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Audi A3


Toyota Corolla

Summary

Audi A3

Audi’s A3 is one of the most affordable ways into this prestige German brand. But like some amusement park mirror maze you’ll find with so many A3 variations there are numerous, seemingly identical ways into the model. 

Which one do you choose? There’s a sedan, a hatch, and a convertible with four different engines, not to mention front- or all-wheel drive.
 
That’s why this range review is here – to guide you through the A3 hall of mirrors, and identify the right model for you.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency5.8L/100km
Seating5 seats

Toyota Corolla

The Corolla. A small car that's been part of our local car landscape since 1967. It's an Aussie favourite, and for the past four years the country's number one selling car.

Not many cars can come close to making a claim like that - to have such a long and successful run. The Corolla is the car equivalent of Neighbours only it's been around more than two decades longer.

The Corolla is so famous I haven't even mentioned it's a Toyota because I don't need to, you know what it is - it's achieved single-name status like Elvis, Madonna and Oprah.

That doesn't happen accidentally. The Corolla has earned a reputation for being reliable, good value and well built. But much has changed in 50 years, and the small car segment is full of excellent offerings from the Mazda3 to the Hyundai i30. So, how does the latest incarnation of the Corolla shape up against the competition?

You'll find out in this review which covers hatch and sedan versions of the Corolla.

Safety rating
Engine Type1.8L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6.7L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Audi A37.5/10

The Audi A3 is now five years into this current generation and it’s beginning to show its age in terms of tech and styling in the cabin, despite updates adding new equipment. It’s expensive compared to most small cars but is spot-on for a prestige vehicle. 

The Sedan is, in my view, the best looking small sedan on the planet and offers the biggest boot space in the A3 range. The Sportback, however, is arguably more practical, with better legroom, headroom and cargo carrying ability (with the rear seats down). The Cabriolet has the same perfect proportions as the sedan, but like all good convertibles doesn’t make practicality a priority. 

The sweet spot of the range would have to be the Sportback 2.0 TFSI quattro S Line with its $50,000 list price making it the most affordable but most 'specced up' A3 in the entire range.

You have $50,000. Do you buy an entry-grade Audi A3 Cabriolet, a 2.0 TFSI Sport Sedan or a Volkswagen Golf R? Tell us what you think in the comments below.


Toyota Corolla6.9/10

Nobody could fault you for buying a Toyota Corolla – it is still worthy of being an Aussie favourite. Sure the sedan and hatch aren't as pretty or engaging to drive as the Mazda3, but the car's reputation for reliability and durability, its good value-for-money, its easy to drive nature, and the advanced driving equipment make it a sensible and smart purchase.

The sweet spot in the Corolla range is the Ascent Sport hatch with its 7.0-inch screen and the ability to option sat nav and the advanced safety technology.  That said, a special mention has to go to the Hybrid - the petrol electric drivetrain suits the Corolla character well.

Design

Audi A38/10

The A3 comes in three body styles: a five-door hatch, which Audi calls the Sportback; the four-door Sedan, and a two-door convertible which it refers to as the Cabriolet. It may not surprise you to learn they're all different sizes, too.

The Sportback doesn’t look like the shortest of the three but at 4313mm end-to-end it’s 145mm shy of the Sedan and 110mm shorter than the Cabriolet. But those exterior dimensions don’t tell the whole story on interior space. So, which one is more practical? We’ll get to that.

But first, the looks. The Sportback has a wagon-like appearance with its large (for a hatch) rear quarter windows. If you think it looks longer than a regular hatchback, you’re right: a Volkswagen Golf is 50mm shorter even though it shares the same platform as the A3.

However, unlike the Golf, there’s something about the Sportback’s proportions which doesn’t seem balanced.

Then there’s the A3 sedan. Now this is a perfectly proportioned car. Looking like a miniature version of the A8 limo, the A3 is one of the only tiny sedans on the planet that looks fantastic.

The Cabriolet is based on the Sedan, and it too looks beautifully proportioned. Soft tops, when they’re up, never do much for a car’s profile. Be it a Bentley or an A3, they always look better down. When the roof is down the A3 appears lower, sleeker, and tougher.

