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Skoda Octavia vs Volkswagen Jetta vs Hyundai Elantra – Exclusive Shootout


Octavia vs Jetta vs Elantra

Octavia vs Jetta vs Elantra – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Shootout – Skoda Octavia vs Volkswagen Jetta vs Hyundai Elantra

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 16.33 – 23.22 lakhs (Skoda Octavia), Rs. 16.02 – 22.60 lakhs (Volkswagen Jetta), Rs. 15.26 – 19.62 lakhs (Hyundai Elantra)

The Skoda Octavia looks very promising on paper and that becomes very evident once you get behind the wheel.

You read it first on MotorBeam. The D-segment is one of the most interesting segments in the car market as buyers can differ drastically in terms of what they want from their vehicle. While some buyers want performance and handling, others might prefer comfort and features. There are also those who value brands and want a vehicle whose logo carries more weight than the product itself. Amidst these vast differences, there are cars which are ‘jack of all trades and master of some’. The D-segment isn’t that big either with only seven cars vying for the attention of customers. The segment has evolved and how. Back in 2001, it was only the Skoda Octavia which was present in this segment. 12-years hence, the Octavia makes a return to claim back its glory.

We actually decided to bring each and every vehicle in this segment into a head to head shootout. However the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla were immediately removed as the former has been discontinued while the latter is going to be replaced by the next generation model which is already on test in our country. A facelift of the Renault Fluence is around the corner so there was no point including it either. We did put the Chevrolet Cruze against the trio of these cars but only realised that it’s simply not up to the mark. While the Cruze is terrifically quick in a straight line (it’s the most powerful diesel car in its segment), it lacks in other areas where the other three better it easily. So with all that set, we headed out in the Skoda Octavia, Volkswagen Jetta and Hyundai Elantra over a mix of roads to find out which car is the best all-rounder.

Motor Quest: Skoda can be credited for kick starting the D-segment with the Octavia in 2001, the Corolla and Optra followed in 2003, while the Laura and Civic were launched in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

Styling – If you are a believer in love at first sight then there isn’t much here for you. Because all the three cars grow on you over time. The Volkswagen Jetta is often referred by laymen as a bigger Vento and although it does carry Volkswagen’s family design language with little differentiation, it’s styling is unmistakable on the road. You immediately appreciate the rear of the car which is a bit Audi inspired. The Octavia on the other hand is filled with Skoda design genes. Remove all the badges and ask any one who has seen a Skoda car before to identify the new Octavia and trust me, they will guess at first instance. The Octavia might be carrying Skoda’s new design language but the elements on the body are very much Skoda.

Coming to the car which we feel looks the best in the segment, the Hyundai Elantra is undoubtedly the vehicle which is the most soothing to the eyes. Although Hyundai’s familiar design language makes people draw comparisons with the smaller Verna, we feel the Elantra does have a unique styling of its own. The fluidic styling works wonders at the front but what really makes the Elantra such an appealing car are the swooping lines and coupe like rear. No wonder the Elantra is such a hot seller in the US where external appearance has high importance. So the Jetta impresses the least and the Elantra impresses the most while the Octavia is somewhere in between, it grows on you but it’s the Elantra which will make heads turn.

Octavia vs Jetta vs Elantra Comparison Test Drive ReviewOctavia vs Jetta vs Elantra Comparison ShootoutOctavia vs Jetta vs Elantra Comparison Road Test

Interiors – There is absolutely nothing to fault with the interior quality of all these three cars. Excellent fit and finish levels are found in each of them, which is very much expected from cars of this price. The Jetta’s dashboard is plain and simple and that gets it into boring territory. The Octavia’s dashboard is very appealing with the unique steering and nice choice of colours. But when it comes to the overall appeal of the dashboard, Hyundai again comes out on top. The Elantra’s dashboard is simply splendid and the design is oh so eye catchy. What further tilts the interior verdict in the Elantra’s favour are the features on offer. While the other two cars come with a key, the Elantra uses keyless entry with button start. We also like the Elantra’s instrument cluster better than the other two but the Hyundai is the only car which doesn’t show distance to empty on its multi-information display. Also the infotainment system on the Elantra isn’t as easy to use as on the other cars. In terms of features, all cars are well matched as you get all the bells and whistles expected as standard on these vehicles (some cars might offer something extra but that isn’t a deal breaker as you end up paying more for that variant).

