Hyundai i30 Fastback N vs Skoda Octavia vRS Problem

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Hyundai launched its i30 N sizzling hatch in 2017 and the automotive instantly made a splash, upsetting the established order and ruffling the feathers of fashions such because the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Peugeot 308 GTi.

In prime Efficiency spec, nevertheless, the Korean sizzling hatch is undoubtedly a hardcore automotive, so with the addition of this longer, sleeker i30 Fastback N, the corporate has softened it off barely to make it simpler to dwell with. The brand new bodystyle places it squarely within the firing line of the Skoda Octavia vRS Problem – a giant hatchback with loads of efficiency to rival the Hyundai.

Each match up on worth, with solely £105 distinction within the Hyundai’s favour. Nonetheless, the i30 N additionally performs a bit higher on paper. Let’s discover out which is one of the best all-rounder.

Head-to-head

Mannequin: Hyundai i30 Fastback N Efficiency Skoda Octavia vRS Problem
Value: £29,995 £30,100
Engine:  2.Zero-litre 4cyl turbo 2.Zero-litre 4cyl turbo
Energy/torque: 271bhp/378Nm  242bhp/370Nm
Transmission: Six-speed handbook, front-wheel drive, digital limited-slip differential Six-speed handbook, front-wheel drive, digital limited-slip differential
Zero-60mph: 6.Three seconds 6.eight seconds
High pace: 155mph 155mph
Take a look at economic system:  33.9mpg 35.5mpg
CO2/tax:  178g/km/£150 152g/km/£150
Choices: None  Digital Cockpit (£450), space-saver spare wheel (£150)

Hyundai i30 Fastback N

For: Barely softer character makes i30 simpler to dwell with – however it’s not misplaced its edge, efficiency for the worth.
Towards: High quality may very well be a bit higher, suspension remains to be too agency in some conditions.

We’ll begin with the weather which might be new right here. Whereas the set-up has been softened, the Fastback’s bodyshell is round seven per cent stiffer, which makes the platform extra inflexible. This provides the suspension a greater, much less corrupted foundation to work from, permitting Hyundai to scale back the scale of the entrance anti-roll bar and soften the bushes to take the sting off the tough journey. Make no mistake, this automotive hasn’t gone comfortable, and it’s nonetheless skewed in the direction of the agency finish of the dimensions, however it’s crucially a bit extra usable.

Whereas this setting nonetheless means the i30 N feels alert, within the Fastback the change is palpable; the automotive is now rather less edgy. Nonetheless, it’s additionally nicer to drive rapidly, since you don’t really feel like you must be fairly as on prime of the steering to forcefully information the i30 the place you need it to go. There are nonetheless some quirks to the set-up, which feels too heavy and synthetic in its weightiest mode, however it’s a bit simpler and fewer draining to drive quick.

And you’ll drive the i30 rapidly, because of all that energy. Not like the five-door there’s no ‘lesser’ model of the N Fastback; it comes solely in Efficiency trim. With 271bhp and 378Nm of torque on overboost, in opposition to the Skoda’s 242bhp and 370Nm, it’s fast. We coaxed a 6.Three-second Zero-60mph time from the i30, whereas this mannequin, with its further energy and torque, was additionally faster than the Skoda in-gear; its Three.four seconds from 30-50mph in fourth – relative to the Skoda’s four.1 seconds – exhibits how a lot grunt it has.

In N mode with the exhaust in its sportiest setting, there’s a loud rally car-style burble that will get even noisier with revs. It’ll pop and bang, too, and whereas this might sound contrived to some, simply as many individuals will adore it. As a result of the powertrain is similar as earlier than, this shouldn’t come as a shock. What’s extra fascinating, although, is that issues really feel a bit extra fluid, though the change appears slight in Regular mode. The automotive has probably not misplaced something in the case of physique management; somewhat the marginally extra relaxed set-up makes it really feel extra composed over bumpy tarmac.

The steering is faster and extra participating than the Skoda’s, and the automotive feels higher balanced, with a extra impartial stance in corners. The diff helps, and in N mode you may really feel it locking up extra aggressively to seek out extra traction and higher deploy the ability.

Other than the bodystyle change, the cabin stays the identical. The standard of the supplies isn’t fairly as much as the Octavia’s commonplace, however the stage of tech on provide is powerful. There’s eight-inch infotainment with nav, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and linked companies. Bluetooth, cruise management, DAB, wi-fi charging and security programs are additionally all current. 

