If you’re anything like me, then you would also love to own a hot hatch or a sports car of some description.
However, the sad reality is that these sorts of cars quickly move on from the honeymoon period into a land of resentment, due to the compromises they make in the name of performance.
Sure, it’s fun purchasing these performance cars and getting that first big drive or track day under your belt. But as soon as Monday comes around, you’re all of a sudden realising that for daily driving, your new vehicle might not have been the best choice.
On the other hand, you also don’t want to drive something that is soul-crushingly boring, all in the name of practicality.
Hyundai offers both a full ‘N’ performance i30, and also this, the i30 N Line. It takes a few sporty cues both superficially and under the bonnet to try and provide a cost-effective but fun-to-drive ‘warm hatch’ - not quite a full ‘hot hatch’.
I took this Hyundai i30 N Line manual home for a week to see if you could get the best of both worlds.
Build Quality4.3 out of 5.
I was thoroughly impressed with the build quality of Hyundai’s popular mid-sized hatchback.
Sure, you’re immediately going to notice a lot of cheaper materials, however it’s just cheaper to touch - the actual fit and finish on the inside is well executed.
The major touch points, like the doors, shifter and steering wheel are all dressed in soft leather which feels premium, and helps justify a price increase over the cheaper models.
Seats were the highlight here, with an N badge embossed into the backrest, helping lift the overall sporty feel of this interior.
On the outside, the main quirk was the panel gap between the bonnet and front bumper that was filled in with a rubber gasket, something found on all i30’s of this generation. Not a negative aspect, however it doesn’t scream accuracy in panel fitment on the outside.
Value for Money4.5 out of 5.
The i30 range starts off at $25,490 drive away, whereas the i30 N Line hatch starts from $33,112.
The range can go all the way up to the i30 N-Line Premium, which maxes out at $38,056 (before you’re shopping for the far more expensive and more powerful i30N).
For your money, you’re getting an interior and exterior upgrade from the N department, with sporty front grills, side skirts, grippy Michelin tires, upgraded wheels and a dual exit exhaust.
On the inside, there are N-inspired bucket seats, steering wheel, pedals, shifter and floor mats. There’s also a 8-inch centre infotainment paired with a half analogue, half digital driver’s display.
Finally, it’s topped off with 150kW, 265Nm from a 1.6L petrol four cylinder and sports-tuned suspension.
For $33,112, it’s a great deal for those who want a bit more power and sporty flair packaged into a medium sized hatch. However, you’ll have to pay a little extra if you don’t like driving a stick.
Maintenance4.2 out of 5.
Hyundai ships the i30 N Line with a 5 year/unlimited km warranty.
Servicing for the i30 can be prepaid up to 5 years or up to 50,000kms, costing a total of $1,385 for 5 services. Most people won’t be travelling more than 10,000km a year, so that means yearly servicing will cost $277.
As for fuel, it’ll cost you around $66 to fill up a full tank.
Noise Level3.8 out of 5.
Surprisingly, you’re met with a quaint and quiet cabin, despite opting for a more ‘sporty’ hatch over the standard car.
On the outside, you do get a more raspy and active sounding exhaust producing plenty of performance noises. Only issue is, you rarely get to hear this exhaust from the inside, aside from the occasional pop when revving.
I guess having a quieter cabin is part of the N Line hatch’s appeal, as you’d be shopping for a hot hatch if you really wanted more performance theatre. Less external noise entering the cabin allows you to relax during the daily commute and over longer trips.
I found the audio system to be just fine - it’se clear and loud enough for daily listening. However, it wasn’t mind-blowing or particularly deep in its sound. If you’re looking for a better listening experience, you’ll need to opt for the ‘Premium’ model which will upgrade your speaker system, along with other features.
Braking3.8 out of 5.
The braking ability of the i30 N Line hatch was as expected for a medium sized hatchback. The car looks sporty, but you’re not going to find these brakes fulfilling the hot hatch vibe this car is trying to portray.
You’re going to experience brakes that are predictable, easy to operate and will tick the box just fine. Additionally, there’s AEB available just in case there’s a need to brake for an emergency.
Acceleration/Power4 out of 5.
The appeal of the i30 N Line is the power bump it receives over the standard range.
