Hyundai has big plans and hopes for its N performance brand, so a 3.5-star rating for the i30 N will probably come as a disappointment to the management.

It shouldn’t. A 3.5-star car is, after all, ‘a good car’ by our reckoning. And this is one with some clear shortcomings, but its biggest failing is that the commitment evident in its mechanical make-up wasn’t quite matched to the expert chassis tuning it deserved.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
First hot hatch attempt is fast and full-blooded, with rough edges

This is nonetheless a fast, involving and likeable driver’s car – and that it offers so much speed, focus and usability for so little outlay is sure to endear it to really keen drivers still further.

Among comparable performance cars available for £30,000 and below, we’ve ranked the car in our top five contenders and above the current Ford Focus ST, Peugeot 308 GTi and others.

Displacing the current affordable performance offerings of car makers like that is quite an achievement for a brand that has come onto the hot hatch from nowhere – and stands ready to cause a bit of a stir.

Top 5 Hot hatchbacks

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Hyundai range

Driven this week

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Hyundai range

Driven this week