The Elantra comes in smack in the middle of this already spoiled-for-choice segment
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.
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.
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.