While all A3’s have the same grille and headlight design the rear treatment of the Sedan and Cabriolet is more refined with their blade-like tail-lights and boot lid lip, than the Sportback, even if it does have a roof-top spoiler.

Interiors are identical across each A3 grade, the cabin benefiting from excellent fit and finish and the use of high-quality materials. But if you like bling-tastic cockpits, maybe you should be looking at a Benz A-Class because even the fanciest A3 money can buy, the RS3, comes with a small display screen and a rather low-key interior design. 

As for rivals, the new A-Class (which I’ve just reviewed) is a glitzy competitor in hatch form, with a soon-to-arrive sedan going head-to-head with the little Audi as well.

Or there’s BMW’s 1 Series hatch and 2 Series Coupe. The 1 Series hatch is seriously ugly, the 2 Series is stunning and looks fast standing still.


Toyota Corolla6/10

It seems that peace in the Middle East is an easier objective than making a small affordable sedan look good, going by how few are on the road. The Mazda3 sedan is by far the best looking, the Corolla sedan is not. The hatch mind you is a looker, even if this model is getting on in age – it came out in 2012, and Toyota has kept things fresh over the years with makeovers on both sedan and hatch.

The dimensions show just how different in size the hatch is compared with the sedan. The sedan is 4620mm from bumper to bumper, 1775mm wide and 1460mm tall, which in comparison to the hatch version makes it 290mm longer, 15mm wider but 15mm shorter in stature.

The exterior may be different but the sedan's interior is almost identical to the hatch's, as you can see in the images. There's a swooping dashboard, and cleanly designed centre console, a clear instrument cluster and an overall premium and grown-up feel. The interior dimensions of the sedan show the front-rear couple distance (front passenger hip-point, to rear passenger hip-point) to be 960mm, while in the hatch it's 900mm.

The 7.0-inch touchscreen which was added in the most recent update modernises the cabin and the use of dark, high-quality materials keeps things stylish. There's also the appearance of a good fit and finish in every variant.

All hatches come standard with a roof-top rear spoiler, but SX and ZR get tough looking body kits with side skirts, front spoiler and a rear ‘diffuser'. Our ZR hatch test car came with the 'Glacier White' paint, which is a no-cost option, and I reckon looks best when combined with those super-dark tinted rear windows and black elements to the upper and lower grille.

There are seven other colours to choose from including 'Inferno' (burnt orange), 'Blue Gem', 'Citrus', 'Crystal Pearl', 'Silver Pearl' (okay, grey), 'Ink' (Black, of course), and 'Wildfire' which is type of red. No green.

By the way, the only Toyota you can get in green, apart from the 'Electric Teal' C-HR (which doesn't count) is the Kluger. It's 'Rainforest Green'. Be a diva and demand Toyota paints your Corolla in it, and let me know how you go. Premium paint costs $450.

Yes, the design of the hatch is far more attractive than the sedan, but there are people who will go for the grown-up appeal of a sedan.

Practicality

Audi A37/10

The Sportback and Sedan have five seats, while the Cabriolet has four. Leg and headroom in the back row for all body styles is limited. The Sportback will give you the most rear legroom, while the sedan has a few millimetres more space for your knees than the Cabriolet. 

At 191cm tall I can sit behind my driving position in the Sportback with a pinkie finger’s space, while my knees brush the seatback in the Sedan, and the Cabriolet won’t accommodate my long legs back there at all.
  
Rear headroom in the Sportback isn’t bad with enough room for my big head to clear the ceiling thanks to that tall(-ish) flat roofline while the sedan is a tighter fit but I just make it under. The Cabriolet’s low fabric roof means only small adults or kids will be able to sit up straight back there – unless the top is down and then you have literally unlimited headroom.

Boot space varies obviously depending on the body style. The Sedan has biggest cargo capacity with 425 litres, the Sportback offers up 340 litres, but fold those rear seats down and you have 1180 litres at your disposal, plus a bigger aperture to fit stuff in. The Cabriolet’s folding roof eats into the boot space, but you’re still left with 320 litres even when it’s down.

