Review - Hyundai i30 N vs Volkswagen Golf GTI

By Alexi Falson on 05 Oct 2022
image for Review - Hyundai i30 N vs Volkswagen Golf GTI In the world of hot hatchbacks, the Golf GTI enjoyed the title of the undisputed king of the hill for decades, setting an extremely high benchmark for its competitors to meet.

In more recent years, though, the competition has very much caught up, with the Hyundai’s i30 N leading the charge to snatch the throne alongside the Honda Civic Type R and the Renault Megane RS.

Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at the i30 N in a head-to-head against the Mk 8 Golf GTI to see which is the outright winner for your pick as the best of the hot hatch segment.

How Much Do They Cost?

The Hyundai i30 N is significantly cheaper than the Golf GTI, with prices kicking off from $44,500 for the entry-level i30 N manual, and up to $47,500 for the i30 N DCT.

From here, the range moves to the i30 N Premium manual, priced at $47,500 through to the i30 N Premium manual with a sunroof, priced at $49,900 and the range-topping i30 N Premium DCT with a sunroof which is priced at $52,000.

There is also an i30 N sedan which is priced at $49,000 for both the manual and DCT variant.

The Golf GTI range is far more streamlined, with a single-variant lineup kicking off from $54,990.

All prices mentioned are subject to change, and do not include on-road costs.

Hyundai i30 (N PREMIUM WITH SUNROOF) Specifications

Model Date 2022
Model i30
Series PDe.V4 MY22
Transmission 8 SP AUTO DUAL CLUTC
Drive FWD
Engine TGDi
Engine capacity 1998
Engine configuration VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
Engine RPM 6000 / 1450
Cylinders T4
Torque 353
KW 202
Fuel tank size 50.0
Fuel usage specs 8.5 / 0
CO2 199
ANCAP security rating 5

For more details and other variants, check Hyundai i30 car page.

Volkswagen Golf (GTi) Specifications

Model Date 2022
Model GOLF
Series MARK 8 MY22.5
Variant GTi
Transmission 7 SP AUTO DIRECT SHI
Drive FWD
Engine TDFI
Engine capacity 1984
Engine configuration DUAL OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
Engine RPM 5000 / 1600
Cylinders T4
Torque 370
KW 180
Fuel tank size 50.0
Fuel usage specs 7.0 / 0
CO2 159
ANCAP security rating 5

For more details and other variants, check Volkswagen Golf car page.

How Much Can OnlineAuto Save You?

Using our online car buying service, one of our auto experts can assist you in finding the greatest value model for you.

What Features Does the Hyundai i30 N Have?

Hyundai’s i30 N comes riding on 19-inch forged alloys, and receives LED head & tail lights, adaptive suspension and active exhaust system, cloth upholstery with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a reversing camera with rear parking sensors and a 10.25-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.

Upgrading to the i30 N Premium adds a set of heated, leather and alcantara upholstered bucket seats, a heated steering wheel, front parking sensors and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Hyundai i30 N Colours

The Hyundai i30 N range is available in a choice of four colours, including Shadow Grey, Performance Blue, Dark Knight and Phantom Black.

What Features Does the VW Golf GTI Have?

The Golf GTI comes riding on a set of 18-inch alloys, and receives an adaptive chassis control system, LED head & tail lights, 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, GTI-specific styling package, dual exhaust system, tartan sports seats, ambient lighting package, adaptive cruise control, rear-view camera with front and rear parking sensors, wireless smartphone charging and a 10-inch infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Colours

The VW Golf GTI range is available in a wide range of colours, including Atlantic Blue, Reflex Silver, Pomello Yellow, Deep Black, Candy White, Dolphin Grey, Pure White, Kings Red and Moonstone Grey.

Which is More Fun to Drive?

We’ll kick things off with a look at the Golf GTI, which comes powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol kicking out 180kW of power and 370Nm of torque, thrown to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The end result is a 0-100km/h time of 6.4 seconds, and some extremely impressive cornering abilities thanks to the locking differential that helps the front axle scramble its way through some high-speed corner exits.

The Golf GTI package is an impressive continuation of VW’s already-impressive recipe, offering an extremely user-friendly performance machine that is welcoming to all levels of drivers, and willing to be pushed by those more experienced.

Around town, the Golf GTI platform is exceptional, with the help of an adaptive suspension system that can iron out bumps on the road while offering high-speed stability, while the steering remains lightweight and easy to maneuver in traffic and while parking.

All up, the GTI remains exceptionally rapid in a premium, sophisticated package that offers a best-of-both-worlds take on the hot hatch recipe.

