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Wednesday - 12 August 2020

A Hot Hatch for Grown Ups

Hot hatches are infamous for being quite lairy looking. Stepping out of a bright orange Megane RS or a blue Focus RS in a suit just does not look right. As fun as those cars are to drive, they look a little immature. A similar rule applies to convertible cars as well but it does not seem to have dissuaded middle aged people from owning them.

Back to the topic of the Hyundai i30N. I reviewed this hot hatch last year and thought it was a great performance machine. However, it is not that comfortable and the cabin feels a bit cheap.On the other hand, it does have a few good things about it. It has a manual gearbox, lots of N badges, plus the exhaust pops and crackles. It is certainly an entertaining drive and if anyone slates it for being a Hyundai, you can always tell them that it was developed at the Nurburgring.

What about the Fastback then, is it any different to the hatch?

The Hyundai i30 N Fastback with the bootlid raised. Parked in a grassy area.
That fastback adds a hint of sensibility

It does not take a genius to figure out that majority of the exterior is identical to the i30 N hatchback because the platform is the same. The obvious major difference is that fastback. Naturally then, the car is a bit longer and you get a little more trunk space thanks to that. You also get a badge that reads ‘Fastback’ just under the Hyundai logo on the tailgate. That and a slight increase in price.

The i30 N hatch is an aggressive looking car and so a change was needed for the fastback especially that rear end with its prominent splitter and that triangular tailight. However, you still get red highlights on the bumpers along with those twin exhausts and of course the 20 something N badges dotted around. I do miss that triangular tailight but that is probably down to the fact that I am a hot hatch fan at heart. If you liked that gimmicky triangle as well then fear not because they have not done away with it completely.

The interior of the i30 N is a different story. It would benefit from being a little more interesting.
The interior could do with a little bit more colour

The interior is bland to say the least. You do get a sprinkling of N badges along with red highlights on the air vents and a bit of contrast stitching but it just isn’t enough. The cabin is still a sea of scratchy plastics and while I appreciate Hyundai spending the money on the performance, it wouldn’t have hurt to have a little soft touch stuff in the cabin. The infotainment system is easy to use and controls some of the N options available to you, that is certainly something that you will want to play around with because it really does affect the way the i30 N drives. Remember, always have the exhaust in its loudest setting.

While it isn’t imaginative, it is at least practical. The storage spaces are good and everything is well laid out, something that fastback owners would enjoy. Oh, who am I kidding. They don’t care for the storage spaces and such, they are here for the performance.

There's no doubt about it, the Fastback will catch your eye from any angle.
It sure is an eye catching car

Even though the N badge is a newcomer to the performance scene, it carries some serious credentials. Honed on the Nurburgring, the i30 N has the power and the entertainment to make you smile but backs it up with some serious track ability. The manual gearbox is great and so is the response from that 2 litre turbo engine. Experiment with the throttle enough and you will be rewarded by a symphony of pops and crackles. And the best part is that no one will call you immature because you have a fastback.

The 2 litre turbo unit packs a punch with 202kW, 353 Nm and nearly 400 horsepower on offer. That is a lot of grunt to handle but believe me, the i30 N does a bloody good job of it. Quick through the corners and fast in a straight line, the i30 N Fastback is anything but boring even though its grown up. It just goes to show that no matter what age you are, you can always have a bit of fun.

The Verdict

That basically sums up the i30 N fastback, it may be littered with N badges and the interior is bland but it’s fun! Lots of fun as it turns out and that package becomes a little more attractive with the fastback option because you can have all that excitement with a hint of maturity.

And what’s more is that I have seen two already. Seems like people really are loving the concept of a hot hatch for grown ups!

The fun Fastback gets a 4/5 from me.

Matthew D'Souza
One of those born car enthusiast types. Owns a Golf GTI which I won't stop talking about

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