Octavia vs Jetta vs Elantra ComparisonOctavia vs Jetta vs Elantra Comparison Test DriveOctavia vs Jetta vs Elantra Comparison User Experience

No matter what your usage is, whether you plan to corner hard or make a style statement at office, a car of this price needs to tick a few boxes and interior space and comfort is primary amongst those. There is little to choose from between these three cars when it comes to rear seat space as all three are equally good. Where the Elantra lacks is headroom as the slopping roof does eat into the cabin and the seat is itself placed a bit low. The Jetta has always been known for its rear seat comfort and the Octavia manages to better it, offering terrific comfort to rear seat occupants. All three cars come with rear seat AC vents but the Elantra also comes with audio controls on the rear arm rest, a neat touch. The front seats of the Elantra get ventilated function which does make you feel comfortable on long drives. In terms of boot capacity, there is absolutely no competition, the Octavia annihilates the other two, offering 590-litres vs the Elantra’s 420-litres and Jetta’s 510-litres.

Performance – All the three cars come with the option of a petrol or diesel engine, coupled to manual and automatic transmissions (the Jetta’s diesel engine is only available with an option of an automatic gearbox, no petrol automatic here). The Hyundai Elantra‘s petrol engine is more powerful than the 1.4-litre TSI engine doing duty in the Volkswagen Jetta and Skoda Octavia. The Elantra produces 149.5 PS and 178 Nm. The Jetta produces 122 PS and 200 Nm while the Octavia produces 140 PS and 250 Nm (same engine as the Jetta but higher output). In spite of the Elantra having more power, it isn’t as fast as the other two. Simply put, the petrol engine on the Elantra is no match for the 1.4-litre TSI motor from Volkswagen. While you have to rev the nuts of the Elantra to have fun (the Elantra’s motor has a higher redline and does pull decently at high RPMs), the 1.4 TSI offers instant gratification with a good mid-range punch.

Coming to the diesel engines, the Elantra’s smaller engine has lesser output (1.6-litre unit producing 126 BHP and 260 Nm) while both the Jetta and Octavia use the same 2.0-litre motor with 140 PS (143 PS in the Octavia) and 320 Nm (produced in a wider band in the Octavia). The Elantra’s diesel powerplant isn’t in the same territory as the other two and between the same engined cars, it is the Octavia which has an edge, thanks to its lighter weight, courtesy the MQB platform. When paired to the 6-speed DSG box, the Jetta offers paddle shifts but the Octavia doesn’t, surprising! Among the three cars, the Volkswagen Jetta and Skoda Octavia edge ahead when it comes to gearbox smoothness as well, petrol or diesel engine (all models of the three cars come with 6-speed units expect the Octavia 1.8 TSI). In terms of mileage though, the Hyundai Elantra beats both of them and is slightly more frugal.

In the performance department, it’s an easy win for the Skoda Octavia. Being lighter with more power and torque on tap, the Octavia simply edges ahead and blows of the other two when it comes to city drivability or highway cruising. However we haven’t even talked about the best engine on the Octavia yet. Skoda has also offered the 1.8-litre TSI powerplant on the Octavia which belts out an impressive 180 PS of power and 250 Nm of torque. This engine is mated to a 7-speed DSG transmission and there is simply nothing which can match it in terms of sheer fun.

Volkswagen Jetta vs Skoda Octavia vs Hyundai Elantra

Driving Dynamics – There is a world of a difference between the Hyundai Elantra and the European offerings. The Elantra is one of the best Hyundai cars when it comes to dynamics but it is no where near the Octavia and Jetta when it comes to ride and handling. The Hyundai’s soft suspension gives it a good low speed ride but at high speeds, the vehicle isn’t as comfortable over bad roads as the other two. Although the Elantra does feel reasonably stable at high speeds, it doesn’t give the same vault like feeling possessed by the Octavia and Jetta. The steering is extremely light which makes it a boon to drive the Elantra in congested city traffic but the unit lacks feel at high speeds. The Octavia and Jetta also offer better brakes than the Elantra, with better pedal feel and quicker stopping power.

