Toyota Corolla Altis vs Chevrolet Cruze vs Skoda Laura
Toyota has finally plonked a diesel heart in the venerable Corolla, but how does Toyota's latest oilburner fare against its closest rivals? Abhishek Nigam rounds up the contenders
The Czech's have been synonymous with quality ever since their inception here in India and it's no different even now. Getting seated in the large captain seats is a very comfortable affair. The fascia is dominated by the largish audio console while all the knobs now sport chrome rings around them. The Laura was already a spacious car and can easily accommodate 3 adults, however the center passenger's legroom is restricted considerably due to the rear a/c vents. There are things missing though. For starters, the steering wheel feels nice and meaty but is devoid of any kind of audio controls. What pinches even more is that even hatches like the Swift which cost less than half of the Laura's price include that feature.
Press the Start/Stop button and the 2.0 litre VCDi unit in the Cruze awakes with a typical diesel clatter but settles down to a nice idle once the engine warms up. Sourced from Italian engine builders VM Motori, the 2.0 litre common rail diesel engine is force fed via a variable geometry turbocharger which boosts output to a 150 PS @ 4000 rpm and a very impressive 327 Nm of torque.
The Laura has just received a major tweak under the hood recently as well. The 1.9 litre Pump Dusse has been dumped in favour of more modern CRDI units. For the base models there is the SOHC unit pumping out a 110 horses @ 4200 rpm and a decent 250 Nm of torque @ 1500 rpm. But the real party piece is the DOHC unit that pumps out a 140 PS @ 4000 rpm and a tyre balding 320 Nm of torque.
A look at the specs of the Toyota's engine may seem like it's a complete write off especially when compared to the other monstrous duo, but there is much more to this engine than just outright horsepower. The smallest of the D-4D series engines is also one of the most technologically advanced. Pumping out all of 88.4 PS @ 3800 rpm and 205 Nm of rotational force @ 2800 rpm, the engine makes a very linear and absolutely flat torque curve. There is another ace in the pack as well. The Corolla's transmission also features a very smooth shifting 6-speed manual gearbox.
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