2021 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line and N Line Premium (car review)

EXPECTATION is a funny thing, you can either be left feeling disappointed or pleasantly surprised. We experienced both of these feelings when it came to the 2021 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line.

We’ll explain how and why throughout this review but know upfront, after our extended time with the i30 Sedan N Line, we were very impressed.

We tested the manual transmission in base N Line trim and the dual-clutch automatic transmission in Premium N Line guise.

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We kicked off our three week test with a fortnight in the manual, and this is where this writer’s disappointment started. It was entirely my own fault, as I was expecting an experience closer to the i30 N hot hatch. See, there’s that expectation thing.

I expected more fire, more edginess, more excitement. What I was met with was an extremely refined and comfortable sedan that just did everything really well. Everything except for getting my heart racing.

I wanted the pops and burbles, I wanted that razor sharp handling and that’s when I realised, I wanted this car to be something it wasn’t, I wanted it to be the i30 N. Therein lies my first piece of advice when considering an i30 N Line.

If an i30 N is what you really want, then save that little bit more and get a proper i30 N. Like yours truly in the beginning, if you are looking for or expecting an i30 N experience, this isn’t the car for you.

In saying that, the best way we can describe the i30 Sedan N Line is to think of it as an i30 N ‘Lite’. It will deliver a glimpse of the pukka i30 N experience in terms of styling, performance and feel, in a cheaper package that is more tailored to the masses.

And the best bit is you don’t even have to be a performance nut to enjoy and appreciate it. There is no doubt the i30 Sedan N Line is styled aggressively from every angle either, featuring sporty design elements that instantly broadcast that this is no ordinary sedan.

Angular features with a low and wide stance clearly state its sporting intentions, aided by elongated LED headlights and exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels, designed specifically for the N Line range.

The sporting theme and N Line touches continue with the interior and its driver focused cockpit design. Featuring leather appointed seats with red stitching throughout the cabin, you can definitely feel and see the performance intent.

A sports gear lever, sports steering wheel and alloy performance pedals all complement this experience. In the case of our DCT variant, the N Line Premium receives some upgrades to the interior over the base model too.

These come in the form of a larger 10.25-inch infotainment screen (up from 8.0-inches), a larger digital supervision LCD dash cluster over the base model’s traditional dials, and some safety and convenience upgrades, as you would expect from a Premium model.

Offering an abundance of room inside either variant, including a 474-litre boot, the i30 Sedan N Line is practical as well. Plenty of legroom and comfort complete what is a well thought out and ergonomic interior.

The driving experience however is what sets the N Line offerings apart from its lesser sedan siblings (worth noting an i30 Sedan N is on its way too).

As we mentioned previously, thinking of the N Line as an ‘N Lite’ gives you a good indication that the i30 Sedan N Line will fall somewhere in between the Active/Elite models and the top i30 N.

Under the bonnet you will find a punchy 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine delivering 150kW and 265Nm through the front wheels.

This doesn’t sound like a great deal, but when you consider that peak torque is available from 1500rpm, all the way to 4500rpm, this makes the i30 N Line feel more than the sum of its parts.

While the Premium model is only available as a 7-speed DCT, the base model is also available with a 6-speed manual, and the latter is our transmission of choice. The clutch is light and easy, even in traffic, and the shift action is positive and purposeful.

That’s not to say that the DCT isn’t worth a look, as the dry clutch system is smooth and responds really well, but just lacks the involvement of the manual. It makes the driving experience a little numb compared to the rewarding nature of the stick shift.

An issue present in both transmissions though is some horrendous axle-tramp when accelerating hard or in wet conditions, making you wince at the teeth shattering vibrations.

On the safety front, the i30 Sedan N Line receives an upgraded version of Hyundai SmartSense. As we have come to expect from Hyundai, their safety systems are extremely comprehensive and offer extensive protection and assistance.

Driver aids include blind-spot collision avoidance, lane follow and forward-collision avoidance, to name a few. The 2021 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line is backed by a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, with the option of lifetime service and roadside assist plans.

Owning a Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line is about as stress free as you can get in today’s market. And if you like to keep your cars for long periods of time, Hyundai offers satellite navigation update plans to ensure your GPS is always up to date.

Priced from $34,418 for the manual i30 Sedan N Line and $41,628 for the DCT i30 Sedan N Line Premium, both models have a lot to offer and a lot to love. With its sporty styling, practicality, and features, this Hyundai has something for everyone.

While yes, we started out saying we were initially disappointed with the i30 Sedan N Line, this was only because our (more specifically this writer’s) expectations were based around an experience of the i30 N.

What the Sedan N Line did do over our three weeks together was more than impress with its all-round ability, performance, and luxury. Affordably priced, it really is the complete package that lets you have your cake and eat it too.

Our test vehicle was provided by Hyundai Australia. To find out more about 2021 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line, in its base or Premium form, contact your local Hyundai dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - aggressive styling; sporty character; all-round capability.
Cons - Premium model not available in manual; it’s not an i30 N.
Josh Muggleton
Josh Muggleton
Josh Muggleton has a love of cars that began at a young age and has been a part of his life ever since. So much so that his passion for all things automotive turned into a life as a racing car driver and driving instructor.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> aggressive styling; sporty character; all-round capability.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> Premium model not available in manual; it’s not an i30 N.2021 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line and N Line Premium (car review)