The current era of the automotive industry is mostly known for massive interest in crossovers and SUVs which has somewhat dialed down the popularity of other segments such as the hatchback segment. If we pair this with the fact that hatchbacks were never really popular in places like the US, it begs the question if a hatchback is even a good choice these days.
However, for the last year or so, fuel prices have been on a steady rise followed by stark price inflation of goods and services. This did make an effect on the global car market as people are now a bit more willing to consider a hatchback because these cars tend to be fuel efficient, and also cheap to run.
The Hyundai i30 and the Mazda 3 are the two heavyweights in the affordable hatchback segment because they are really popular with both wealthy and economy-level buyers. Both of these offer many benefits, but not too many drawbacks. So, Hyundai i30 vs Mazda 3 – Which is better?
Both of these come with efficient and powerful engines, they are reasonably practical and good-looking. Interior technology is on par with the latest cars on the market while reliability is as strong as it can get. However, which one is the better choice overall? Be sure to read the article, and find out!
With a starting price of around $20,000, the Hyundai i30 is definitely a really good deal. You can choose between two different engines, a smaller 1.0L inline 3-cylinder engine with 120hp or a larger 1.5L inline 4-cylinder engine with 160hp. FWD is the only option you can get with the i30, but you can choose between a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DCT automatic.
If you are really serious about performance, you should also consider the i30 N which is the top-spec i30 model that offers up to 275hp. Design-wise, the regular i30 looks relatively tamed both inside and out while the i30 N looks much more serious, especially if you buy it in its signature blue color with all the added bits on top of it.
Reliability is really good with all i30 models as the i30 truly is one of the most reliable cars in this segment. The i30 drives in a normal fashion which means that it isn’t anything special, except for the i30 N of course. The values of these are strong in most markets because they don’t depreciate all that quickly.
Practicality is on par with other cars from this segment, but some people did complain about the car lacking space in the second row of seats.
The starting price of a base-spec Mazda 3 is more or less the same as with the i30 which means that there are no surprises here. Powertrain-wise, you can choose between a 2.0L 4-cylinder gasoline engine with between 122hp and 180hp or a diesel 1.8L 4-cylinder with 116hp. A manual 6-speed is the standard transmission, but you can opt for a 7-speed auto DCT box.
FWD is also the only choice for the Mazda 3 as is the case with the Hyundai i30. Design-wise, the Mazda 3 looks really authentic which is continued inside the Mazda 3. The driving experience is on the sporty side, but Mazda does not offer a dedicated performance version of the Mazda 3.
Reliability is excellent, on par with the i30. Practicality is a bit more limited as the Mazda 3 offers as much as 100 liters of trunk space less than the i30. All in all, the space on offer with the Mazda 3 isn’t all that bad, but the i30 is definitely better in that regard.
Verdict – The Mazda 3 is better
First of all, both of these hatchbacks are brilliant at what they do because they don’t skip anything. They are both affordable, well-equipped, safe, efficient, and relatively comfortable and practical. However, the Mazda 3 takes it for me because it is a much more engaging car to drive and the interior simply feels better built and with higher-end materials.
Moreover, the exterior design isn’t really a competition because the new Mazda design language fits the Mazda 3 size perfectly. We do need to mention that the Hyundai has more efficient engines, but Mazda engines are more powerful, except the i30 N of course.
The Hyundai is also the more practical car out of the two. Either way, you can’t make a wrong decision here as both of these are excellent.
Why should I buy the Hyundai i30 over the Mazda 3?
You should buy the Hyundai i30 over the Mazda 3 if you want a more practical car, a car that is easier to use, and a car that fits your family’s needs better. The i30 is the slightly newer car here which means that it also offers better MPG results.
The Hyundai i30 is a car that fits more usage scenarios than the Mazda 3, but the Mazda 3 dominates the Hyundai i30 in certain, very important scenarios.
Why should I buy the Mazda 3 over the Hyundai i30?
If you value performance driving, good looks, high-quality materials, and great handling, then the Mazda 3 is the car for you. Design-wise, the Mazda 3 simply is more authentic, more lively, and way more purposeful than the i30. The i30 is just so good, that it looks rather boring next to the Mazda 3.
Stronger base engines, more responsive steering, better standard equipment, and more options to choose from, all of these reasons are why you should buy the Mazda 3.
Is the Hyundai i30 safer than the Mazda 3?
Both the Hyundai i30 and the Mazda 3 are 5-star rated cars when it comes to crash regulations. This means that you can’t make a wrong decision here either. We do need to mention that both the Mazda 3 and the Hyundai i30 also get lots of safety equipment straight from the factory.
However, you will have to spend more money if you want these to be as safe as they can be.