By Malusi Msomi
So what happens when Hyundai takes their i30 and turns the dials all the way up to 11? You get this, the Nürburgring-honed facelift Hyundai i30N. It has its work cut out as it has to compete with the likes of the Golf GTi, Renault Megane RS, and Honda Civic Type-R.
Eye-catching, sporty looks
First things first, the updated i30N looks the business. It has that track-focused look. The updated i30N features new 19-inch wheels, a redesigned front bumper, a sharper grille, new headlights/taillights, and a new rear bumper that houses new tailpipes. Its appearance will make any boy race car enthusiast stare at this piece of kit for days.
Sporty yet functional interior
Inside, it’s simple and functional, and there’s lots to enjoy. The interior remains largely unchanged with the exception of a larger 10.25-inch touch display and an infotainment that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Highlights in the interior are the black artificial suede and leather combination seats, a panoramic sunroof, and one of the most beautiful sports steering wheels in the segment. Headroom and knee room are good, but the hot hatch misses out on some practicality as it lacks a USB port and air vents for rear passengers. One major drawback is that at highway speeds, tire noise becomes quite unbearable.
Performance and driving impressions
The 206 kW and 392 Nm from the 2.0-litre engine feels strong and works well with the 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. Surprisingly, we managed 6.8 l/100 km on a 600 km trip to Durban in Eco mode, which is pretty impressive when you compare it against the claimed 8.9 l/100 km. Besides being frugal on the highway, Eco and comfort modes present a quite enjoyable and compliant ride.
Engaging N-Mode, however, unleashes its race-ready demeanour and makes the suspension stiffer, gear changes snappier, and the throttle more responsive. Be wary of road surfaces because engaging this mode will see you jumping up and down in your seats like those stance guys if the road is riddled with undulations. A heads up, the i30N also comes standard with pops and bangs and you will be chuckling when lifting off the throttle.
The Hyundai i30N comes with a lot to be happy about. Boy racer looks, a good transmission/engine combination, and a decent cabin make for an interesting pick when it comes to the Mzansi hot hatch market. The Hyundai i30 N is priced at R795,900.
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