2022 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Limited Edition review

  • Doors and Seats



  • Engine



  • Engine Power



  • Fuel



  • Manufacturer



  • Transmission



  • Warranty



  • Ancap Safety




Sam Purcell

Limited to 500 units, this i30 combines improved performance credentials with a sleek liftback sedan body style. It’s got a more grown-up air than the hatchback, even though it’s as raucous as ever. It’s lighter and meaner, but still thoroughly enjoyable.

  • Impressive performance and handling, with a big dose of torque
  • Limited Edition brings significant mechanical upgrades
  • Sedan packaging works well for everyday usage

  • Missing blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
  • Ride quality can feel firm around town
  • Some low-rent interior bits

Confession time: before I jumped into this 2022 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Limited Edition, I had not done any reading into what I was driving. ‘Just another i30 Fastback N’ I thought – the suave-looking liftback with a hot hatch heart. 

Not that it’s a bad thing. I love the i30, and would personally prefer to have it over many other cars of this ilk. 

Once driving, I could tell it was a little different. Still angry but a little sharper. More honed, more eager, and certainly faster. Maybe it’s just a car that’s getting better with age and is growing on me?

Once I started reading, however, I realised that this i30 N is more than just a a different name and some aesthetic changes. And for some, this could hit the nail on the head quite smartly. 

Firstly, this is actually a limited-production variant of the brand’s successful first venture into serious hot-hatchery. It was originally slated to be a maximum run of 500, but Hyundai has since told us that number will be “around 300 units”.

There’s dealer stock currently available, and Hyundai is still building them out of the Czech Republic. So if you want one, you could have it quite soon. 

While I have listed the usual suspects of competition below, you’ll note that all of them are hatchbacks. If you’re wanting some kind of high-performance small sedan, you’ll need to look at the Subaru WRX, otherwise higher price brackets (like the Audi S3 and Mercedes-AMG A35) for something similar to this spicy little Korean.

That’s not forgetting that, of course, Hyundai also make an i30 Sedan N, though its controversial styling may not be to all tastes.

And spicy it is. While the standard range of N-branded i30 cars are far from quiet, shy or humble, this model confidently ups the ante.

Firstly, the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine has been given a bump in outputs. Going up to 206kW (from 202kW) is less impressive, but gaining 39Nm (now 392Nm available between 2100 and 4700rpm) is where the party’s at.

It’s not just a smidge more force, either. Hyundai has updated both the turbocharger and the intercooler to accommodate the extra grunt.

There’s enough to push the 0–100km/h run to a claimed 5.4 seconds, and front brake rotors have grown to 360mm for more stopping power. Naturally, these callipers are finished in an eye-catching red, and some guides mounted to the front lower control arms help cool the brakes under hard work.

But wait, there’s more. Forged alloy wheels save 14.4kg over the regular cast alloy units, and the seats save 2.2kg as well. These dark wheels are wrapped in Pirello P Zero HN rubber.

The suspension has also been retuned in this case, with electronic dampers and getting a bespoke Australian tune for this Limited Edition model. The wheel track has been widened at the front, as well, in an effort to improve stability and handling.

Bonus points, too, for the exposed chassis brace in the boot. So you know you mean business when you’re loading your groceries into the back.

The i30 Fastback N Limited Edition is priced from $49,000 with the six-speed manual gearbox, while the dual-clutch automatic transmission variant costs $52,000 (before on-road costs).

Key details2022 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Limited Edition
Price$49,000 plus on-road costs
Colour of test carDark Knight –$495
Price as tested$49,495 plus on-road costs
RivalsRenault Megane RS | Ford Focus ST | Subaru WRX

The seats, a source of a minor weight saving over normal, are great. They’re trimmed in leather and alcantara, and have quite an aggressive bucketing to them. Just the ticket for ripping through corners, but they were (for me) comfortable enough for everyday usage. The seats are finished off with an illuminated ‘N’ badge as well, which is quite catching at night time.

