Why Hyundai ‘Missed A Trick’ With The i30N Fastback

As you’re probably aware by now, Hyundai debuted the i30N as a conventional ‘hatchback’ (in the same style as say the Golf GTI) and then later released the ‘fastback’ design.

I own a fastback, but have looked in the past at the regular hatchback.

It might come as no great surprise that the fastback was never as popular as the hatchback.

The regular i30N isn’t exactly a common car, but here in Christchurch New Zealand you do see a few of them about.

I recently spent some time in Sydney and saw a decent number of them, but then again buying something like an i30N would be easier for the cashed up Aussie market versus us Kiwi peasants.

On the other hand, I have never seen a single other Fastback i30N on the road. Not once (nor have I seen one on my travels). The only other one I’ve ever seen in the flesh as the previous demonstrator at the local Hyundai dealership, which was a phase one example. I’ve seen more Lamborghini Huracans in the time I’ve owned the i30N than I have Fastback models.

The obvious reason for this is that the Fastback i30N basically sacrifices practicality (due to a smaller boot and reduced rear headroom) for the sake of a styling decision that is a subjective matter.

The hatchback model is probably practical enough to be a ‘do it all’ vehicle, whereas the fastback loses too much boot space.

You objectively “miss out” on practicality with the Fastback versus the Hatchback, while you subjectively gain a more stylish looking car … but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

And for this dubious trade off you have to pay a premium over the regular hatchback.

With the i30N Fastback I think Hyundai really ‘missed a trick’. Allow me to explain.

What they should have done is made the Fastback a more luxurious variant even if that meant sacrificing somewhat in terms of performance.

For example, here are a few tweaks Hyundai could have made:

• Including a superior sound system compared to the mediocre one currently fitted across the range.
• Adding adaptive/radar cruise control.
• Adding rear AC vents
• Adding more luxury touches e.g. heated AND cooled front seats, or making all four main seats heated

Even if making these sorts of changes meant having to scrub half a second off the 0-100 time due to added weight (and that seems unlikely) it would elevate the value proposition of the Fastback.

Buyers would then be able to pick between the more focused, affordable and practical regular i30N hatchback, or the ‘luxurious’ (by comparison) Fastback model. For someone like myself who rarely drives at anywhere near the limit, the added luxury/convenience features would be worth sacrificing on performance or having to pay a bit more.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my Fastback and in future aticles I’ll go into more detail about why I opted for the Fastback over the regular hatch … but with my business hat on it’s honestly not that surprising to me that the Fastback variant has been a bit of a commercial flop.

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