Is This The Hyundai We’ve Been Waiting For?

While Hyundai had the Veloster, Accent, and the Elantra five-door, they really haven’t had a high performance Golf or Civic fighter. But if the just-revealed 2018 Hyundai i30 N is anything to go by, it looks like times are changing for the South Korean automaker.

It’s probably the one vehicle type that Hyundai has lacked in recent memory. It’s had a luxury, rear-wheel drive with the Genesis four-door now known as the G80/G90. It’s also had a performance rear-wheel drive with the Genesis Coupe that’s now known as extinct. It’s getting a full electric vehicle with the Ioniq, and of course it’s had the SUVs and crossovers. It never really had a true performance hatchback.


The closest it ever got was the Veloster Turbo R-Spec with its 201hp 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with direct injection. That sounds equal to the 2017 Honda Civic Si until you put the 0-60mph times up and realize that the 6-speed transmission with B&M shifter is just there for show. The 6.7-second time is 0.5-seconds slower than the Si. Of course, the Si weighs 180lbs less and makes 4hp more.


That’s all about to change with the introduction of the 2018 i30 N (that’s N for Namyang where it was born, and Nürburgring where it was developed).

It’s coming in on the heavier side at 3327lbs over the Si, but it’s also bring a 275hp 2.0-liter turbocharged engine to the fight. That’s enough to propel it from 0-60mph in just under six-seconds (0-100km.h is claimed at 6.1-seconds). However, all this comparison is probably going to be moot because the i30 N is probably not coming to the markets where the Si is available, namely here in the US. It’ll be a shame if it doesn’t.


Hyundai does have plans for a GT version of the Elantra, which is our version of the i30, however, it’s getting the Veloster Turbo’s 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. You’ll only be able to get a 6-speed manual with the 2.0-liter variant and that doesn’t come with a turbo. We’re getting shafted, but I guess Hyundai really only wants to make sure it’s going to continue selling to people who drive on the golf course over people who want to drive a performance hatch. It’s not like there is a market here in the US for it. You know, the Ford Focus and Fiesta STs and the Focus RS, the Civic Si and Type R, Golf GTi and R, Fiat 500 Abarth, and Mini Cooper JCW don’t all sell here in the US. That’s sarcasm if you can’t tell.


Then again, who knows. Maybe Hyundai is keeping the Elantra N under its shirt, just waiting for the right moment to surprise us all. It might be the shock announcement of 2017. That is if Mitsubishi doesn’t suddenly drop news of a new Eclipse GSX or Evolution, but we know that’s not happening either.


What do you think? Is this an exciting time to be involved in the hot hatch game? Should Hyundai bring the i30 N to the US as the Elantra N? Or should we expect a new set of golf clubs from Hyundai instead?

Justin Banner
Instagram: jb27tt
Facebook: racerbanner
Twitter: RacerBanner



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

I like it, a clear hatchback shape / roof line, sporty aggressive looks and a modern interior that looks to shame VW


To be honest, hyundai probably isn't releasing this in the US due to the competition from those other mentioned automakers. Who would buy a hyundai over any of those other cars you listed? Especially if the price range is similar.


But with the exception of the Civic Si all those cars are for sale in Europe. Plus there's the Alfa Giulietta Veloce, the Peugeot 308 GTi, the upcoming Mégane RS, the spanish and czech Golfs (Seat Leon Cupra and Škoda Octavia RS), and we could add to that list the BMW 125i and 125d, Mercedes A250 and Volvo V40 T5 too. And it looks like there's still enough place for this Hyundai, or at leat Hyundai thinks so.

Matthew Dockery

But it will probably be cheaper, have a better warranty, and VW's name is garbage in the states right now because of the dieselgate.


If VW's name is garbage, shouldn't that increase the advantage of selling into the US?


Are we going to ignore the fact that this looks like a gti with a subaru front end? Another case of south korean manufacturing based on imitation instead of innovation. It'll sell in droves though if it makes it to the States. I'd never be seen driving a hyundai or kia.


You're mad lol this looks nothing like the cars you compare it with, its closer to looking like a Volvo


I thought it was a Volvo at a glance, as well

Matthew Dockery

But it's cheap, they don't cheat on their emissions, and it comes with a warranty promising it won't blow a head gasket within the first 60k miles.

Take the badges off and let everyone ask you about your new Subaru if you don't want to drive a Hyundai.


