New Hyundai i30N vs used Renault Megane RS: which is best?

A new Hyundai i30N is a great alternative to more expensive hot-hatch rivals, but can it fend off a used Megane RS for less money?...

New Hyundai i30N vs used Renault Megane RS: which is best?

You’d think that with all the honing and fine-tuning of today’s hot hatches, forcing two into a twin-test would be an act of pointless pettifoggery. But, make one new and the other a used example and you have a battle on your hands.

Our new car contender is the Hyundai i30N. In entry-level 247bhp form, it is our middle price-point, hot hatch category winner in the 2020 What Car? Awards. For the money, it’s a bit of a steal against similarly priced and more established rivals. Not bad, considering the i30N is Hyundai’s first stab at competing in this particular sector.  

Alternatively, you could go for something from one of the biggest names in the hot hatch sector if you’re prepared to go used: Renault Sport. The latest Megane RS can be had in our preferred 280 form with the desirable Cup tweaked suspension upgrades for around about what it’ll cost you for a new i30N. Question is, which is the most thrilling car for the money? Read on to find out. 

Hyundai i30N List Price: £25,995 Target price: £25,995 Official fuel economy: 34.9mpg Emissions: 176g/km CO2 Power: 247bhp 0-62mph: 6.4sec Top speed: 155mph 

Renault Megane R.S 280 Cup Price new: £29,495 Price today: £23,500 Official fuel economy: 35.3mpg Emissions: 181g/km CO2 Power: 276bhp 0-62mph: 5.8sec Top speed: 158mph 

*Price today is based on a 2018 model with average mileage and a full-service history

New Hyundai i30N vs used Renault Megane RS – interior & equipment

You wouldn’t describe the i30N as being particularly stylish inside, but everything from its climate control switches to its infotainment system is logically laid out and a doddle to use. The material choices are fairly plush, though hardly a match for those found in premium offerings such as the Audi S3. Then again, you’re not paying premium money for it. 

Meanwhile, the heavily bolstered sports seats, red stitching and aluminium pedals of the Megane RS help to set it apart from the regular cooking-spec Megane, although some may find its faux carbon fibre trim a touch tacky.

New Hyundai i30N vs used Renault Megane RS: which is best?

Lovers of technology will want the i30N, which comprehensively beats the Megane in terms of standard equipment: LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors plus a reversing camera, auto lights and wipers, adaptive cruise control, 18in alloy wheels, and adaptive suspension all come as standard. 

Of that list, you will find LED headlights and auto lights and wipers on your Megane, too, but parking sensors at the rear only, and regular non-adaptive cruise control. You’ll need to look out for the Parking Pack premium, Safety Pack Premium and Visio System pack to match the standard spec of the i30N. 

Neither of these two houses a class-leading infotainment system, but there are significant differences between the two – and we’re not just talking about the unusual portrait layout of the Megane versus the more traditional landscape of the i30N. 

New Hyundai i30N vs used Renault Megane RS: which is best?

In the Hyundai, there are plenty of physical shortcut buttons surrounding the 8in screen to supplement the easy to navigate touch screen menus. Sat nav is included, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. You’ll also find myriad performance read-outs, such as a g-meter, lap timer and real-time engine information screens.

The standard screen in the Megane is 7in, but we’d look out for the larger 8.7in alternative that was available as an option. It too features smartphone mirroring, which is preferable to using the in-built system, which is awkward to operate and at times confusing. 

New Hyundai i30N vs used Renault Megane RS – space & practicality

You won’t be disappointed with the amount of room in the front of either of these two, and you’ll find plenty of adjustment in both the seats and steering wheel in order to find your ideal setup. The seat of the Megane is angled quite sharply upwards to the front of the car, giving the impression of a highly supportive deck chair. Oddments storage is well catered for in both.

There is slightly less leg room in the back of the i30N than in the Megane RS, but you do get more head room and greater width across the rear bench for three. We were also able to fit more suitcases in the boot of the i30N (six compared with the five of the Megane) despite the Megane having a bigger boot on paper. This is because the i30N has a taller and wider load area below the parcel shelf than the Megane. 

New Hyundai i30N vs used Renault Megane RS: which is best?

The non-Performance i30N does without the brace across the boot of the car you see in the pictures. It is a removable item in order to achieve a totally flat load area when the back seats are folded down.

Next: What are they like to drive? >>

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