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Old 25th January 2014, 12:08   #1
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Default D1 Sedan Quandary: VW Jetta, Skoda Octavia or Used Laura?



Farewell, my old fan.
Having scribbled on it,
What could I do but tear it
At the end of summer?

- Matsuo Basho


As some of you may know, I recently had a major crash in which my doughty 3-year-old Skoda Laura TDI DSG was wrecked (Link (Skoda Laura Accident. Rolls over, yet keeps us SAFE!)). The other thread has details on the accident and my experience with the insurance process.

It is time to move on and I'm somewhat unexpectedly back in the market for a car.

We're a family mostly of 3 (my wife, nearly-5-year-old son and I) and sometimes 5 (when the parents visit) who like our road trips. I drive my car fairly often in the cesspool of teeming traffic, pot holes, speed breakers and bad roads called Bangalore. Since I'm an entrepreneur, I spend at least 2 days a week driving to meetings in the various ends of town.

Also because I'm an entrepreneur, I can't afford to buy an A6 Quattro or a 5-series or a Q5, one of which I often wistfully and alternately pictured to be my next car.

The requirements are:
  • Sedan or with similar space/handling characteristics - equal to or better than my Laura
  • Sufficient power and torque - similar to or more than my Laura
  • Disc brakes all around
  • Airbags (minimum 2)
  • Excellent safety score (understandably from my last experience)
  • Ground clearance
  • Decent rear seat comfort
  • Rear A/C vents
  • Good trunk space
  • Refined interiors, ride quality and comfort
  • Reasonable maintenance and insurance costs
  • Economical for 15,000+ km's a year usage

Nice-to-have's are: bluetooth connectivity (for when I'm on the road), steering controls, climate control and ISOFIX

Don't care's are: snob value, sunroofs, xenon lamps, resale value (since I plan to retain the car for at least 4 years)

The list was quickly down to the Jetta, Octavia, Yeti and the Elantra. I'm not keen on buying a 3-series or an A4 due to the high maintenance and insurance costs and don't care a bit about any snob value.

A brief test drive in the Elantra settled it for my wife and me - the car handled like a couch on wheels, my wife bumped her head on the roof while seated in the rear middle seat as we went over a pothole and neither of us cared for the slightly glitzy looks and the plethora of buttons.

We love the Yeti, but are unsure if the trunk space would prove sufficient. We've been spoiled by the Laura's cavernous boot.

We're now down to the following contenders:
- Skoda Octavia TDI Ambition Manual/DSG
- Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI Ambition DSG
- VW Jetta TDI Comfortline Manual (the DSG is not an option, since I'm nervous that VW does not have an extended warranty) - like the multi-link suspension
- Roll the dice on a 2011 Skoda Laura Elegance Manual with 29,000 km's and no extended warranty, remap it and add bluetooth

I believe that I can handle the Skoda ASS given my experience with the Laura, particularly with an extended warranty.

My wife is tired of hearing me debate this with myself and her. She just wishes that I choose a car and shut up. Help me please!

Last edited by GTO : 27th January 2014 at 17:16. Reason: Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE functions, instead of typing one post right after another
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Old 25th January 2014, 12:27   #2
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Default re: D1 Sedan Quandary: VW Jetta, Skoda Octavia or Used Laura?

Quote:
The requirements are:•Sedan or with similar space/handling characteristics - equal to or better than my Laura
•Sufficient power and torque - similar to or more than my Laura
•Disc brakes all around
•Airbags (minimum 2)
•Excellent safety score (understandably from my last experience)
•Ground clearance
•Decent rear seat comfort
•Rear A/C vents
•Good trunk space
•Refined interiors, ride quality and comfort
•Reasonable maintenance and insurance costs
•Economical for 15,000+ km's a year usage

Nice-to-have's are: bluetooth connectivity (for when I'm on the road), steering controls, climate control and ISOFIX
I think the new Hyundai Elantra has almost everything that you are looking forward to in a car. My other suggestion would be to stay away from used Laura. The variant has been discontinued and the reliability of an old Laura will always remain a gamble.
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Old 25th January 2014, 12:49   #3
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Default re: D1 Sedan Quandary: VW Jetta, Skoda Octavia or Used Laura?

After a DSG for so long you wouldn't like a manual so drop the used Laura and the Yeti totally.

Now since you had a Skoda and have been happy with it, just stick to it since you would already know the after sales people, and had experience with them.

So why not the Octavia TSI, its fully loaded, will be more fun to drive than your old Laura. It will give you around 16 on highways which I think is good enough for your usage.

