Hyundai i30
    • Sharper price
    • Bigger boot
    • Wider touchscreen
    Toyota Corolla
    • More efficient engine
    • More equipment
    • Cheaper to service
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    The Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i30 are the two most popular hatchbacks on sale in Australia, although they face stiff competition from the Kia Cerato, Mazda 3, Volkswagen Golf, Honda Civic, Ford Focus and a quite a few others beyond this.

    Hyundai this week happened to announce its 2021 i30 range, with tweaked design and more interior tech. We’re working to get behind the wheel soon, but in the meantime, how might you cross-shop this Korean contender with Japan’s Corolla?

    I’ve chosen two grades that line up quite well here. This is purely a spec-based comparison, which will tide us over for now.


    The 2021 Hyundai i30 Elite is positioned as the luxuriously equipped variant. The similarly priced N-Line offers a more powerful engine but has fewer safety features and an inferior infotainment system with a smaller screen.

    As such it comes up against the Toyota Corolla ZR with the standard petrol engine in terms of both expected engine performance and features for the money.

    The Hyundai wears a list price of $30,220 before on-road costs, equating to an expected drive-away price (unless you wrangle a discount) of about $33,900, depending on which state/territory you’re in. The Corolla ZR is $32,695 list or about $36,900 drive-away.

    So, the Hyundai will save you about three grand.

    2021 Hyundai i30 hatch range

    • i30 manual: $23,420
    • i30: $25,420
    • Active: $26,920
    • Elite: $30,220
    • N Line manual: $29,420
    • N Line: $31,420
    • N Line Premium manual: $34,220
    • N Line Premium: $36,220

    2021 Toyota Corolla hatch range

    • Ascent Sport manual: $23,895
    • Ascent Sport: $25,395
    • Ascent Sport Hybrid: $27,395
    • SX: $28,795
    • SX Hybrid: $30,795
    • ZR: $32,695
    • ZR Hybrid: $34,695

    Listed prices exclude on-road costs. Cars are automatic unless otherwise specified.


    Both cars share features such as a proximity key fob and button start, leather-trimmed seats, dual-zone climate control, satellite-navigation with live traffic updates, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, digital radio, a reversing camera, and a wireless phone charger.

    The Hyundai adds a full-sized spare wheel instead of a space-saver, and its swish new 10.25-inch widescreen has the Corolla’s measure.

    But the Toyota counters as the only car here with a powered driver’s seat, seat heating for both front occupants, Bi-LED headlights, a head-up display projecting on the windscreen, and an extra speaker.

    Hyundai i30 EliteToyota Corolla ZR
    Wheels 17-inch alloy18-inch alloy 
    Spare wheel Full-size alloySpace-saver 
    Proximity lock/unlock Yes Yes 
    Auto-folding side mirrorsYesYes 
    Privacy glass Yes Yes 
    Seat trim Leather Leather and Ultrasuede
    Seat functions Manual adjustment Powered driver’s seat
    Heated front seats 
    A/C system Dual-zone climate controlDual-zone climate control
    Touchscreen10.25-inch 8.0-inch 
    Satellite-navigation  Yes, with live updates Yes, with live updates 
    Apple CarPlay & Android Auto Yes Yes 
    Digital radioYes Yes 
    Sound system7 speakers, Infinity 8 speakers, JBL 
    Head-up displayNo Yes 
    Wireless charging pad Yes Yes 
    Camera view ReverseReverse
    Trip computer readout 7.0-inch TFT 7.0-inch TFT 


    Both cars have the maximum ANCAP crash rating of five stars, and offer a range of safety features including seven airbags (dual front, dual front-thorax, driver’s knee, full-length curtain), and forward autonomous emergency braking (AEB) controlled by camera and radar that can sense both pedestrians and cyclists in the right conditions.

    Both cars come with lane-departure alert and active lane-keeping aids that steer the wheel before telling the driver to take over, blind-spot monitoring lights in the side mirror, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, and active cruise control.

    The Toyota has road sign recognition that means it can keep you briefed on the speed limit, while the Hyundai counters with Safe Exit Assistant that chimes at you if you’re parked parallel, and are about to open your door into an oncoming cyclist or traffic.

    Hyundai i30 EliteToyota Corolla ZR
    Airbags 77
    AEB urban & interurban  Yes (Forward collision Avoidance Assist) Yes (Pre-Collision Safety System)
    AEB – pedestrianYes Yes 
    AEB – cyclist Yes Yes 
    Blind-spot monitorYes Yes 
    Lane-departure alertYes Yes  
    Active lane-keeping aidYes (Lane Keeping Assist)Yes (Lane Trace Assist)
    Rear cross-traffic alertYes Yes 
    Road sign monitor NoYes (speed signs only)
    Driver alertness monitorYes No
    High beam assistant Yes Yes 
    Safe exit assistant Yes No 
    Active cruise control YesYes 

    Dimensions and space

    As you can see, there’s very little different in dimensions. Both cars are about 4.4 metres long, 1.8m wide, and 1.5m tall.

