Hyundai’s game-changing hot hatchback met the challenge set by reigning category champion the Honda Civic Type R and the new Renault Megane RS 280, to seal a concerted victory.
The i30 N’s raw thrills, high value, immense practicality and sporty hatchback design impressed the Drive judging panel from the outset.
The model’s potent, 202kW turbocharged four-cylinder combined with Australian-honed handling and ride ensured it had the depth of ability to stay in the frame as testing progressed.
Drive editor Andrew Maclean said the i30 N’s victory was unanimous, with all seven judges placing it first, ahead of returning 2017 champion the Honda Civic Type R, and the new Renault Megane RS280 Cup.
"If this is Hyundai's first attempt at a genuine hot hatch then the establishment should be concerned,” he said.
“The i30 N is a fantastic pocket rocket with a huge skill set, and the fact that Hyundai encourages its owners to use the car as it was intended to, with warranty coverage that extends for non-competitive track events, is not only a sign of confidence from the company but for those that own one.
“You simply cannot buy a better experience, which is why the Hyundai i30 N is Drive's Best Performance Car under $60,000 for 2018."
Hyundai Motor Company Australia Chief Executive Officer, JW Lee, said that the award highlights the i30 N’s serious high-performance credentials.
“Awards for the i30 N and the i30 SR underline the broad appeal of our small-car line-up,” Mr Lee said. “From value-packed small car and sporty hatch, to searing hot hatch in the form of the i30 N, there is an i30 to suit every buyer.”
Drive’s Car of the Year program is based at the Wakefield Park circuit in Goulburn, where contenders face a series of dynamic exercises and simulated emergency scenarios in controlled conditions. The test program also includes extensive urban and rural road driving around the region.
Across a rigorous week of assessment, Drive’s editorial and road-test team of seven compared 49 cars across 14 categories and drove more than 20,000 kilometres.
With Hyundai iCare the joy of buying a Hyundai will stretch well beyond the showroom. This leading customer care program offers a comprehensive suite of owner benefits including; Lifetime Service Plan, 5 Year Unlimited Km Warranty, complimentary Roadside Assist for 12 months on new vehicles 1,500km complimentary first service, a dedicated Customer Care Centre, myHyundai – exclusive owner website and customer events. When servicing with Hyundai, customers will also receive a 5 Year SatNav Update Plan or 10 Year Sat Nav Update Plan (new i30), a Roadside Support Plan for up to 10 years and more. Visit www.hyundai.com.au/owners for full details.