Between the Octavia and Jetta, it isn’t easy to decide a winner because Skoda has equipped the 1.4 TSI and 2.0 TDI with cheaper torsion beam suspension at the rear, shocking at this price point. The Jetta gets multi-link rear suspension which is offered on the 1.8-litre TSI powered Octavia. So the Octavia 1.8 TSI is the best handling car but with the torsion beam in other variants, the noise levels from the rear are considerably higher. Both cars offer terrific amount of grip through corners and are glued to the road at high speeds. Steering feedback is excellent too but overall we would pick the Skoda Octavia for being a more involving car to drive, but only just.

Verdict – These three cars are very capable machines which makes the verdict all that difficult. The Volkswagen Jetta carries all the solid points you expect from an European car but it falls a bit short on desirability. This makes the competition to the top solely between the Elantra and the Octavia. The Hyundai Elantra offers more bang for your buck (price difference between the top-end variants of the Elantra and Octavia is Rs. 3.6 lakhs), with even the base variants being equipped generously. For most buyers who care about value, mileage, features, after sales service and appeal, the Elantra is more than up to the task and will please them thoroughly. However those who want a complete all-round package and are ready to shell out the extra amount, the Skoda Octavia is the clear winner of this shootout.

Where the Elanta scores heavily is appeal and value while the Jetta is now overshadowed by the Octavia. The Hyundai Elantra and Skoda Octavia are almost neck to neck but the latter nudges ahead by offering better performance and dynamics.

Further Reading -

Skoda Octavia Review
Hyundai Elantra Review
Volkswagen Jetta Review

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  • Pravin

    18.7 lacs for the 1,4TSI Ambition..
    20.7 lacs for the 2.0TDI Ambition MT
    22.8 lacs for the 1.8TSI Elegance..
    24.3 lacs for the 2.0TDI Elegance AT
    All on road price Bangalore..

    18.7-24.3 lacs price bracket makes this car the costliest in its segment even though its the best car… which makes it lose out on the value factor big time..

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      That’s the reason Pravin the Elantra looks like a bargain.

      • Pramod Chennai

        Faisal, on your comment that all 3 give more or less same comfort on rear seat, I would also add that terribly high floor bump in the Germans make it very difficult for the 3rd passenger to be comfy, where as Elantra offers good comfort for 3rd passenger. Am I right..?

        Cheers !!

        • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

          Righty said Pramod but all these cars are 4-seaters and rarely does anyone use the 5th seat.

  • LOGESH

    Ur review is like bullshit..instead of comparing Elantra u would have compare Chevi cruze itself..!! If u can’t clearly review it.. Den y d hell useless review..!!

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Logesh, we have mentioned why Cruze was not put in the shootout. Also facelift of Cruze coming end of this year.

      Do you know the Elantra was among the highest selling cars last year, even beating the much acclaimed Toyota Corolla.

    • Mohit

      Logesh, It lacks rear space, it lacks quality and it is not aspirational brand in the market today. No doubt if us enthusiast had to choose in this segment it would be the Cruze only despite the shortcomings because its emotionally and real time fast and courtesy the epic engine and its loaded to the gills with goodies and is some what value too!

      Muscle car with diesel engine in India.. enough said!!

    • TR

      @ Logesh: If u dont like the review keep your mouth shut and go do something that useful. Motorbeam’s reviews are by far the best compared to other magazines & websites out there. All reviews are unbiased and straight to the point. keep up the good work guys and keep them reviews coming in..

      • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

        Thanks TR for the support, we aim to give high quality reviews which help our readers in making an informed decision.

