2021 Hyundai i30 N review: New Auto broadens hot hatch’s appeal


Hyundai’s breakout hot hatch won a massive amount of fans when it first launched, but a massive new addition makes it even more popular.

The Hyundai i30 N was crowned the 2018 New Corp Car of the Year, and a recent addition of an automatic transmission to the formerly manual-only proposition has given it wider appeal.

Here are five things you need to know about the i30 N auto.


When Hyundai’s excellent i30 N hot hatch launched back in 2018, the lack of an auto option was its only major shortcoming.

While the purists rejoiced, many punters baulked at the idea of having to constantly change gears on the daily commute.

Manuals are as rare as hen’s teeth these days, even on high-end supercars, as makers plump for dual-clutch autos that shift more quickly than the average driver.

Not convinced? Hyundai quotes a 0-100km/h time of 5.4 secs for the auto and 5.9 secs for the manual.

We drove both back to back and while the short-throw gearshift feels precise and slick, the auto is the pick.

There are shift paddles for those who crave extra control but left to its own devices, the auto is almost flawless.

In its most aggressive “N mode”, it will instinctively pick the right gear out of a corner, then blip the throttle to make sure you have enough revs on board for maximum thrust.

It’s surprisingly smooth tootling around town, too, displaying very little of the indecisiveness dual-clutch autos often display at low speeds


The original i30 N wasn’t short on power and torque, but Hyundai has eked another 4kW and 39Nm out of the 2.0-litre turbo, taking the outputs to 206kW and 392Nm.

That’s a lot of power to put through the front wheels, but trick electronics manage to tame any unnerving squirming while accelerating out of corners.

There’s still a little tugging on the steering wheel if you’re too enthusiastic with the throttle, but overall this is an easy car to drive quickly.

It sounds positively feral, too. The engineers have dialled up the aural drama with the new model and it crackles and spits at the slightest provocation.


There have been some subtle tweaks to the car’s suspension aimed at improving the compromise between control and comfort. It still feels firm around town, but it won’t put your spine out of place if you hit a pothole or two.

The front-end grip and turn in are exceptional, as is the balance when changing direction. The front brakes are bigger too, for improved stopping power.

On repeated runs up and down a snaking mountain pass, they showed no signs of giving up the ghost, providing a progressive and reassuring pedal feel. Precise steering adds to the enjoyment.


The previous model snuck in under $40,000 before on-roads, but the new starting price for the manual is $44,500. The auto adds another $3000.

It’s a hefty price rise that in part reflects Hyundai’s decision to add safety gear that was optional or not available on the predecessor.

For an extra $3000, the Premium model has heated Alcantara and leather seats, front parking sensors and rain-sensing wipers. A sunroof costs $1500.


Compared with the new Golf GTI, the i30 N feels a little old-school and down-market.

There’s no digital screen in front of the driver and not a lot of visual cues telling the driver this is a sports model.

The cloth seats are supportive and there’s a splash of blue stitching to go with the embossed N logos, but the door levers are plastic and the colour scheme is grey on grey.

It’s a case of swings and roundabouts – it’s a more potent weapon than the Golf through the corners, but not as polished and refined inside.

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