Home' Open Road NSW Central Coast and Hunter : OR0718 Contents THE OLD ADAGE, ‘ Race on Sunday, sell
on Monday’, has just as much resonance
today with car companies and consumers
as it did in the ’70s and ’80s. Motorsport
success can bring credibility into the
showroom, and buyers today are faced
with a mouth-watering array of affordable
hot hatches, coupés and sedans.
Launched here a few months ago, the
Hyundai i30 N has undergone several
years of development, much of it in Europe
where Hyundai’s N performance arm
resides. Hyundai Australia also knows that
our unique road conditions throw up
challenges in ride and handling. Shocks
and damper calibrations are unique to
the Aussie-spec i30 N, providing a more
compliant ride than the hard-edged
European version, and this decision bears
fruit with a best-in-class score for ride.
The same goes for handling, arguably
the most critical line, where the
combination of a unique rack mounted
electric power steering unit, multi-
limited slip differential and low-profile 19-
inch tyres work perfectly together. The i30
N remains glued to the road like a barnacle
to a boat hull, and it’s difficult to dislodge
or upset through a series of sweeping
corners or tight switchbacks.
At the heart of the i30 N is a 2.0 -litre
turbocharged four-cylinder engine
pumping out 202kW and 353Nm, with an
extra 25Nm available with overboost and
maximum torque from just 1450rpm.
Rather than neck-snapping surges of
power when the turbo gets on boost, the
engine in the i30 N delivers a strong,
seamless surge up to almost 5000rpm.
This driver-friendly power delivery
underscores the i30 N’s overall user-
friendly attributes. Ergonomically, all the
controls intuitively fall to hand and front-
seat support is comfortable without the
need for a hard race-type seat. Visually,
the i30 N remains understated, but alter
the drive setting to rev-matching mode
and it’ll produce just the sort of
mechanical cacophony from the exhausts
that’s music to the ears for enthusiasts.
There are few in the category that can
match the i30 N in price, and its value-for-
money equation is enhanced with a good
level of standard features and high build
quality. But it’s the on-road scores that
really matter and where the i30 N excels.
Hyundai i30 N
If bang for your buck is the only criteria,
then the Fiesta ST would win hands
down. It’s like a modern version of the
classic Mini Cooper S, punching above
its weight and delivering performance
and an off-the-scale enjoyment factor.
Underpinning it is a chassis that’s
balanced and has been tuned with
sharp steering off-centre to maximise
cornering. Balance is the key and
weighing only 1200kg helps. It’s easy
to drive and does well in standard
features, with rain-sensing wipers
and auto headlamps.
However, Fiesta ST production has
ended, so you’ll need to be quick to
find the last examples at dealerships.
A winner in 2015 and 2016, the Ford
Focus ST is by no means disgraced with
second this year. Since its release in
2013, it has always been around the
winner’s rostrum, which says a lot
about its performance credentials.
Considered somewhat of a blunt
instrument, the ST’s power delivery to
the ground has always made it a bit of
a handful through the tighter stuff.
Upgrades to the front suspension and
steering in 2015 failed to completely rid
it of its peculiarities.
These characteristics haven’t
diminished the ST’s popularity and it
remains at the pointy end of the field
even as its model cycle draws to a close.
All-round performance and value for money give Hyundai’s new
hot hatch the edge over well-established rivals from Ford
Best Sports Car Under $50k
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder Transmission:
six-speed manual Power: 202kW Torq ue:
353Nm Fuel economy: 8.0L/100km ANCAP:
Not rated Price: $44,100 (indicative drive away)
Ford Focus ST
Engine: 2.0 -litre four-cylinder
Transmission: six-speed manual Power:
184kW Torque: 360Nm Fuel economy:
7.3L/100km ANCAP: HHHHH Price:
$43,028 (indicative drive away)
Ford Fiesta ST
Engine: 1.6 -litre four-cylinder
Transmission: six-speed manual Power:
134kW Torque: 240Nm Fuel economy:
6.2L/100km ANCAP: HHHHH Price:
$31,010 (indicative drive away)
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