If not a Petrol then the Octy TDI Elegance, again fully loaded and fun to drive.

I don't think the Jetta is VFM compared to the Octy, especially with the kit that you get in the latter.
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Old 25th January 2014, 15:28   #4
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Default Re: D1 Sedan Quandary: VW Jetta, Skoda Octavia or Used Laura?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BackInTheFold View Post
Sedan or with similar space/handling characteristics - equal to or better than my Laura
Rules out the new Octavia diesel because of its unsettled rear end. Even in medium-level ghat cornering (not too hard) on typically Indian roads, the rear end refuses to stay composed and is all over the place. Reason = Cheaper torsion beam rear suspension (the Laura & Jetta both use a more sophisticated multi-link).

The Octavia TSI petrol gets a better rear end and that's a rockstar of a car. But with Germans, diesels are usually the better bet.

The diesels are fast. It has more than enough power to keep the enthusiast in you happy
Diesel's fuel-economy will be noticeably higher. It's a double whammy for the TSI as petrol is the more expensive fuel
Longer tank range. An advantage when cruising long distance
Euro diesels are usually far more robust than the petrols
We can safely assume that the diesel's resale value will be superior to that of the TSI

In order of preference, here are my recommendations:

- VW Jetta TDI MT (6-speed for driving pleasure, multi-link rear)
- VW Jetta TDI DSG (multi-link rear which Octavia doesn't have)
- Skoda Octavia TSI DSG
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Old 25th January 2014, 16:11   #5
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Default Re: D1 Sedan Quandary: VW Jetta, Skoda Octavia or Used Laura?

We're now down to the following contenders:
- Skoda Octavia TDI Ambition Manual/DSG
- Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI Ambition DSG
- VW Jetta TDI Comfortline Manual (the DSG is not an option, since I'm nervous that VW does not have an extended warranty) - like the multi-link suspension
- Roll the dice on a 2011 Skoda Laura Elegance Manual with 29,000 km's and no extended warranty, remap it and add bluetooth


Look man, earlier you had a diesel, and if you move from diesel to petrol, the fuel costs do tend to overwhelm you. So yes, you would be in for a shock, so I would personally suggest you stick to a diesel.

And as for the Manual vs DSG debate, thats something only you can answer. How comfortable are you with a stick shift, and what would you rather drive given a choice?
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Old 25th January 2014, 16:17   #6
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I'd say the TSI is a good bet for you. You like the dsg and have ample experience with the skoda After sales service. Go take a test drive of the tsi.


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Old 25th January 2014, 16:24   #7
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Default Re: D1 Sedan Quandary: VW Jetta, Skoda Octavia or Used Laura?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mints21 View Post
I think the new Hyundai Elantra has almost everything that you are looking forward to in a car. My other suggestion would be to stay away from used Laura. The variant has been discontinued and the reliability of an old Laura will always remain a gamble.
Thanks for the note. I too thought that the Elantra would be the car to go for. However, its just not for us - the handling did not inspire confidence for me and my wife was not too happy with the ride in the rear seat.

I'm with you on the Laura. My recourse has been to provision for repairs, but they could still blow up the provisional fund. The one reason I'm tempted is that I can remap it and still have money left over for my Triumph motorcycle fund

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshay1234 View Post
After a DSG for so long you wouldn't like a manual so drop the used Laura and the Yeti totally.

Now since you had a Skoda and have been happy with it, just stick to it since you would already know the after sales people, and had experience with them.

So why not the Octavia TSI, its fully loaded, will be more fun to drive than your old Laura. It will give you around 16 on highways which I think is good enough for your usage.

If not a Petrol then the Octy TDI Elegance, again fully loaded and fun to drive.

I don't think the Jetta is VFM compared to the Octy, especially with the kit that you get in the latter.
I hear you. The Octavia TSI seems like a rockstar - I've driven the Audi TSI in earlier days and loved it.

I'd definitely prefer the DSG, but can make do with a slick transmission if a car checks all other boxes. I'm not big on the extras, but I agree that the Jetta has far too little kit than the Octavia. The Comfortline doesn't even display the inputs from the rear sensors!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Rules out the new Octavia diesel because of its unsettled rear end. Even in medium-level ghat cornering (not too hard) on typically Indian roads, the rear end refuses to stay composed and is all over the place. Reason = Cheaper torsion beam rear suspension (the Laura & Jetta both use a more sophisticated multi-link).

The Octavia TSI petrol gets a better rear end and that's a rockstar of a car. But with Germans, diesels are usually the better bet.

