New Metal | Hyundai i30 N

It seems to have spent an inordinate amount of time lapping the Nürburgring, but Hyundai’s new hot hatch is finally here. 

2017 Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai is suitably proud of the fact that the new i30 N has racked up some 6,000 miles of testing at the fearsome Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit. That includes competition running in the ADAC 24 hours race, along with substantial time polishing and refining the dynamics. It means Hyundai is putting real faith in the i30 N being able to perform on track.

2017 Hyundai i30 N

Before we go any further; what does the ‘N’ stand for? According to Hyundai it symbolises the shape of a chicane, and is relevant to this i30 being developed in both Namyang and at the Nürburgring. There are plans for more N-branded road cars, but this is where it all begins for real.

2017 Hyundai i30 N

Although in reality, things started quite some time before 2017. Hyundai has been competing in the World Rally Championship with the i20 WRC car, wearing N badges, since 2014. Also, Hyundai offered the i30 Turbo as part of the previous generation range. We tested the old i30 Turbo and found it broadly commendable, plus a solid platform for future hot hatches. As such, we’ve high hopes for the i30 N, based on our previous quick Hyundai experiences and the wealth of performance equipment thrown at this new car.

2017 Hyundai i30 N

Power comes from a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, producing 247hp and 260lb-ft of torque. There is, however, an optional Performance Package that along with various other tweaks, boosts power to a more substantial 271hp. This leaves the i30 N in something of a hot hatch hinterland – more powerful than a Golf GTI, but with less horsepower than a Golf R, for example. (more…)

WRC – Second generation Hyundai i20 rally car is here

Although the World Rally Championship has already finished for 2015, Hyundai have got the jump on their rivals by showing off their new 2016 car now. 

2016 Hyundai i20 WRCWe were always a little unsure as to why Hyundai began its second attempt at the WRC using a car based on the first-generation i20 model. Credit must be given to the original version though, as it allowed the team to battle for second place in the Manufacturers Championship all the way until the final round this year. The 2016 season kicks off at the Monte Carlo Rally in just six weeks, and the three-car Hyundai Motorsport squad should be in a strong position, having completed some 8,000km testing with the new machine this year.

As much as EngageSportMode is a fan of the Volkswagen Polo, and the all-conquerieng dominance of WRC by it for the past three seasons, it would be good to see the Germans have a real challenger. Plus, with Citroën withdrawing factory support for the DS3 WRC, Hyundai should be able to sew up second place, at least. (more…)

Friday Photo – A Streetcar Named Hyundai

How do you celebrate a 10th anniversary? Cake, flowers? Well, if you’re Hyundai Motor UK, you drive a hydrogen fuel cell car around London to make this impressive photo:

2015 A Streetcar Named Hyundai

That’s not just any picture of Oxford Street. Oh no, that’s a mosaic created from over 500,000 photos taken during the 50 day driving challenge as the Hyundai ix35 Streetcar roamed the capital. Special software was used to collate them all into the finished item, measuring an impressive 6m x 2m in size. We’re pretty sure you can’t just hang that over your mantelpiece!

2015 A Streetcar Named Hyundai

ESM could have taken part in the challenge, but some wedding got in the way…

The route followed the 2,092 miles of London streets as defined by the traditional cab driver ‘knowledge’. With the camera shutter set to snap based on speed, angle and distance, photos were taken every 6-7 seconds throughout the continuous journey. (more…)

Friday Photo | The madness of SEMA 2015

EngageSportMode has featured the SEMA show, and the quite literally mental creations it throws up, before. This year seems to have been just as crazy, so we’ve pulled together a gallery featuring some of the wildest offerings. Just remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or something like that.

2015 SEMA Car modification in the UK seems to have come a long way from the Max Power glory days. Gone are the bodykitted Corsas and Saxos with huge exhausts and deafening subwoofers. Today, aside from bigger wheels or a vinyl wrap, everything just seems pretty standard looking. But, over in America, the modification industry still seems to be alive and well.

However, it isn’t just aftermarket companies that use the annual Speciality Equipment Market Association event to show off. Car manufacturers are also using SEMA to display their creativity with concepts inspired by celebrities, or just the minds of designers running wild. We’ve picked a handful of our favourites from the show, but there’s a bigger gallery of the slightly crazier stuff further down. Enjoy.


The big Detroit manufacturer rolled out a huge twenty concepts at SEMA, covering the range from Corvette Stingray to classic Camaro and a whole host of pickup truck offerings. With the all-new 2016 model year Camaro about to hit the streets, Chevy has clearly paid some attention to its latest offering, with four concepts based upon it.

2015 SEMA ChevroletHowever, our personal favourite is probably the 1970 Camaro RS with a thoroughly modern LT4 engine.  (more…)

A week with the… Hyundai Tucson SE Nav 1.7 CRDi | Review

Can a crossover SUV be something that can integrate into the realm of EngageSportMode? Actually, in the case of the Hyundai Tucson, yes it can. Read on to find out just how.