The folding roof is automatic and can be raised or lowered at up to 50km/h, but it’s slow - I’ve timed it and it takes about 20 seconds to open or shut.

Storage throughout the cabin is limited, too. There are two cupholders up front in all cars, while the Cabriolet is the only A3 to have two cupholders in the back (they’re between the rear seats). If you want cupholders in the rear of the Sedan and Sportback you’ll have to option the $450 fold-down armrest which houses them.

All grades above the 1.0 TFSI come with storage nets in the seatback and front passenger footwell, 12-volt sockets in the rear centre console and boot, plus cargo nets back there, too. There’s a USB jack in the centre console of all A3s.


Toyota Corolla7/10

This is important. How will you use your Corolla? Will it mainly be you driving solo, or will you use it to ferry a family or friends around regularly? Are you the type who, like me, buys furniture and then tries to bring it home in the car, only to find it doesn't fit?

First, legroom in the back of the sedan is much better than the hatch. I'm 191cm tall and have a good five cm of space between my knees and the seatback when I'm sitting behind my driving position in the sedan, but my knees touch the seatback in the hatch.

Then, just when you think the sedan is best for giants you'll find out rear headroom in the hatch is better than the sedan – my head skims the room in the sedan.

All Corollas are five seaters, but that middle back seat will be cramped for adults.

Now the boot space. The sedan's luggage space is 120 litres bigger than the hatch's at 470 litres. That's bigger than the 445-litre boot size of the Astra sedan. A cargo cover (otherwise known as a barrier or liner) comes standard on all hatches.

But there's another catch. The hatch has a bigger boot opening that the sedan, plus, when you fold the seats down it's better for carrying that Balinese coffee table you bought online (while drinking again at your computer).

Cabin storage space isn't bad in the sedan and hatch. Both have two cupholders in the back row and two more up front and bottle holders in all doors. The centre console bin under the armrest isn't enormous (the handbrake eats into the space), but it is deep.

Toyota's range of accessories for the Corolla isn't vast, there are no bull bars or nudge bars, but the roof rack range is impressive. There are kayak carriers, bike carriers, snow board carriers, and just regular roof rails.

A towbar, towball and trailer wiring harness are all available through Toyota's accessories department. The Corolla has a braked towing capacity of 1300kg.

Price and features

Audi A37/10

The A3 isn’t great value for a small car, generally speaking, because while you are getting a high-quality prestige vehicle, it doesn’t come with a mountain of equipment that you might find on a more affordable little hatch or sedan.
 
Look at it this way: take $40 into a fish and chip shop and you’ll walk out with your arms full of food, take the same amount into a Michelin-starred restaurant and you’ll be lucky to get an entrée. Same with buying a prestige car – and the A3 really is a starter on the Audi menu.
 
Coming standard on the entry-grade $36,200 1.0 TFSI Sportback are xenon headlights with LED running lights, cloth upholstery, dual-zone climate control, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with sat nav, reversing camera, multimedia system with voice control, eight-speaker stereo, Bluetooth connectivity, CD player, front and rear parking sensors, rear view camera and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Only the Sportback comes in this 1.0 TFSI grade. The rest of the body styles start with the 1.4 TFSI ($40,300 for the Sportback; $41,900 for Sedan; $49,400 for Cabriolet) which comes with the 1.0 TFSI’s equipment but swaps the cloth seats for leather upholstery and adds paddles shifters, aluminium-look interior elements and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Stepping up to the 2.0 TFSI Sport ($46,400 for Sportback; $48,000 for Sedan; $55,500 for the Cabriolet) adds leather sports front seats, aluminium door sills, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and 17-inch alloys with a different design.

The 2.0 TFSI quattro S line ($50,000 for the Sportback; $51,600 for Sedan and $59,100 for the Cabriolet) brings in lowered sports suspension, 18-inch alloys and LED headlights.

Each grade also attains more safety equipment, which we’ll cover further on.

