Does GM’s re-engineered-for-India Sail U-VA hatchback hit the nail on the head? Read our comprehensive road test review to find out.
The Sail is among the larger cars in its class, with an overall length just under the four-metre mark. But that’s not all. As the large and stretched-out windows establish, GM has endeavoured to maximise space inside the cabin. The result is pretty spectacular, because the Sail feels roomier than many seemingly larger mid-size saloons. This feeling of space is further helped by a dashboard that extends far ahead towards the windscreen. Sadly, the dash itself doesn’t look particularly distinctive, with a design that leans more towards functionality than outright style. Still, the protruding centre console, neat contours and the combination of sand and tan coloured plastics are quite pleasing. What isn’t is the quality of plastics. The hard surfaces feel a bit cheap and are a big letdown. You also won’t like the basic light and wiper stalks that seem to have been plucked from the cheaper Chevy Spark and come without proper rubber boots. Another not-so-nice bit is the instrument console. While the large, analogue speedometer is easy to read, the digital tachometer (standard across the range) beside it is a tad small and not all that legible.
We also didn’t like the awkward positioning of the front power window switches ahead of the gear lever, or the fact that the driver’s seat can’t be adjusted for height. It’s not all that big an issue though, as the high-set seat still allows decent frontal visibility for shorter drivers. For their part, the front seats offer good comfort with nice bolstering, especially for your lower back. If anything, taller drivers may find these seats lacking in thigh support. Rear seat comfort is a mixed bag. While there is more than ample knee and shoulder room, headroom is a tad limited and the firm seat cushioning isn’t all that nice either. The rear seat does get large, fixed headrests, but on the flipside, these tend to impede visibility out the back.
At 248 litres, the boot is also pretty decent and, thanks to a clever mechanism, you can fold the rear seats absolutely flat to further increase the luggage capacity. The fact that the rear seat splits 60:40 only aids the flexibility. However, the Sail doesn’t score too highly on storage space for smaller items in the cabin. It’s got a small glovebox, shallow front door pockets and only a single cup-holder for rear passengers.
Those curious about features will be happy to know that top-end Sail U-VA LTs come with a USB and aux-ready audio player that supports Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming. However, there are no steering-mounted audio controls, and nor is there climate control. Safety equipment comprises dual airbags and ABS.