwise, the Focus ST is a good choice, or also consider a Mercedes-AMG A35.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Hyundai i30 N cost?