This hatch is packing Hyundai’s familiar 1.6L turbocharged inline four-cylinder petrol engine, producing 150kW at 6000rpm and 265Nm at 1500-4500rpm.
As this is the manual, you’ve got six speeds to choose from, which is all fairly standard.
The power produced by the i30 N Line isn’t exactly adrenaline inducing, but it does produce enough performance to make this i30 fun to drive.
In reality, you don’t need more power than what’s given here. You’ll get up to speed more than quick enough, and you’ll be able to conduct clean overtakes out in the country.
Off-the-line acceleration is hampered by the exclusive drive to the front wheels, as you’re met with the typical wheel-chirp of rubber failing to grip onto the road after the initial launch.
I am forever grateful for the existence of this turbocharger, as it really does allow this engine to come alive when you dig down into the accelerator pedal.
Gear Shifting4.1 out of 5.
This is the i30 N Line that comes with a manual transmission, so on paper and when you’re seeking thrills while driving, it'll be the obvious choice over the dual clutch alternative...or is it?
Having driven both variants of the transmission available when you purchase a i30 N Line, I have to say, the manual does come in second place.
It’s the involvement required when using a manual transmission that gives you little reward over the dual clutch. Some manuals are absolutely worth the pain they provide in being a little more effort than an automatic, but I’m not so sure this particular transmission is.
I do believe that the manual provides more ‘fun’, but I found that it was a bit more effort than the dual clutch when I just wanted to run to the shops, or somewhere close.
As for the manual transmission’s operation, there are no complaints here. It was slick, relatively precise and offered a rewarding exchange when shifting gears. If a manual transmission is a must, it’s going to be plenty of fun when you want to have complete control over this vehicle.
Suspension & Handling4.4 out of 5.
The N Line gets a ‘performance-oriented’ suspension and handling tune, in the form of stiffer springs, bigger wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport tires.
It’s a greatly appreciated improvement over a more comfort-orientated setup.
The best part is, the suspension here isn’t back breaking - but instead it’s designed to limit body roll and sway through corners.
The grip from the Michelins is reliable once you’ve pushed past the initial loss of grip from launch, and pairs nicely with the larger wheels fitted to the N Line.
The suspension allows you to coast over rough parts of the road, while also getting just enough feedback to understand what’s happening beneath your tires. Although it won’t translate the road like braille for your butt if that’s what you’re hoping for - you’ll need to seek out a proper hot hatch for that experience.
Fuel Efficiency3.7 out of 5.
Hyundai claims a combined fuel efficiency figure of around 7.1L per 100km.
I saw figures cross 10L/100km while driving around town in this warm hatch, which was partly due to me operating the manual transmission as I’d hoped an aspiring hot hatch owner would.
For the manual gearbox, you will see higher consumption figures than the dual clutch, simply due to us humans not being solely designed to make optimal gear changes for fuel efficiency.
In short, just know that since this is the more powerful i30, you will be spending a little more at the pump than a more ‘responsible’ economy-oriented hatchback would.
Interior Design4 out of 5.
The interior of the non-premium version of the i30 N Line hatch is looking a little old, compared to its sedan counterpart.
From a layout perspective, it’s all logical and predictable.
The N Line not only adds visual flair to the outside, but also spruces up the interior with an assortment of N upgrades, like a N specific steering wheel, shifter, seats and carpet. Oh, and don’t forget the red seat belts.
If it wasn't for the N upgrades, I’d say the interior was a little boring. However, we have these upgrades featured in this cabin, and that’s what made a world of difference for me when it came to enjoying the interior design of the i30 N Line.
Boot Size & Comfort4.2 out of 5.
The i30 N Line hatchback has a minimum of 395L of boot space.
Seats fold in a 60:40 split, meaning you can still carry up to 4 people, while one seat is folded.
If you need to move some items from IKEA, you can fold all the seats down for a total usable space of 1301L. This provides plenty of space for those home office improvements during your next lockdown.
Although, be careful dragging longer items in and out of this hatch, as there are some sizable ledges both at the entrance and at the base of the seats when folded.
Features4 out of 5.
Since this isn’t the Premium variant of the i30 N Line, you miss out on some creature comforts, like heated seats. However, you do get an assortment of performance upgrades, both superficial and mechanical.
