Corolla gets climate control and Bluetooth telephony, both featu
The D-segment though is fated for more glory especially with the C-segment crowd - currently the darling of the automotive sceneset to upgrade in the near future. The D-segment is important for another reason; here’s where the upmarket scene really begins. And for car makers like Honda, Skoda, Toyota and Volkswagen, who pride themselves as relatively high-end brands, it’s important to succeed here to maintain status quo.
But now, with the much improved Jetta, is it time to shift loyalties towards Volkswagen? Let’s find the answer to that.
As far as visual appeal goes, it’s all a matter of choice; whether you prefer the solid plain lines that are typical of German saloon cars or the slight bits of bling which the Corolla brings along with its recent face-lift. Inside too, the simple and solid versus the slightly glitzy and rounded theme continues. The Jetta’s insides don’t look all that different from the previous car, but the quality, the fit and finish and space is definitely better. Even compared to the Corolla, the Jetta does come across as the vehicle with better quality materials, even though the difference isn’t dramatic.
In terms of space though, yes, the difference between the Volkswagen and the Toyota is quite significant. The new Jetta, which sits on a longer wheelbase than the previous car, is roomier, both up front and rear, compared to the Toyota. It has more leg and shoulder room at the front and more usable knee room at the rear as well. And if that wasn’t enough, it has the bigger boot of the two cars as well.
The Corolla on the other hand has more comfortable rear seats, and is the car to buy if you are going to be driven around often. It also has more perceivable equipment. So, there’s climate control and Bluetooth telephony, both of which the Jetta lacks. But then, the Jetta gets an electrically adjustable seat for the driver and height adjust for both front seats. In addition, all 16.9kmplits windows get one touch up/down operation.
Resmissing on the Jetta, while the latter has better quality plastic all around
Where the Volkswagen really runs away from the Corolla though is in terms of safety features. In addition to driver and passenger airbags up front, it gets front and rear side and curtain airbags too. There's also traction control as well as ESP. All of these safety features are missing on the Toyota.
What also works in the Volkswagen's favour is its driving dynamics. Not only does the Jetta get sportier, more supportive front seats, but the difference in the driving experience between the two is quite striking.
The steering feel, for one, is more alive on the Jetta. It’s quicker and more precise than the Corolla’s unit as well. It might not be as light as the Japanese’s (which does give the Corolla an advantage in city manoeuvrability), but when you are driving fast, be it in a straight line over undulating surfaces or around a sequence of bends, the Volkswagen certainly feels more stable, involving and more relaxing than the Corolla.
Don’t however completely discount the Corolla. Yes, if it’s a highway car you want, then the Jetta is a clear choice. But in the city, it’s not that obvious. The Corolla, for instance, has lighter steering as we mentioned earlier. But, it also has a lighter clutch operation. Plus, shifting gears are less tedious on the Toyota after the Jetta. Visibility is better too in the Corolla. It’s not just easier to look out of from the front or through the A-pillars when approaching a crossroad, but it also has bigger, more usable outside rear view mirrors. Overall then, the Corolla is a much nicer and easier car to drive in the city. What also seals the deal for the Corolla as a city car, is its fuel efficiency. It is more economical in the city, returning almost 3kmpl more than the Jetta. Overall though, the difference is less because the Jetta eturns better fuel efficiency on the highway, despite the fact that both the Volkswagen and the Toyota sport 6-speed manual gearboxes.
The Corolla also rides better at slower speeds, though not by much. But it is plusher, quieter and more absorbent over smaller road defects like pot holes, surface changes or bumps. But yes, if the pothole is too deep or the bump more squarish, the impact to the occupants is a lot more severe. At higher speeds though, the Jetta rides better. It wallows less, flattens surfaces with more authority, and the noise and vibration levels from the suspension is less intruding as well.