The diesels are fast. It has more than enough power to keep the enthusiast in you happy
Diesel's fuel-economy will be noticeably higher. It's a double whammy for the TSI as petrol is the more expensive fuel
Longer tank range. An advantage when cruising long distance
Euro diesels are usually far more robust than the petrols
We can safely assume that the diesel's resale value will be superior to that of the TSI

In order of preference, here are my recommendations:

- VW Jetta TDI MT (6-speed for driving pleasure, multi-link rear)
- VW Jetta TDI DSG (multi-link rear which Octavia doesn't have)
- Skoda Octavia TSI DSG
Thanks GTO for your well-reasoned response. I too am swayed by the Jetta's multi-link suspension which just feels much more sorted than the Octavia TDI's. I just wish that they had a Comfortline DSG option since I don't really value the features for which the Highline commands its premium.

What are your thoughts on the Yeti?
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Old 25th January 2014, 16:51   #8
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GTO mirrors my own thoughts on the matter. Petrol is a no-go for you given your running, and more so since you're wary about the DSG, the octy 1.8TSI should not be a concern for you.

I'll keep this short and sweet. Go for a Jetta either in manual or with a DSG. You can't go wrong as VAG's diesels are fantastic all-round cars. Drive the Octavia and Jetta back to back, take your pick of the one you like more. For your needs, I believe the Jetta is the better car, no question
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Old 25th January 2014, 17:30   #9
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Default Re: D1 Sedan Quandary: VW Jetta, Skoda Octavia or Used Laura?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iliketurtles View Post
GTO mirrors my own thoughts on the matter. Petrol is a no-go for you given your running, and more so since you're wary about the DSG, the octy 1.8TSI should not be a concern for you.

I'll keep this short and sweet. Go for a Jetta either in manual or with a DSG. You can't go wrong as VAG's diesels are fantastic all-round cars. Drive the Octavia and Jetta back to back, take your pick of the one you like more. For your needs, I believe the Jetta is the better car, no question
I'm not wary of DSG's - quite the opposite actually. I'd prefer one.

The one thing that is giving me pause about the Jetta is the lack of an extended warranty and the associated peace of mind
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Old 25th January 2014, 17:43   #10
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Default Re: D1 Sedan Quandary: VW Jetta, Skoda Octavia or Used Laura?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BackInTheFold View Post
I'm not wary of DSG's - quite the opposite actually. I'd prefer one.

The one thing that is giving me pause about the Jetta is the lack of an extended warranty and the associated peace of mind
Good to hear you're open to the idea of a DSG.Your concern about the extended warranty is an extremely valid one, and a point of view that I share.

I don't know if this helps, but I am tired of waiting for any kind of allocation details for my Octavia TDI Elegance booking. I too, am a bit car-less at the moment and am reduced to asking mum for the i20 often. I am about to go right now and make a down payment on the Jetta Highline TDI. Here's why I think the Jetta is the better car for your needs (and incidentally, mine too).

1) The omission of the multi-link suspension on the Octavia is a glaring one, and something I was willing to overlook...until I test drove the Jetta Highline DSG this morning. Where the Octavia let me know about undulations on the road and was a bit noisy and mildly unbalanced at times, the Jetta was composed and far less noisy. It took Mumbai's poor roads in its stride and was head and shoulder above in this one regard.

2) Noiselessness. Maybe my ears deceive me, but I am sure the Jetta's sound insulation is better. I have never owned a diesel, and I thought I'd live with the Octavia's NVH levels. The Jetta's cabin was so much more silent, it was eery. You shut the door, and the outside world stays exactly there while you're cocooned in your private oasis. The Jetta is almost petrol-like in its refinement, noise levels and responsiveness. The Octavia, it must be said, is as responsive, but it does not hide the gruff note of its diesel engine as well.

3) The paddle shifters are a big plus, given how I'm used to it on the City I used to drive. Helps a lot when you want to drive spiritedly or even otherwise

4) It's cheaper and available in less time. Simple as that.

5) The thunk of solidity it possesses. The doors feel notably heavier/more solid, which is so reassuring.

The Jetta misses out on memory seats and a sunroof, but I believe that's more than made up for by the presence of paddle shifters and a multi link suspension. My only regret with the Jetta is that I didn't test-drive/book it earlier. Give it a spin, I'm sure it's what you're looking for.

As for the extended warranty...the salesman assured me that it was being released soon once the Passat is out and I will be able to avail of it. I don't know what to make of it, but some things in life you must take on face value, so I'm taking the leap of faith. Good luck in your hunt!

Last edited by iliketurtles : 25th January 2014 at 17:45.
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Old 25th January 2014, 17:43   #11
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Default Re: D1 Sedan Quandary: VW Jetta, Skoda Octavia or Used Laura?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BackInTheFold View Post
I hear you. The Octavia TSI seems like a rockstar - I've driven the Audi TSI in earlier days and loved it.

I'd definitely prefer the DSG, but can make do with a slick transmission if a car checks all other boxes. I'm not big on the extras, but I agree that the Jetta has far too little kit than the Octavia. The Comfortline doesn't even display the inputs from the rear sensors!

What are your thoughts on the Yeti?
The Octy TSI will be better than any Audi TSI you drove earlier.

Honestly even with these 140bhp diesels the 6 speed is great, but a DSG is better. The good thing is you can remap both (unlike the Octy TSI) and the car is pretty quick then.

Well I'm very happy with my Yeti in case you are considering it -
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...cs-pg-3-a.html
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Old 25th January 2014, 22:15   #12
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I would suggest you the Jetta manual diesel highline model. It ticks all your boxes

Remap it and you have a monster in your hands. The multi link rear suspension wins hands down. That is one thing which will keep the rear occupants happy.

Also no point in going for the petrol car. Diesels outweigh the petrol by large margin

Last edited by sagarpadaki : 25th January 2014 at 22:18.
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Old 26th January 2014, 03:13   #13
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Default Re: D1 Sedan Quandary: VW Jetta, Skoda Octavia or Used Laura?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BackInTheFold View Post
The requirements are:
  • Sedan or with similar space/handling characteristics - equal to or better than my Laura
  • Sufficient power and torque - similar to or more than my Laura
  • Disc brakes all around
  • Airbags (minimum 2)
  • Excellent safety score (understandably from my last experience)
  • Ground clearance
  • Decent rear seat comfort
  • Rear A/C vents
  • Good trunk space
  • Refined interiors, ride quality and comfort
  • Reasonable maintenance and insurance costs
  • Economical for 15,000+ km's a year usage

Nice-to-have's are: bluetooth connectivity (for when I'm on the road), steering controls, climate control and ISOFIX

Don't care's are: snob value, sunroofs, xenon lamps, resale value (since I plan to retain the car for at least 4 years)
I don't know if you are particular about a sedan, I was looking for an everyday use car for myself a few months back with similar requirements to yours.

I frequently travel between Bomasandara and Peenya (My factories are in these 2 places). So I needed a car that could handle the atrocious roads of industrial Bangalore. But I also travel everyday on the Hosur Elevated tollway since my office is in Koramangala, so I also wanted a car with good high speed dynamics and stopping power. My bigger car is an E270 CDI and I would love to use it everyday on the tollway but the roads in Bomasandara and especially in Peenya make it very difficult to do so. (I do not know where in Bangalore you travel - so these kinds of roads may not be an issue for you).

I used to use an i20 CRDI Asta for my daily car but it got into an incident in May.

So I finally bought an XUV 500 and I think that it may suit your daily requirements, it has the benefits of an SUV being high and big, but with it's monocoque construction it has good high speed dynamics, nothing compared to sedan but nothing to scoff at either. It has all the bells and whistles in terms of gadgets and most importantly it has the entire SRS system with 6 airbags, ABS, ESP, EBD, etc. The engine is sufficiently powerful but the one thing I do not like and I'm sure you will have an issue (after using the fabulous DSG gearbox) with is the slightly notchy manual gear box.

I would recommend you take a look at it, it does not match up to a Laura in terms of build quality or interior quality buy so far I'm very happy with mine.

In terms of the Sedans you listed, I think the Elantra is the best bet, it is a beautiful car and I think the main advantage over the others is the Hyundai A.S.S.

Last edited by VellVector : 26th January 2014 at 03:17. Reason: Formatting error
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Old 26th January 2014, 03:39   #14
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Default Re: D1 Sedan Quandary: VW Jetta, Skoda Octavia or Used Laura?

As people have already mentioned, the Germans make better, more reliable diesels than they do petrols and I would recommend the Jetta which will give you essentially the same car that you had with slightly better handling prowess (atleast that's what I felt, weird though) also a little bit of change is always good

I love petrols but after seeing several of my friend's jaws drop when I mention the expenditure and mileage I get from my petrol, I feel like I have to warn you about the shift as it can be overwhelming.

Last edited by moralfibre : 26th January 2014 at 18:48. Reason: Please avoid use of derogatory words on the forum.
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Old 26th January 2014, 15:24   #15
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Default Re: D1 Sedan Quandary: VW Jetta, Skoda Octavia or Used Laura?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iliketurtles View Post
Good to hear you're open to the idea of a DSG.Your concern about the extended warranty is an extremely valid one, and a point of view that I share.

