It’s long since been highlighted that we (the collective we) are all connected to each other by just six degrees of social steps, or less. Essentially, my friend knows someone, that knows someone etc, that knows you. Admittedly, I haven’t really put this to the test but since ‘they’ say it’s true, it must be.
Here in little ‘ol New Zealand, however, things are a bit cozier. Our social media connections are that much stronger and interactions that much more frequent. Our ‘Celebs’, Sportstars, Heads of business and the like, act like people and converse with ‘mere mortals’, our towns are more intertwined and even our temperatures across NZ, only seem to be separated by a few degrees and it’s the latter I had in mind when Hyundai gave me the keys to their new i30 N-Line.
Not so long ago, I had the pleasure of being behind the wheel of the Hyundai i30 N (Namyang and Nürburgring ). It’s the brand’s foray into a more performance defined category and as such included things like a manual gearbox, a 2L turbo engine and whole raft of aerodynamics and bodykit designed for track and field. Of course, I enjoyed its feisty temperament and sense of gruffness but for many, it would turn out to be a bit of a chore for as a daily driver – introducing the i30 N-Line.
Even a cursory glance would show that the N-line is well and truly connected to the N (we’re not talking 6-degrees here). N-Line body kit, 18-inch alloys with Michelin Pilot rubber, rear spoiler and LED lighting all round. This i30 N-line hatch offers up a sporty road stance and as well it should. For under the bonnet is a 1.6L 16v turbocharged engine mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddles. Combined they give you 150kW of power, 265Nm of torque and a 0-100km/h in the low 7s, all without sucking the life out of your wallet, as it spouts an official consumption rating of 7.8L/100km (I didn’t quite get to that figure).
There is a sense of separation inside though but in a good way as the Hyundai i30 is one of the roomiest small cars on the market, even the rear seats fit two adults comfortably, with plenty of leg and headroom, plus it has a deep 395-litre boot space that’s one of the biggest in its class.
The rest of the interior continues with the sporty theme.heated/cooled ‘N’ embossed sports seats, contrast stitching, red accents, soft-touch surfaces and leather-trimmed seats, gear knob and steering wheel. The controls on the steering wheel and the dashboard buttons are intuitively laid out and the uncluttered gauge cluster is easy to read. It features an 8.0-inch touch screen for the user-friendly infotainment system, which comes loaded with sat-nav and digital radio, and pairs easily to your smartphone via Bluetooth or Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Then there’s the safety aspect. The i30 N-Line has a 5-star ANCAP rating and is equipped with Hyundai’s Smart Sense Active Safety package that includes autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, driver attention alert, blind-spot monitor, and rear-cross traffic alert.
As I said earlier, I had a long drive in mind for the i30 N-Line, North. Commonly known as the ‘Winterless North’, Northland separates itself from the rest of the country by a degree or few when it comes to temperature and the roads (once you get free of the main road) can be a little more involving. Lucky for me, it was raining torrentially so I got to experience the ‘warm’ hatch’s wet road handling prowess, which turned out to be very good.
The long highway driving stints were comfortable, with the suspension and seat combination offering both support and damping while the twisties gave me chance to paddle (the gears not the car) and have a bit of fun. The 500km or so round trip (over 2-days) had me returning refreshed and ready for more.
Sitting perfectly between the high-performance N and ‘regular’ i30 hatch, the N-line is easy to connect with. In short, it offers enough punch to keep you entertained yet enough comfort to use every day and not lose your fillings.