Is The Interior Really That Bad In The i30N?

Looking at “professional” reviews of the Hyundai i30N – both pre and post-facelift – one of the more common complaints relates to the overall feel of the interior.

Terms like “hard plastic”, and “plain” are thrown around.

But is the interior really that bad on the i30N?

As an actual i30N owner (as opposed to reviewer who doesn’t have to live properly long-term with the car, and who is probably used to nicer cars to compare against) I thought I’d share my quick perspective:

  • Overall, I don’t think the i30N interior is that bad. It’s functional, comfortable (although rear headroom in my Fastback variant is very much compromised) and seems durable so far. Everybody I have taken for a spin in the car has been impressed by the comfort and functionality.
  • However, it is not exactly ‘exciting’ in the way that something like the Civic Type R is, with its racy red seats that are unmistakably performance-focused. I think a lot of the criticism stems from the fact that the interior is probably too subdued, particularly on pre-facelift cars and post-facelift cars without the performance seat option, and ultimately it is a bit of a sea of black and grey.
  • In a world where digital dashboards are increasingly commonplace, the analog main gauges are perhaps a little old-fashioned and not particularly exciting. That being said, I like the look and layout of them.
  • The interior does have a lot of hard plastic, but compared to the vehicle I had before (a Suzuki Swift Sport) somehow the hard plastic in the i30N looks and feels nicer.
  • There are enough “clues” as to the performance nature of the car, such as the prominent drive mode buttons on the steering wheel, that you’re sitting in something a bit special without it being too in-your-face as in the Type R Civic.
  • Ultimately the i30N is a hot hatch in the truest sense of the “genre” – Hyundai took a normal car in the form of the i30, dialed up the performance, and yes the interior feels somewhat like a bit of an afterthought.
  • I will say that the manual handbrake lever feels particularly cheap … although that’s really a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things.

I don’t think the interior is “bad”. It’s just nowhere near as exciting or race-focused as some of the competition, and it isn’t particularly upmarket in terms of materials used. However, I think the quality is passable and the functionality is good, which is exactly what you’d expect from a brand such as Hyundai.

If you are a big interior-focused driver, then I’d definitely take the Civic Type R any day of the week if you like a performance-focused interior that really screams it out loud. However, for what I want/need (which is a more grown up vehicle where you don’t need to explain to a passenger who isn’t a car enthusiast as they just think they’re sitting in a normal car) the current and previous gen Civic Type R has an excessively “loud” interior. I just wouldn’t feel all that comfortable picking up a client from the airport and ferrying them to a serious business meeting, for example.

Weird haptic touch buttons aside (and TBH I don’t mind them) I think the Mk8 Golf Gti has a better interior than the i30N from a balanced perspective of performance and daily driving, and it’s a bit of a classic with the tartan seats and excellent ergonomics.

However, unless you are trading down from a luxury vehicle or you have very high expectations, I think you’ll at least be adequately satisfied with the interior on the i30N, even if you aren’t particularly inspired or excited by it.

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