Car Reviews

2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Review

Toby Hagon’s 2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Review With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Ownership, Safety, Verdict And Score.

In a nutshell: The i30 N-Line is a new addition to the i30 range but replaces the SR warm hatch, which has been retired.

2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Specifications

Price $26,490+ORC Warranty 5 years, unlimited kilometre Service Intervals 12 months or 10,000km Safety 5-star ANCAP rating (2017) Engine 1.6-litre 4-cylinder turbo Power 150kW at 6000rpm Torque 165Nm at 1500-4500rpm Transmission 6-speed manual or 7-speed auto Drive Front-wheel drive Dimensions 4345mm (L), 1795mm (W), 1453mm (H), 2650mm (WB) Kerb Weight 1315-1436kg Towing 1300kg Towball Download 75kg GVM 1850kg (manual), 1880kg (auto) Boot Space 395 litres Spare Space saver Fuel Tank 50L Thirst 7.5L/100km

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Watch our 2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Review

Hyundai is looking to capitalise on its newly-created N performance sub-brand by adding the N-Line to the i30 lineup.

While the i30 N is a proper hatch instantly giving Hyundai serious credibility in a segment dominated by the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, the N-Line is a very different machine. It uses much of the styling bits of the full blown N but without the cracking 2.0-litre turbo engine.

Instead, there’s a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo, the same engine used in the i30 SR, among other Hyundais.

Indeed, the i30 N-Line is a direct replacement for that SR and, like that car did, now acts as a stepping stone between affordable i30s and the hot hatch N.

What’s in the range and how much does it cost?

Sitting in between the base model i30s, Go and Active, and the more luxurious Elite and sporty N, the i30 N-Line picks up a sprinkling of equipment from each.

Key to its design are the bumpers from the N, the front one with additional air intakes and a lower insert in silver giving it a sportier appearance.

Sure, there are some things missing when lined up alongside the full N – the N badging nestled in the grille and the option of signature N light blue paint – but on a cursory glance it’s clearly a sporty step up from a regular i30.

2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Review

Standard kit includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Qi wireless phone charging, digital radio tuning, dual-zone ventilation, smart key entry and start, auto headlights, reversing camera, tyre pressure monitoring system, radar cruise control and rain-sensing wipers.

Ramping up the visuals there are also red seatbelts, red piping on the seats as well as some red stitching and nicely styled 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin rubber.

Like the SR it replaces the N-Line gets a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo engine matched to either a six-speed manual ($26,490, which is a $540 increase over the SR) or seven-speed twin-clutch automatic, the latter adding $3000.

2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Review

The big price jump is also because the manual model misses out on the SmartSense safety pack fitted only to those with an auto transmission. The pack includes auto emergency braking (AEB), radar cruise control, rear cross traffic alert and lane keep assistance.

There’s also an N-Line Premium, which gets the auto transmission standard as well as tinted windows, panoramic sunroof, front parking sensors, LED headlights, heated and ventilated front seats, powered driver’s seat and a seven-speaker Infinity sound system for $34,990+ORC.

Oh, and if you want any colour other than white it’s another $495.

2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Review

What’s the interior and practicality like?

It’s a small car but the i30 looks after its occupants nicely. Front seats are snug and accommodating, some additional side bolstering on the sports seats helping with keeping humans in place through the fun stuff.

Storage is well catered for with decent segmented door pockets, a modest centre console and cupholders doubling for things other than drinks. Red seatbelts and stitching also adds to the sense the N-Line is more exciting than your average i30.

2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Review

But dig deeper and the plastics and some finishes don’t exude the style and attention to detail of things such as the anodised red surrounds on the outer air vents up front. The plastic handbrake is a particular letdown.

2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Review

The generosity doesn’t extend to the back seats, which lack any form of charging for devices, a fold down arm rest about as luxurious as it gets. With the manual version it doesn’t even get rear air vents. However, if you choose an auto transmission rear air vents are included (the lack of a self-shifter must free up space to run the ducting for the vents). That said, there are pipes underneath the front seats, so, there’s still air being piped into the back, it’s just not directional.

2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Review

What are the controls and infotainment like?

The N-Line has smart key entry but you still have to push a button on the front doorhandle rather than grab it anywhere, as in more advanced versions of that feature.

2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Review

Once there, there’s a logical, well presented layout. The centre stack is fairly standard and executed in a functional and aesthetically pleasing way.

The 8.0-inch touchscreen on top of the dash looks after audio and infotainment functions, with main buttons surrounding the screen to allow easy navigation to primary menus, such as navigation and radio. There’s even a programmable button to take you straight to a favourite feature.

2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Review

While it’d be better if the volume knob was on the driver’s side, there’s a smattering of controls on the steering wheel that cater for that and more. Ventilation buttons are equally well laid out lower on the dash, although the six button blanks surrounding the gear shifter make you wonder what you’re missing (selectable driver modes for starters).

2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Review

The binnacle at the base of the dash is home to various device power options, including a USB port and a Qi wireless charger. The instrument cluster is classic circular speedo and tacho split by a digital display with a digital speedo. However, when you scroll through menus to make navigation commands or settings appear in that small window the digital speedo disappears.

