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New Renault Fluence vs Skoda Octavia vs Hyundai Elantra: Spec Comparison


Is the updated Fluence a better match to newer offerings like the Octavia and Elantra? Let's see how they stack up on paper

 

 

New Renault Fluence front action shot

 

 

 

Renault has recently given the Fluence a facelift and with it, injected a new lease of life into the very attractive sedan. The Fluence though has some tough competition to spar with. You’ve got the very capable Octavia in one corner and the wholesome package the Elantra offers in the other. Can the focused approach of the Fluence win it some premium sedan buyers or will it continue to stay at the fringes of this segment?

 

To begin with, the Fluence has half the battle lost. You only get the Renault as a diesel with a manual gearbox. So if you are in the market for a petrol, you can’t buy a Fluence. If you are planning to buy an automatic, you can’t buy a Fluence either. And this is where the Skoda Octavia and Hyundai Elantra are set to gain with their wide variety of engine and transmission options. So let’s restrict this spec comparison to the diesel variants mated to the manual gearbox.

 

 

New Renault Fluence Front

 

 

 

Engines 

 

The Renault Fluence has a 1.5-litre engine under the hood that Renault uses all the way down from the Pulse to the Scala and the Duster. In the Fluence and Duster, it comes with a variable geometry turbocharger that bumps the power up considerably to 110PS and the torque rating stands at 240Nm. But in comparison to its rivals, the Fluence falls considerably short on power. The Hyundai Elantra comes in second in the power and torque battle. The 1.6-litre diesel mill in the Hyundai doles out 128PS of power and 260Nm of torque. The Skoda Octavia is the performance king in this shootout with impressive power and torque figures of 140PS and 320Nm respectively from its larger 2.0-litre unit. All cars come mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. 

 

 

Skoda Octavia front action shot

 

 

 

Variants and features

 

The Fluence comes in two variants, the Hyundai Elantra in three and the Skoda Octavia in two. The biggest problem with the Fluence when it was launched was the low-rent interiors in the diesel model. Renault has changed that with the facelift. The facelifted base Fluence gets projector headlamps, LED Daytime Running Lights(DLRs), rear parking sensors, fabric seats, keyless entry with push button start/stop, cruise control, audio system with the quirky audio control stalk behind the steering wheel and Bluetooth connectivity. On the safety front, the base E2 Fluence gets ABS with Brake Assist and front airbags. The top-end E4 Fluence gets chrome inserts on the exterior and interior, front parking sensors, leather upholstery, variable rain sensing wipers, dusk sensing headlamps, automatic climate control, rear AC vents, lumbar support for the driver’s seat, electrically foldable ORVMs and a set of tweeters for the audio system over the base variant. Safety-wise, ESP and side-chest level airbags are added on.

 

The Octavia with the manual gearbox comes only in the base Active and mid-spec Ambition variants as the top-end Elegance variant is reserved for the automatic. The Octavia Active gets fabric upholstery, rear AC vents and an entertainment system. ABS, EBD and Brake Assist, traction control but without an electronic differential and two airbags are part of the safety package. It’s clearly impressive on the safety front. But in terms of features, push button start-stop, projector headlamps, DLRs, rear parking sensors, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and steering mounted audio controls are all missing; stuff that you get in the E2 Fluence. The Octavia Ambition gets different alloy wheel designs, wood inserts on the inside, leather upholstery, dusk sensing headlamps, rain sensing wipers, steering mounted audio controls, halogen DLRs, ESP, electronic differential lock in the traction system and prefill hydraulic braking system. Again, on the safety front, this gets better with the Ambition variant. A touchscreen entertainment system, automatic climate control is part of the package as well.

 

 

Hyundai Elantra front static

 

 

 

Moving on to the Elantra, as you’d expect with a Hyundai, there are more variants available – base, S and SX. The base variant gets fabric seats, automatic climate control, an entertainment system with steering mounted audio controls, front airbags, ABS and EBD, and rear parking sensors. The Elantra doesn’t get DLRs or projector headlamps on any variant. The mid-spec S variant gets a rear view camera, push-button start/stop and front fog lamps over the base variant. The top-end SX variant gets ESP, side and curtain airbags, vehicle stability management system, leather upholstery, power adjustable driver’s seat, front seats ventilation and cruise control. The Fluence and Elantra don’t get a touch screen entertainment system like in the Octavia.

 

 

New Renault Fluence Rear

 

 

 

Price

 

With so many competitors in the segment, pricing is a crucial aspect. Let’s have a spec-for-spec comparison of the diesel manual variants’ ex-showroom Delhi prices of these three cars – 

 

Variant

Renault Fluence

Skoda Octavia

Hyundai Elantra

Base

Rs 13.99 lakh

Rs 15.55 lakh

Rs 13.15 lakh

Mid

-

Rs 16.55 lakh

Rs 13.87 lakh

Top

Rs 15.49 lakh

-

Rs 15.05 lakh

 

 

A glance at these prices tilts the scales in favour of the Hyundai Elantra. If you seek safety and performance, but at a much higher sticker price, the Octavia is the car for you. For a well-kitted base variant, the Fluence makes a good case for itself. But spec-for-spec value for money is best delivered in the Hyundai Elantra. No wonder it’s the best selling car in its segment. The Fluence is priced quite competitively though and can give the Elantra a run for its money with a better developed Renault network than when the car was launched in 2011. Now it gets to a toss up between the flair of the French sedan or the emotive Korean offering.

Recommended Variant : Fluence E4