Here’s what you get when purchasing an i30 N Line manual:
- 1.6L turbocharged inline four-cylinder petrol engine
- 150kW at 6000rpm and 265Nm at 1500-4500rpm
- 6-speed manual transmission
- 8-inch full colour touch screen
- 7-inch 'supercluster' analogue and digital driver's display
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
- 6 speaker audio system
- Driver Attention Warning (DAW)
- Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)
- Lane Keeping Assist - Line (LKA-L)
- Lane Following Assist - Line (LFA)
- N Line specific suspension
- N Line specific exhaust system
- Michelin tyres
- Keyles entry and exit/engine start and stop
- Automatic headlights
- Reversing camera
Should you buy one?
Consider buying a Hyundai i30 N Line if you’re after a hatchback as a daily driver, but also add a little performance car flavour to your life. The i30 N Line hatch does a great job of filling the gap between economy car and full-on hot hatch.
I’d say in this base i30 N Line trim, with a manual, you’re going to have most of the fun you’d find in a hot hatch, especially when rowing out your own gears.
However it does have to be said that the full fat enjoyment that you’d get out of a proper hot hatch is something that you’ll only find in the $48,000 i30N.
About the author
Cameron is your typical car nut, but also drives and writes about cars for ProductReview.
Reviewer Photos & Videos
I should have done more research
Gearbox still playing up. (I have complained multiple times starting at the 30000 service) I was advised that is normal (I don’t think so). Not able to select reverse (grinding noise NOT GOOD when student doing P’s test as exam and the examiner thinks student doesn’t know how to change gears properly and marks as a “Non Critical Driving Error”.
At one of the services I took the head technician for a drive in my car and I was supposed to be showing him what I was talking about with being hard to select reverse we didn’t even get 3 km aw...
Purchased in June 2019 for $19,000.00.
Gearbox problems! Unwilling to deal with the obvious issue!!
Nice and friendly people at dealerships, but most likely trained to fend off the more expensive warranty issues. I have been there 3-4 times reporting an obvious issue with the gearbox (dual clutch, 2017 I30 diesel), and every time - 'it is fine', 'it is normal', or even - 'you need to learn to drive a dual clutch car'....
Before purchasing Hyundai, I heard it is one of the best servicing brand in Australia!
Makes me think they want to push it out until not under warranty? And certainly makes me want to go for another brand!
First chance, will post a video of the car shaking and jumping. So you can see for yourself if that is normal. Been driving like that for a good 1.5 years! Disappointing!
Purchased in October 2017.
Price high design and quality low
Went to see as wanted to buy a sedan, what a disappointment on the i30 sedan. The dashboard looks cheap and without any design. The front screen seems too small or the panel is too big, the buttons look like from a 1990 car. See picture attached also of the AC controls just 3 knobs compared to the hatch design, totally different cars.
One thing I could not get head around is what looks like a holding point for passenger? Next to the gear stick, just a way to make car feel cramped?
Looking the sedan from the side looks as the bonnet was open,...but actually is like the bonnet comes out where meets the corner panel. Also sedan with key? Cmon! Makes it look more outdated. Price on the i30 line seems to go up but the quality and design seem to have lowered the bar, competing with mazda 2 or 3 in sedan leaves a lot to desire.
Failed DCT gearbox and horrible customer service
I purchased a PD Hyundai i30 SR PREMIUM brand new back in 2017.
The car itself is great and packed full of features.
I drove it daily in heavy stop/start traffic and clocked up close to 22,500 km per year.
Capped price servicing is great and they updated the maps for free.
I first ran into issues with the DCT transmission at around 10,000kms. Car felt rough in first gear creeping in traffic, weird vibration on take off and hesitant when taking off at roundabouts nearly causing an accident.
Purchased in June 2017.
I wasn’t impressed with this car as the ride was very bumpy. Granted, our roads aren’t the best in Australia but with the suspension on this car I felt every bump in the road.
Nice car until it breaks down
The car itself is fine when it works. Nice to drive and great arrange of features.
However, our Hyundai SR has been horribly unreliable in its first year. Car has already broken down twice and sits in the dealership today. Worst of all Hyundai Customer Care is shocking. They deflect all issues to the dealer and all repersentatives I've spoken to are rude.
Don't make the mistake of thinking Hyundai are now world beaters. They still seem to sell unreliable cars with a poor quality of service.
Purchased in September 2018.
