Last year I had the pleasure of taking the Hyundai i30 N on a road trip over to Arran and loved the car, so when I was offered the chance to take its older sibling for a spin a few weeks back I jumped at the chance.
After having such an epic time in Arran, I decided that as this was a bigger car, I should go for a bigger route too. I decided that I’d head up the west coast of Scotland stopping off at Oban, then up to Skye, over to Raasay and back down to Glasgow via Glencoe.
The hatchback version of i30 N took me by surprise when I drove it last year. I had not been expecting that much from Hyundai’s latest hot hatch, but it certainly delivered in all areas. Looks, sound, power, interior, handling etc were all top-notch.
On first impressions, the i30 N Fastback’s sporty exterior trim and finish were a treat to the eye, but the longer silhouette didn’t do it for me on the looks front. I didn’t hate it but only as I’ve always favoured smaller hatchbacks to longer backed cars.
When I got behind the wheel and heard the engine purr on start-up I was instantly back in love with this car. It just sounds so good.
My trip began on a Friday afternoon and the initial traffic rush to get out of the city was a bit of a pain but once I hit the banks of Loch Lomond on my drive up to Oban the roads cleared up and I was able to start enjoying this car properly.
Even on the more remote country routes the sat nav from the infotainment system worked well so I had no bother finding my base for the night, the Perle Hotel in Oban. I never got lost or veered off the route once. The graphics were crisp and high quality too.
I arrived at Oban on what was the most beautiful evening. The sun was setting, and my hotel faced right into the harbour from where I was able to watch the CalMac ferries coming and going from the nearby islands. I decided that as I was setting off early in the morning my night would consist of dinner from the award-winning local chippy on my perch in my rooms’ lovely big bay window.
The next morning, I was up bright and early and back behind the wheel of the Fastback to continue my journey north to Raasay via Fort William and Skye.
It turned up to be another very picturesque route and I found myself having to resist the urge to stop at almost every bend to take some photos. I could not help wondering why it had taken me so long to do this drive, considering I’m based in Glasgow so it’s essentially on my doorstep.
I made it to the ferry port on Skye in plenty of time to catch the boat over to Raasay. It was a small ferry so I wanted to make sure that I got a space as you can’t pre-book this one. It turned out that there was plenty of room, so I needn’t have worried. The Ferry Master had taken a particular shine to the car I was driving (I’m guessing that he hadn’t seen one before) and how it was to drive. He commented that it sounded ‘as sexy as hell’ and even though it wasn’t my full-time ride, I couldn’t help but agree!
Raasay is a tiny island with a population of only 192 people so as you can imagine there is not a great deal to do over there other than to enjoy the tranquillity and to relax. It was just what I wanted.
I booked into the Isle of Raasay Distillery for the night, a lovely modern guesthouse which is linked onto the distillery building itself and offers breath-taking views over the water to Skye.
I parked the car up for the evening and set off on foot for a walk around the vicinity, coming across a rather rugged looking pebbled beach just along the way. There was no one around and the sound of the sheer silence was perfect. If you want to switch off and enjoy a couple of days of bliss, then I can think of nowhere better.
The following morning, I enjoyed the basic but tasty continental breakfast at the hotel before catching the ferry back to the mainland and hitting the road for Glasgow.
I had a 4-hour drive ahead of me on the way home so this gave me plenty of time to get comfortable with the i30 Fastback N and with my Spotify connected to the sounds system I was in my element. Good tunes, a fun ride and a breath-taking route that took me right through Glencoe.
Glencoe must be up there with the prettiest and most dramatic landscapes in all of the UK. It’s quite unlike anything I’d seen before and in parts reminded me of the open roads in parts of the States.
To conclude if I were to choose between the Hyundai i30 N and the i30 N Fastback then I’d most likely opt for the smaller version on a purely looks basis but in reality, both models of this car are fun and exciting to drive.
If you’re in the market for something a little roomier than a hot hatch but want to retain that sporty edge in the styling, then the Fastback needs to be on your shortlist. It has a 2.0-litre engine which pushes 275PS & 353Nm so as you can imagine it is not lacking in power!
The Hyundai i30 Fastback N is priced from £29,995.