While the Elantra and the Corolla Altis offer a petrol and a diesel engine each, the Octavia comes with a choice of two petrol and one diesel engine. On paper, the Octavia is the most powerful sedan of the lot, with even its smallest engine (1.4-litre petrol) making more power than the Corolla Altis' 1.8-litre petrol and just shy of Elantra's 2.0-litre petrol. In the diesel comparison, Octavia has the biggest engine (2.0-litre) and dominates the Toyota and Hyundai cars.
Except for Toyota, both the other carmakers offer automatic transmissions with their diesel sedans, but the DSG box in the Octavia is by far one of the best automatic transmissions present in the world. In the petrol range, all three cars offer automatic transmissions. In terms of fuel efficiency, Skoda again makes its mark with a highest claimed mileage of 16.8 and 14.7kmpl for its petrol engines. In the diesel range, however, the Elantra comes with a best-in-class mileage of 22.57kmpl (MT), followed closely by the Corolla Altis and the Octavia.
In terms of mechanical capabilities, the Skoda Octavia takes the pole position.
In terms of the exterior body dimensions, Octavia is the longest, widest and the tallest of the three. It also has the biggest boot (590 litres), which can be extended further by folding the rear seats. Inside too, the Octavia's cabin feels the most premium and spacious. Seating three at the rear is not a problem in any of these cars. Another important aspect while driving on Indian roads is the ground clearance, for that is the feature that takes care of the ubiquitous potholes. The Toyota Corolla Altis stands 175mm above the ground, which is huge and will take you over most hurdles. The Elantra has a decent ground clearance of 165mm but the Octavia comes with just 155mm of space between the tarmac and the underlining, which means that screeching noises will be heard often.
In terms of equipment, all the three cars will in no way leave you wanting more. The Elantra comes with front-seat ventilation system, along with a dual-zone climate control. The Octavia also comes with a dual-zone climate control system and also has a 12-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat; but the Altis only has an automatic AC and an eight-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat. All the three cars have touchscreen infotainment systems which can connect with pretty much any gadget you own, and buttons on the steering wheel to control it. Also, while the Corolla Altis has two airbags, the Elantra has six and the Octavia has eight to keep you safe. The Octavia comes with the most wizardry to keep you stable and planted on the road.
All three cars come with their unique set of skills. Each one would suit a certain type of buyer personality. While the Altis has the reliability of Toyota and the tag of the world's largest selling car, the Elantra looks beautiful and comes with a lot of gizmos. The Octavia is the most powerful, looks elegant, comes loaded with features, and has the best cabin and build, but is two lakhs costlier than the Elantra. So, if you have the bucks in your bank, Octavia is the one for you; but if you are in the mood to save your hard-earned cash, the Elantra and Altis are not far behind.