There are some less impressive parts of the i30’s interior, which are seemingly shared with the i30 model that costs less than half the price. The handbrake – straight hard plastic – is irksome at this price, and feels out of place near the more resplendent seats. The doors and dashboard have plenty of humdrum plastics, as well.

But maybe I’m missing the point. Maybe that’s what it’s all about with the i30 – serious upgrades only to the bits that matter: engine, gearing and seating. Only the stuff that you actually interact with, and what actually makes a difference. Anything else is useless decor.

The 436L boot – quite low-slung and long – fits our two awkwardly sized kid’s bikes in there. It’s bigger than what people would imagine, with the liftback-style boot yielding good access. There’s a space-saver spare and extra storage underneath the floor, and some shelving on the sides.

The second row has no air vents or power outlets. Headroom is also limited thanks to the sloping nature of that fastback roof line. Leg room and toe room are decent, and you’ve got room for cups (in the flip-down armrest) and bottles (in the door cards). You’ll notice that the front seats limit visibility for those in the back, and kids might not be able to see out of the windows so well.

The seats fold down and forward, allowing you to fit larger items into the back when you need to. However, you might need to unbolt that strut brace to properly use the load space.

The packaging is surprisingly good, feeling practical and looking good. While this model is effectively being replaced by the larger and more angular i30 Sedan N, I still think this fastback-style model has plenty of appeal.

2022 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Limited Edition
Boot volume436L seats up

1337L seats folded

Infotainment and Connectivity

The infotainment is the same system that Hyundai has been using for a long time now and is well-sized at 10.25 inches. It’s good, easy to use, and has all of the important boxes ticked for usability: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, digital radio and native navigation. It feels responsive enough in terms of processing power, and some buttons help you navigate through the system easily enough.

The experience is helped by the addition of buttons and dials for volume and air-conditioning control, which helps to declutter the infotainment system and makes adjustments on the move dead-easy.

One point of difference compared to regular i30 models is access to N-specific performance data, providing at-a-glance data in mechanical systems, and providing access to the car’s tweakable performance metrics.

Although the broader i30 range does have a five-star ANCAP safety rating, this doesn’t extend to the performance-oriented N models. So, effectively, this model is untested. We’ve added the link to the broader range below for some insight.

There are seven airbags inside the i30 N Limited Edition, which includes an airbag for the driver’s knee and curtain airbags that extend to the second row.

There is Hyundai’s take on autonomous emergency braking called Forward Collision Avoidance assistance (FCA). This runs through a camera system, and works for city/urban situations and covers pedestrians (but not cyclists).

There are some other things like front and rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring, high-beam assistance, lane-keep assistance and lane-follow assistance. It is missing some bits like rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring, which the i30 N hatch has.

While the i30 N carries a good performance schtick, servicing costs don’t stretch to the earth. Under a pre-paid service schedule, you’re paying not much more than $300 per visit for the first five years. Not bad, really, considering the performance on offer and five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

In some ways, this i30 N Limited Edition feels like a cheap and compelling alternative to something like an Audi S3. It doesn’t carry the same bandwidth of performance and comfort, the interior is nowhere near as nice, and is invariably more compromised as a result. But from a performance point of view, it’s got a nice bang-for-buck equation happening.

And now that the Volkswagen Golf GTI has taken a big upwards jump in terms of cost, this i30 N feels as good as ever. Perhaps the most pointed competition comes from Subaru’s new WRX. But if you value performance over everything else, then this little jigger holds up well.

At a glance2022 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Limited Edition
WarrantyFive years / unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months or 10,000km
Servicing costs$1005 (3 years), $1675 (5 years)

During our time with the car, we averaged 9.0L/100km according to the trip computer. That compares closely to the claimed figure of 8.5L/100km, and I did rack up a fair amount of daily driving highway grind during my time with the car. However, I also had my moments of more spirited driving.

Safe to say, you could probably see this number skyrocket if you look to access all of those 392Nm more regularly.

