The first generation Jetta had been a bit of a disappointment to us, but after that, Volkswagen sat up and started paying a little more attention to our market. The new Jetta, while it may not have much going its way in the looks department, is a hoot to drive. The 2.0-litre diesel makes a healthy 138 bhp of power and 32.6 kgm of peak torque and can certainly make the Jetta move! There’s also a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol available as well, but if you’re looking for performance, the diesel is the way to go. Interiors are of great quality, but compared to the Elantra, it severely lacks in features.
Price: Rs 14.21 – 19.41 Lakh, ex-showroom, Mumbai
Read our Volkswagen Jetta review here: bsmotoring.com/storypage.php
The Jetta’s Czech cousin is also another great alternative. It’s a tad cheaper than the Jetta too, for more or less the same car, so there’s better value to be had here. Great handling and a well-sorted powertrain make this a great option, but dated interiors are a bit of a let down. We’ll hold off on this one till the next generation comes along, unless you really need the extra convenience associated with a notchback sedan.
Price: Rs 13.23 – 19.64 Lakh, ex-showroom, Mumbai
Read our Skoda Laura review here: bsmotoring.com/storypage.php
The Cruze is one of the more powerful vehicles in its segment, with over 160 bhp of power on tap. If you’re not a huge fan of the slightly sporty Jetta and Laura, then this one is a great option. The all-black interiors add a touch of luxury to the insides but, at the same time, make it feel a little cramped. So make sure you’re comfortable with that before pulling the trigger.
Price: Rs 14.53 – 16.44 Lakh, ex-showroom, Mumbai
Read our review of the Chevrolet Cruze here: bsmotoring.com/storypage.php
Toyota Corolla Altis
The Toyota Corolla is pretty much the king of the hill in this category. With a great reliability record and most recently, a diesel engine under the hood too, this is the car that people automatically think of when they want to buy one in this segment. Sure, it may not come with as many features as the Elantra, but there is the (now not so legendary) Toyota reliability. It’s also been refreshed relatively recently, so it won’t be outdated anytime soon.
Price: Rs 11.94 – 15.48 Lakh, ex-showroom, Mumbai
Read our review of the Toyota Corolla Altis here: bsmotoring.com/storypage.php
The Fluence was Renault’s first offering in India and frankly, the first time around, it was a bit of a disappointment because of the weak diesel engine under the hood. Interiors were simple and elegant with not too many buttons or screens apparent and the design always managed to make heads turn, but there’s no point to all that if the car can barely get moving under its own power. Thankfully, a new diesel engine has been plonked under the hood now, so the going is a lot better.
Price: Rs 14.2 - 15.96 Lakh, ex-showroom, Mumbai
Read our review of the Renault Fluence here: bsmotoring.com/storypage.php