Hyundai has turned its mild-mannered five-door hatch into a convincingly styled hot hatchback with the i30 N. It doesn’t have the classlessness of a Golf GTI, but nor is it quite as brash as a Civic Type R – and in that middle ground the end result is something quite appealing.
Front and rear bumpers, side sills and a spoiler with an integrated, triangular brake light mark the N out from regular i30s, as well as 19-inch alloy wheels and red detailing. Hyundai also has its own signature colour for the N, called Performance Blue – a light shade that sounds a little odd until you see it in the metal. It really works, though the N looks great in understated black or traditional reds and whites, too.
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The Hyundai i30 N is due a subsequent facelift towards the end of the year, with a look that’s already been previewed by the lesser i30 N-Line that traditionally shares many of the i30 N’s design elements sans the performance-oriented additions like big wheels, brakes and exhaust outlets.
And the Fastback? It took us a little getting used-to, and arguably isn't as sleek as such a car could (or should) be, as Hyundai has clearly been keen to preserve some practicality. But with longer exposure it gets better and from the rear in particular looks more exotic than the standard car. It might just be the one we'd go for.