Is The Hyundai i30N Fast (Enough)?

In this video I’m going give you my take on whether or not the Hyundai i30N is a fast car.

Let me start by saying I’m not going to re-tread ground that has already been covered more than enough times by automotive reviews, vloggers and journalists with far more driving skill, automotive expertise and access to helpful extras like closed roads and private race tracks.

If you want to see videos of exactly how fast the i30N can accelerate from 0-100 kph, or exactly how fast it can drive on the autobahn with no speed limit, then you’ve come to the wrong place. However, I’ll gladly link you some videos I do recommend watching from great channels such as AutoTopNL and PDrive Tv – check the description.

Instead, this is a look at whether the i30N is ‘fast enough’ in the real world. Not a scientifically controlled measure of acceleration, not on track performance where half a second faster or slower is a big deal and means press accolades or absolute humiliation … more of a discussion of how the i30N feels to drive from a performance perspective when you are using it on city streets and open roads.

After all, how often are you activating launch control and doing a perfectly executed 0-100 run?

Can you really tell, without measuring, if the i30N is half a second slower to 100 than the new Civic Type R? Would you really notice when considered in the context of how you are likely to be using the car anyway?

Ok some enthusiast owners might be doing that more often than me, but I want to talk about the i30N’s performance from the perspective of being a normal guy who drives most of the time to visit client offices, or go and see friends and family, and who occasionally likes to indulge in a bit of more spirited driving.

Long story short, the I30N – whichever flavour you buy here (I’ve got the facelifted, DCT model with the Fastback body) is more than adequately powerful for any ‘real world’ use you want to throw at it.

Need to pull away crisply at the traffic lights to assert your dominance in the merging lane, or because you’re running late for work? Even in ‘Normal’ mode with a modest application of throttle, you’ll be up at city speed limits. Do it in N Mode and you’ll find yourself backing off the accelerator pedal and frightening the cyclists in the cycle lane with those hilarious pops and bangs, quicker than you can say ‘sorry’ to the police offer who pulls you over.

Need to get up some speed entering the motorway on-ramp because some incompetent won’t move to the outside lane? No problem – just stick your foot down and you will go flying.

Stuck behind somebody in a beat up old 4×4 who does 85 in a 100 zone, only to speed up to 110 in a passing lane … you’ll leave them for dust with a mere change of gear or a flick of the shifter paddle.

Want to scare your friends and family with some aggressive acceleration? Just bury your right foot into the carpet and listen for the screams of terror – unless you happen to be friends with Max Verstappen or Maverick from Top Gun.

In normal, everyday use including when enjoying a more spirited drive there has never been a single situation, not once, where I’ve thought “I could do with more power here”, or where I felt like the i30N was insufficient in the performance department.

Unless you want to drive in a completely antisocial manner, or you have access to track your car or drive somewhere like the autobahn with no speed limits, I struggle to comprehend how an everyday driver like myself could ever think that the i30N isn’t enough.

Admittedly I live in New Zealand, a country where (at least until the government recently changed) speed limits were only ever going down and many of the best driving roads have had their limits cut from 100 to 80 km/h … barely enough to break a sweat in 2nd gear for the I30N.

I’d argue that the I30N – and from test driving or being a passenger experience, other competing vehicles like the Civic Type R or Renault Megane RS – are about as fast as you’d ever need both in terms of straight line speed and ability to hold pace through the corners. That is part of what makes hot hatches such great vehicles … you get all the ‘real world’ performance you could ever need, but with reasonable running costs and practicality.

If I look at other cars I’ve owned (or still owned) I’ve on occasion wanted something faster. For example, my tatty old VW Touareg with the base 3.2 V6 petrol engine really is a bit sluggish at pulling out of an intersection, or at performing passing manoeuvres – notwithstanding the fact you need an oil tanker accompanying you for any accelerative manoeuvres.

My wife’s Subaru Legacy is the same … adequate for most use but you occasional feel the need for a bit more speed, particularly when the car is loaded up with passengers and equipment.

My old Swift Sport (which I replaced with the i30N) was really quite impressive up at darting away from the lights or accelerating to around 120, but then lost steam rapidly from there.

The i30N, on the other hand, is honestly more than enough for “real world” conditions and use. This is a car you can easily get up to licence-losing, self-and-other-road-user endangering speed if you want to.

In the game of automotive top trumps, you can definitely buy (marginally) faster new cars for similar money, or buy something cheaper and tune it up to whoop the I30N’s ass all over the drag strip or race track.

If you’re worried that you’ll buy a 6ish second 0-100 car and then feel inadequate, for similar money you could buy a used Golf R or Audi S3 and have more performance … but don’t forget that there’s almost always somebody with a faster, better car.

For 99% of what you’d throw at a car like this, you’ll have more than enough acceleration, more than adequate handling capability, and you’ll not be left wanting. If you don’t believe me, go and test drive one and tell me I’m wrong.

So if you’re considering an i30N but not ready to pull the plug because you’ve agonised over endless 0-100 videos and Nurburgring torture tests, and you can’t bring yourself to not have the absolute fastest car possible in the class, then either a) accept that and move on to greener, faster pastures or b) come back to the real world and realise that unless you are a professional driver who is driving in controlled conditions, such as on a racetrack or closed road, the i30N is all you’ll ever need and then some.

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