  • Puneet

    I think an important factor is the servicing and maintenance cost – a point which will hurt any Skoda car and give any Toyota or even a Hyundai a substantial advantage. What do you think?

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Bingo Puneet but Skoda service is in longer intervals so its not really that much more expensive but yes Hyundai, Toyota and Chevrolet are slightly easy on the pocket with better after sales support.

  • Crazywheels

    Elantra and Chevy Cruze must be out of comparison, and Accord must be brought into the comparison. Hyundais are not good in haghways and Cruze is just a powerful diesel car with no comfort compared to anyone. VW is the best option in Diesel segment owing to the haunting service of Skoda. Accord truely misses the diesel heart, but it can be only compared to the Top Germans.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Actually Accord is a segment up and we still get the old Accord in India. VW service isn’t great and latest reports suggest long way to go before customers will be thoroughly satisfied with a VW car. Skoda service has improved vastly from before. Honestly the latest Civic with a diesel heart will be very difficult to beat.

  • Ben

    Actually elentra shouldn’t be given 2nd spot. it lacks in many areas which are the key for d segment. Hyundai as a mass market car maker don’t have any brand value for d segment buyers. It completely lacks performance and dynamics, as usual Hyundai cars don’t offer what they claim on paper. be it the entry-level eon’s engine or the elentra’s engine. only for the style and after sales service it is preferred. I don’t want to include features as a criteria as they are mere accessories which are cheap and can be fitted after market. I don’t want talk about price as it is a d segment car and not a entry level buyer’s car.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Ben, I disagree. The Elantra feels special and how many customers care about dynamics in the segment? Most people want comfort and can you fit airbags, traction control system, ventilated seats, keyless entry, etc as accessories? NO.

  • Harry

    @logesh oye hello saale kuch aata jaata hai ni aur aa jaate hai apna galaa phaadne idher…apni frustration kahin aur nikaalo…chevrolet cruze tu ne design ki hai kya jo tujhe dukh ho raha hai….

  • Ben

    @faisal. Ya you are right, most opt for comfort and features over performance and dynamics but they can very well opt an SUV which generously has the above two. most of the premium car buyers step down to sedans leaving comfy SUVs just for the need of performance. So most of the elentra buyers were just too much lured by the design and performance on paper that they completely neglected the other parameters . about the features you listed above, I completely agree with you. they are the most important and adds value. if elentra possess it then definitely it should be appreciated and favoured.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Ben, there is no way an SUV can have as good dynamics of even a Elantra. If they offer good performance, they do at the cost of fuel efficiency, higher price and a bigger footprint.

      • Ben

        @faisal. You have understood my comment wrongly, I said that SUVs lack both performance and dynamics of a sedan. but they offer better comfort and features over a sedan. so only for the need of performance and dynamics people opt sedans over SUVs in that price bracket.

        • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

          Ben, oki got it. But the Elantra offers good ride quality, it’s handling isn’t as good as the Octavia and Jetta.

  • Jyotil

    Hi Faisal, a great shootout though I would have liked you to distinguish amongst not only just the manufacturer but also the variants i.e pertol and diesel especially octavia since the price difference and also the diesel petrol price dynamics in India are simply too pronounced to ignore. anyways can you recommend one clear winner amongst the following – Elantra Diesel AT, Jetta AT, Octavia 2.0 D Elegance AT, Octavia 1.4 TsI Elegance AT…is the torsion beam that bad in Octavia Diesel?

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Jyotil, torsion beam not a big issue but you expect multi-link suspension at this price. I would recommend the Octavia diesel, it’s by far the best package in the segment although a bit on the costlier side.

      • Jyotil

        Thanks that makes it a bit easy :)….also am torn between a Sedan and an SUV basically a Rs. 1.5 lacs difference between elegance and Rexton AT…though its too early to ask what will hit the pocket more octavia or a rexton both in terms of maintenance, fuel usage etc and given that after sales service of both the manufacturers isnt bursting at the top of the charts…a clumsy question but any advice would be lapped up with appreciation

        • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

          Jyotil, Skoda service better than Mahindra but the Rexton a more practical car due to more space, all-wheel drive, etc.

