Volkswagen Golf GTI vs. Hyundai i30 N: Search for the hotter hatch?
Hatches are familiar figures that are comfortable and reliable. But what if more power is injected in along with some styling tweaks that not only make them look macho but adds on to the car's aerodynamic front? Sounds good, right? Well, we know that there are sporty hatches but here we are talking about conventional hatches that were later given the dynamic treatment - the VW Golf GTI and the Hyundai i30 N.
Now, of the two, we have the Japanese car that was recently launched in the country in November 2019. Limited to only 20 units, it was sold exclusively on Lazada Malaysia during its 12.12 Grand Year End Sale. As for the VW Golf GTI, it was one of the four Golf Mk7.5 models introduced by Volkswagen Malaysia in March 2018.
Both the car's hail from the same segment and attract a similar customer base that wants a small yet powerful commuter. So, we thought of doing a comparison, making sure next time a buyer doesn't get sleepless nights and can easily make an informed decision.
Exterior design & features
Design is a personal thing, some like it subtle while others want it to be more other there. But what really makes a difference is what each car is offering - the type of lights, OVRMs, tyres, etc. So, let us now discuss each of the car's exterior in a bit of detail. Starting with the VW Golf GTI.
Like all the VW GTI cars, the Golf GTI features the typical and easily recognizable GTI elements along with a progressive design. It includes - red trim, ventilated grille with honeycomb structure and GTI moniker, dynamic light alloy wheels, and red brake calipers. The headlight is full LED with LED DRLs, the system also incorporates dynamic cornering light and dynamic headlight range control. Also, the Dynamic Light Assist system optimises illumination that ensures greater safety on the road. The taillight too is LED and adds to a dose of style at the rear.
The Hyundai i30 N is an aggressive-looking car that will surely turn a lot of heads on the road. Its styling kit comes with an aggressive front and rear bumper with large air intakes, N-badge Cascading grille, LED headlamps with a black blaze, twin tailpipes, and rear spoiler finished in gloss black splash. A similar splash is also found on the OVRMs, the side sills are done in black, while the front splitter displays a red accent. It runs on 19-inch wheels embossed with an N badge and high-performance brakes with red calipers.
Both the cars carry great looks, however, one might feel the i30 N is more on the rugged side. We appreciate Golf GTI exterior lighting equipment, it really adds to the safety factor of the car.
Cabin comfort & convenience
Let's open the Golf GTI's gates and see what it has on offer for both the driver and passenger. The former benefits from a digital cockpit that brings in drive progress at fingertips with multi-information themes on a 12.3-inch screen. For the passengers, there is a 'discover Media' system that combines connectivity and navigation with in-car entertainment, all controlled by an 8-inch colour touch display (with Bluetooth, USB, SD card, and AUX-in). It further comes with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and MirrorLink connectivity options. The car is wrapped in Vienna leather upholstery that offers style and comfort. Further, the driver's seat is electrically adjustable with memory function. Also, the hatch comes with 'KESSY' keyless locking and starting system, electric parking brake, 2-zone 'Climatronic' air-con system, Air Care 'Climatronic' air purification system, and a rear-view camera.
The i30 N cabin looks neat and tidy in all-black upholstery with the few gloss black trims adding a finishing touch. It comes with high-performance sports seats with extendable seat cushions and lumbar support. The driver's seat is powered and 10-way adjustable. The seats are wrapped in leather and suede and feature N logo embroidery. The hatch gets N steering wheels with N logo and N gear shift knob. At the centre of the dashboard is present a free-floating 8-inch touch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. Available as standard fitment is a dual-zone auto air-conditioning, cruise control, rear-view camera, and front/rear parking sensors.
From the looks of it, both the cars offer an interior with a premium look and feel. On the equipment front, the Golf GTI and i30 N are more or less similarly tuned and provide great comfort to the passengers and driver.
Power & performance
The Golf GTI is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that's high on performance and low on fuel consumption. The mill pumps out a maximum power of 230 PS at 4,700 rpm and an impressive torque of 350 Nm at 1,500 rpm. Sending power to the wheels is a fast and efficient 6-speed direct shift gearbox that offers supreme performance. Aiding the driver in the process is the progressive steering that adapts to the speed for a more comfortable and engaging experience. The performance figure for it includes a 100 kmph run time of 6.4 seconds and a top speed of 248 kmph.
The Hyundai i30 N is a front-wheel-drive car that is powered by a 2.0-litre Theta T-GDI turbo engine that makes 275 PS of power at 6,000 rpm and 353 Nm of peak torque (overboost 378 Nm). The power unit is coupled to a six-speed manual transmission with stronger gears, strong clutch, and a carbon synchronizer ringer. Also, the short shift travel calls for fast shifting that helps the driver take the full feel of the drive. Also, available are five drive modes - Eco, Normal, Sport, N, and N Custom, offering a wide range of driving configuration.
The said power helps the car do 0 to 100 rounds in 6.4 seconds and a top speed of 250 kmph.
Safety & security
The Golf GTI safety system ensures superb driving comfort and helps drivers deal with the critical situation very well. The hatch safety kit packs in seven airbags, Protective Occupant Protection System, Rest Assist, Automatic Post Collision Brake System, Manoeuvre Braking, ISOFIX, XDS+ tech, and Electronic Stability Control.
The i30 N packs the Hyundai SmartSense safety pack that offers the cutting-edge Advanced Driving Assistance System. Part of the said kit is Forward Collision-avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist, Driver Attention Warning. Further, it packs seven airbags and tyre pressure monitoring system.
Both VW and Hyundai have built strong, reliable cars, however, the i30 N with its SafetySense kit seems to have earned a few more points.
The Hyundai i30 N is priced at RM 298,888 (on-the-road, with insurance), while the Golf GTI goes for RM 239,990 (on-the-road, with insurance).
Both the German and South Korean automakers have done a great job of building a hot hatch. While the i30 N tops on the power and safety front, the latter is relatively cheaper with VW's trust and assurance.