Entries of face-lifted and new entrants in the executive saloon class in India have made the competition very interesting. After, Octavia, new gen Corolla Altis and Jetta, the facelifted version of Elantra is the latest entry in this class which has further excited this competition. In this article, we put all these big guns against each other and see who dominates the segment in terms of prices and features.
Size does matter a lot when you buy a car in this segment because it adds to the practicality of these executive sedans. Well if you go by numbers then it is the new Elantra which is the shortest car here with a length of 4530mm followed by the Cruze with a length of 4597mm. The Toyota Corolla Altis stands in between measuring at 4620mm in length while the German siblings are the full size cars here both standing at a length of 4659mm each. If it is about width then again it is the Octavia at the top with a width of 1814mm followed by the Cruze at 1788mm and with Jetta having 10mm shorter width than Cruze. The Elantra and Corolla Altis both have similar width of 1775mm and it is not only the width these both cars share, they also have similar best in class wheelbase of 2700mm which is quite a surprise keeping the fact in mind that Elantra is the shortest car here in terms of body size.
The Octavia has the next best wheelbase of 2688mm which is followed by the Cruze which falls short to Octavia only by 3mm and finally it is the Jetta in the end which has wheelbase of 2648mm. All five cars ride on 16-inch wheels with almost similar section tyres. The Corolla Altis the lightest car in terms of body weight in this comparison while the Cruze is the heaviest of them all.
The fluidic Elantra has always been the best feature equipped car in its class and the new version also continues the trend with it never ending list of features which includes Dual Zone automatic climate control, steering mounted audio, Bluetooth and cruise control, push button start, front centre armrest, cooled front seats, rear parking camera with parking sensors, electrically adjustable, foldable and heated outside mirrors, central console integrated with new touchscreen music system, projector headlamp with LED guide, rear a.c vents and rear centre armrest with audio controls.
List of safety features is also quite impressive comprising of six airbags, vehicle stability Management, ESP, Hill Start Assist control, ABS with EBD and impact sensing auto door unlock. The Corolla Altis is also a good feature equipped car which has a touch screen music system with Bluetooth connectivity, rear parking camera, cruise control, steering mounted controls, push button start, navigation system, Climatronic control, front and rear armrest, Dual Front, side airbags, ABS with Brake Assist, ESP and it also gets first in class rear sliding seat which give you comfortable position while travelling on long routes. Updated Cruze comes loaded with features like touch screen music system with Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, Automatic climate control, foldable key, rear parking assist, electric sunroof, heated and foldable ORVMS, front and side airbags, ABS and six way electrically adjustable driver seat.
New Octavia and Jetta shares almost every comfort feature like Dual Zone climatronic control with rear a.c vents, touch screen display, cruise control, steering mounted controls, front and rear parking assist with sensors, music system with 6 CD changer, electrically adjustable, foldable and heated outside mirrors and driver's seat and front and rear centre armrest. Apart from these both cousins also have common safety features like ABS with EBD, ESC, Electronic Differential Lock, and Dual Front, side and rear curtain airbags. However, both cars lack rear view camera, cooled front seats and Jetta also misses out the panoramic roof as well.
Apart from, Corolla Altis, diesel variants of all these cars are available with auto gearboxes and keeping this fact in mind, it is the heavily feature loaded Elantra and the powerful performer Cruze which ends up being the most affordable cars which offers the best value for your money with a pricing of INR 17.94 lakhs and INR 16.86lakhs in comparison to the premium offerings Jetta and Octavia which are both priced at INR 20.18lakhs and INR 20.60 lakhs respectively. The base variant of Corolla Altis is priced at INR 13.06lakhs while its range topping petrol variant equipped with automatic is priced at INR 17.73lakhs (all prices, ex-showroom, Delhi).
Currently, it is the Corolla Altis which is the best selling car in its class due to its affordable pricing, fan-following, easy maintenance and best resale value and it is also a well priced car only the petrol version with powerful engine though complementing its full body size. The Elantra is no doubt a good deal with well thought features for its price and it would interesting to see whether the Elantra steals the limelight from the Corolla Altis.
When it comes to the Jetta and Octavia , both cars offer strong build quality and excellent performance plus they are great handlers as well although Octavia feels more justified over Jetta due to its powerful petrol engine and more aggressive styling. So all and all, it is call for you depending upon your usage and budget whether you want a premium brand image with chauffeur driven comfort, a powerful driver oriented diesel car, an overall good package car or a feature equipped and stylish car. If your concern is back seat comfort followed by a reliability along with sharp looks then take the Corolla Altis. The Elantra is for those who want a stylish car with loads of features and who drive themselves mainly. The Jetta and Octavia bring a different flavour and suits those who want that tough build and superior handling plus who are willing to pay for it. Think before you choose; it is not easy!
Words- Nitesh Sharma