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Toyota Corolla vs Hyundai i30

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Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i30 go head to head in this comparative review.


3.5 stars

VALUE from $19,990

VALUE from $20,990

At $19,990 plus on-road costs the base model manual Toyota Corolla hatch has wound back prices 11 years. Add $2000 for the seven-step constantly variable transmission. Seven airbags and Bluetooth (including music streaming) are standard. But rear parking sensors are not.


At $20,990 plus on-road costs for the base model manual, the Hyundai i30 is about $1000 dearer than the headline prices in the small-car class. But that buys a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and rear parking sensors.


Metallic paint adds $425. Servicing costs just $130 a visit. But you must return to the dealer every six months (not 12 as with most brands) and capped pricing runs out at 60,000km -- when the expensive maintenance starts to kick in. Total servicing cost over three years: $780.

Metallic paint is $495 and only white and red are exempt. Annual services cost $219 each (only three are required). Total cost: $657. But coverage ends when the expensive services start (60,000km) even though there are still two years left on the warranty.

3.5 stars



The Corolla's sleek lines were styled in Toyota studios in Europe and Japan. They've been designed to make the car look "keen''. The aim with the interior was to appear unconventional. Thankfully there is still plenty of practical storage space.
They look almost identical from behind yet neither copied the other's homework. They were designed in secret on separate continents. The Hyundai's interior aces the Corolla for its upmarket yet functional appearance.

The Corolla has seven airbags (the extra one near the steering column is for knee protection) to achieve its five-star rating. Stability control (now compulsory on all new cars) is standard. Rear camera and navigation with traffic alert are available on dearer models.

Seven airbags, five-star safety and it has good roadholding, so you can avoid a crash in the first place (we hope). Rear parking sensors as standard put the i30 just ahead of the Corolla in this contest.


With wider tyres than before, this Corolla should have a slightly plusher ride. But in city driving it can be sharp over bumps. The sound of the engine revving loudly due to the CVT takes getting used to but performance is quite spirited for a Corolla.

The 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine has a similar amount of zip to the Corolla. But the conventional six-speed automatic feels nicer to drive than the Toyota's CVT. Roadholding and ride comfort are a little better, too.


The Corolla could do with more driving flair and refinement. That the Hyundai i30 is a more complete package shows how times have changed. If Hyundai trimmed the price by $1000 it would have every base covered.


Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 17 comments

  • Picked up my 2013 i30 active, GD2, MY15 Petrol, Black, 5 door a few days ago for $20,990 in Sydney.. Great car run smooth and all around value for money.. also looked at a 2014 Mazda 3 neo but at $26k Drive away.. NO WAY!! was i paying $5000 more for less features.

    Gabe of Sydney Posted on 13 February 2014 2:18pm
  • koreans aren’t taking over anything, typical of korean anything - it’s all show. They will never last like a Toyota. Heritage matters.

    Sean D Posted on 16 December 2013 9:41pm
  • Hyundai has come a very long way in the last 5 years. I have been selling used cars for the last few years and recently (6 months) have started working for Hyundai. Looking in depth at how these cars are built, the materials used etc is a real eye opener. The Korean’s have well and truly produced a fantastic range of cars. I drive an i30 petrol Active manual every day as a demo and i think it’s a great little (big) car and i have just sold my sister one today and in process of organising finance for my Mrs.
    Would personally recommend an I30 to ANYONE and EVERYONE that’s in the market for a small car. Driveability, features, economy, styling, warranty & price makes this car an easy choice.
    By the way if anyone is in the market for a small car we have 10 i30 Active manual petrols left here in Mackay QLD at $18,888 DRIVE AWAY call me, Sean 4961 8432.

    Sean de Burca of Mackay QLD Posted on 17 September 2013 4:57pm
  • Bought a Hyundai i30 in May and it’s a great car.. The build quality and upmarket classy interior are the best. I say it beats VW Golf. The steering is excellent even though some reviewers recon it’s average.. They think they’re all racing car drivers and are testing a formula one cars. Go Hyundai, the Japs need to worry, Korean cars are taking over..

    Canal of Sunshine Coast Posted on 02 August 2013 5:01pm
  • I really hope Hyundai i30 interior good looks last long. Take a look at a 3-5 year old corolla vs Hyundai i30 on any od road in this nation. I now own a mitsubishi SUV, I used to have a corolla 2003 till then. I recently took my partners corolla to a service at toyota. i was embarrassed honestly. Toyota was extremely organised and feed back session was a great at 4pm when we collected the car. Just bear in mind that good looks need to last and good impresions need to last. No one compares used corolla versus a used hyundai. Look at the paint and interior wear and tear quality if you park outdoors for work or use one seat more regularly. Corolla is outstanding. How many corola you see broken down on highways as opposed to any other brand. I have seen far too many Korean cars. Still toyotas age well. Koreans need to impress here.

