- Intoxicating exhaust noise
- Fantastic 2.0-litre turbocharged engine
- Snappy transmission adds to the N experience
- Some missing standard equipment
- Not as cheap as it was when it launched
- Interior could feel more special
The i30 N punched straight to the top of the hot hatch list when was revealed down under in 2017. Being manual only however, meant that the appeal didn’t quite reach everyone. For the 2022 model year Hyundai introduced a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission for the i30 N, broadening the hot hatch’s and catching the eye of more people. We tested the top of the range 2022 Hyundai i30 N Premium DCT to find out if the auto version of Hyundai’s excellent hot-hatch is as good as the manual.
So, if you’re thinking if an i30 N auto is good enough to warrant trading in your Golf GTI for, we are here to help you find out.
Price & Equipment: 8.5/10
The 2022 Hyundai i30 N lineup changed with the recent facelift the i30 N received for the 2022 model year. The range kicks off with the entry level model which is simply known as ‘i30 N’, priced from $45,000 plus on road costs ($48,000 for the auto). Then you step up to the 2022 Hyundai i30 N Premium which is priced at $48,000 + ORC ($52,500 for the auto) and then there is the top of the range model we have here, the i30 N Premium plus Sunroof, which costs $50,000 + ORC for the manual or $53,500 + ORC for the auto (around $57,500 drive away). That’s quite the process to pay for a small Hyundai hatch, but we think it’s worth it considering the value on offer.
The 2022 Hyundai i30 N Premium DCT is decently well equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite navigation with live traffic updates, digital radio, a six-speaker sounds system, keyless entry with push button start, a wireless smartphone charger, automatic LED headlights, auto wipers, heated and auto-folding exterior mirrors, cloth bucket seats, dual-zone climate control, LED interior lighting, leather and alcantara lightweight bucket seats, rear privacy glass, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.
Safety features across the i30 N range include seven airbags, auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, driver attention monitoring, auto high beam, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, an alarm, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, safe exit warning and tyre pressure monitoring. Auto variants like our tester add auto rear braking and rear cross-traffic systems. The Premium also features front parking sensors.
There are six colours available for the 2022 Hyundai i30 N. Four of them are no-cost colours such as ‘Polar White’, ‘Shadow Grey’, ‘Engine Red’ and our test car’s ‘Performance Blue’ (which also is the hero colour for the N brand). The two premium colours are known as ‘Dark Knight’ (dark grey) and ‘Phantom Black’ and they both attract a $495 price increase.
Sadly there are some missing features on the i30 N such as adaptive cruise control, an electric driver’s seat, rear auto braking, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a premium sound system and cooled seats all of which we would like to see as standard. All of these features can be seen throughout the regular i30 range but unfortunately not on the range-topping performance N variant.
The main rivals to the Hyundai i30 N are the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Renault Megane RS, Ford Focus ST and Toyota GR Yaris. The Golf GTI is now auto-only and is priced at $54,990 plus on-road costs, while the Megane RS Trophy costs $65,300 +ORC for the automatic and the Ford Focus ST is priced at $47,490 +ORC.
Performance & Economy: 9/10
The engine powering the 2022 Hyundai i30 N Premium DCT is the familiar 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit that was found in the previous i30 N, although for the 2022 model year, it has a little more power and torque. The engine sits quite low in the engine bay to improve the centre of gravity and this engine was developed solely for Hyundai N products.
Producing 206kW of power at 6,100rpm and 392Nm of torque between 2,100 and 4,700rpm, the 2022 i30 N makes 4kW more power and 39Nm more torque compared with the pre-facelifted car. The engine feels like it’s always ready to pounce and there is a sense of urgency about it that other performance engines seem to lack. Very rarely for a turbocharged engine the i30 N’s engine has a surprising lack of turbo lag – no matter where you are in the rev range, if you put your foot on the loud pedal you shoot off into the distance. It’s addictive and brilliant. Gobsmacked is the word to describe the engine’s urgent responses and sheer pull.