2015 Hyundai Tucson 1.7 CRDiAfter reviewing the all-new Tucson on the UK launch event back in August for Motoring Research, Hyundai were keen that we also try the 1.7 CRDi engine variant, given that it should be the best seller. Which meant a Ruby Wine SE Nav Tucson appeared on the ESM driveway one morning, with seven days to see how this crossover SUV works in real life.

2015 Hyundai Tucson 1.7 CRDiDriving it on local roads immediately highlighted a number of things, including just how good the ride quality is. The launch versions we drove rode on 19” alloy wheels that had  only a minor discernible impact on ride comfort. So, with the larger 225/60 profile tyres of the SE Nav version, progress was even more comfortable across broken tarmac.

2015 Hyundai Tucson 1.7 CRDiCompared to a lowdown hatchback, the raised driving position of the Tucson was also a benefit, and did demonstrate part of the reason why the segment continues to grow. Despite the height, the Tucson avoids pitching and wallowing, with tight body control and accurate steering. The Tucson does feature a sport mode but in manual gearbox cars, this only makes a difference to the steering. In all honesty, we couldn’t really tell the difference when it was activated, so minimal was the effect.

2015 Hyundai Tucson 1.7 CRDiWould a crossover SUV buyer even worry about performance? Perhaps not, but it’s worth noting that the 116PS 1.7-litre CRDi is the slowest engine in the Tucson range, with a 0-62mph time of 13.7 seconds. Whilst the 207lb-ft of torque is enough around town, you might find yourself longing for more twist on faster roads. The 1.7 CRDi engine isn’t a total deal breaker, but it does put the Tucson at odds with its powerful image.

Given the relatively lack of performance, we were interested to see whether the 1.7 CRDi would make up for it with decent fuel consumption. Initial journeys resulted in only 35mpg but after some longer trips, the overall average increased to 41.5mpg. Whilst that might seem some distance from the official EU figure of 61.7mpg, for a crossover SUV like the Tucson it’s pretty reasonable.

However, on launch, the 185PS 2.0-litre CRDi version with AWD and automatic gearbox averaged around 36mpg. That leads us to believe that the lower-powered 136PS 2.0-litre CRDi Tucson, with 2WD and manual gearbox, would actually be the pick of the range. In theory it should offer the best mix of performance and economy without breaking the bank.

2015 Hyundai Tucson 1.7 CRDi

Doing some lifestyle

Spending a week with the Tucson highlighted another thing; just how many C-segment crossover SUVs you see on the roads in the North East. With the Sunderland Nissan plant dominating the region, it means there are an awful lot of Qashqai models in the area. The Tucson therefore scored points for being a credible, good-looking alternative to the Japanese car. (more…)

Friday Photo – All-New 2015 Hyundai Tucson UK Launch

Yes, this week ESM was back behind the wheel of another new compact SUV crossover, reviewing the Hyundai Tucson for the guys at Motoring Research.

2015 Hyundai TucsonHelpfully, Hyundai decided to make the North East its base for the UK launch of the Tucson, meaning only a short trip to Newcastle airport to get acquainted with the handsome SUV. It also meant the chance for the North to show it can actually do sunshine, along a test route that seemed designed to mimic ESM’s childhood holidays in Northumberland. Although none of them featured chauffeuring the CEO and President of Hyundai UK, however.

From eating seafood in Craster Harbour, to driving under Kielder Water reservoir, the route between offered up a demonstration of the epically beautiful North East countryside. Staying in a teepee village in the middle of nowhere, with Wi-Fi, eating Korean BBQ and using a hot tub beneath the stars also made the launch quite special.

It was also a lesson in why, when used on the RAC Rally, Kielder had the nickname of being a “killer” stage with the gravelled forestry tracks taking down tyres on two Tucsons in quick succession. On the plus side, the Tucson’s real-time tyre pressure monitoring system is incredibly accurate, and the decision to fit the car with a full-size spare is a good move. (more…)

Hyundai i30 – Short Review

EngageSportMode’s BTCC Correspondent recently went on holiday to France. Whilst he was there, he found himself with a Hyundai i30 at his disposal. So what did he make of the Korean hatchback?

Hyundai Holiday Hell? Quite the Opposite…

I was recently lucky enough to have a mini break in the South of France. On arrival at Montpellier Airport, I knew that I was going to have a new experience – driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. We were the typical Brits before we arrived, having searched the Internet for the cheapest and best possible hire car deal. In the end, I was fairly pleased as we had settled on a new shape Ford Focus. As I drive a similar sized car, a SEAT Leon TFSI, I was interested to see how a Focus shaped up in comparison. However, on arrival at Hertz, I was told our hire car was now a Hyundai i30. Apparently, despite having confirmation for a Ford Focus, they were able to and did change it to a similar car in the same category. (more…)