It's got tweaked styling and new tech, but the big change is more power and a DCT.
If you're a fan of small cars, the US is certainly not the best place to live. Compact and subcompact car models are fleeing the market left and right, if they ever make it here at all, as American buyers find themselves drawn toward ever-larger road barges.
One decidedly somber outcome of all this is that we'll (probably) never get the chance to buy the sporty Hyundai i30 N, which was the car to launch Hyundai's performance-oriented N sub-brand overseas back in 2017, based on the humble, but now-discontinued Hyundai Elantra GT. Now, there's a new-and-improved Hyundai i30 N on the block, with more power and a new DCT transmission.
Outputs from the 2021 Hyundai i30 N's turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder remain unchanged at 247 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, although the optional Performance Package now boosts peak output to 276 horsepower and 289 lb-ft - 5 horsepower and 29 lb-ft more than before. More importantly, it now boasts the availability of the same eight-speed dual-clutch transmission found in the updated 2021 Hyundai Veloster N.
The styling has been fiddled with, too, inheriting the latest Hyundai Sonata's grille shape, more pointed side air inlets, and on the hatchback model, a massaged rear featuring an upsized roof spoiler with a new V-shaped center brake light to match the V-shaped daytime running lights up front. The rear lamps on that model have also been given a new LED signature.
Inside, the big news item is a new pair of available N Light performance seats. Not only do they offer improved lateral support with their big, pronounced side bolsters, but they weigh in at nearly 5 pounds less than the standard seats. They're also wrapped in premium leather and Alcantara with Performance Blue contrast stitching and a sweet illuminated N logo on the headrest.
That Performance Blue repeats elsewhere throughout the otherwise all-black cabin, even gracing the seatbelts.
Improvements to the 2021 Hyundai i30 N also extend to the active safety tech. The Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist system now features pedestrian detection, for instance, and Lane Following Assist is available. The dual-clutch model has made available two other features, as well: Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist.
Finally, the i30 N's optional Performance Package has been overhauled with forged 19-inch alloy wheels that weigh - get this - a full 32 pounds less than the outgoing cast-alloy wheels, wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero rubber instead of the old Michelin Pilot Super Sports. The front brake discs are even upsized slightly, going from 345 to 360 mm.
As of yet, there are no plans to introduce the Hyundai i30 N stateside, since the Elantra GT - which is essentially the same as the i30 - has been discontinued. However, since the Veloster N shares a platform and powertrain with the I30 N, and has already received the eight-speed DCT, we're hopeful the uprated Performance Package's outputs will be part of a 2022 update for the local N derivative.