Also new for the 2022 model year is an all new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Thanks to the inclusion of an auto transmission, the i30 N is now more accessible to a wider range of people and is also easier to drive than before. The shifts are crisp, the gearbox is intuitive and there is very little lag between gears. We would argue that this transmission is as good – if not better – than Volkswagen’s famed ‘DSG’ dual-clutch automatic transmission, as there is less of the loose feeling when taking off from a standstill compared with the DSG. We’d even go so far as saying that this is the perfect automatic transmission. It’s smooth and swift to change gears but is also comfortable in traffic and when starting up hills.
Power is sent to the wheels via a mechanical e-LSD, which can send power to any individual front wheel to get the best traction. This system works fantastically and very rarely will the i30 N fall into any understeer. Getting on the power past the apex is super rewarding, as the i30 N pulls you out at incredible speeds thanks to the impeccable grip from the bespoke Pirelli P Zero tyres. There is also very little axle tramp when taking off from a standstill in the dry.
There are five driving modes in the 2022 Hyundai i30 N that change the engine’s performance, the e-LSD, shift perimeters, exhaust valves, suspension, stability control and steering. Hyundai offers you ao much choice in how the i30 N drives and we love this. The driving modes give the i30 N a dual-personality – N mode is hard, loud and raw, while on the other side, eco mode is quiet and comfortable.
The active exhaust on the 2022 Hyundai i30 N is one of the best parts about the car, as it adds so much character and drama to an already stellar driving experience. Choosing Sport mode opens up the exhaust a little more and gives off a lovely deep growl when accelerating. By far the best mode to hear the aural heaven that is the i30 N’s exhaust is in N mode. The exhaust opens up and gives off an angry and very performance-oriented sound. Past 4000rpm in the rev range there are loud the pops and crackles that give the car its character. Without a doubt, the i30 N is the best sounding hot hatch on the market. You neighbours might not entirely agree with you, but there’s no denying the i30 N’s aural appel.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI also has a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder but produces a lesser 180kW of power and 370Nm of torque while the Renault Megane RS comes with a 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 221kW of power and 400Nm of torque, which is 15kW and 8Nm more than the Hyundai. Both of these cars can be had with dual-clutch automatic transmissions like the i30 N but both fail to evoke any of the drama and poise of driving the i30 N.
The claimed average fuel consumption for the 2022 Hyundai i30 N fitted with either transmission is 8.5L/100km. Our time spent behind the wheel of the i30 N in urban and highway driving environments – even with more spirited driving – gave us a real world average fuel consumption figure of just over 10.0L/100km. Not too bad considering the level of performance and noise on offer.
Ride & Handling: 9/10
The purpose of a hot hatch is to put a massive smile on your face and the 2022 Hyundai i30 N Premium DCT really delivers in this area. The adjustable dampers do a great job of adjusting the ride to the driving mode you are in. When selecting Eco and Normal modes, the ride is on the firmer side, but for a hot hatch it is more than compliant. Putting the drive mode selector into Sport firms the ride up a little more, but again it is not uncomfortable, you just feel the bumps a little more. Putting the car into N mode firms the suspension up a lot more and driving the N on the streets in N mode is pretty bone shatteringly uncomfortable. It’s a suspension setting left to the smoothest of roads.
The flip side for having suspension that is on the firmer side is that the i30 N has some incredible handling ability. The saying that a car ‘handles like it’s on rails’ is overused these days, but the i30 N with its e-LSD and suspension set up really is a car that encapsulates this phrase perfectly. There is no body roll at all and the i30 is remarkably smooth through corners, making it easy to position on the road. The steering of the 2022 Hyundai i30 N is a little on the heavier side even in Normal mode but this is to be expected in a vehicle of this caliber. It feeds information to the driver as to how much grip the front wheels have and is immediately responsive.
The i30 N also comes with Pirelli P Zero tyres that have been specifically made by Pirelli for use in the i30 N. The good news is that they provide impressive grip in the wet too. The front brakes have also been upgraded to 360mm rotors (up from 345mm) as well, making the car even more capable on road or track.
Like the standard i30, the N’s visibility is more than acceptable with a solid rear view camera and decently sized mirrors and windows. The i30 N is also quite loud at highway speeds with quite a bit of road noise coming into the interior.
Interior & Practicality: 8/10
Hot hatches such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Renault Megane RS have interiors that look and feel premium and unfortunately, the i30 N’s interior isn’t built to the same standard. You would be forgiven for thinking that the dash was pulled out of a base model i30 hatch because it really was – we think that some blue stitching or a small N badge would be a great to make the cabin feel a tad more special.