Moving to the Hyundai i30 N, you’ll find a more powerful 2.0-litre turbo four-pot producing 206kW of power and 392Nm (26kW/22Nm more than the GTI) with a variable exhaust system that crackles and pops when pushed, adding to its personality.

Far more than a simple power victory, the i30 N feels more lively in the corners, and while it might not actually be going around a bend faster than the GTI, the overall driving dynamic feels more enthusiastic and radical; an essential part of the hot hatch recipe.

There’s a limited-slip differential that helps the i30 N claw its way out of corners under throttle, offering the driver a heap of feedback in the process as it scrambles for grip.

Around town, the Hyundai i30 N isn’t quite as sleek and sophisticated as the Golf GTI, and it rides quite firm, even in the comfort setting. It’s worth noting that the front apron is prone to scrape on some steep inclines and driveways.

As a result, we’d give the GTI the nod for those looking to do more commuting in their hot hatch, but the all-out winner when it comes to being fun to drive goes to the i30 N’s outlandish nature and its intoxicating exhaust.

Which is More Practical and Spacious?

Stepping inside the Golf GTI, it’s clear to see that VW has almost perfected the recipe when it comes to a practical and premium package that offers a heap of space and even family-friendly features.

The GTI’s cabin is sleek and minimalist, with VW opting for digital controls rather than physical buttons that reduce clutter and open up more storage options, with a large digital instrument cluster and ambient lighting package that add to its high-tech design.

Behind the gear lever, you’ll find a massive storage tray with a phone cover, as well as some storage beside the gear lever itself, storage inside the folding armrest, large door bins on either side of the cabin and a pair of cupholders - rivalling the amount of storage that you’ll find in a significantly larger vehicle.

There’s no issues in terms of headroom in the front of the cabin, while the second row of the Golf GTI can be a little cramped for adults, but is perfectly comfortable for children with the added bonus of a set of ISOFIX anchors for child seats.

The second row also gains a pair of USB C chargers and air vents while the Hyundai misses out.

Move to the i30 N and it’s clear to see that the design and packaging are more basic than the GTI, with Hyundai turning most of its attention to the hardware, rather than the interior décor.

It’s still an i30, though, which means that it's a hard-hitter when it comes to practicality, with similar storage options in the front of the cabin.

Move to the rear and you’ll find slightly more space available for those seated in the second row of the i30 N, while the amount of headroom is virtually identical.

Finally, the Hyundai i30 offers cargo space measuring 381L, while the Golf GTI has a boot measuring in at 374L, giving the i30 a narrow win when it comes to boot space.

Overall, the Hyundai i30’s package is slightly more spacious than the Golf GTI’s, making it the practicality king, however, the i30 doesn’t offer the same level of premium features as its German rival, which might be more influential in your decision making.

Are They Safe?

Both the Hyundai i30 N and Golf GTI have been awarded five-star ANCAP safety ratings and are extremely safe hot hatches.

The i30 N manual comes fitted with autonomous emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alerts, blind-spot monitoring and lane-following assist as standard.

The Golf GTI is the outright winner when it comes to safety, though, thanks to its generous equipment list that adds pedestrian and cyclist detection to the AEB system, multi-collision braking, front cross-traffic alerts, parking assist and a set of parking sensors.

Which is More Fuel Efficient?

The Hyundai i30 range offers fuel economy figures of between 8-8.4L/100km on a combined cycle, whereas the Golf GTI is rated at 7.0L/100km, making it the more fuel-efficient option of the two.

Our Verdict: Hyundai i30 N vs VW Golf GTI

The choice of whether or not the Hyundai i30 N or Golf GTI is the better option is largely dependent on how you plan on using them, and what you’re looking for in your hot hatch.

As an all-rounder, the Golf GTI is perhaps the better option of the two when it comes to versatility. Primarily as a hot hatch, however, the i30 N begins to shine thanks to its outlandish nature that absolutely screams hot hatch without making any apologies for it.

As a result, we’d crown the i30 N the winner as the better hot hatch, although it doesn’t offer the same versatile and premium package some buyers might be looking for in the GTI.

While it remains a cliché, the choice here is highly subjective, so we’d encourage getting your hands on both for a test drive. On that note, if you’re in the market for a new car, you can get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925

Hyundai i30 N & Volkwagen Golf GTI Competition

Hyundai i30 N and Volkswagen Golf GTI

Honda Civic Type R
Toyota GR Yaris
Renault Megane RS


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

Have any questions? Call us on 1300 719 925

car icon
close sticky hub button


Maximum of 3 vehicles