By Clive Funizwe
How important is sheer speed and power when it comes to a hot hatch being considered a proper hot hatch? Many people will say the more horses the better. And while we like speed and understand why many people would say that – we also understand that precision is probably the one we would pick over the sheer amount of horses.
Power and design
The i30N comes in already under powered in relation to some of its rivals. It has a 2.0L TGDI engine that produces 202 kW and 353 Nm through a 6-speed manual. By comparison, a Golf TCR produces 213 kW/380 Nm and a Megane Trophy RS does 223 kW/420 Nm all from a 2.0 turbo engine as well. This means that it is on the back foot already. But can it defend itself from this position?
In our view it kicks off a good fight from the minute you set eye to metal. Considering how bland looking a standard i30 is – it is impressive how much of a head turner the i30N is. It’s gorgeous in all colours and we would pick any of them. The design team at Honda must take some notes here for the Type-R.
Interior and drive
Inside, there is adequate room for a small family – but the boot space and practicality is limited by the anti-roll bar which is removable. Boot space is still at a premium compared to the competition. However, you still get a panoramic roof as standard, heated seats that have our much preferred alcantara. The driver seat also gets memory seat position.
The i30N’s party piece is its level of driver configurability. By pressing the short cut checkered flag button on the steering wheel – it takes you to the configuration screen where you set up things like, rev matching, how the limited differential plays, chassis control, steering weight and many other things. Once you are all set – you can treat yourself to the epic machine this car is. Under power, there is virtually no torque steer. The steering is a little numb, but handling is sharp, and the front end is precise. All these aspects translate to a car that is highly communicative with the driver. It is a mechanical experience that doesn’t feel excessively assisted by electronics. This is what separates a fast, hot hatch and a driver’s car, and the i30N gives the driver a fulfilling, connected and thrilling experience. It is an overall more dynamic car than a Gti (or TCR) but not as razor sharp as a Civic Type-R or Megane RS.
We were also very pleased with its level of compliance on the road. Comfort mode dials out its dynamic nature and adjusts the ride quality to be supple and refined.
So, are there any draw backs? Phew… that’s a tough one. The price for one and in a South African context, the “N” badge doesn’t exactly have heritage. There are however other factors at play that justify the price point. The i30N is a limited edition and it’s a genuine driver’s car. What the potential buyer will have to decide on – is whether its R679,900 warrants the exclusivity and joy factor.
The i30N comes with Hyundai’s 5 year / 75,000 km Service plan (Intervals at 15,000 km’s) and a 7 year 200,000km Warranty.
Leave a comment