What’s the performance like?

The 1.6 turbo may be small, but it’s feisty enough for the job at hand, adding some much welcome spice without the fieriness of the 2.0 in the full blown N. A hint of lag is quickly whisked away with a thoroughly usable low-rev surge that builds enthusiasm as revs surpass 6000rpm. Even below 2000rpm it pulls quite strongly, holding that momentum throughout the rev range.

2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Review

It’s brisk without being daunting, a thoroughly worth step up from the garden variety engine in basic i30s while leaving enough room for the proper N higher in the lineup. The six-speed manual has nicely spaced ratios but is good rather than great in its shift action.

It’s occasionally notchy, for example, and we had a few (otherwise) slick first-second shits interrupted as it caught the gate on the way through.

Previous experience with the seven-speed DCT auto suggests it’s a slick operator that’s ultimately quicker in acceleration, albeit with the occasional slow-speed hesitation when modulating the throttle in traffic.

What’s it like on the road?

It’s dynamics where the N-Line really lives up to its rorty looks.

Whereas regular i30s get a more basic torsion beam rear-end, the N-Line picks up the more advanced multi-link rear suspension utilised in the N. It makes for better control in the rear. Indeed, there’s a lovely alacrity to the way it tackles bends, direct and well weighted steering ensuring a decent level of driver feedback.

Body control is good, with quick recovery and a resistance to leaning when pushed, albeit without the hard core flavour of a real i30 N – which is a good thing, because the trade-off is more suspension compliance and comfort.

2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Review

It’s all brought together by excellent Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres, which deliver superb grip and poise.

There are hints of torque steer out of tight bends – where the steering wheel tugs under acceleration – but it’s generally well behaved, planting its power nicely through the front wheels in all but aggressive driving.

Combined with bump absorption that means it’ll easily deal with poor quality surfaces it makes the N-Line a wonderful everyday proposition.

2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Review

Does it have a spare?

The i30 is one of the few small cars where most models get a full-sized spare tyre. But, as with the sportier i30 N, the N-Line models make do with an inferior space saver spare. That’s in part because the tyre is wider, making it more difficult to fit a spare of the same size in the boot. The skinny tyre is rated to a maximum speed of 80km/h.

Can you tow with it?

Think very small boats or box trailers, because that’s about the best the i30 will tow. It’s rated capacity is 1300kg, although the 75kg towball download will reduce that outright limit significantly for most tow rigs.

What about ownership?

Like all Hyundais, the i30 N-Line is covered by a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty. While that used to be a USP, these days it’s merely average among the mainstream car makers.

Servicing is due every 12 months or 10,000km. That latter figure is one negative over the 2.0-litre non-turbo i30s, which only require checking every 15,000km. That lower kilometre limit means anyone doing 15-20,000km annually will obviously be visiting the dealership more often.

Still, services are respectably priced; early services cost $269 each while the fourth one at 40,000km is $309. So, for the first five years or 50,000km the service bill is $1385. The two services following that are $435 and $525, something that will hit those travelling further.

What safety features does it have?

There are seven airbags for all-round coverage, including a driver’s knee airbag. That helped in securing the i30 a five-star ANCAP rating in 2017. The lack of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) on the i30 N-Line with a manual gearbox means it would not achieve that five-star rating if it were retested today (hence the 2017 “date stamp”, as ANCAP refers to it).

But auto models would fare better, courtesy of the standard SmartSense safety pack (something that is still $1750 on i30 Go and i30 Active). It incorporates AEB that operates at all legal speeds in Australia, potentially avoiding a crash or at least reducing its severity. The AEB can also react to pedestrians and cyclists.

There’s also lane keeping assist as part of that SmartSense pack, although as with all such systems there’s limited usefulness, the car often missing lane markings. Rear cross traffic alert warns of cars approaching from either side as you’re backing out of parallel parking spots. Plus, there’s radar cruise control to maintain a set distance to the vehicle up ahead. Another handy feature are the tyre pressure sensors, which can give early warning of a puncture.

2019 Hyundai i30 N-Line Review

Editor's Rating

How do we rate the interior and practicality?
How do we rate the infotainment and controls?
How do we rate the performance?
How do we rate the ride and handling?
How do we rate the value?
How do we rate the safety?
Practical Motoring Says It’s far from a true hot hatch, but there’s enough heat in the i30 N-Line for those wanting some extra hatchback spice at a sensible price. If anything, the N-Line is the sweet spot in the i30 range, bringing some extra pizazz and sporty looks with great dynamics and cornering fun. Its sensible pricing makes it a tempting option above the base i30s, all the while leaving enough room above for the proper i30 N hot hatch. While the manual is a sound choice, its lack of active safety kit makes the $3K jump to the auto a more salient choice.

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Toby Hagon

Toby Hagon

From Porsches to LandCruisers, Toby Hagon loves all things cars and has been writing about them for more than 20 years. He loves the passion and people that help create one of the world's most innovative and interesting industries. As well as road testing and chasing news he more recently co-authored a book on Holden. These days he crosses the world covering the industry but still loves taking off on the Big Trip in Australia.