Suspension tweaks aim to make the Hyundai hot hatch a more usable daily driver. Do they succeed?
Hyundai can’t seem to keep its hands off the i30 N. Sure, the fast i30 may have ruffled the feathers of the established hot hatch set when it first pitched up in 2017, but the South Korean manufacturer didn’t treat the car’s relatively strong performance out of the blocks as an excuse to knock off early and head down the pub.Soon after the original came the i30 N Fastback, which added swoopier coupé styling into the mix and a suspension tune that was slightly softer than that of its at times vice-like sibling. Now, less than three years after we had our first drive of the original in late 2017, Hyundai launched yet another take on its inaugural hot hatch.When we put the i30 N through the rigours of the Autocar road test, we found it to be a convincing hot hatch brimming with entertainment, value and character, but also one that – aside from its almost bargain-basement price point – didn’t really lead the field in any particular aspect of hot hatchery. That fact, combined in particular with an aggressive suspension set-up that – in its racier settings – really just did not get along with British roads, prevented it from shining quite as brightly as Hyundai R&D boss Albert Biermann and his Hyundai N team might have liked.This revised version aims to rectify the suspension element of that criticism – not that we’d try to claim outright responsibility for such a decision being made, of course. For the 2020 model year, the i30 N has been bestowed with an updated suspension tune that’s more in line with the one on the Fastback model. Hyundai might not explicitly admit it but, reading between the lines, it doesn’t seem entirely ludicrous to assume the aim was to make the hatch a bit easier to get along with on a daily basis.So the front spring rates have been softened by some 5%; larger bump stops have been added; and there’s a slightly more slimline anti-roll bar across its nose. The front and rear dampers have been tweaked, too, and the ESP software has been revised. The electronically locking differential remains, as do the 271bhp four-pot motor and six-speed gearbox.