Other than the rather drab dashboard, the rest of the interior is nice – the dials look great and are easy to gauge, though it would be nice to see the digital dials from the Kona N and i20 N used in the i30 N. The one-piece lightweight sports bucket seats are exceptionally good and hug you in all the right places, while there is also a good amount of adjustment in the driving position as well. The steering wheel is thick and the drive select buttons are also large and easy to operate on the move.
The quality of the materials used in the interior of the 2022 Hyundai i30 N isn’t class leading. There are a lot of hard plastics on the lower door panels and centre console, though a thin veneer of soft materials on the dashboard and the tops of the doors (even the rear!) helps the cabin feel a tad more upmarket.
The storage on offer in the i30 N is rather good with deep door pockets, a generous centre console cubby, a reasonable glovebox and a space in front of the gear selector where the wireless charger is, to store your phone. The two big cup holders are handy but look a tad low-rent as they’re exposed and look a little basic. The storage is much more than what is found in the Renault Megane RS.
The 10.25-inch touchscreen in the 2022 Hyundai i30 N cabin is easy to use, high quality and slick to look at. It features wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which looks fantastic and is easy to set up and use, though we wish it was wireless, like the Golf GTI. The navigation system is also good as it has live traffic reporting. There is also an N screen that shows the custom driving mode settings, as well as a boost gauge and other performance screens.
Sitting in the back of the 2022 Hyundai i30 N is pretty good too as there is plenty of space behind the front bucket seats and the rear seats are actually pretty comfortable. There is lots of leg, shoulder and head room, so even taller passengers can be accommodated for – two adults or three kids can fit back there. There is also a centre arm rest with cupholders, though missing in the back of the i30 N are rear charging ports and air vents, both of which feature on a Golf GTI.
Opening the boot of the i30 N reveals 381-litres of space, though the cross bar impedes into the space – it is removable but needs to be done with the correct tools – and folding down the rear seats in the Hyundai opens the space up to 1,247L. The i30’s boot is well sized, as a comparison with rivals shows – the Focus ST only offers 273L, the Golf GTI has 374L and the Megane RS is biggest with 434L.
Service & Warranty: 8/10
The 2022 Hyundai i30 N Premium DCT comes with Hyundai’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. This is the same warranty term that is offered with the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST and Renault Megane RS. The difference between the warranty offered by Hyundai is that your warranty will not be voided by going on track. The i30 N also comes with 12 months of roadside assist which is extended at every scheduled dealer service for up to five years in total.
Servicing the i30 N occurs every 12 months or 10,000km, whichever comes first, which isn’t as long as the 12 month/15,000km intervals of the Golf GTI or Focus ST, or the 12 month/20,000km intervals of the Renault Megane RS. But despite the short intervals, the cost of servicing the i30 N over the span of five years or 50,000km is a reasonable $1,675 ($335 per service). The Volkswagen Golf GTI will cost $3,366 over the same period of time which is double the cost of the i30 N, but you can also travel a further 25,000km due to its longer servicing intervals.
2022 Hyundai i30 N Premium DCT DiscoverAuto Rating: 8.5/10
The Hyundai i30 N was the first proper hot hatch from South Korea and because of that, you might think that it was unrefined or a bit rough around the edges. Hyundai shocked the world when the i30 N was launched in 2017 with just how taught, precise and focused it was. And it continues to do so today, with the 2022 Hyundai i30 N being another fine hot-hatch which offers an exceptional driving experience.
Other cars such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI have a lot of history to go off, but to us, the i30 N can be praised for being so good straight from the start. It’s an excellent all-rounder – it’s comfortable, practical, very quick and very fun as well.
So is the 2022 Hyundai i30 N Premium DCT the hot hatch we would buy? In a word, yes. It offers an almost unparalleled level of performance for the cost of a mid-sized sedan. Hot hatches are supposed to make you feel youthful and put a huge smile on your face and the Hyundai i30 N properly delivers. The i30 N is the hot hatch of the moment and the new dual-clutch transmission has only widened its appeal. Another cracking car from Hyundai.