The world of hatchbacks is packed with dozens upon dozens of great options in multiple price categories. The Volkswagen Golf is one of the pioneers of this segment and it continues to rack in popularity even after 8 different generations. The Hyundai i30 on the other hand is not out nearly as long as the Golf is, but it still manages to outsell the VW Golf in certain markets.
In this article, we are going to compare these two hatchbacks and tell you why you should go for one over the other. We are going to introduce you to all the ins and outs of both models, we will tell you which one has the better engine, which one is more practical, which one is more efficient, safer, faster, more desirable, and everything else you need to know. So, Hyundai i30 vs VW Golf – Which is better?
First of all, the VW Golf can be had with more than five different powertrains depending on the market and the trim level. The Hyundai i30 only comes in gasoline engine form while the Golf can be had in gasoline, diesel, and hybrid variants. The VW Golf is also the newer model of the two which means that it should be more modern and up to date.
Reliability is where the i30 takes it, but not by a whole much. The Golf is also a slightly more expensive car, but you can feel the price difference fairly easily. Practicality is slightly better with the VW Golf, but both of these are in line with most other hatchbacks from this segment.
You can get the i30 for a starting price of around $20,000 in various markets while the i30N Performance is going to get you back more than double that money. The normal i30 is available with two separate gasoline engines. The first one is a 1.0L inline 3-cylinder engine with 120hp while the other one is the 1.5L 4-cylinder with 160hp. At the top stands the i30 N with its 275hp 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo engine.
A 6-speed manual is standard, but you can upgrade to a 7-speed DCT automatic. All versions of the i30 are strictly FWD including the i30 N. Design-wise, the i30 isn’t going to win any awards anytime soon, especially when you compare it to most modern hatchbacks. The interior is very much the same as it gives you all you need but in the most unexciting way possible.
Reliability is excellent across the board while the driving experience is also fairly normal, except for the i30 N which is really fun to drive. Practicality is okay for the segment which means that the i30 isn’t the most nor the least practical car out there.
The VW Golf starts at a few thousand dollars more than the i30 for the base model while the top-spec Golf R costs a few thousand dollars more than the i30 N. Engine-wise, the VW Golf comes in virtually all variants. You can get the gasoline model with a standard 1.0L 3-cylinder with 90-110hp, a 1.5L 4-cylinder with 130-150hp, or the top-spec 2.0L 4-cylinder with up to 320hp in the Golf R.
Design-wise, the VW Golf looks really fresh, but it is immediately noticeable that VW didn’t make a completely new Golf as the Mk8 is obviously based on the Mk7. Exterior design is extremely spec-dependent which means that the Golf can both look amazing and really ugly. The interior is a mixed bag as it does offer a lot of functionality, but the ease of use and material choices are questionable.
Reliability-wise, the VW Golf is worse than the i30, and that is not going to change anytime soon. The VW Golf feels fairly comfortable to drive with great all-around visibility and fairly sizeable trunk space. The rear seat space is also really good as is often the case with the VW Golf.
Verdict – The VW Golf is better
The Volkswagen Golf has always been the very pinnacle of automotive hatchback design in more ways than one. First of all, VW is one of the best-known and most iconic brands in automotive history. The VW Golf has been around for decades which means that VW has put a lot of effort, time, money, and corporate energy into making sure the Golf stays at the top.
Design-wise, VW Golf models with R-Line, GTD, or GTI trim look way better than any i30. The interior is much better with the Golf, but if you don’t specify them high enough, both of these will look cheap on the inside. The VW Golf offers more seating space which comes as no surprise as VW Golfs have always been known to have lots of space, but the i30 does offer 5 liters more trunk space.
Reliability is better with the i30, pricing is better with the i30, and ease of use is better with the i30. On the other hand, VW has more engines, more power, more space, more technology, and a more desirable badge.
Is the Hyundai i30 more efficient than the VW Golf?
The most MPGs you are going to get from a Hyundai i30 is between 40 and 50MPG, the latter one only being possible if you drive like an absolute granny. On the other hand, the VW Golf can easily reach 50MPG with gasoline models while diesel models can reach an astonishing 70MPG at best.
Moreover, the VW Golf is offered with two hybrid engines, one of which can return up to almost 200MPG.
Is the Hyundai i30 safer than the VW Golf?
Both the Golf and the i30 are 5-star rated cars when it comes to safety and both are available with virtually all assistance systems known to the hatchback world. Sure, you do have to pay extra for most of these, but we also need to mention that Hyundai does offer more safety kit as standard.
Is the Hyundai i30 a better family car than the VW Golf?
Even though the Hyundai i30 is a great family car, the VW Golf might just be the best family car out there. The VW Golf offers an abundance of space while trunk size is almost identical. You really can’t make a wrong choice here as both are tremendous family cars.