The Hyundai i30 N is getting great reviews - but does the badge put you off?
Hyundai as a brand is doing all the right things - it has grown much in the same way as Kia, starting with low cost, cheap hatchbacks and then slowly working towards an emphasis on quality. Once a standard has been reached, it's then time to bring some pep to the lineup. Like the Proceed GT and Stinger, Hyundai has introduced a performance car to its range through its latest hot hatch.
Standing on the shoulders of its extremely successful World Rally campaign, the i30N is positioned to take on the VW Golf GTI and Honda Civic Type R. But can it shake off its poor badge appeal to become a true player in the hot hatch marketplace?
Hyundai has been outspoken with the fact that its aim was to cram as much performance into the little hatch for as little cost as possible, with the i30 N coming in at a somewhat attractive £24,995. That's for the entry level car, which brings a 247bhp four-pot, an electronic limited-slip differential and three-way adaptive suspension to the table.
The full quoted 271bhp comes with an optional Performance Package, which allows the little Korean to use an overboost function to get to 62mph in 6.1 seconds. That's 0.3 seconds quicker than the standard Golf GTI and essentially matches the top spec (and more expensive) Peugeot 308 GTI.
Sure, the Hyundai lacks a bit of quality compared to its European and Japanese counterparts but with auto rev-matching, a short shifter and a chassis that has been setup to be thrown about with ease, it seems the company's first attempt at a hot hatch has been a true success. It also sits in the middle of the hot hatch power race - it doesn't have the silly power of the Golf R/Focus RS hyper hatches but it does bring more grunt to the party than its similarly priced 'junior' hatch rivals.
The question is, would you actually buy one? Would you walk past a Golf GTI, 308 GTI or Focus ST to buy a car with a Hyundai badge on the grille?
I absolutely would. To me, brand allegiance barely exists in this modern age of motoring, and there's something very attractive about the sudden new kid on the block from such an unassuming brand. In the same way that we all can't wait to see how the Kia Stinger GT shapes up, the Hyundai i30N appears to have won over the hearts of the top motoring journalists.
Would you buy this Hyundai hot hatch? Or would you struggle to tell people that you own a Hyundai? Join the debate in the #performance-car live chat here: