For Rs 15 lakh, which is better value: Chevrolet Cruze or new Volkswagen Jetta

The new Volkswagen Jetta is now a lot more contemporary and competitive with a much more powerful diesel engine. The Jetta always had all the features one sought in a luxury car, but lacked the performance. Prices for the new Volkswagen Jetta start at Rs. 14.21 lakh, which puts it directly in competition with segment favorite, the Chevrolet Cruze.

In many ways, the two cars couldn’t be more different. One, the Cruze, is designed for aggressive driver while the other, Jetta, is for sophisticated back-seat traveler.

If you had a budget of Rs. 15 lakh for a premium sedan, which of the two is a better deal – the Chevrolet Cruze or the Volkswagen Jetta?

jetta vs cruze

Driving and handling

Both the cars are offered only in diesel power mill. If you’re one who loves to do quarter-mile drags or be the first out of a traffic light, the Chevrolet Cruze will put a smile on your face. Its 2-litre diesel engine with 5-speed manual transmission puts out 327 Nm of torque and 149 bhp of power. The Cruze is one of the fastest in its segment.

The 2-litre diesel in the Jetta puts out 138 bhp of power and 320 Nm of torque mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The extra cog makes the Jetta more fuel efficient, but the overall gearing is not set for outright speed, unlike the Cruze’s box.  Both cars have some turbo lag.

In terms of drivability and performance, the Cruze has an advantage over the Jetta.

The suspension set up on the Jetta is on the softer side which makes for a pliant ride. The electronic stability program also ensures that the car is never unsettled no matter what the driving style. The electronic power-steering is well weighted. The Cruze too has a fairly soft suspension set up, which filters small undulations decently, but gets bouncy with more uneven surfaces. There’s also a fair amount of body roll into corners in the Cruze, while the steering is lighter.

While both cars are close, the Jetta is marginally better in terms of handling.

Space and comfort

The Volkswagen Jetta has more cabin space than the Chevrolet Cruze. Rear seat comfort is much better in the Jetta compared to the Cruze. The Jetta features rear-AC vents which are absolutely essential, but absent on the Cruze. It also boasts of more luggage room at 510 litres, compared to 450 litres on the Cruze. It also has far better NVH levels than the Cruze, which can tend to be noisy. And Jetta is easier to get in and out of.

Overall, the Jetta is a relatively more comfortable car.

Looks

Volkswagen has made the Jetta, a classy and elegant looking sedan. The Cruze, on the other hand, has bold looks with attractive bow tie grille and muscular lines all along the car. The interiors of the Cruze emphasize style while the Jetta reassures the owner with its quality and ‘attention to detail’ finishing. Though fit and finish are good in both the cars, the Jetta has a slight edge overall.

Features

When comparing the features in base models, both the cars are equally equipped with features such as alloy wheels, airbags, CD player with four speakers and all four disc brakes.

When comparing the features in top-end models, the Jetta gets more safety features such as ESP (electronic stability program) in all variants along with ABS and eight airbags. The Chevrolet Cruze makes do with only ABS and dual front airbags.

However, the Cruze has driver-oriented convenient features such as rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlamps, electric sunroof, Bluetooth music streaming system and parking sensors.

Price, Mileage and overall VFM

The Cruze is priced ranging from Rs. 12.03 lakh – 14.44 lakh while the Jetta is priced ranging from Rs. 14.26 lakh – 15.92 lakh. The base variant of Jetta is priced slightly lesser than the top-end variant of the Cruze. But, the Cruze top-end variant gets more features such as sunroof, fog lamps and leather upholstery not found in the Jetta base variant.

Hence, at a similar price point, the Cruze comes with more features than the Jetta.

With regard to mileage the Jetta is more frugal than the Cruze. Volkswagen claims an overall mileage of 19.33 kmpl for the Jetta according to standard test conditions, while the Chevrolet Cruze gives just over 16 km to the litre of diesel. In real world conditions, the Cruze is known to give about 12.5 kmpl overall, while the 2-litre engine that the Jetta uses is also used by the Skoda Laura and Yeti, and gives over 14 kmpl.

Overall, when it comes to ‘more features for lesser price’, the Cruze has a slight advantage over the Jetta although the latter is more frugal.

Pros and Cons

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Verdict

The Chevrolet Cruze is the car that gives you more value for money compared to the Volkswagen Jetta. For Rs. 13.61 lakh ex-showroom Delhi, you get the top-end fully loaded manual transmission version of the Chevrolet Cruze. Sure, the Jetta is slightly more comfortable and has more safety features, but the base variant of the Jetta is Rs. 60,000 more than the Cruze.

Overall, the Cruze is slightly better value for money compared to the Jetta.

Technical specifications

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