Since the Hyundai i30’s introduction in 2007, the car has been a massive success for the brand. What was once a small hatchback to get you from A-B to B is now much more. For instance, the 2021 Hyundai N Line Premium combines the everyday driving of a hatch with the features of mid-sized sedans and the sporty nature of a hot-hatch all-in-one package. Is it up to par with similar models from other brands, though? Find out by testing the 2021 Hyundai N Line Premium hatchback.
The market for small hatchbacks is saturated, but the demand is decreasing as more people opt – in our opinion, unnecessarily – for SUVs. Mazda 3, Kia Cerato, Ford Focus Toyota Corolla are some competitors. Is the i30 worth its popularity? Find out by testing the i30’s newly upgraded version.
Price & Specifications: 8/10
The Hyundai i30 is no longer a budget hatchback but offers excellent value. If the hardcore Performance version of the i30 is not for you, or if you are concerned about performance and price, consider the 2021 Hyundai Line Premium. The i30 N is an excellent value-for-money car, but the 2021 Hyundai N Line Premium offers a more comfortable daily driver and a lower price tag.
The N Line Premium auto we tested, the most expensive non-N i30, costs $34,220, plus on-road charges. It comes with a 10.25″ touchscreen, an inbuilt satellite navigation system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a seven-speaker Infinity audio system, digital radio, and leather upholstery, including a power-adjustable driver’s chair, heated front seats and keyless entry with remote start. Other features include LED headlights and taillights, auto lights, and wipers.
The standard safety technology includes six airbags. It also features autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist, blindspot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, tire-pressure monitoring, front-and-rear parking sensors, with a camera in reverse, driver attention monitoring, and auto high beam.
The 2021 Hyundai i30 Premium N Line is up against the Mazda 3 G25 Astina ($38,790 plus road costs), the Toyota Corolla ZR ($32,695), the Kia Cerato GT ($36,990), the Volkswagen Golf R-Line ($37,450), the Skoda Scala Monte Carlo ($34,990 drive-away), and the Ford Focus ST-Line (30,990). The i30 is priced between the Mazda 3 (in its highest specs), the Volkswagen Golf R-Line ($37,450), the Skoda Scala Monte Carlo ($34,990), and the Ford Focus ST-Line ($30,990).
If the 2021 Hyundai N Line Premium is out of your price range, you can get a regular i30 hatchback for just $29,420, plus any on-road fees. The standard N Line is a better value than the N Line premium as it loses the 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation system and replaces it with an 8.0-inch display and the Infinity 7-speaker audio system in favor of a six-speaker standard system. It also loses the panoramic glass roof and power driver’s chair and has heated and cooled seats on the front.
The 2021 Hyundai N Line Premiums Colour Palette only has one standard color: white. For an extra $495, you can select from Phantom Black, Intense Blue, Amazon Grey, Lava Orange, Fluid Metal, and our test vehicle’s Fiery Red.
Performance & Economy 8/10
The 2021 Hyundai i30 N Line Premium will only be available with the familiar 1.6-liter Gamma four-cylinder engine, not the more modern ‘Smartstream unit in the i30 N Line sedan. It produces 150kW and 265Nm torque when used in this way. The front wheels are driven by either a six-speed automatic transmission as standard or a $2,000 seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission. The engine has a nice linear powerband throughout the rev range.
When comparing the engine of the 2021 Hyundai N Line Premium to that of its competitors, it comes out as a winner or at least a tie. The engine shares its outputs with the mechanical cousin, the Kia Cerato GT. But then it starts to fall. Ford Focus ST-Line, Mazda 3 G25, and Volkswagen Golf all have outputs between 139kW and 252Nm.
Dual-clutch automatic transmissions with seven speeds will be the most popular. While it’s a great unit, it can sometimes be indecisive when used at lower rates. The paddle shifters and acceleration were also slightly hesitant. When the DCT is warmed up, it works well with the engine.
Fuel consumption for the 2021 Hyundai N Line Premium automatic transmission was around 9L/100km. We found that the average fuel consumption in city and highway driving was in the middle of this range. The i30 has the highest power amongst the set of competitors but also the highest fuel consumption. A 2.5L Mazda3 claimed 6.5L/100km. A 2.0L Corolla claimed 6.0L/100km.