    Dr Serge Ranwala of Kew Victoria Posted on 08 April 2013 9:46am
  • Hyundai for reliability, safety and Quality. Toyota can no longer herald their only card of reliability when really they just can’t compete anymore with their lack lustr.

    Hyundai for the win. I know where I will b spending my hard earned dollar next…

    rex of victoria Posted on 29 March 2013 11:52am
  • Hyundai group first hit hard in Europe when they absolutely crushed VW in the German quality awards beating the Polo and Golf.  The ad from VW that trys to pick flaw in the phrase “sounds like a golf” is actually targeted at Hyundai.

    I would guess their next target is to beat Toyota in regards to reliability.  They are also hot on the heals of Nissans high powered cars as well with the Lambda and Tau engines.

    Victor Bitterson of Queensland Posted on 27 March 2013 10:49pm
  • Hyundai has come in leads and bounds and has really started to strain the toyota’s hold on the car game. Toyota is largely a fleet based company and as such concerntrates on numbers numbers numbers.

    Hyundai have taken the bull by the horns and thrown it away with these new models. I have driven both the new carolla and the new i30 and have to say that the outside of the Toyota looks good but interior is like going into the past… no real appeal at all, plus the drive of the hyundai mops the floor with the toyota rough ride. Keep it up Hyundai !!!

    Adam of Landsdale Posted on 20 March 2013 5:36pm
  • I have a i30 Elite bought in July 2012, it has all the extras including heated front seats!. Love this car. I traded my 2008 peugeot in, had a lot of trouble with that car, computer and the electrics.

    roberta barker of Hobart Posted on 06 March 2013 1:23pm
  • I currently own a Hyundai Elantra (auto + metalic paint) with all standard equipment for a car that is 7 years old and still running great. It is my second Hyundai. I find them very reliable, economical etc. I had a Toyota Corona S/Wagon years ago, it ran well. But now I think the Hyundai has won me over for a third time soon.

    Phillip Tengdahl of Morisset NSW Posted on 06 March 2013 12:30pm
  • Just got a new Diesel i30 today. Regarding the Hidden Costs, you say “But coverage ends when the expensive services start (60,000km) even though there are still two years left on the warranty” but I read online on Hyundai website it is 5 year unlimited kms???

    Matthew of Brisbane Posted on 05 March 2013 9:24pm
  • I owned 3 Camrys from 1993 to 2000 and then brought a Hyundai Grandeur I am now driving my third Grandeur and am think on trading it in on the i40, my wife has an i30 and loves it

    Arthur Holzhauser of Boyne Island Posted on 05 March 2013 5:51pm
  • females prefer the i30,must look better?

    john stewart. of melbourne Posted on 05 March 2013 5:35pm
  • I’m an i30 Elite Diesel owner, and I couldn’t be happier! it’s the first car i’ve owned that has a BETTER fuel economy than the sticker claims. I’ve made it from Sydney-Wilsons Prom on one tank, and successfully out-green’d a Prius in doing so. I managed to negotiate my way to $27,990 d/a with metallic paint, in a manual. with all the extra features you get for the Elite compared to the Active, it was defs a worthwhile investment.

    Philip of North Sydney Posted on 05 March 2013 5:32pm
  • I have driven both cars and the quality of the hyundai is still well under par compared to the corolla. Interior plastics, ride quality cabin noise. I have owned an i20 and traded it in on my corolla as the airconditioning took about 15 minutes to even get cold on a hot day. Never had a problem with any of my toyota’s.

    RJ of Perth Posted on 24 January 2013 2:28pm
  • The pricing quoted for the i30 is incorrect, the i30 base model manual is now $20,990 driveaway, no more to pay, except for comprehensive insurance if you choose to.

    Fi of Hamilton Posted on 24 January 2013 11:14am
  • Even 5 years ago it would be hard to imagine a Korean brand is game enough to sell more over the longtime favourite Toyota brand in the same class. Time has certainly changed and the new boy on the block now goes to Hyundai! Three cheers to the Koreans!

    Zes of Balwyn North Posted on 23 January 2013 5:09pm
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