Why we're running it: To determine whether Hyundai’s first stab at a hot hatch can stand up to its more established foes in everyday life
Life with a Hyundai i30 N: Month 6
Six months of scrutiny have revealed Hyundai’s hot hatch debutant has hit the ground running despite (and because of) its flaws - 22nd August 2018
In the past two years, few newly launched cars have garnered as much attention as the Hyundai i30 N.
That’s in part because the hot hatchback segment it joined – one where many long-standing models such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Honda Civic Type R sit – is so revered and in part because it’s rare that there’s an all-new entrant to it, and a pretty decent one at that.
During my six months with the i30 N, it has attracted ample interest: the entire breadth of the Autocar team has hankered for a go and there has been plenty of curiosity elsewhere too. There was the very nice youth in Asda car park asking me about the car and telling me he had one on order, there were the middle-aged engineers circling the car on my return to it in a Northamptonshire office car park and it attracted lots of kerbside glances as well.
First, let’s address the elephant in the room: the ride. In its most extreme driving mode, N, the i30 N’s ride was described in its Autocar road test as “too unbearably vicelike to be tolerated for more than 10 seconds or so even on averagely surfaced UK Tarmac”. It concluded that you “quickly learn that the car is at its best before you start dialling up the settings”.
That's all true. The ride is the thing that most people talk about when they borrow the car. Going over suburban road bumps that are rife in my area takes some getting used to, even in the softest mode.
But most i30 N owners are more than happy, according to Albert Biermann, the man responsible for the car: “The fans love the N mode. They love it as stiff as possible.” Despite the criticism, the more you live with the car, the more the ride becomes perfectly acceptable. Sure, I was reminded of its extremity when I borrowed our Golf GTI long-term test car for a week but I quickly settled back into daily life with the i30 N.