General Motors has taken a crack at reviving diminishing interest in the Sail sedan by giving it mild cosmetic tweaks both inside and out. The biggest change is that the interiors now sport a dual-tone treatment to make them look more upmarket and to take on the competition better. Other additions include a double-DIN audio system, blackened steering wheel, and chrome surrounds for the AC vents and gear knob. Tweaks on the exterior are harder to spot and limited to slightly redesigned head and tail lamps, and a bit more liberal use of chrome. Prices start at Rs 5.19 lakh for the base petrol variant, going to Rs 7.65 lakh for our range-topping LT ABS diesel test car (prices ex-showroom, Delhi).
My first thought after stepping into the cabin is that the use of lighter shades has definitely made the interiors look plusher. Like before, front seat comfort is good, and visibility from behind the wheel is nice too. However, the seat still doesn’t adjust for height and this may make it a bit difficult for those on the shorter side to find a good driving position. Rear passengers will like the adequate knee room but the seats are short on thigh support, especially when compared to rivals from Maruti, Honda and Hyundai.
On the plus side, the Chevy has a fair bit of storage spaces, with a total of six bottle-holders and a big cubbyhole fore of the gear lever. Despite not being a sub-four-metre sedan, at 370 litres, the boot may not look particularly big on paper, but its wide opening lets you easily stack two large suitcases and then some. As for equipment, the list is adequate, but isn’t exactly extensive for the price — particularly when you compare it with the Hyundai Xcent. So, while you do get goodies like Bluetooth telephony and streaming, you don’t get automatic climate control even on the top-spec car.
The mechanicals remain unchanged, and the 1.3-litre 77bhp diesel mill packs a good punch in its mid-range. Low-end torque isn’t bad either, making it fairly responsive in both the city and on the open roads. On the move, the light steering requires minimal effort in the city, but feels a bit too light on the highways and requires your hands to be firmly on the wheel at speed. On the plus side, the Sail rides quite well, and unless you drive over sharper edges at speed, most imperfections are absorbed silently — it’s one of the better-riding sedans in the segment.
All said, the updated Sail diesel still is an interesting package. It doesn’t look like a truncated sedan, is quite spacious, and the punchy motor makes it fairly good to drive as well. That said, the updated cabin, though nicer, still lacks the premium feel of some of its rivals (plastics and switchgear in particular feel a bit low-rent). And we would have liked a bit more equipment as part of the facelift — this would have armed the Sail better to take on its competition.