  • Harsimran

    Which Colour Suits the most to Octavia Elegance 2.0AT TDI ??

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Black looks really cool IMO.

  • thnki

    Awesome review, Faisal. I’m very much inclined to buy the Elantra. Planning to book it on Friday. :)
    Do you think I should wait for the Cruze facelift which is bound at the end of the year?

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Thnki, Cruze facelift is already here and there is not much new on offer. Get the Elantra.

      • thnki

        Cool, thanks!

  • ARPIT

    Nyc review faisal, but still one thing….in other reviews have read a lot about cruze and its beast like performance….!!!, elantra is beautiful and i havent experienced but do feel that ventilated seats must be an awesome feel.
    Which is the best VFM car for an enthusiast driver….elantra cruze or octavia..??

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      If you love driving, forget VFM and get the Octavia.

  • Navneet K Sharma

    Hi Faisal
    Thanks for your very nice comments on these three very good machines. I am planning to buy upcoming facelift of Skoda Elegance 1.8 MPI AT which is expected in Jan – Feb. 2014. But now getting confuse between Octavia Elegance 1.8 MPI AT and upcoming facelift model of Superb. I think there will be very tough competion between two becoz there could be a difference of hardly 2 to 2.5 lakhs in terms of price of these two. May you help me out please to choose the perfect car interms of this sequence of preference :
    (1) Active & Passive Safety features (2) Comfort (3) Driverability (4) Maintenace,
    and last but not the least (5) advance Features
    Best Regards
    Navneet

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Navneet, i terms of maintenance, both cars will be the same but the Octavia will have more features as the Superb will be a base variant. The Superb is more comfortable though and since both cars use the same engine, drivability will be very similar as well.

      I would pick the Superb if the back bench is where I am planning to be most of the time.

      • Navneet K Sharma

        Thanks Faisal…….I would also go for Superb top model. But which car is most safe on high way driving…………Octavia top model or Superb Top model. This was the main query, as my first preference while selecting a car for my family is safety.

  • Navneet K Sharma

    Dear Faisal
    Would appriciate if you please give a detaild same comparison ( Just like Elantra, Jetta & Octavia) of petrol version of top model Hyundai SONATA and Top model Skoda SUPERB too, in terms of same 5 preference as asked earlier.
    Thanks a ton inadvance
    Navneet

  • sadath

    Faisal ur legend man u have all the answers reinterestedplanning to buy
    Car in this week , which is the best??? I m interested in petrol Elantra or jetta ?????
    Pls reply wating….????????

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      What are your requirements?

  • Tinsy

    Faisal – Great review! I am torn b/w the Elantra sx AT and the Octavia diesel or 1.8 petrol AT. The must have is the auto, monthly driving not to exceed 400kms with a highway drive every 3 months. The price differential’s edging it in favor of the elantra while Skoda’s v poor after sales in Bangalore is another factor. What would your reco be? I’ll likely keep the car for min 4-5 years and prefer a hassle free experience. Comfort, space, features are top on my list. Also, any point looking at the Laura as well, given the great discounts on offer? Thanks in advance!

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Thanks Tinsy, I suggest you opt for the Elantra since you want comfort, space and features. Laura is now outdated and it will too have relatively higher maintenance when compared to the Elantra.

  • Kevin Rodrigues

    Good review Mr. Khan, I have already booked the Octavia Ambition 1.4 TSi.
    I am from Goa and now having second thought about the A.S.S of Skoda in Goa.
    Any other car out there better? OTR Price is 17.2Lacs.- Goa
    I need a Drive quality for an enthusiast driver and strong built.

    Thanks.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Kevin, Octavia is a good choice, other option would be the Jetta 1.4 TSI.

  • Vinay

    Elantra is a clear winner for me. n watz wrong wid chevy ppl?? The old cruze looked like a beast frm far, the new one looks like taking two steps back in design(looks smwat like da old verna)!!!!

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      And you know what Vinay? They called it “ALL NEW”!