Except it's not cheap, they've already stated this will cost Golf GTI money, but before that Hyundai/KIA were fined over $700 million for falsifying MPG figures recently so their hands aren't exactly clean either.


The hexagonal grill and angry-eye headlights look like the 2017 wrx. I can't unsee it.


I have to disagree on the front end. Reminds me of a Volvo C30 more so than a Subaru. Rear definitely has a Golf look, though.

Matthew Dockery

It's very Volvo, especially in that interesting pastel color which reminds me of a purple version of Polestar blue.


I can totally see the Volvo there. Both the rear end, 3/4 panels, and that contour line along the door is all modern VW. Point is, it's totally uninspired. The genesis looks like a mashup of all the german saloons, and this is just a lame attempt at entering the hot hatchback market with something resembling other cars that are successful in said market. I don't like it. lol


A mishmash of everything..... Can be said of all cars nowadays.

Simply sounds like bias to me.


Well, whatever it turns out to be, it's a lot better looking than a Veloster.

Matthew Dockery

"It's a lot better to look out the back of than a Veloster."



And how did you come to that conclusion?


Everything is better to look out the back of. I have one. Visability is terrible. Backing out of parking spaces certainly requires a bit of a "f-it" attitude.


I'd rent one... if it was cheap. Seriously tho, I suspect it will sell like crazy here in China, which is a huge market for Hyundai right now. So I doubt they care is the US really wants it or not.


What do I think?
I think people need to quit whining, when a manufacturer doesn't offer a manual option, for a particular car... The manual transmission apologist crowd, is one of the most self-entitled in the whole world.


I don't whine, I just remove the car from the list of prospects. I'm entitled to not buy it if it doesn't come with a transmission option that I like. No matter though, the pictured Hyundai has a manual trans, so we can all sleep soundly in our designated safe-spaces.

Of all the important self-entitled causes in the world, manual transmission fans don't even register.
The greatest display of self-entitlement is feeling compelled to whine about other people's perceived whiny entitlement. Excellent opportunity to try out the word "apologist" too. A bit shaky though.


How is it an indication of self-entitlement that we want manual transmissions? Why is it a bad thing that there is a demand for manual transmissions? Why do you feel like just because you don't want a manual, that those who do are "whining"? If you insist on applying random political hot-button buzzwords to such an inane topic, than aren't you being being a bit of a fascist?

Matthew Dockery

You make it sound like driving a manual is a bad thing to begin with? Manufacturers should be in favor of people being interested in driving stick again. They're cheaper to make and if they market the third pedal as a performance option they'll be able to mark up any trim package that has one.

I don't think I've ever heard of a MT apologist....


Throw all the "hot hatches" in a blender and this is what you get. You can't judge a car by it's looks. Will it perform?


It was tested recently in camo guise at Bathurst Nulon Nationals event. Looked quick, sounded good. Should be matched with the GTi.


First the stinger and now i30N, the Korean cars group is hitting the market for sure. But still, I don't trust them on quality side, I admit they are getting better and better (or all the others are getting worst).


With the massive warranty they offer what is not to trust? Hyundai are a totally different manufacturer from what they used to be back in the day.


As already said: they are getting better. I didn't checked the latest offers in detail but i think they still need a couple of years to be considered as a 1st choice (maybe because of the past, reputation is hard to be built in the market).


The exterior styling details make it look like a Golf sat on a BMW and they sort of fused at the waist.

I do really like it though, kudos to Hyundai for continuing to step up their game.


I was hoping it would come with a 6 speed manual + the turbo engine but that might be Canadian specs? Who knows but I do love the styling of this new Elantra, the front reminds me of the Infiniti grille and at least the air cushions are functional whereas the Type R Civic isn't lol


I like it. Good on Hyundai. They're making some really nice looking cars for good prices and now some decent performance (at least on paper).


One should not be surprise 10 years from now Hyundai will be up there with the best of them. Everyone starts somewhere, and Hyundai has show in the last decade that they have made major changes; good changes. It's always about money, and if Hyundai offers big bucks to some of the best engineers and designers to make the shift over, the game will be changed. The hatch above looks good. Thumbs up Hyundai. Again, all the keyboard warriors have so much negative shit to say everyday. Go back the last 5 years and read all the negative comments you guys ever made. Has it made you a better person in any way? Still sitting here acting like a gangsta behind the computer? Lmao...


