Gav's i30N | The Power of the All Rounder

A frequent criticism for the modern performance vehicle is that try to do too many things. It's a symptom of the times, haters say, people want everything without compromise is a saying leveraged at human society.

Times change though, so do people's priorities and also the perception of what a good performance car is.

Just ask Hyundai.

Ten years ago, the brand had a tremendously difficult time convincing anybody of their re-branding proposition as a legitimate premium product.

The Korean manufacturer for the longest time had been known as the budget car maker, the perfect first car, or the option for those looking for an affordable alternative, to the affordable market.

Fast forward to the end of the 2010s however, and Hyundai's reputation as a performance brand was significantly different.

Backed by their efforts in WRC, touring cars and endeavours in the N range, along with projects that included the involvement of world-leading engineering teams, Hyundais are now firmly in the mix as a proper competitor to the traditional powers.

For Gav however, this wasn't realised until he began his current role as full-time salesman at Hyundai, "I had never even heard of the i30N until I had started". His background was like so many of us, Japanese and the golden age from the 90s.

"I had owned many JDM vehicles," Gav told us, "but as my career grew I wanted something with a little more luxury but maintained the fun". The standard options were there for test drives, and he gave them all a go, "I looked at the FK8 Type R and the Golf GTI, but I guess working at Hyundai has its merits".

The i30N was his choice in the end, not because Gav worked at Hyundai, but because it "ticks the most boxes and provided the best bang for buck". Compared to his previous vehicles, the modern features set it apart, "with a touch of a button you can change its character and performance, it can be quiet or it can be loud".

That's not to say Gav's gone soft, no way. Alongside the N in the stable, he calls an NA MX5 as his weekender, and a stripped out EK as his track car. He continues to get his old-school, raw and emotional driving fix with his older cars, but there's a versatility that continues to bring him back to the N as his favourite car.

Gav laughs, "yes the EK was faster around Luddenham, and yes sometimes I love the MX5 more than the N, but the Hyundai just does everything well". The reason why the i30N continues to get love from its owner isn't just because he happens to work for Hyundai, but rather because it hits the spot for what Gav wanted out of his brand new car.

It's modern.

It's reasonably quick.

It has a Jekyll and Hyde nature. Rough when it needs to be, refined otherwise.

All the contemporary luxuries and features to keep him happy in a fast-moving world.

He doesn't have to overly care for it.

Why do you need the best of the best in one specific area, when that usage frequency is so low? Your car pulls from 0-100 in X amount of time faster than another, but how often is that a stat you get to experience? Older sports cars are lauded for their lack of insulation and stiff ride, how much distance do you cover per year that makes the most of these two aspects?

There is a saying for people, things and products that are competent in multiple areas but lacking in excellence in any given area.

"Jack of all trades, master of none".

So many people see this as a drawback, a backhanded complement.

For Gav and so many others however, the N is actually the master of being the jack of all trades. Sure the MX5 has a unique, vintage experience, while the EK provides a raw race car experience that can't be matched in today's industry.

But if you had to only own one car to operate for the entire year, every day, which one would you choose?

Food for thought!