Ride & Handling: 9/10
The i30 N Line is tuned in Australia to suit Australian roads – thanks to Hyundai – and offers a balance between sportiness and comfort. This is a significant selling point for a warm hatch versus a fast one. The i30 N Line is a smooth ride, even with its large 18-inch wheels. The N Line and N versions of the i30 have a firm, but tolerable ride, with excellent body control. They use a fully independent rear suspension instead of the torsion-beam standard i30s sold in Australia.
The 2021 Hyundai N Line Premium is more comfortable than the Kia Cerato GT, even though they share the same platform. This is mainly because Kia tunes their cars for Australia. The vehicle feels strangely firm. It’s like an i30N firm. We find this over the top.
The 2021 Hyundai N Line Premium is a car that excels in handling. The Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires are standard on the N Line. They are among the best available tires. It is a fun car to drive. The i30 N Line has excellent cornering abilities, despite stiff steering. It is a great car to drive, especially for handling. The i30 N Line is still perfect for keen drivers who need help to afford an i30 N.
Interior & Practicality 7/10
The interior of the 2021 Hyundai N Line Premium could be better. The interior is more modern, and the materials need to be updated. While the dashboard and doors are covered with a soft plastic veneer, other plastics feel hard and cheap. Leather upholstery could be better, but it is quiet. We wish that the interior was finished with a higher-quality finish.
The Hyundai i30 Premium N Line 2021 interior is sporty, with sports seats that wrap you around. Red seatbelts and other red accents also give the impression that the car has been designed to be sporty. The chairs have a faux carbon fiber leather finish, which we hope will disappear soon.
The 10.25-inch center screen of the 2021 Hyundai N Line Premium is intuitive and easy to use. The 10.25-inch screen has shortcuts and a favorite button that can be programmed to perform various tasks. Apple CarPlay is a great feature, but we would have preferred it to be wireless. The inbuilt navigation system is also easy to use and set up. The Infinity ‘premium sound system’ could be better – it needs Oomph.
The i30’s rear seat space is excellent, with plenty of head, shoulder, and knee room. The i30 has rear air ducts, which are rare in this segment. It also features a center rear armrest. However, there are no additional climate zones or charging ports.
The boot of the i30 has a lot to offer. With the rear seats folded down, there are 395 liters. That’s 100 liters larger than the Mazda 3 hatchback and 62 liters more significant than the Toyota Corolla ZR. However, it is still smaller than the Cerato GT (428L) and the Skoda Scala (466-7L). You can get 1,301L if you fold the rear seats.
Service & warranty: 8/10
The 2021 Hyundai N Line Premium is covered by a five-year warranty with unlimited kilometers, like the Mazda 3, Ford Focus, and Skoda Golf. However, it is less than the Cerato, which has a seven-year warranty with unlimited km. The i30 comes with a 12-month roadside assistance package, which can be extended by another 12 months at each scheduled service.
Other rivals have longer service intervals of 15,000km. The 2021 Hyundai i30 Premium N Line requires servicing every 12 months or 10,000km. This is the same for the Mazda 3 and Cerato GT. Total service costs for the i30 are $897 over three years or 30,000km. The Mazda 3 G25 is $1,011 over that time, and the Kia Cerato GT is $1,083. Over five years or 50,000kms, the cost to service an i30 is $1495.
DiscoverAuto’s rating for the 2021 Hyundai N Line Premium i30: 8.0/10
The 2021 Hyundai N Line Premium is a practical and powerful car with various features. It is more powerful and cheaper to maintain than its rivals, but the service intervals should be extended, and features like a heads-up screen and memory settings for driver’s seats would be nice. The dual-clutch automatic can be indecisive and could be more fuel efficient.
Why should you choose the Mazda 3 G25 Astina over the Kia Cerato GT? The i30 costs less to purchase than the Mazda and is cheaper to service. But most importantly, the i30 makes your daily commute more fun. The 1.6-liter engine is fun, and the Michelin Pilot Sport 4-tires add to the enjoyment. As a high-end-but-not-hot-hatch, the i30 N Line Premium is a great choice.