Presenting the Jetta’s immediate competition.
The Laura is now beginning to show some signs of age, but that hasn’t stopped it from being a hot seller for Skoda. The Jetta and Laura are brothers, after a fashion, since they have the same parent company, and you will see some parts-sharing in the two cars. Still, on its own, the Laura has a lot going for it — a punchy engine, great handling, comfortable interiors and physical dimensions that make it appear larger than a car of its class.
The Cruze is all about its engine — it’s a straight-line bomb! If only the car had the handling to match, it would be a near-perfect package. Don’t let that deter you though, because the Cruze offers very good value for its price. The interiors come fully loaded in the top end version, there’s ample head and leg room and the styling, although perhaps not to everyone’s taste, is sporty and aggressive.
This one is the new kid on the block; the others having been around in various iterations for a while. It’s ‘different’, this car — it looks distinctly French (not European, but French) and has a few ergonomic quirks inside its cabin, but it does stand out. The 1.5-litre diesel engine is an honest performer, if not a very sporty one, and the Fluence has outstanding ride quality — best in class, in fact. There’s enough room inside and it’s decent to drive too. It’s the dark horse in this group!
TOYOTA COROLLA ALTIS
If you’re the sort who likes to play it safe, look no further — the Altis is the car for you. You cannot possibly complain about it because it does everything with a high degree of competence. The engine is not powerful, but it’s frugal and refined. The cabin is well built and roomy, and the ride quality is cossetting in the back seat, where most buyers spend their time. Most of all, it’s a Toyota, and that is reason enough for people to take out their cheque books.