I think it is a VW golf platform. The 2.0ltr turbo engine, the layout. Developed in Germany... I looks to me like a VW Golf...


Interior is nice, I like the redline on the front and rear lips but I don't know about those smaller taillights above the bumper. For the looks I give it a 6.5/10. I'm curious to see it on the track.

Chris Colouryum

Wouldn't say the closest they got was the Veloster I've seen some i30 turbos (current model) around Bristol, UK and they sound great and seem pretty rapid. If this is an improvement on that then this should really be something to look out for, it looks great (Hyundai and Kia's styling are bang on in the last few years). I feel it's entering a bit of Seat Cupra / Skoda RS underdog position in terms of competition albeit not a VAG!


1. Why is the butt so ugly? All those unnecessary angles and lines give it the face (or butt-face) of a frog that swallowed a hornet. Stick with the simple 90's functional curves and stop trying to make the butt look like a Lexus.

2. Those wheels... are awful. I really hate the current trend with automakers where they choose a black wheel with machined accents that are completely counter-intuitive to what you expect. It's like the accents accent the WRONG part of the wheel! I really hope automakers snap out of this 'tryhard' phase where they are working so hard to just be different. Different does not equal attractive.

3. I actually like the front end. It's a bit on the simple side for a hot hatch, but that's ok. I also like the red accent line. Reminds me of the GTI.

MPistol HVBullets

they certainly have the shape of the hatchback correct - mock as much of the GTI as you can, match the interior quality, put some power under the hood - what else can I ask for?


I hate it, I hate it, I hate it! I'm not suppose to like a Hyundai... I oddly do like this car!
If it does come to NA it would have to be priced extremely well for it to convert me over a fiesta/focus ST though...

Matthew Adkins

I fucking want it! New blood is always a good thing!


Not sure where you are getting your info from. But the North American market IS getting a new N model. And it won't be the Elantra GT with your mentioned 1.6L Turbo and 7sp dual clutch. It will be the next gen Veloster with that same new chassis, powertrain, and suspension tuning of the i30 N model.


Imagine a wagon version of it !!!

Charlie Joiner

so the civic si has 4 hp more and 180 lbs lighter so it was fractionally quicker. Dude, do you understand what torque is? This has heaps more torque than the Si. 4 hp only counts when you are one or two mph away from the car max speed, FYI and to educate you: On Motogp bike 3 hp (at the wheel and NOT at the crank) gives you an additional 1 kph top speed. yes bike may not be as slippery as car but it has a much smaller frontal area. Educate yourself before you narrate and post this article. Stock vs Stock this i30 will blow Civic Si into the weeds be it on the racetrack, hillclimb, interstate highway. I don't own any of these and am neutral but don't dramatize your narration and misguide the readers.

Philly Robertson

Im on the fence if I like it yet.. If it has hit the ring and done well, then thats a plus. But, I bet the aftermarket Hyundai tuning shops that focus on the Gen Coupe could work some aftermarket magic on this thing. IDK about those seats. Besides being one of the worst seats ive seen in a while, replacing them will probably shed off a few Lbs.
I agree with the one poster about the black wheels. Black wheels have been played out for years. Remember back when civics, S13's, etc had clear tail lights and they were all the rage.. Then they became factory on alot of cars (mainly toyota comes to mind) and killed that trend. Same goes with black wheels. Now just about every american car and truck has a set of them.
Anyways.. back to the hatch..
I think it has clean body lines. But then again, it does have hues from other manufacturers.. But, I do like it better than the new Civic's body. Civic as bulges here and there. This one is more refined (which im a fan of) except for the rear end. That area where the 2 reflectors are just out of place. Maybe someone got crafty in the claying stage. That rear bumper area can be revised to fit the rest of the lines of the car (IMHO).

But, with some improvements from the aftermarket world, it just might be a Hot-Hatch after all. In OEM trim it just blends in with the rest of society.


I like it a lot. Those seats don't do it for me though, only let down I think. The new Astra VXR Turbo Seats look much better.


more performance and stick shifts YEAHHHH


No AWD = not the droids I'm looking for. Not disappointed though. You have to accept that a sub 3k lb awd car will never be made again.


The rear reflectors on the boot makes the car look very.... ugly to be honest.


Why is every car company doing the same grill these days? Boring! Clearly the design team at Hyundai lacks creativity if they just copy everyone else. Wouldn't you agree?