Testers’ notes

  • • Tech: Eight-inch infotainment comes full with satellite-navigation.
  • • Transmission: Constructive-shifting, six-speed field means it’s simple to benefit from i30’s rabid engine.
  • • Inside: Cabin is sort of similar to hatch’s – which suggests barely decrease high quality than Skoda’s.

Skoda Octavia vRS Problem

For: Enormous practicality, high-quality cabin and good expertise, mature picture.
Towards: Not as quick, succesful or enjoyable to drive because the i30 Fastback N, journey nonetheless crashy generally.

As with the i30 Fastback N, the Skoda vRS shares its DNA with different sporty fashions – on this case, the Volkswagen Golf GTI. They each use the identical MQB chassis, however the platform is longer and bigger right here, which means the vRS provides loads of usability. It’s a extra pragmatic resolution to the issue of mixing efficiency with practicality.

The previous comes from a 2.Zero-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo, however this kicks out much less energy and torque than the Hyundai, at 242bhp and 370Nm. Though the Skoda is lighter at 1,365kg, this wasn’t sufficient to offset its energy deficit in our checks: the Octavia managed Zero-60mph in 6.eight seconds. It’s nonetheless fast, however half-a-second slower than the Hyundai. There’s greater than sufficient grunt, although: its 30-70mph time of 5.5 seconds by way of the gears is spectacular, even when the i30 did it in 5.Three seconds.

It’s an pleasurable course of, too, as a result of the gearshift is nice. It’s not essentially the most mechanical or satisfying motion (the i30’s feels extra constructive and barely much less reluctant to enter gear), however the weight is nice. Modifications nonetheless slip dwelling candy sufficient within the Skoda.

Nonetheless, the Octavia feels flatter to drive, with out the bubbling zip the Hyundai has from its raucous engine. In contrast, the Skoda’s motor feels rather more muted. There are fewer features that you could configure, however as with the Hyundai the standard-fit adaptive dampers, the engine and the steering may be tweaked individually or utilizing pre-set modes for a softer or extra racy drive.

Though the Hyundai has been softened off, the Skoda’s damping in Consolation mode is gentler nonetheless. It feels just like the vRS has a narrower unfold between the 2 extremes of its damping scale, and that the window over which it operates is skewed barely extra in the direction of consolation than within the i30.

Whereas the Hyundai’s steering hardly brims with life, the Octavia’s is mild and even much less participating. The automotive is as agile and nearly as grippy because the i30, however although it’s just about as technically competent, it doesn’t really feel as a lot enjoyable. These fashions are all about enjoyment, so this makes up a giant a part of the expertise, and right here the i30 scores greater than the Skoda because of its stronger character.

Nonetheless, such automobiles additionally should ship capability in lots of different areas, and the vRS positively does this in the case of high quality and equipment. In top-spec Problem trim the Octavia will get 19-inch alloys, heated Alcantara sports activities seats, entrance and rear parking sensors, keyless operation, adaptive dampers, an digital limited-slip diff, sat-nav, autonomous braking, cruise and local weather management, cellphone connectivity plus a number of security tech.

Testers’ notes

  • • Infotainment: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, nav and a WiFi hotspot are included, whereas graphics are sharper than i30’s and fewer steps are wanted for sure features.
  • • Transmission: Gearshift is nice, even when it doesn’t have essentially the most satisfying motion.
  • • Inside: Cabin high quality and equipment impress, particularly in top-spec Problem trim with its heated Alcantara seats, cruise and local weather management plus that cellphone connectivity. 

Verdict 

First place: Hyundai i30 Fastback N

The i30 N is subtly simpler to dwell with in Fastback kind, and extra sensible than the hatchback. It loses out to the Skoda for usability however provides extra enjoyable, which is what these automobiles ought to prioritise. The Hyundai shall be pricier to run, however you get a fantastic stage of equipment with the i30 N. 

Second place: Skoda Octavia vRS Problem

The vRS is extra usable, greater high quality and cheaper to run than the i30. However for comparable cash you don’t get as a lot clout underneath the bonnet, neither is it as involving. The Hyundai closes the hole to the Skoda for practicality, whereas it’ll even be extra enjoyable and extra succesful to drive extra of the time.