Volkswagen Virtus vs Skoda Slavia vs Honda City vs Maruti Ciaz

The 1.5 TSI DSG is the most powerful in the segment and makes for the most pleasurable driving experience. Tough to choose between the Virtus & Slavia.

Volkswagen Virtus

Volkswagen Virtus Pros:

  • A ‘complete’ car that just might bring some love back to sedans
  • Classy exterior & interior styling, along with solid build quality
  • Cabin has good legroom on offer, supportive seats, perfect ergonomics & enough storage
  • 521-litre boot is the largest in its segment (along with the Slavia’s)
  • 148 BHP engine makes the Virtus among the most fun-to-drive sedans in the segment
  • Sporty 1.0L & 1.5L turbo-petrols are mated to smooth transmissions
  • Sorted suspension offers a balanced ride & handling package
  • Safety features include 6 airbags, ESC, 3-point seatbelts for all, electronic differential lock, brake disc wiping, multi-collision brake and more
  • Features like active cylinder tech, ventilated seats, sunroof, wireless Android Auto and CarPlay, auto headlamps & wipers etc.
  • 6-year extended warranty & 4-year all-inclusive service packages available

Volkswagen Virtus Cons:

  • No 1.5L diesel is a major disadvantage in a world where petrol costs over 100 bucks/litre
  • DQ200 DSG transmission has a history of poor reliability & breakdowns in India
  • No MT option available with the 1.5L petrol. The Slavia offers this combination, as does the City
  • Backseat better for 2 healthy adults and a child, rather than 3 adults
  • Lovely 1.5L TSI is only available on the top variant. Should have been there in the mid-trim too
  • Interior quality doesn’t feel up to old-school VW standards. Body-coloured interior highlights are polarising too
  • Missing some features such as a subwoofer, driving modes (sport), 360-degree camera & electric driver's seat adjustment
  • Turbo-petrols are very sensitive to driving style. FE will drop drastically when you drive hard
  • VW’s after-sales service can be a hit or miss. The brand’s long-term reliability can be patchy as well
  • Slavia's 'clever' touches are missing = no spot on top of the dashboard to place a deity, no smartphone holders on the front seatbacks, no ticket clip on the windshield, no elastic band in the door pad to keep items in place, or even something as simple as the small reflective tapes on the doors

Link to official review

Skoda Slavia

Link to official review

Honda City

Honda City Hybrid Pros

  • 20+ km/l fuel economy in city driving conditions, giving it lower running costs than a diesel!
  • Seamless Hybrid system that makes driving a breeze. A car you will enjoy driving in traffic
  • Tractable power unit that delivers performance on par with internal combustion counterparts
  • Loaded with safety tech such as ‘Honda Sensing’ consisting of lane-keeping assist, lane departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, auto high beam, collision mitigation braking system as well as ESP, 6 airbags and a lane watch camera
  • This generation of the City feels grown up in terms of overall feel & exterior dimensions
  • Spacious cabin will keep your family happy. A sedan you’d love to be chauffeur-driven in as well
  • Compliant ride quality in the city. High-speed bounciness (rear) reduced due to beefed-up suspension & battery pack weight
  • Honda's proven reliability is comforting, as the hybrid system is complex
  • Lower emissions in the city. Will appeal to the environmentally-conscious customer

Honda City Hybrid Cons

  • Not a car for enthusiasts - it feels like an alien experience and is completely disconnected
  • Honda Sensing ADAS system is too intrusive for Indian highways; requires the driver to adapt to it and be comfortable using it
  • Boot space is compromised due to the battery pack and spare tyre. Down from 506 to 306 litres!
  • We’re worried about the price. Honda is usually optimistic with pricing, and there is no lower variant without the ADAS features
  • Build quality still feels light and not as reassuring as competitors
  • Overall road and tyre NVH levels should have been better to keep up with the refined & silent hybrid powertrain
  • Missing features for this price point = powered seats with ventilation, rear side sunblinds, wireless charging…
  • Honda City Diesel will give you comparable running costs at a far lower price
  • Some misses such as the puny 185-section tyres (upgrade is mandatory), outdated audio head-unit, ICE sound quality is just average

Link to City Hybrid official Review

Link to Initial observations

Maruti Ciaz

Maruti Ciaz Pros:

  • Clean styling & big footprint. Among the longest & widest sedans in its class
  • Value-for-money pricing that undercuts almost all rivals
  • Spacious cabin with lots of practical features. The rear legroom is particularly impressive
  • Petrol variant has now improved, thanks to the new 1.5L motor
  • Soft, compliant ride quality. A suspension that's tuned for comfort
  • Big 510 litre boot will swallow your airport & holiday luggage
  • Maruti’s excellent after-sales service, wide dealer network & fuss-free ownership experience
  • Equipment such as the automatic LED headlamps, DRLs, 7" touchscreen ICE, rear sunshade, cruise control, telematics system etc.