2018 SR Premium PD2
On Tuesday 06 November 2018 night something in the front suspension dramatically failed whilst I was driving along.
It is a new 2018 - I30 SR Premium with 3000kms on it and
purchased on 02 October 2018.
There was no warning ⚠️. It just went bang!
The vehicle was towed to Hyundai as a result.
I have now been informed that the front passenger suspension has failed. ...I am extremely concerned that the structural integrity of this vehicle is now questioned. If I had been driving along the motorway at 110km the result could have been quite different. For a new vehicle to have such a dramatic failure in the suspension is unacceptable. All I30 owners should be made aware of the possible fault. It could have caused an accident! So you could be sitting on a ticking time bomb that could go off without warning like mine did. Modify message
What is the five year warranty about.
Purchased a new 2018 Hyundai I30, not four months old yet. Washing it the other day I noticed a crack in the plastic surround in the handle of the tailgate. Rang the dealer where I purchased it, Lakes Hyundai, Qld. Was told that I would have to bring it in and have it looked at to see if it was covered by warranty. If it was, I would then have to wait until they got the part, then go back to have it fitted. Trip to Lakes Hyundai from my home one hour. Rang another Hyundai dealer, this one told me that the same plastic surround was cracking on a...lot of 2018 I30'S and they might recall them for this. Not good all around, part should be purchased by the dealer straight away and fitted by them when they get it. When I told a person at Lakes Hyundai that I was an hour away from the dealership he told me that I should look for a closer dealer. What does the five year warranty really cover.
Step up for Hyundai, but same misses let it down.
Overall, probably one of the best cars in it's price range, but it's not perfect.
Good design, spacious, great boot space and flexibility (flat seats, boot lip etc).
Seats are comfortable, although the quality of the leather isn't the best, and some of the plastics are a bit cheap.
Feels solid to drive and handling is really good and up there against cars that are priced well above.
Features and inclusions are also well above a car in this price range - you get a lot of bang for your buck IMO.
The engine handles well and has got some ...
You take our money and leave us with a multi coloured car
We have been sold a car with panel damage and now the front of the car is 2 different colours.
3 and a half months on Hyundai’s so called customer service are forcing me to resolve this in V-Cat.
The initial problem was panel damage in the front grille that I was told by the dealer that they had many new i30’s with the same issue, so be careful if you are buying a i30.
PATHETIC CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!!!
Questions & Answers
Can anyone tell me when the next delivery of NLine premium i30 sedans are due in Brisbane, I placed a deposit in middle of last month in June, I'm curious if any one has a Estimated delivery date
I have a 2016 Hyundai i30 which I absolutely love. The paint seal seems to be coming off on the rear door handles and the back of the hatch. Has anyone else had this happen? What can I do about it?
I have a 2015 i30 and the clear coat (paint) is coming off the roof
Thanks John do you think a cut and polish would fix it? Have you done anything about it or just left it
We've got the same problem, ours is a 2014. Can I ask what colour is your car? Ours is red and as I now understand, red Hyundais have this as a known issue.
Hyundai i30 2018 model,, after car service and upgrading radio and navigation system, it now doesn’t give verbal alerts ,, like red light camera school zone warning road narrows. Why is this happening..
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|Drive Type||Front Wheel Drive (FWD)||Front Wheel Drive (FWD)||Front Wheel Drive (FWD)|
|Wheels||16" Alloy||17" Alloy||18" Alloy|
|ANCAP Safety Rating||5 Stars||5 Stars||5 Stars|
|Fuel Consumption||7.4 L/100km||7.4 L/100km||7.1 L/100km|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||50 L||50 L||50 L|
|Engine||4 Cylinder 2.0L||4 Cylinder 1.6L||4 Cylinder 2.0L||4 Cylinder 1.6L|
|Max Power||120kW @ 6200rpm||120kW @ 6200rpm||120kW @ 6200||150kW @ 6000rpm|
|Max Torque||203Nm @ 4700rpm||203Nm @ 4700rpm||203Nm @ 4700||265Nm @ 1500-4500rpm|
|Country of Manufacture||South Korea||South Korea||South Korea|
|Manufacturer Warranty||5 year(s)||5 year(s)||5 year(s)|
|Release date||Jan 2017||Jan 2017||Jan 2017||Jan 2017|
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