  • arshad khan

    Dear faisal, please suggest which car has minimum engine voice in cabin jetta or octavia or vento (all diesel engines).?

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Arshad, Octavia is the best in NVH.

  • SRIRAMAN GANAPATHI

    Dear Faisal,
    I am a present owner of the Old Skoda Octavia Rider 1.9 TDI for the last 8 years. Probably on the greatest cars of all time. I am now in the Process of deciding between Volkwagen Jetta ( Ne One) and Skoda New Octavia. No other options being evaluated by me. Please advise me since my requirements are as follows:

    Long Distance Driving, Every day driving both distance, space, Road handling.
    My Order of Priority is as follows:
    1. Safety
    2. Road Handling
    3. Space
    4. Longetivity

    Presently I seem to be inclined to Jetta because of better safety features, but after reading your review, I thought I will take your advise

    Please also suggest between diesel and petrol

    regards

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      If you are happy with Skoda service, get the new Octavia, it’s a better car than the Jetta.

  • SRIRAMAN GANAPATHI

    On the streangth of your advise, I have booked the Skoda Octavia Elegance 2.0 TDI , Tope end Model Automatic.

    Over the last few days, people have been advising me to go for a manual transmission vehicle of Skoda.
    I have refused saying this is the best

    Can you please advise me, if my decision is correct. As mentioned before, I have lots of City and highway driving. More of Highway driving In my previous Octavia, I have clocked about 3,00,000 kms in a little less than 8 yrs..
    My wife and me also go out for long drives, over night trips as well as drive out to place as fars as 500 – 1000 kms for a few days

    please advise, as I would prefer Automatic

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      The DSG box is known for issues and hence people are advising you regarding the same. You can go with an automatic as new cars with AT are not known for this issue.

  • Anzar

    Fasial Sab, I wish to buy one of premium sedan ( jetta , elentra , Octavia). Which could I choose in terms of worth, aftersales and service/spare cost and life companion. Am not a car enthusiast , if I buy one that I wish to be the life companion, no further investment .Am confused in looks and damn dream of Octavia…Will skoda change the service loop holes since many complaints wandering……Had a choice of Elantra but Korean cars can trust more??? But my love goes Octavia new….if yes which model is best since am an NRI..My old car has driven 35K only in 6years…hope u understand the usage

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Javeid Khan

      Anzar, if comfort is the criteria then the Elantra is a good deal and is cheaper than the other two. If you want a car with solid driving dynamics then look no further than the Skoda Octavia.

      • Anzar

        Thank You Javed, But for Octavia am little confused in ASS and their showroom/service center although 100km far…Which one make me pride/an iconic through out life Elantra or Octavia…..

  • misra

    I cannot decide between the Jetta and the Octavia. (Manual Transmission – Diesel)

    The Octavia does not have MT variant in Elegance trim and if one opts for the Octavia it has to be ambition variant. The Jetta has the following additional features in the Highline (top) MT variant vis-a-vis the Ambition variant of the Octavia:
    xenon headlamps
    front parking sensors
    4 extra airbags
    DRL (LED)
    cruise control

    I am also confused about the colour choices – Black or White…Is black unsafe?

  • JALAL

    FAIZAL SAHAB,
    MANY GREETING AND BEST COMPLIMENTS FROM JAIPUR.
    I read your reviews about cars it is not only sound of trueness bt also seem accurate status of vehicle…
    you are doing great job KEEP IT UP . we really appreciate your experience and time to guide to THOSE,they are investing their sweat earning to BUY a life time car anD their dream cars. GOD BLESS YOU.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Thanks Jalal for your kind words, really appreciate them.

  • Pramod

    Great review Faizal. I had narrowed down to Elantra for Bangalore mostly city usage and less than 100-110 km/hr highway ride with family. But, is Elentra getting an update in 2014? Should I buy one now or wait for update?

  • jitendra

    I have knee problem s I want a diesel automatic car can u sujjest a car in driving comfort

  • santhosh

    Hi , planing to buy second hand car budget 13 , in my list i have jetta 2012 n laura , ny suggestions