I don't know if this helps, but I am tired of waiting for any kind of allocation details for my Octavia TDI Elegance booking. I too, am a bit car-less at the moment and am reduced to asking mum for the i20 often. I am about to go right now and make a down payment on the Jetta Highline TDI. Here's why I think the Jetta is the better car for your needs (and incidentally, mine too).

1) The omission of the multi-link suspension on the Octavia is a glaring one, and something I was willing to overlook...until I test drove the Jetta Highline DSG this morning. Where the Octavia let me know about undulations on the road and was a bit noisy and mildly unbalanced at times, the Jetta was composed and far less noisy. It took Mumbai's poor roads in its stride and was head and shoulder above in this one regard.

2) Noiselessness. Maybe my ears deceive me, but I am sure the Jetta's sound insulation is better. I have never owned a diesel, and I thought I'd live with the Octavia's NVH levels. The Jetta's cabin was so much more silent, it was eery. You shut the door, and the outside world stays exactly there while you're cocooned in your private oasis. The Jetta is almost petrol-like in its refinement, noise levels and responsiveness. The Octavia, it must be said, is as responsive, but it does not hide the gruff note of its diesel engine as well.

3) The paddle shifters are a big plus, given how I'm used to it on the City I used to drive. Helps a lot when you want to drive spiritedly or even otherwise

4) It's cheaper and available in less time. Simple as that.

5) The thunk of solidity it possesses. The doors feel notably heavier/more solid, which is so reassuring.

The Jetta misses out on memory seats and a sunroof, but I believe that's more than made up for by the presence of paddle shifters and a multi link suspension. My only regret with the Jetta is that I didn't test-drive/book it earlier. Give it a spin, I'm sure it's what you're looking for.

As for the extended warranty...the salesman assured me that it was being released soon once the Passat is out and I will be able to avail of it. I don't know what to make of it, but some things in life you must take on face value, so I'm taking the leap of faith. Good luck in your hunt!
Thanks for the thoughtful post. The points you mention mirror my thoughts. Could you do me a favor and PM me the details of the deal you're being offered for the Highline DSG? For some reason, the Bangalore dealers are more keen to push the manual transmission

Quote:
Originally Posted by sagarpadaki View Post
I would suggest you the Jetta manual diesel highline model. It ticks all your boxes

Remap it and you have a monster in your hands. The multi link rear suspension wins hands down. That is one thing which will keep the rear occupants happy.

Also no point in going for the petrol car. Diesels outweigh the petrol by large margin
Thank you. I test drove the Jetta and the multi-link transmission is a big plus. I'm not sure that I would remap it though since it has adequate power and driveability for now. Who knows, maybe 2 years from now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VellVector View Post
I don't know if you are particular about a sedan, I was looking for an everyday use car for myself a few months back with similar requirements to yours.

I frequently travel between Bomasandara and Peenya (My factories are in these 2 places). So I needed a car that could handle the atrocious roads of industrial Bangalore. But I also travel everyday on the Hosur Elevated tollway since my office is in Koramangala, so I also wanted a car with good high speed dynamics and stopping power. My bigger car is an E270 CDI and I would love to use it everyday on the tollway but the roads in Bomasandara and especially in Peenya make it very difficult to do so. (I do not know where in Bangalore you travel - so these kinds of roads may not be an issue for you).

I used to use an i20 CRDI Asta for my daily car but it got into an incident in May.

So I finally bought an XUV 500 and I think that it may suit your daily requirements, it has the benefits of an SUV being high and big, but with it's monocoque construction it has good high speed dynamics, nothing compared to sedan but nothing to scoff at either. It has all the bells and whistles in terms of gadgets and most importantly it has the entire SRS system with 6 airbags, ABS, ESP, EBD, etc. The engine is sufficiently powerful but the one thing I do not like and I'm sure you will have an issue (after using the fabulous DSG gearbox) with is the slightly notchy manual gear box.

I would recommend you take a look at it, it does not match up to a Laura in terms of build quality or interior quality buy so far I'm very happy with mine.

In terms of the Sedans you listed, I think the Elantra is the best bet, it is a beautiful car and I think the main advantage over the others is the Hyundai A.S.S.
I understand where you're coming from. However, I'm placing some accent on refinement in the transmission/handling and believe that it rules out most SUV's except maybe those like the Yeti and the CRV.

As for the Elantra, it is a car which my head dictates, but the heart just cannot accept.
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