I’ve also reviewed Mercedes-Benz’s new A200, which is a good model comparison for the A3. At a list price of $48,200 the 1.3-litre four-cylinder A200 is pricier than the 1.4 TFSI, but offers better value than the A3 2.0TFSI with more equipment, including two 10.25-inch display screens.

As for paint colours, only 'Brilliant Black' and 'Ibis White' won't cost you a cent more. Optional colours include 'Cosmos Blue', 'Tango Red' and 'Monsoon Grey'.


Toyota Corolla7/10

How much does a Corolla cost?  As a price guide you're looking at $20k-$30k depending on the grade.

The Corolla also comes as sedan or hatchback which affects the price, too.

The Ascent grade is the entry point into the Corolla range with the hatch listing for $20,190 (RRP) and the sedan for $21,240. Those are the prices of the manual gearbox cars, an automatic will need you to part with about $2000 more.

Keep in mind that standard features of the sedan and hatch aren't identical, not just on the Ascent but all grades.

Here, look: the Ascent hatch has a multimedia unit with 6.1-inch screen and the Ascent sedan has a 7.0-inch display. The hatch gets 16-inch steel wheels while the sedan has 15-inch steelies, both have power windows, halogen projector headlights (not HID or xenon), air-conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth, a reversing camera and rear parking sensors.

There's a six-speaker (no subwoofer) stereo with radio (not DAB digital), CD player (no CD changer) and MP3 compatible. Both sedan and hatch versions of the Ascent allow you to option the new advanced safety technology which became available in early 2017. Only the sedan has the option of built-in sat nav.

On the next rung up is the Ascent Sport which comes only in hatch form and lists at $21,210 for the manual and $23,250 for the auto. Standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels and a 7.0-inch touchscreen, plus the ability to option sat nav (as our car had). Like the Ascent, the Ascent Sport also has a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth connectivity and halogen headlights.

Just be aware that the Ascent Sport is not a sport edition. It has the same engine and performance as the rest of the Corollas. Why is it called sport? Well, okay, there is a 'Sport Mode' button which Toyota says increases the throttle and CVT response, but it in reality the performance difference isn't noticeable.

Above this is the SX grade. The manual SX sedan lists for $22,990 (the auto is $2250 more) and the hatch which only comes with an automatic transmission is $26,000. Both sedan and hatch pick up the same standard features as the Ascent Sport and add a sporty body kit, tinted rear windows and sat nav. All Corollas have keyless entry but the SX sedan gets proximity unlocking (smart key) and push button start, while the hatch doesn't. The hatch has 17-inch alloy wheels, and the sedan gets 16-inch alloys.

At the top of the range is the ZR sedan and hatch. These premium package cars come with an automatic transmission only and the sedan lists for $31,920, and the hatch for $30,020. Both sedan and hatch ZRs have the same features as the SX including the sports body kit and also pick up 'Bi-LED' headlights, climate control (dual-zone in the hatch), shifting paddles, proximity unlocking, power mirrors, and leather seats (heated ones up front). No heated steering wheel though.

The hatch comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, while the sedan has 16-inch rims. Stepping up to the ZR doesn't bring a better media system – it's the same 7.0-inch screen that's in the SX, and no there's no DVD player.

The climate control works well – I drove the car in the icy depths of winter and can vouch that it'll thaw you out fast, but the switches for it, while posh, aren't as easy to use as the dials for the AC in the lower grades.

The Corolla Hybrid is almost a separate model rather than a trim level. It's $27,530 and comes standard with great features such as Bi-LED headlights and running lights, 7.0-inch touchscreen, sat nav (GPS navigation system), proximity unlocking and 16-inch wheels.

Dealers offer driveaway prices regularly. When I had a quick check at the time this was published you could get the Corolla Ascent Sport hatch with an auto for $23,990 driveaway. Get them to throw in floor mats, too – they don't come standard on any of the Corollas.

It's disappointing that Apple CarPlay (for your iPhone) and Android Auto (for Samsung and the rest) is not offered on any Corolla, either. These are great apps for mirroring your phone's functions onto the car's screen.

