The Chevrolet Sail U-VA will be the first model to come out of the GM-SAIC joint venture. This car, which will replace the Aveo U-VA will ive into a cut-throat and ruthlessly competitive segment. It will face stiff competition from considerably talented cars, like the Maruti Swift, Ford Figo and Toyota Etios Liva. So does it have enough oomph to take on the rest? Read on to find out.
The Sail, though nice looking, is styled to fit the ‘please all, displease none’ mould, and as a result looks a bit too generic and tame. The lines of the car are neat, the skinning is very modern and there are no unnecessarily exaggerated features. The angled headlights wrap around the nose quite nicely and the rising windowline makes the Sail look tipped forward and sporty. The rear isn’t as attractive and the vertically aligned tail-lights look a bit old fashioned now.
The Sail’s chassis has been engineered to provide extremely high levels of rigidity. GM’s engineers in India have also completely redone the suspension to suit our roads, which call for more ground clearance; hence raising the ride height of the cars was essential. The petrol version stands at 171mm, and the diesel at a lower (but still very high) 168mm. Taller, stiffer springs have been used and the front anti-roll bar has been beefed up in accordance with the higher Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). The dampers have been softened, however, keeping ride comfort in mind, so GM seems to have got the basics right.
GM plans to manufacture the Sail in India eventually with an extremely high level of local content. However, for now, localisation stands at 42 percent, with a much higher 65 percent on the cards in the near future.
The first impression of the interior is that it’s not particularly upmarket and the plastics are not very rich. Also, the doorpads are a bit shallow, the power window buttons are placed ahead of the gearlever and the glovebox is quite small. The interior is, however, very functional and has a restrained maturity. The protruding central console, with its large vents, is particularly attractive. Finished in dull silver, it contrasts with the rest of the dash quite nicely, and functionality of the buttons and switches is also good.
The front seats are quite comfortable and well bolstered, and though there is no height adjustment, outside visibility is good thanks to a high-set seat. The rear doors open wide enough to make entry into the back quite easy, and you will be amazed by the amount of legroom on offer. Headroom isn’t as generous though, possibly due to the sloping roofline. The back seat felt a bit too flat and firm and lacked the plushness of the Swift’s seats, which are the benchmark for comfort. To make up, the seating position at the rear is brilliant thanks largely to a centrally placed fuel tank. Boot space is pretty decent and the Sail can swallow 248 litres of luggage. In terms of safety, the Sail is decently well equipped and comes with two front airbags and ABS on the top-end version.
Watch video review here
Price Range (in lakhs)*
Chassis & Body
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Issue: 166 | June 2013
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