If you want a hot hatch, but do not want to follow the flock to the German brands, then Hyundai and Renault are two potential choices.
You might not get the same look as with a GTI or an S3 when driving, but do not think for one second that these pocket rockets are sub-par.
Hailing from different backgrounds and different countries, these cars have only one aim – to beat the other.
Below, the Hyundai i30N and the Renault Megane RS will go head to head for you to decide which one should be in your garage.
We have come to expect certain features as standard in 2021, so Hyundai and Renault made sure not to disappoint.
In the centre of the i30N is an 8-inch free-floating display that is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capable.
Satellite navigation is standard, as well as a lap time counter and a G-force meter for days at the track.
Additionally, it is fitted with sports seats in the front, a multifunction steering wheel, parking sensors, and climate control.
The 8.7-inch centre display in the Renault is Bluetooth capable and shows all relevant information from the car, as well as sat nav.
It also features a telemetry system – made to display and analyse your track performance through various readings and measurements.
Alcantara sport seats are fitted in the RS, along with a multifunction leather steering wheel, and a personalisable 7-inch digital dash display.
Additional features include parking sensors, overspeed warning, and emergency braking assistance.
Hyundai and Renault went through great effort to differentiate these hot hatches from the more tame siblings they were built upon, and it shows.
The i30N boasts a unique design that sets it apart from the standard five-door i30 – starting with the enlarged grille that was fitted to improve air intake that cools the engine and brakes.
Additionally, the i30N also receives a performance package that includes
- Aerodynamic rear spoiler
- Dual muffler exhaust system
- Red brake calipers with N logo
- Aggressive redesigned bumpers
- 19-inch wheels fitted with Pirelli P-Zero tyres
- Electronically controlled limited slip differential
The Renault Megane RS features special bumpers with a Formula 1 inspired blade at the front, a wider rear diffuser, and wings that were extended by 60mm from the base model.
More upgrades come in the form of
- Central exhaust
- Wide lip spoiler
- Side extractor vents
- 18 or 19-inch wheels
- Torsen limited slip differential
- Suspension with hydraulic compression stops
- LED headlights with multi-reflector RS vision system
The i30N is no slouch in this department, with roots that stem from Hyundai’s rally expertise.
202kW and 353Nm is produced by the 2-litre turbocharged engine – the torque can then be bumped up to 378Nm thanks to the overboost function, which can improve acceleration by up to 7%.
Power is put down to the front wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox that supports smooth gear shifting through a rev-matching function.
The N Grin control system offers five drive modes that serve to change the performance parameters of the car – such as suspension stiffness – depending on what is needed by the driver.
Thanks to this, it is able to achieve 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds, and go on to reach a top speed of 250km/h, according to Hyundai.
On the Renault, the engine of the RS finds its roots in Formula 1 – and was designed by Renault Sport’s engine specialists.
The 1.8-litre turbocharged power plant produces 205kW and a peak torque figure of 390Nm – sending it from 0-100km/h in 5.8 seconds, and onto a top speed of 250km/h.
This can be mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed double-clutch automatic gearbox, which sends power to the front wheels.
Five drive modes are then available to choose from, which change the behaviour of various elements such as gearbox mapping, steering weight, and throttle mapping.
A Grand Prix start function is also added, which gives the RS launch control.
To increase handling performance, the 4CONTROL system enables rear wheel steering – a feature rarely seen at this price – which lets the real wheels turn with, or against, the front wheels depending on the speed at which you are travelling.
The Hyundai i30N has a starting price of R679,900, which includes a 7-year/200,000 km warranty, roadside assistance for 7-years or 150,000 km, and a 5-year/75,000 km service plan.
The Renault Megane RS has a starting price of R634,900, which includes a 5-year/150,000km warranty, roadside assistance for 5-years or 150,000km , and a standard or tailor-made service/maintenance plan available from the respective dealership.