Maruti Ciaz Cons:

  • New 1.5L petrol is rather mediocre. City & Verna petrol engines are much superior
  • 4-speed Automatic gearbox feels old & outdated. No Diesel AT option either
  • Petrol Ciaz has gotten more expensive by 34k – 65k (diesel has actually become cheaper!)
  • Uninvolving to drive. Enthusiasts, look elsewhere
  • Average under-thigh support of the low rear seat. Also, limited rear headroom for 6 footers
  • Light build & ordinary interior quality. The game has moved on with newer competitors
  • Maruti has missed the opportunity of a true top-end variant with 6 airbags, sunroof, auto-wipers & more

Link to official review

Hyundai Verna

Hyundai Verna Pros:

  • A true all-rounder. Styling packs appeal too
  • The overall package is well-priced. Offers good value for money
  • Refined diesel & petrol engines mated to smooth MTs & ATs
  • Precise build & quality (including interiors) are easily among the segment-best
  • Suspension delivers a compliant ride & neutral road manners
  • Loaded with the kit! Hands-free boot, cooled seats, sunroof, rear sunshade, AutoLink etc.
  • Dual airbags, ABS & ISOFIX mounts are standard on all variants. SX(O) gets 6 airbags
  • Hyundai's reliability, competent after-sales & 3-year unlimited km warranty

Hyundai Verna Cons:

  • Rear seat isn't as spacious as that of the City & Ciaz. SX(O)'s hard seatback makes it worse
  • Missing essentials! Reach-adjustable steering, auto wipers, auto-folding ORVMs…
  • On select variants, the diesel motor carries a steep premium over the petrol (SX = 1.35 lakhs)
  • Petrol AT isn't as fuel-efficient as a couple of its rivals
  • While the driving experience has improved, some competitors are still more exciting to drive
  • Loses the rear disc brakes that the last-gen Verna was launched with. Braking feel & bite leave a lot to be desired

Link to official review

Link to facelift launch thread

Here's what GTO had to say on the matter:

The 1.5L DSG for me. It's the most powerful in the segment and makes for the most pleasurable driving experience. Tough to choose between the Virtus & Slavia. I personally prefer the styling of the Virtus GT-Line (although Slavia is handsome too) and it would hence be my choice. Would have to figure out a way to add that amplifier & subwoofer from the Slavia though (or an after-market one). Have a good equation with the VW & Skoda dealers in town, so after-sales are not a worry. These are well-rounded sedans with the DSG failure being the biggest concern (I would mentally prepare myself for 1 failure in the warranty period and 1 out of it).

The Honda City CVT is a close second. Damn smooth, reliable & an equal all-rounder. Just that the VW 1.5L turbo-petrol's additional power seals the deal for me.

Ciaz only if I was looking for a beater or purely chauffeur-driven car. Verna only if Diesel AT was a must-have, I see no other reason to pick the Verna now.

Here's what BHPian attinder had to say on the matter:

I have a month-old City CVT With zero flaws or concerns it is boringly perfect. So that would be my pick.

I would not pay the extra premium of e:HEV over the regular City.

German twins have AC issues right now and reliability/maintenance concerns in the long run.

Others on the list are a bit old now.

Here's what BHPian sreerknair had to say on the matter:

I own a City, but if I were to ignore the additional premium on Virtus/Slavia, ignore the reliability concerns of DSG, and have another car in the garage then that 1.5 DSG will be my pick. The colour and body lines on both these cars are amazing as well compared to City. Voted for Virtus.

But if I were to have only one car, then I would still go for City. In Kerala's stop-and-go traffic, a CVT works wonderfully well.

Here's what BHPian Joelinf had to say on the matter:

I will go with the Honda City, for the peace of mind and the safety rating of 4-stars. I don't have to worry about the DSG failures. Also, both the German cars mentioned here don't have the solid nature of the erstwhile Germans. At least, that is how I felt. They are not crash-tested yet as well.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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