The Indian car market is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. With a multitude of cars available in each segment, the Indian buyer is spoil’t with choice 🙂 However, with the SUV craze of the masses hitting its peak in recent times, popularity of some segments have declined so much so that manufacturers are silently pulling out models from showrooms. One such segment is the D segment of sedans. Although the segment does have its fair share of well-engineered cars, the segment has only seen two recent launches over the past few years. Both the Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Jetta are incredibly good cars. However, which one is the better buy? Lets take a look at the 2013 Skoda Octavia and its VW brother, the Jetta.
Skoda’s products have always been well engineered cars and the Octavia is no exception. On offer for the Indian market are two petrol engines and one diesel engine. The petrol variants are powered by a 1.4 L TSI engine and an extremely powerful 1.8 L TSI while the diesel variant houses a 2.0 L turbocharged mill.
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The TSI Petrol Engine Used in the Octavia Petrol Variants Is The Same One Used in VW's Jetta[/caption]
While the 1.4 L turbocharged petrol engine produces 138 HP and 250 nm of torque, the 1.8 L TSI unit puts out an incredible 177 HP and 250 nm of torque. While most cars in this segment make do with tiny engines, Skoda has seen fit to endow the Octavia with an engine that can rival that of an Audi A4. A fitting engine for the return of a legend.
The Jetta’s engine options pales in comparison to the Octavia’s. Although Volkswagen has provided the very same 1.4 L TSI and 2.0 L TDI engines found on the Octavia, the German car maker has omitted the more powerful 1.8 L TSI unit for the Indian market. Although one may argue that the 1.4 L TSI provides more than enough power, the Jetta will fail to impress driving enthusiasts.
Round 1 Winner: Skoda Octavia !
The Skoda marque has always had a knack for creating cars with an understated elegance about them. Although VW follows the very same design philosophy, the Czechs have always made the right mix of sharp lines and subtle curves to create beautiful cars.
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The Skoda Octavia Is Simply Beautiful[/caption]
The fusion of the new butterfly grille, LED daytime running lamps and the gentle crest of the bonnet atop which the Skoda emblem sits cannot be described as anything else but "otherworldly". The embodiment of tranquility, Skoda has once again created another beautiful iteration of the legend.
The designers have moulded soothing overtones with traces of aggressive elements to create a car that is equal parts subtle and passionate.
Although the German auto-giant follows the very same minimalist approach to its cars, the Jetta feels far too clinical in terms of design. Despite having all the right curves at all the right places, the Jetta lacks soul. However, the Jetta does have an executive characteristic, a trait most buyers from this segment look for.
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Although The Jetta Maybe A Good Looking Car, The Skoda Is The Clear Winner[/caption]
The no nonsense approach of Volkswagen with the Jetta has resulted in one of the cleanest exteriors of any car from this range. Despite this, there’s no escaping the fact that the Octavia is the clear winner in the looks department.
Round 2 Winner: Skoda Octavia !
The understated elegance of the Octavia’s exterior is carried over to its interiors as well. The panoramic sun roof and beige cabin gives the interiors an airy feel. The center console is finished in black and hosts a fully loaded infotainment system complete with a touchscreen display. Physical controls are made of premium plastics and sport chrome accents adding to the car’s upmarket feel. The four spoke steering wheel comes with controls for the entertainment system as well as for the user’s Bluetooth connected phone.
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Interior of the Skoda Octavia[/caption]
Legroom, headroom is ample with enough space to fit five passengers. As with most German saloons, the ergonomics of the interiors are driver centric with all the controls for the entertainment system, rear view mirrors and the like in perfect positions.
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The Four Spoke Steering Wheel of the 2013 Skoda Octavia[/caption]
What the Jetta lacked on its exteriors, it more than makes up for with its cabin. The combination of plush leather, faux wood, quality plastics and silver finishes all around the interiors greatly improve the aesthetics of the car.
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Interior of the VW Jetta[/caption]
The Jetta comes with a more sensible three spoke steering complete with mounted controls. The Jetta’s interiors don a darker shade of black adding a sporty facet to the executive sedan. Unlike the Octavia, the Jetta instrument cluster is less cluttered and offers better readability.
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The Jetta's Center Console[/caption]
Round 3 Winner: its a Draw !
It goes without saying that the Octavia is a splendid car to drive. Despite its large size, one can throw the Skoda into a corner with utmost confidence. The suspension maybe set for a comfortable ride but the Octavia is more than capable of taking a sharp corner. Cabin noise insulation is one of the best in its class.
Similar to most new releases, the Octavia comes with an electric power steering. While the new steering system helps in heavy city traffic conditions, the new system lacks the decades of development that conventional hydraulic steering had undergone. As a result, the steering leaves much to be desired.
The Jetta’s driving dynamic is almost identical in most aspects to the Octavia. However, the Jetta’s engine has been configured for an almost linear power delivery and the Jetta needs to be really pushed hard for it to misbehave. VW’s D segment sedan is a car that’s meant to be driven in and hence this may not come off as a negative aspect to many.
Similar to the Octavia, the Jetta also comes with the new electric steering system which does not provide adequate feedback to the driver.
Round 4 Winner: its a Draw again !
Although the Volkswagen Jetta
is a well balanced offering from the German car maker, cars such as the Chevy Cruze
and Hyundai Elantra
have been placed in a far more reachable price bracket. As a result, the Jetta hasn't enjoyed its well deserved success in the Indian market. The Octavia too succumbs to this fate. With the Indian consumer's ongoing obsession with SUVs, sedans such as the Octavia and Jetta that are more car for the same price as most entry level SUVs fail to to be recognized for the superb cars that they are.
The Czech automaker has always been the underdog in the Indian market. While the Octavia may offer the perfect blend of style and sophistication, the company's notorious after sales service and expensive spare parts swerves buyers to alternatives. However, when it comes to its sublime driving dynamic, features and sheer elegance in its simplicity, the Octavia knows no rival.
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