Another fail is the lack of a volume control knob. You have to use the touchscreen or the buttons on the steering wheel. Sounds minor, but it became a major frustration point for me.

Is the Corolla good value? Yes, but it's up against good-value rivals, too, such as the Mazda3, Hyundai i30 and Elantra, and the Astra hatch and sedan. The Corolla still manages to mostly undercut the competition for price, depending on the variant.

Engine & trans

Audi A37/10

Now on to the engines. Yes, I’m doing this in what may seem a strange order, but trust me, it’s to guide you safely through the A3 range without anybody getting lost. We don’t leave anybody behind here, not on my watch.

The grades indicate the engines in the A3 line-up – the higher the grade, the more powerful the engine. So, the range starts with the 1.0 TFSI which has a 85kW/200Nm 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, and steps up to the 1.4 TFSI which has a 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder with cylinder on demand (COD) letting it run on two cylinders when not under load). Both are front-wheel drive (FWD) cars.

Next rung up is the 2.0 TFSI Sport and that has a 2.0-litre four making 140kW/320Nm with drive going to the front wheels. The top of the range is the 2.0 TFSI quattro S line which has the same engine but is all-wheel drive (AWD).

Those are all turbo-petrol engines – yes, no diesels and no manual gearbox option either. All have a seven-speed dual-clutch automatics shifting the gears. 

If you’re after something more hardcore in the same package, there are two halo ‘models’ that sit above the A3 range: the S3 with a 213kW/380Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four and the RS3 with its 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo-petrol making 294kW/480Nm. 

Given they are almost stand-alone models, the S3 and RS3 aren't included in this review, but you can read about them separately by clicking those links.


Toyota Corolla7/10

The Toyota Corolla engine specs are probably the simplest you'll find in any small car range – one engine for all Corollas (apart from the hybrid). The 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine has the same output across the range – 103kW/173Nm, which perfectly suits the docile nature of this car. Those are respectable horsepower and torque stats and generated without a turbo, just a decent engine size.

The current gen Corolla's engine uses a timing chain, not a timing belt.

All Corollas are front-wheel drive, there isn't a rear-wheel drive (RWD), all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive (4WD) version. Nope, if you're looking for a 4x4 then the RAV4 could be for you or take a look at the AWD C-HR SUV – it's a beauty, in an ugly way.

You'll notice there are no diesel specs, either, because there is no diesel engine in the range, or an LPG gas one – but there is a hybrid, it's not a plug-in (regular driving, as well as braking or slowing down, automatically recharges the hybrid battery) or a completely electric vehicle (EV), but it's excellent – you can read my review of it here.

The Corolla Hybrid also has a 1.8-litre petrol engine, but it has a lower output of 73kW/142Nm, but combine that with a 60kW/207Nm electric motor and you have more than enough grunt.

Depending on the variant you have two choices of transmission, a six-speed manual and a seven-speed CVT (see our price section in this review for which has what). If it came down to manual vs automatic for me, I'd choose the manual in a blink of an eye – you'll get more out of the engine.

As for automatic transmission, gearbox, suspension, clutch, oil consumption or engine other problems – I didn't experience anything which hinted at issues, but keep an eye on our Used Review section for any possible common long-term faults or complaints with the Corolla's mechanicals.

The kerb weight ranges from 1260kg-1295kg for the sedan and 1255kg-1310kg for the hatch. While the GVM ranges from 1705kg-1750kg for the sedan.

As for a 0-100km/h time... can I remind you that you're reading about a Corolla? If it's speed you need then maybe check out the Lexus hub here for something with better performance.

Fuel consumption

Audi A38/10

Fuel usage depends on the engine and body style, with weights varying across the range. The most fuel-efficient engine is the 1.0-litre which is only offered on the Sportback, and Audi says over a combination of urban and open roads you should see it use 4.8L/100km.
 
The 1.4 TFSI Sportback uses 5.0L/100km, while the Sedan uses 4.9L/100km, but the heavier Cabriolet drinks more at 5.1L/100km.

My most recent A3 test car was a 1.4 TFSI Sportback and the trip computer reported 7.6L/100km over a mix of city and country kays - not bad.

