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 really love this car, we have had Hyundias for the last 10 years. We just the the way this car drive, it is very comfortable and has lots of features inside the car. The storage features that you don’t find in other cars
Places for sunglasses. Maps cc storage and so on.
Really good buy for the money!
N-line (non-premium) with DCT - purchased Dec 2020.
Just about to tick over to 3500 kms so thought I'd give my two-cents worth.
The negatives: as noted by other posters the DCT is a bit 'dopey' cruising around town at speeds less than 40-45km/h. It doesn't really 'settle' on a gear for long enough BUT the changes are still acceptable - you don't suffer any whiplash! Above 45-50km/h this problem is pretty much non-existent. Road noise on very coarse bitumen can be a little on the high-side.
Inevitably there is turbo lag - if you go from featheri...
Purchased in December 2020.
Very good and simple car
Great car that has been easy to drive and own for the last year. The base engine still has enough power and is fuel efficient. Not too expensive to buy.
Purchased in May 2019.
Great car for a great price
Have the manual version of this car and it's a pretty good all rounder. It can run on 91 which is odd for a turbo and I was able to get a brand new one for $24k so the value has held up really well.
Purchased in March 2020.
Next Level Hyundai
I recently purchased an i30 N Line Premium Sedan. I had a 2017/18 Elantra Elite which I really enjoyed driving and looked to update to a newer model. The Elantra has been replaced by the i30 Sedan. I contacted a few dealers about the i30 and one got back to me with the base model N Line. I took it for a drive and was impressed and then was offered a great deal on the premium and agreed. Waited about 3 weeks and since I have owned it I can say Hyundai have gone up a whole new level in their vehicles. I vary my driving from open roads to the inne...r CBD of Melb for work. Economy is great in ECO mode and I am getting around 6.0 and highway is around 5.2, if I put my foot down that goes out the window. The drive options are great and the dual clutch and 7 speed auto is a delight. With the turbo, the power to weight ratio is great and if you need to get up and go it's there. The interior is larger than my Elantra and being 6ft I am quite comfortable driving. It's lower than the Elantra which I like and the 18x8" wheels and independent rear suspension makes it a delight to drive. The extra additions for Driver assist are great and was an adjustment and in saying that I am even more impressed. The sound system is fantastic and the DAB Radio is welcome addition. The fixed price servicing is fantastic as well, all in all I can say I am really rapt with my new I30.
Purchased in February 2021 at Berwick Hyundai for $34,094.00.
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.
What a nice surprise!
Was looking for a replacement for my 2018 X-Trail Ti which was a disappointment. It was a beautiful car to be a passenger in but really unpleasant to drive.
I was thinking something more nimble and practical having enjoyed a drive of my brother’s Kia Cerato S. Wanted maybe a Cerato GT but there weren’t any available at my dealership at the time.
It also sold Hyundai so thought I’d check out the offerings while there. Glad I did!
After an unexpected test drive, I bought the 2020 N-Line in Aug 2020.
1st the not so good: DCT in suburban traffic ...
Purchased in August 2020 at Col Crawford.
As good as a mercedes.
I bought a 2018 2Litre premium and I love it. I came out of a 1994 Falcon which didn't have all the bells and whistles my i30 has. I love all the safety features.....Although I don't use my sunroof and hot and cold seats very much, it is nice to know they are there. The other day I wasn't paying as much attention as I should and alarms went off to tell me I was gaining on the car in front of me too fast!! I also love the adaptive cruise control......it slows and speeds up by itself.
My friend bought a mercedes 250 and is totally jealous as he paid twice as much for much the same features.
Purchased in May 2019 at Hyundai Dealers for $30,000.00.
Great car for the money and plenty of kit!
We purchased our i30 in January 2020, it having been a 2019 demo vehicle. We’d had an older i30 diesel wagon but it was getting on in years so we updated.
The current i30 is a really good car, comfortable, reliable with many great features. The Notebook type instruments are clear although we are still working our heads around the GPS and Apple CarPlay. We’re not the best technos! The car has now done 16000 kms and the only real complaint I had was that the door seals worked themselves away from the doors on occasions but our dealership remedied...
Purchased in January 2020 at John Hughes Car Sales for $21,500.00.
I use this car for work. It has a kick and good motor.
I drive it every day. Its due for service soon, but seems prefect and can not complain. Very good car
Purchased in January 2020 at Hyundai Dealers for $25,000.00.
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.
So happy I went with Hyundai i30
This was my first brand new car! I love it
Everyone comments on it
Its amazing value for money and quality!!
I cant believe how big the boot is for a smaller car and its looks are amazing since they updated the model!
Im so happy with it and love driving it!
Purchased in March 2019 at Hyundai Dealers.
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.
i30 N Performance - WOW.
+ Over 200kw hot hatch for just 42k on the road
+ Drives like a regular i30 when commuting, then hit N mode, and ___WHAM!!!!____ it just LAUNCHES.
+ Fixed price service for life of car (relatively cheap)
+ Great quality interior
+ Has been reliable so far (12k)
+ Economical, even when sticking the boot in occasionally
+ Kids love it. Perhaps a little too much!
+ Does'nt "stand out", a definite sleeper.
- Did have a wiring issue early on, seatbelt reminder kept going 'bing bing' when I hit a bump, drove me crazy, but Hyundai service team fixed it after 3 short visits (all planned as they worked through simple to more complex troubleshooting processes, which was understandable)
Purchased in April 2019 at Hyundai Dealers for $40,500.00.
The Europe factor without the Euro poverty, my initial impressions.
My aunt and uncle had Hyundai's, they proved to be pretty good cars with little going wrong with them. My aunt had a 2000 model Hyundai Getz, and my uncle had a 1990 Hyundai excel manual, and that was a mighty car.
I think the two PD i30 actives are representatives of the improvements over the past model, and looks and feels Euro. The cars were borrowed for a while, and the cars have proven to be very well equipped and at a far better price than the Euro competitors. Where you will get poverty in a base model Euro i.e. VW, Audi, etc, unless y...ou opt for one of many packages and the ridiculous ups-selling involved, the i30 is generously equipped, and is pretty good overall. The 2.0l atmo petrol feels a little asthmatic, the conventional auto feels pretty good. The dual clutch tranny on the 1.6 turbo petrol and diesel feels a touch rough, but is rather a characteristic of a dual clutch around town at low speeds. The 1.6 turbo petrol is willing despite very slight lag. Not as refined as a conventional epiglide auto, and don't inch forward all the time in traffic with the 1.6DCT. take it out of gear and let it sit in neutral if you are stuck in traffic and are stationary for any period of time. Constant inching forward is very bad for a DCT. But still capable, and able to be lived with. The ride feels quite composed and steering feels quite sharp and direct. Though the higher trim models I believe come with a slightly firmer ride than base models. The front seats are comfortable but lack the comfort of the higher spec seats in the i30 premium variant due to the absence of heating and cooling as well as adjust-ability. Seat functionality is more limited in lower spec but better than many cheaper competitors. Whilst the i30 premium diesel is my car to buy, If you don't have a good understanding of diesel car preventative maintenance, or lack the inclination for maintaining the DPF on a diesel, or you just hate picking up the diesel nozzle at the bowser, go with petrol. it makes the most sense for virtually all car buyers. Petrol makes sense for 99% of modern day urban driving car buyers.
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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