Baby got Fastback

by Petrol Mum

Sporting its Performance Blue kit flecked with red highlights the i30 Fastback N cuts a striking appearance on the road. Underneath it is powered by the same 2.0 litre engine that is found in the i30N hatch, but I feel the boot adds a certain amount of class to this performance-bred Hyundai.

The connection between Namyang, Hyundai Motor Company’s Global R&D Centre in Korea where the i30 Fastback N was conceptualised and the Nürburgring, the home of Hyundai’s European Test Centre provided the foundation for the N Performance Division with the singular goal of designing cars that deliver pure driving enjoyment.

The moment you step over the aluminium tread plates, turn the key to start the engine and press the chequered flag button on the steering wheel to engage N mode you can feel this. N mode sets the powertrain and chassis to their sharpest settings and you get access to a performance timer, g-force meter and digital readouts for the turbo, torque and power on the infotainment screen.

You will most likely not be looking at the screen, but rather the shift lights at the top of the dash that flash to tell you to change up to the next gear in the 6-speed manual transmission as the engine enthusiastically revs past 6,500rpm on the analogue taco. Gear changes up and down the box are accompanied by a double pop from the exhaust when you are in N mode to add to the driving experience.

The clutch in the i30N is light and I was easily able to quickly move through the gears and you have the option via a button on the steering wheel to turn rev matching on or off, depending on your preference. There are other drive modes as well including Normal, Sport, Eco and N Custom, but I spent the majority on my time in N mode for the entertainment factor and because I didn’t feel that the ride was too harsh in this setting either.

The 2.0 litre, in-line four cylinder, twin-scroll turbocharged petrol engine produces 202kW @ 6,000rpm and 353Nm @ 1,450-4,700rpm (378Nm on Overboost between 1,750 – 4,200rmp). The official combined fuel consumption is 8.0L/100km and for time driving around in N mode I used only 10.0L/100km. Drive is sent to the front wheels via an electronically controlled mechanical Limited Slip Differential and I found that there was very little torque steer or loss of traction from the front tyres in the dry, but in the wet the tyres did tramp under hard acceleration. The i30 Fastback N’s light, 19-inch alloy wheels are fitted with specially developed, high-performance Pirelli P-Zero HN tyres measuring 235/35 R19 to deliver immense cornering grip.

The interior of the i30N has a sporty look to match the performance and the standard seats in the i30N are nice enough and have manual adjustment for forward/back, recline and height, with the driver also getting two-way power lumbar adjustment. However, if I were to spec a Fastback it would include the optional Luxury Pack ($3,000) that adds Sport front seats with suede inserts and leather bolsters and 12-way power adjustment, for a little more glam.

There are two rigid square-shaped cup holders next to the manual handbrake and also good-sized drink bottle storage located in the front door cubby, which is not always the case in small cars. At the front of centre console there is a deep storage pocket that is lined with rubber to stop your phone from sliding around and in here there are also two 12V outlets, one USB port and an AUX inlet.

The Fastback has Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility and voice control is only available when you are connected to these via a USB. In the mix of media selections you will also find Sounds of Nature;  the choices available include Lively Forest (the favourite of my family), Calm Ocean Waves, Rainy Day, Open-air-café, Warm fireplace, and Snowy Village, should you want to chill out after a good drive.  

The rear seats are nicely contoured and I found that there was enough head and leg room for two adults to comfortably sit in them. There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but in reality you would only fit two car seats in due to the width of the seat. The central seat folds down as an arm rest and contains two rigid cup holders and there is additional drink bottle storage in the door cubbies. The rear seat passengers miss out on central air vents and there are no USB/12V ports in the back either.

The Fastback boot lid is power assisted for opening and the boot is a good size, but the design is a little awkward as you have to reach down into the boot and lift items up and out and this could be a little difficult with a heavier pram. You may also find the rear stiffening bar installed behind the rear seatback between the upper suspension damper mounts to increase body rigidity gets in the way too particularly if you use the 60/40 split folding rear seats to increase the storage room. For convenience there are two hooks in the boot and a 12V outlet and a space saver spare tyre under the boot floor.

The Hyundai i30 Fastback N features Hyundai SmartSense active safety suite that includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist and Lane Keeping Assist. The Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist can also be turned on or off when N mode is engaged. It also has standard cruise control and a standard rear-view camera with rear sensors only. The Fastback has seven airbags including dual frontal, side chest, side head-protecting airbags (curtains) and a driver knee airbag. Although the standard i30 has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating this does not apply to the i30N or the sedan variants of the i30, which was launched in October 2020.

Under the Hyundai iCare program new car customers receive a 5-Year Unlimited kilometre Warranty, complimentary Roadside Assist for 12 months, and a 1,500km complimentary first service. In addition, for the i30 Fastback N the warranty also covers race track use for non-competition events, so you can enjoy track days to fully explore the capabilities of your car.

The service intervals for the i30 Fastback N are every 12 months or 10,000km, whichever occurs first. Under Lifetime Service Plan the first five services are capped at $299 each. Customers will also receive a Roadside Support Plan for up to 10 years and 10 Year Sat Nav updates if they continue to service the vehicle through the Hyundai dealer network.

The i30 Fastback N offers all of the driving enjoyment of the hatch, but with a little bit of extra style and space thanks to the addition of the boot. Pricing starts at $41,990 excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs and this was the as tested price for the Fastback I drove as well. Metallic/Mica paint can be added for $495 and if you would like a panoramic sunroof included with the Luxury Pack the cost is $5,000. Visit your preferred Hyundai dealer for more information.

The exterior stylingLeather-accented seats not fitted as standard
Zippy engine and manual gearboxNo central rear air vents
Good-sized bootNo ANCAP safety rating

Photograph by Drive Women Magazine.

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