The 2.0 TFSI Sport Sportback uses 5.9L/100km, the Sedan needs 5.8L/100km, the Cabriolet a bit more at 6.0L/100km.

The 2.0 TFSI quattro S Line Sportback uses 6.2L/100km, while the Sedan will go through 6.1L/100km and the Cabriolet again is highest with 6.4L/100km.

That raises the question of how much more does the Cabriolet weigh? About 170kg more than the Sedan and  Sportback thanks to the extra reinforcement needed to strengthen the body to compensate for the rigidity it loses by not having a fixed metal roof.


Toyota Corolla7/10

Toyota says that under combined driving conditions the 1.8-litre engine with the CVT auto uses 6.1L/100km in the hatch and a mileage of 6.7L/100km in the sedan. The sedan's fuel tank size is five litres bigger than the hatch's at 55 litres, but taking into account those fuel economy figures a full tank will get you about 820km in both the sedan and hatch.

We found that fuel consumption figure difficult to achieve in the ZR hatch (9.3L/100km), the Ascent sedan (9.1L/100km) and the Ascent Sport hatch (11.5L/100km) we drove – but our test routes were mainly urban with the occasional trip to the bush.

The six-speed manual isn't as fuel efficient as the CVT. Toyota says it will need 6.7L/100km in the hatch and 6.6L/100km in the sedan when faced with combined driving conditions.

The engine in the Corolla is happy to be feed drink the cheap 91 RON petrol. All Corollas also have an 'eco mode' which helps maintain the most efficient use of fuel possible.

The Hybrid is the fuel-saving star with an official 4.1L/100km. When I tested it I scored a 5.1L/100km average courtesy of the trip computer after 500-odd kays of country backroads, highways and urban commutes.

Driving

Audi A38/10

I’ve driven all A3 variants from the 1.0 TFSI to the 2.0 TFSI quattro S Line, plus the S3 and RS3, but most recently I tested the 1.4 TFSI Sportback, which I’ll focus on here.

Our car was fitted with two optional packages – the 'Style Package' which adds LED headlights, 18-inch alloys and sports suspension, and the 'Technik Package' which brings a virtual instrument cluster, an 8.3-inch display and sports steering wheel.

Those larger 18-inch alloys wearing low profile 225/40 Hankook Ventus S1 Evo2 tyres look great, but like thin-soled shoes you’ll feel every imperfection on the road giving a harsher texture to the ride, plus they can be noisy on course-chip bitumen. 

I’d stick to the standard 16-inch wheels. Sure, they don’t look as racy, but the ride from those, on 55 profile tyres, is a lot more cushioned.

Despite that grittier feel from the tyres the sports suspension is excellent and manages to soften bigger bumps well. Handling is good too, thanks to that suspension keeping the body well controlled.

Good visibility, steering that’s light but offers decent feel, and a comfortable seating position make the A4 pleasant to pilot,  but not hugely engaging. If you're after more of a driver’s car, the S3 and RS3 will deliver – trust me.

Acceleration isn’t bad from the 1.4-litre, with 0-100km/h claimed to be 8.2 seconds. That dual-clutch transmission is a quick shifter and smooth even in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but only if you turn off the stop-start engine system (jerky and hard to tolerate). 

I’m also not a fan of the way the stop-start system switches the engine off as you coast to a stop at traffic lights and intersections. For me, that borders on a safety issue, particularly when needing to turn on an amber only to find you momentarily lack steering or power.

As mentioned in the engine/transmission section, the 1.4 TFSI Sportback is a FWD car. Put it on a steep hill, as I did on our test incline, and even in dry conditions it’ll lose traction under hard acceleration. Traction control reins the slippage in, but AWD 'quattro' cars won’t struggle for traction in the same circumstances. 


Toyota Corolla6/10

No messing about here, the hatch is more fun and easier to drive than the sedan. The hatch is a lot shorter, which aids the dynamics and getting in and out of tight car spaces. The sedan is no stretch-limo, though, and it's also easy to pilot.