Fuel UseageFuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed)8.5L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test)9.0L/100km
Fuel type95-octane premium unleaded
Fuel tank size50L

The ride quality of this i30 N Limited Edition is firm and full of intent. You’ll be getting jostled around somewhat over patchwork roads at low speeds, and you’ll feel things like speed bumps and potholes more so than other vehicles.

When you start ripping into some corners, and your focus moves away from ride quality to steering and handling, then this i30 N really starts to make sense. That firmness translates to an impressive roadholding ability.

This is an angry little bit of gear. You need to work on your throttle control in first gear, otherwise you’ll see the front end tramping gracelessly. Snap that short, engaging lever down into second gear, and you’ll reach the redline again impressively quickly.

What Hyundai calls a ‘flat power tune’ is to do with the torque, which is available all the way through the middle rev range. It means second gear doesn’t last long with big throttle inputs, and you’ll find yourself in third gear (and triple digits) before you know it. 

The gearing is short and well dialled for getting the most out of this brawny 2.0-litre motor, and you’ll be using all six ratios for most driving situations.

The six-speed manual gearbox doesn’t get the ‘N Grin Shift’ mode of the dual-clutch automatic transmission, but I found myself grinning aplenty anyway. It’s an enjoyable gearbox to run through the ratios, feeling meaty and mechanical, without being overly notchy.

And the amount of grip available with the Pirelli rubber, limited-slip front differential, slightly wider front track and retuned suspension is impressive. It hangs on like a clenched fist, angry and unyielding. It will buck around slightly with the contours of the road, but feels true and accurate through the steering. It turns in aggressively and meaningfully – just the ticket for slaying your favourite section of twisty road.

N mode is probably too firm for a lot of your typical back-country B-roads, and is perhaps best suited for smoother tarmacs and proper circuit driving. But the good news here is that you can flip into the purple-hued custom mode and keep your suspension tune slightly more palatable, while also keeping the more aggressively calibrated powertrain. 

And for most situations you’ll find yourself driving in, this is where the i30 N Limited Edition feels at its best to explore its capability. 

The fastback helps to drop the hot-hatch persona without the rear wing and diffuser of the i30. But at the same time, it’s got the noise, performance and handling well and truly covered.

The crackles and pops through the variable exhaust can get a little overbearing in the most aggressive mode, especially when you are rolling on and off the throttle regularly. Thankfully, there is a middle ground, which is a little less obnoxious. Even in the normal mode, there is some satisfying throatiness in the timbre.

There is something of an unforgiving nature about this i30 that buyers will need to be at peace with. Or better yet, embrace. And as long as you’re using it as a proper driver’s tool often enough, I think that’s easily done.

Key details2022 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Limited Edition
Engine2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol
Power206kW @ 6000rpm
Torque392Nm @ 2100–4700rpm
Drive typeFront-wheel drive
Transmission6-speed manual
Power to weight ratio141.2kW/t
Turning circle11.6m

This 2022 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Limited Edition is undoubtedly a honed tool; a driver’s car for someone wanting the sharp edges. Or at least, they are happy to live with them for the occasional adrenaline-fuelled payoff.

There aren’t many other cars out there that can provide the same kind of performance – both straight-line and through corners – as this car while sneaking in under $50,000 before on-road costs. And in this liftback style, it’s surprisingly well suited to the times you’re not corner-carving. It’s a little practical, a little bit suave, and is loaded with the kind of technology that helps in a daily driver.

It’s being replaced by the bigger, more angular i30 Sedan N, but this Limited Edition model is still a sweet spot that has plenty of appeal.

Ratings Breakdown

8.1/ 10

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Infotainment & Connectivity

Sam Purcell

Sam Purcell has been writing about cars, four-wheel driving and camping since 2013, and obsessed with anything that goes brum-brum longer than he can remember. Sam joined the team at CarAdvice/Drive as the off-road Editor in 2018, after cutting his teeth at Unsealed 4X4 and Pat Callinan’s 4X4 Adventures.

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