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The Fluence has a very different interior but the car really lacks a lot of features

Interiors – If the exteriors were vividly different, the interiors are no exception. Absolutely nothing seems common here, such a different design of the cabin but what makes things even more difficult for us is the fact that all cars are solidly put together, boasting of excellent quality, they even have generous room at the rear. So how do you choose the winner in the interior department? Not that difficult after all, as we simply compare various factors like features, best rear seat and the likes. In terms of dashboard design itself, the Fluence seems a bit basic in front of the others while the Octavia’s dashboard is simple yet elegant. The Elantra has a unique dashboard with a flowing design and multiple colours but we are quite impressed with the Corolla’s dash, it’s unlike what we have seen on a Japanese car. Flat like the good olden days, the Corolla brings simplicity and sophistication together.

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The rear seats of the Renault Fluence aren’t the best here as the seats are quite hard

Let’s look at the features offered on the top spec variants. All cars come with a reversing camera with the exception of the Fluence, which only makes do with parking sensors, however, it’s the only car here which has front parking sensors. All cars come with a manual curtain for the rear windshield, except the Elantra while the Fluence also offers the curtain for the rear windows. All cars come with keyless go and push button start, except the Skoda Octavia, where you rely on the key. The Fluence can be opened from any door with a touch of a button on the door handle while the Corolla automatically unlocks itself when you are near the car. All cars come with rear AC vents, except the Corolla, a shocking omission considering most Corolla buyers will take to the rear seat very often.

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The Elantra has a very appealing dash, it’s quite a loaded car with features in plenty

To boost the rear seat experience, the Elantra is the only car here which has audio controls on the rear seat arm rest, it also gets a power socket inside it with the Octavia being the only car which doesn’t have a rear power socket. The Fluence and Elantra get dual zone climate control systems, the Corolla uses a single zone while the Octavia doesn’t get a climate control system on the controls but in the touch-screen system, it also monitors the sun, air quality and humidity levels. The Corolla and Octavia are the only cars with a touch screen unit, while the Fluence and Elantra don’t even have a big enough display screen. Things start getting common between the European cars vs the Asian cars.

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The rear seat of the Elantra is low but well padded, only car with buttons on arm rest

Like for instance, the European cars get one touch up and down for all power windows, the Asian vehicles don’t. Another similarity are front puddle lamps in the European cars (on the doors but the Octavia also gets them below the rearview mirrors). Yet another similar thing being a hump at the rear on the European cars, preventing a fifth passenger from sitting in, however the AC unit is too far ahead in the Elantra so a fifth passenger won’t be comfortable, more so because there is no headrest in the centre. Even the Octavia doesn’t get a fifth headrest but the Fluence does, but the centre hump, hard seats and arm rest padding prevent a fifth occupant from stepping inside the car.

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The Corolla has a very unique dashboard and we love the simplicity and elegance of it

This brings us to the crucial question, which car is the best for rear seat comfort. The Fluence doesn’t have as much space as the others while the Elantra which does boast of excellent seat padding which is comforting to the back, has the seat placed a bit low. The Octavia has good space at the rear but the rear bench is too upright, however, you can access the boot by flipping a button behind the arm rest. Still, it’s the Corolla which offers the best rear seat experience with its soft seats, recline function, good legroom, no centre hump, fifth headrest and three rows of roof lights, the only missing piece being the rear AC vents. While at the front, it’s the Elantra’s seats which feel the best, there is also a ventilated cooling function which works well to relax you in hot conditions. All cars also get projector headlights, only the Elantra doesn’t.

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The Corolla has the best rear seat comfort here, the seats are soft but no rear AC vents

The Renault Fluence has very unconventional and quirky controls which takes time to get used to. Besides, its audio system isn’t as impressive as the ones on other cars. The Elantra’s biggest gripe is that the audio system doesn’t let you change songs when you have connected it to your music device via Bluetooth. The Hyundai also doesn’t have auto locking doors. In the Corolla, you can access your complete music library, even browse folders to select songs, which is super cool. Still, it’s the Octavia’s audio system which is the best here, while you can’t browse folders, the touch screen is super slick and the attention to detail is so massive that there is also an option to safely remove a USB or SD card (you can also choose between QWERTY and ABC keyboards).

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The Octavia has the most space of any car here and has many unique features too

The Skoda also has the best instrument cluster with a lot of data being displayed, others are cool in their own way like the Fluence has a digital speedometer (no analogue here but also shows fuel used, while only the Octavia gives you the option of seeing the speedo in digital on the multi-information display). The Octavia is also the most loaded car, it’s the only car here with a sunroof and there is tyre pressure monitoring as well. Even the rear seat armrest’s cupholders are adjustable. The Fluence gets 60:40 rear seat split for boosting practicality but the Octavia’s boot just annihilates everyone here, it’s super big compared to others.

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The Octavia has excellent seats and the boot is massive, no car comes close to match it

All cars get electric driver seat adjustment, cruise control and automatic headlights. The Corolla, Octavia and Fluence also get rain sensing automatic wipers (only the Fluence uses a single blade, others use a double blade). When you turn off the cars, the Octavia and Fluence automatically retract their rearview mirrors. While all cars have conventional keys, the Fluence has a credit card type key, neat but too large to carry. The Corolla’s key feels cheap and doesn’t justify the price tag of the vehicle. Still, if you want features, it’s the Octavia and Elantra which are close but in terms of rear seat space, the Corolla is on the top. Where the Corolla loses out big time is safety equipment, it’s the only car here which doesn’t get traction control. While Renault offers 4 airbags, Skoda and Hyundai offer 6 airbags but Toyota only offers 2 airbags.