How does the Corolla compare to its rivals? I preferred driving the Mazda3 and i30, and the Hyundai Elantra which I found sportier and more engaging. The Astra and Corolla are equal, although the Astra sedan's ride is excellent.

The Corolla sedan and hatch have MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam in the rear, which can make the ride hard over bumps.

The mood killer for the Corolla's driving personality is the CVT auto. It's fairly unresponsive and acceleration is unremarkable. If you can drive a manual then go for that, save some money at the dealership, plus they're fuel efficient.

The hybrid was surprisingly great to drive, with good off-the-line oomph. Pity the seats were hard and it beeped at me non-stop when reversing, but its LED headlights were great for country roads.

The ZR Hatch has low profile and wider tyres that might improve handling but hardens the ride, while the ride in the Ascent Sport hatch was comfortable.

Steering on all variants is electric rack and pinion power steering, but it still feels heavier than I expected it to be. There's also no hill holder function either, which means you'll have to work that handbrake on steep hill starts.

The sedan and hatch have the same turning circle of 10.8m (5.4 radius), not bad for when you have to do an unscheduled U-bolt.

Still, all the Corollas we tested had quite cabins with little road noise filtering in.

Safety

Audi A38/10

The A3 has a maximum five-star ANCAP rating from its 2013 crash test, which applies to the Sportback, Sedan and Cabriolet.

While the Sedan and Sportback have seven airbags, the Cabriolet has just five, missing out on the head-level curtain bags.

The amount of advanced safety equipment increases as you step up through the grades, but AEB is standard across the range. Lane keeping assistance, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert becomes standard from the 2.0 TFSI Sport upwards, while the lower grades can attain these with the optional $1500 'Assistance Package'.

For child seats there are two ISOFIX mounts and two top tether anchor points across the back seats in the Sedan, Sportback and Cabriolet.


Toyota Corolla7/10

The Corolla hatch and sedan have the maximum five-star ANCAP rating which means it has to have ABS anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control (ESP and VSC), but most cars these days also have that top score.

The trick to separating the safe from safer is looking at what advanced safety equipment is fitted, and in the Corolla's case the 2017 update made AEB, blind spot monitor, lane departure alert and auto high beams available for the first time. Parking assistance has yet to make it into Corolla Land, but you can count on it coming eventually.

This advanced safety tech is standard on the top-of-the-range ZR, but you'll have to option it on the other grades, and the price can vary. You'll pay $1500 for the 'Safety Pack' on the Ascent sedan and $750 on the SX sedan, while it's $750 across all hatch variants. There really is no more worthwhile option than one that can save your life, so at the dealership, forget the paint protection and get the passenger protection.

There are two ISOFIX mounts and three top tether points across the back row for child seats, and under the boot floor you'll find a full-sized spare wheel for all sedans, the Ascent hatch and the Ascent Sport hatch, but for the SX and ZR hatches it's a space saver spare. Yes they have larger 17-inch wheels and there's probably not enough room for a full-sized spare, but that's really not good enough. That would be a deal breaker for me.

The sedan and hatch both have seven airbags, including curtain airbags.

The Corolla hatch is built in Japan, but the sedan is made in Thailand.

Ownership

Audi A37/10

The A3 is covered by Audi’s three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing is recommended at 15,000km/12-month intervals. A three-year/45,000km service plan is available and costs $1680.


Toyota Corolla8/10

The Corolla hatch and sedan are covered by a three year/100,000km warranty. Servicing is recommended every six months or 10,000km and is capped at $140 per visit up to 36 months or 60,000km. The six-monthly maintenance is frustrating, but that capped price servicing fee is great.

If you have a hybrid the battery is warranted for eight years or 160,000km and this is made up of a three year new vehicle warranty and a five year battery warranty.

Toyota also offers an extended warranty, with one, two and three year plans capped at 100,000km or 150,000km, and the cover is transferable when you sell the car.

The Corolla's resale value is good. According to Glass's Guide if you bought a $23,250 Ascent Sport hatch eight months ago it would retail for $21,200. Check out our Corolla pricing guide here, too.