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  • [SC Blog] Would You Buy A Fast Hyundai?

    We've never talked about Hyundai here in Speed Creed, simply because they don't really make fast sports cars that ever caught our attention. Sure there was the Tiburon, the Genesis coupe, and the quirky Veloster, but none of them ever really caught our attention, because...well, we were simply quick to gloss over them over all the Porsches and the Lambos. Plus reviews said they weren't that great anyway. Sorry Hyundai, but hey, we just saw the 271 horsepower i30N, and we'd like to start this conversation.

    Personally, I have come across several Hyundai, and they were not as bad as you'd expect. They have been making decent cars in the last five years or so, not to mention Kia which is held by Hyundai and have also been making decent cars as well, some Hyundais such as the Santa Fe are actually really good cars, even with the first generation being incredibly torquey and pretty quick. A lot of their models now are also rather good-looking, gone are the days when Hyundai look like dreary old rejected designs for Toyota.

    Hyundai is so confident in their car-making skills, they launched a sub-brand called 'Genesis' around last year or so which makes luxury cars with models such as the G70 and G90, think of it as what Lexus is to Toyota.

    But more importantly, they now have their N-models, which is a product of many years of hard work in motorsport such as the World Rally Championship and several brave attempts in the Le Mans 24h race. The N-models will be the go-faster version of their cars, kind of like what the M division is for BMW.

    The first car they've made is based on the i30, dubbed as the i30 N, it's a 247 horsepower (271 if you get the Performance Package) hatchback which could give the likes of the Golf GTI, Ford Fiesta ST, and even a Renault Clio a run for it's money.

    The 'N' is named after their Namyang R&D centre in Korea and the Nurburgring, home to Hyundai's testing centre, so this car is definitely not for James May. But is it for you? Buying a car for petrolheads like us is never just about it's specs and speed, but the brand and the experience as well, and that's why Hyundai will most likely struggle with sales for their N-models should they bring it over in Indonesia.

    The problem is the brand itself, Hyundai has always been perceived as an inferior brand even when compared to the Japanese, it's always been seen as the poor man's Toyota. Sure that has changed but only in recent years. Itís even more of a problem that a lot of buyers for this type of car isn't just looking at the spec sheets, but also at the badge itself; the prestige that the brand offers, and prestige is not something Hyundai can offer you, now is it? No matter how good the brand has been over the last few years, if you show up into a car meet in a Hyundai i30 N, you would still have to explain to everyone about what it is and why you bought it.

    It's going to take a lot for Hyundai to convince people that their hatchback is as good, if not better than the likes of the Golf GTI, which is the pinnacle of hot hatchbacks. There will be people who are interested in this car, hatchbacks and driving enthusiasts are probably going to love the fact that it has way more power than the Golf GTI and the MINI Cooper S, even when you don't buy the Performance Package for the i30 N, it's still more powerful. It also comes with a manual gearbox, an electronic controlled suspension, an electronic limited slip diff that should give the car a 5 per cent increase in cornering speeds, a switchable rev-matching downshift function and a variable exhaust valve system with Ďafter-burní sound. It even has an 'N' button to switch everything to maximum attack mode, just like the 'M' button in a BMW M-car.

    That's all well and good, but this is the sort of stuff that appeals to 10-year olds, hoonigans, and proper driving enthusiasts. A teenager who's looking for a cool, fast sportscar? No thank you. Lady drivers who want a stylish hatchback? They'd have the MINI instead. Not to mention the driving sensation of the car itself, will it be exciting enough? All of those features that have been mentioned above is just a guarantee that the car will perform well when going round a track, but that doesn't mean it will be exciting to drive, now is it?

    There's a market for fast Hyundais, but it is niche, even I personally wouldn't buy this unless I've driven it and liked it, the i30 N is something that I don't desire from the very moment I saw it. Unlike, say, a Toyota GT86. That's the Hyundai's main problem, not to mention the crazy depreciation that goes into a Hyundai.

    To recap, there's three main issues;
    1. The brand is not strong enough to compete with the likes of VW and MINI and to appeal to the public.
    2. No matter how good the car is, it's still not very desirable even for petrolheads like us until we've driven it.
    3. Massive depreciation.

    We want to see Hyundai's N-models to succeed, we really do, it's a fresh and welcomed addition the world of hot hatchbacks and performance cars, and as they say; the more the merrier. And it probably will succeed in Europe where there are a lot of driving enthusiasts, but for the Hyundai N-models to compete here in Indonesia where most buyers are more concerned with pride and prestige rather than the driving experience? Well, let's see if Hyundai's got what it takes. Their cars would have to be really good to capture the hearts of automotive enthusiasts, and/or be cheaper than it's rivals so it makes sense to buy it.

    What do you Speeders think? Would Hyundai introduce the i30 N to the Indonesian market? More importantly, would you actually buy a hot hatchback with a Hyundai badge on it?