    A major difference is boot space – the Hyundai stores 395 litres with the back seats in use despite a full-size spare under the floor, while the Corolla’s boot is a tiny 217L – though the ZR hybrid model with its repair kit in lieu of a space-saver grows to a better 333L.

    Hyundai i30 EliteToyota Corolla ZR
    Length 4340mm4375mm
    Width 1795mm1790mm
    Boot capacity395L217L


    Both cars use no-nonsense 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engines with direct injection. The Hyundai’s makes 120kW/203Nm and the Toyota’s 125kW/200Nm, giving them very similar power-to-weight ratios a smidge under 90kW per tonne.

    The Hyundai uses a six-speed torque converter while the Toyota uses a CVT with a direct-shift mechanism for first gear and 10 artificial stepped ratios programmed in to give it a more conventional feel.

    Fuel consumption is interesting, with the Toyota greatly undercutting the Hyundai 6.0L/100km versus 7.4L/100km. The newer engine design and fuel-saving transmission clearly do their bit. Both cars run on basic 91 RON petrol and have 50L tanks.

    The two brands take a divergent approach to alternative drivetrains.

    Hyundai’s 150kW 1.6-litre turbo and dual-clutch auto combination in the N Line and N Line Premium give warm-hatch performance, while Toyota’s 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain across all grades slashes fuel use by at least a third, to 4.2L/100km.

    Hyundai i30 EliteToyota Corolla ZR
    InductionNaturally aspirated Naturally aspirated 
    Peak power 120kW125kW
    Peak torque 203Nm200Nm
    Transmission 6-speed autoCVT (10 stepped ratios) 
    Fuel economy 7.4L/100km6.0L/100km
    Fuel type needed91 RON91 RON
    Fuel tank 50L50L
    Towing capacity1300kg1300kg


    The Hyundai has Australian-specific suspension, whereby its Sydney engineering team test and specify particular dampers, bushes and stabiliser bars. The layout comprises struts at the front and a torsion beam at the rear. N Line models have a multi-link rear.

    Toyota has made a real effort to boost the Corolla’s handling in this generation, as the trailing wishbone independent rear suspension demonstrates. The downside is packaging and cost trade-offs.

    Both cars use electric motor-driven power steering.

    Hyundai i30 EliteToyota Corolla ZR
    Front suspensionMacPherson strut MacPherson strut 
    Rear suspensionTorsion beam Trailing wishbone 
    Front brakesVentilated discVentilated disc
    Rear brakesSolid discSolid disc
    Steering systemElectric-assistElectric-assist 
    Turning circle 10.6m11.4m

    Running costs

    Both Hyundai and Toyota offer five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranties. Both the i30 and Corolla also have servicing intervals of 12 months or 15,000km.

    Four services for the Toyota are $720 at present rates ($180 a visit). Four services for the Hyundai should cost $1136 ($259, $259, $259, and $359). You can pay upfront too.

    If both cars match their fuel claims – and these figures are hugely contingent on driving style, load, and traffic conditions – the Corolla will use 140L less fuel every 10,000km, which you might expect to add up quickly even if fuel prices stay low.

    Cheaper options

    Hyundai i30 base ($25,420) v Corolla Ascent Sport ($25,395) shared features

    • 16-inch alloy wheels 
    • Full-size spare (Corolla hybrid excluded) 
    • LED daytime running lights
    • Fabric seats
    • Manual air-conditioning
    • 8.0-inch centre touchscreen
    • Apple CarPlay
    • Android Auto
    • Reversing camera
    • Bluetooth and USB connections
    • Front, front-side and curtain airbags 
    • AEB system – cars, pedestrians and cyclists
    • Driver attention monitor
    • Lane-keeping assist 
    • Active cruise control (not on manual i30)

    Unique to the Hyundai

    • Leather ’appointed’ steering wheel

    Unique to the Toyota

    • LED headlights 
    • Road sign assist 
    • Proximity key and button start (hybrid only)
    • Climate control (hybrid only)

    Hyundai i30 Active ($26,920) v Corolla Ascent Sport ($28,795)

    Added to the Hyundai over base

    • Leather ‘appointed’ seats
    • 17-inch alloy wheels 

    Added to the Toyota over Ascent Sport

    • Proximity key and button start (2.0 petrol only)
    • Paddle shifters (2.0 petrol only)
    • Satellite-navigation
    • Digital radio
    • Wireless phone charger
    • Rear cross-traffic alert
    • Blind-spot monitor
    Dive into an extensive side-by-side analysis
    Including price, detailed specifications and features
    Toyota Corolla
    Hyundai i30
    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.