On your mar­ques

Re­port 5/Re­port 4 Hyundai i30N & Hyundai Ioniq

Top Gear (UK) - - GARAGE - STEPHEN DO­BIE & SAM PHILIP

£27,995/£28,580 & £29,295/£29,860

Stephen Do­bie: To­gether, we’re run­ning the two most in­ter­est­ing Hyundais ever. So I thought it’d be fun to try each other’s cars. Both 29 grand, but they’re quite dif­fer­ent... Sam Philip: A nice the­ory, with one tiny down­side. Your i30N, though very nice look­ing and very not-slow, isn’t es­pe­cially in­ter­est­ing, is it? It’s just a Golf GTI clone with a Hyundai badge, no?

SD: Blas­phemy! It’s so, so much more ex­cit­ing than the Golf. Yet cheaper, with a bet­ter war­ranty and all the equip­ment you’d ever need. Ex­cept heated seats, but this warm spell’s gone on so long I can’t remember what hav­ing a cold bum’s like. SP: Ac­tu­ally, I com­pletely agree. But not about the bum thing. Hot hatches have to tread a del­i­cate line be­tween be­ing silly and prac­ti­cal, and the stan­dard Golf GTI, for me, falls too much into the lat­ter camp. The i30N gets it just right.

SD: Some peo­ple might ac­cuse the i30N’s Nor­mal sus­pen­sion set­ting of be­ing too hard, or its sports ex­haust too noisy. They might be right. But I love that it’s loud and bois­ter­ous what­ever mode you’re in. Hot hatches should lead you astray onto more in­ter­est­ing roads. This one cer­tainly does.

SP: It re­ally feels like they’ve spent a load of the de­vel­op­ment bud­get on the oily stuff un­der­neath, rather than get­ting too hung up on con­trast stitch­ing or jazzy change-up lights. Though ad­mit­tedly there’s a fair smat­ter­ing of that stuff, too.

SD: Yeah, it’s not the sub­tlest. And it is flip­ping thirsty when you drive it hard… SP: Which isn’t a charge that could be lev­elled at the Ioniq. Not least be­cause it’s near im­pos­si­ble to garner the nec­es­sary sadism to drive it hard.

SD: Ah yes, the Ioniq. If we’re talk­ing clones, isn’t yours just a Prius?

SP: No. I mean yes, me­chan­i­cally the Ioniq is pretty damn sim­i­lar to the Toy­ota, but cru­cially there’s no Prius badge on the back, in­stantly mak­ing it 300 per cent less smug. SD: It’s also 300 per cent more driv­able than a Prius, thanks to not hav­ing a CVT gear­box, but to be hon­est I barely used its me­chan­i­cal power any­way. It quickly sucks you into the game of us­ing EV mode as of­ten as pos­si­ble. I be­gan to find the petrol en­gine kick­ing in as frus­trat­ing as I might find fluff­ing my brak­ing point in the i30N. SP: Ex­actly! I’ve long main­tained that the rea­son most peo­ple – and by ‘most peo­ple’ I mean ‘us’ – oc­ca­sion­ally drive too fast isn’t be­cause we need to get any­where quickly, but be­cause it keeps the mind oc­cu­pied, stops you get­ting bored. The Ioniq gives you other, fuel-sav­ing games to keep you busy while driv­ing slowly.

SD: It’s all about com­fort any­way, right? There’s enough tyre side­wall for an avatar of the Miche­lin man. You couldn’t even get the weird bob­ble bit on the top of his head on the i30N’s tyres.

SP: Def­i­nitely. The Ioniq is so wil­fully, zeal­ously un­sport­ing that, no mat­ter how great the road, it’s just not worth try­ing to thrash it. Em­brace the eco, and aim to get that mpg read-out into triple fig­ures. So: you’ve got 29 grand to spend, and you des­per­ately want, for what­ever rea­son, an in­ter­est­ing Hyundai. Which do you go for? SD: I liked the Ioniq a lot. It un­ex­pect­edly got un­der my skin. But un­less they were com­pletely banned, I’d still have to have a quick petrol car for oc­ca­sional fun, too. So I’ll stick with the i30N, which does ev­ery­thing I need and want in a car.

SP: And will cost you three times as much to run as the Ioniq.

SD: Worth ev­ery penny…

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