Twin Test: Hatchbacks

  •  We pit the popular VW Golf against the value for money Hyunday i30
  •  Costs, practicality and performance all considered
  •  Find out which hatchback is the winner

It’s easy to aspire to owning a VW Golf, but what if there was another family car that was just as competent, backed by a lengthy manufacturer warranty and available for less cash? We put the Hyundai i30 to the test to find out which one deserves your money.

Volkswagen Golf (09-12) vs Hyundai i30 (12 on)


Doesn’t matter if it’s a GTI or TDI, all Golfs handle and perform with aplomb. The turbocharged small capacity petrols are particularly good, diesel engines also shine with mix of refinement and efficiency and DSG automatic gearbox barely affects economy.

The Volkswagen Golf

The i30 is not quite as sharp as the Golf, but for family duties it’s perfectly competent. The Flex Steer system allows the driver to alter steering weight, and all petrol and diesel engines are effcient, though there’s nothing available with more than 128bhp.


Golf actually has one of the smallest boots in its class, but it is well-shaped and has a large opening. It does trump the Hyundai for passenger space though plus the Golf’s cabin is impeccably built. Trim levels are S, Match and GT and all come with air conditioning, electric front windows and a hill-hold control.

The boot of the i30 is larger than that of the Golf.

The i30’s 378-litre boot is 28-litres larger than the Golfs and there’s plenty  of storage spaces in the cabin. It’s all made of hard wearing materials and will stand up to the rigours of family life easily. Even basic Classic models come with Bluetooth, steering wheel audio controls, electric front windows and air conditioning.


You’ll pay more for servicing and parts on your Golf but there’s plenty  of garages who’ll be happy to maintain it for you. All engines are economical, though Bluemotion model is sub 100g/km (so free road tax) and manages 74mpg. The VW badge still commands a premium though, so your Golf will be two years older than a Hyundai i30 of the same price

Choose Hyundai’s 1.6-litre Blue Drive diesel for minimum costs; it can achieve 76mpg and only emits 97g/km. There’s a five year manufacturer warranty transferrable between owners; if the Golf’s over three years old you’ll  get nothing. And Hyundai dealers are reasonably priced and have a reputation for excellent customer care.


VW Golf

Hyundai i30






Fuel Capacity:

CO2 Emissions:

Road Tax:

Insurance Groups:

Boot Space:

Petrol and Diesel, 1.2 to 2.0 litres

78-167 bhp

7.7-1.5 seconds

39-74 mpg

55 litres

99-149 g/km


7 – 30

350-1,305 litres

Petrol and Diesel, 1.4 to 1.6 litres

88-126 bhp

10.6-13.1 seconds

44-74 mpg

53 litres

97-145 g/km





Hyundai i30 – Winner

Buy with your head rather than your heart and the cheaper, newer, better equipped Hyundai i30 is clearly in the lead. The five year warranty simply seals the deal.

For many the Golf is the defacto choice and with good reason. It’s comfortable, great to drive, impeccably well-built and is more desirable than anything else. But when money’s tight the Hyundai should make you think twice.