Thursday, 7 February 2013

Chevrolet Sail UVA review How practical is the hatch

Chevrolet enjoyed success in India with Beat only.The rest of the cars were flop selling under 1000 units per month. The rest of the cars have pretty old design and mechanicals. Chevrolet desperately needs a replacement for the weak Aveo UVA.

Sail UVA

So General Motors(Chevrolet company) in co-operation with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation(SAIC) decided to launch the Sail UVA to India. SAIC tweaked the suspension and changed the platform for Indian market with some clever engineering. The Sail UVA is available in petrol and diesel models in a total of seven variants. The 1. l multi-jet diesel was especially made for India. GM would have expected to get back in the game with the new Sail UVA. The car has a competitive pricing as well. But will the Sail UVA be the right path for GM to strengthen in India? Lets conduct a test-drive and review in India.

How about Exteriors

When you at the Sail UVA you will love its simple and sensible exterior design. The Sail UVA has been designed in China by GM and SAIC. So a Chinese designed car. But the Sail doesn't look so Chinese, it has been revamped to suit Indians. GM has neither gone with any detailing nor they added any funkiness to the Sail like beat.
The front has traditional Chevrolet trademarks with the catchy two part grille and angular headlamps. The some lines flow elegantly to through bonnet to the grille. The round fog lamps adds some sharpness to the car.

Chervolet Sail UVa rear
Chevrolet Sail UVA rear 3 Quarter
In the side profile you can see neatly carved out lines with elegance. The wheels are not alloys like in other cars which reduce the sportiness of the car. The door handles are cheap lid open type ones while the competition gets more modern pull up tye ones.
The rear has quite a box stance which won't be pleasing you. It looks like car has suddenly been given a boxy sheet at the rear which is pretty bland. The tail lamps which are vertically mounted are a let back too.
The front of the car looks simple and sleekly, but overall you may find the exteriors bit pale and lacking modern styling.


Lets get inside the Cabin


The cabin offers lots and lots of space may be more than some mid size salons. But the dashboard designing and the built quality bay be too generic. The dashboard looks conventional there is nothing sporty about it. Still the pitched up central console and the contours looks good, The dashboard is very wide and extends from the window line.
Sai; UVa meter console
Sail UVA meter Console
While the color combination is good the surface is too hard to touch. You can see many cost cutting features on the Sail UVA like the basic wiper stalks which are carried out from the spark. The yellow illumination for the meter console looks good and the speedo is readable. but the digital tachometer and other signals are not so readable.
Sail UVA
Sail UVA dashboard

When you are seated at the driver position, the seat is comfortable and supportive. They are tall to offering good visibility too, short drivers won't complain about the lack of driver height adjust. Tall drivers may be a bit fussed with the under thigh support. The power windows are placed near the gear lever which is hard to access.
The rear seats too offer lots of space. But the seats are not that comfortable with hard cushioning. You get good amount of legroom, shoulder room and headroom(may be bit tight for tall guys) yet the under thigh support is not so admirable. Flip open the boot and you get 248 l of boot space which si ample enough. Flip the 60 40 rear seats and you get a completely flat floor to store your belongings.
The car offers necessary safety features like ABS and dual airbags. You get a CD player with blue tooth and USB connectivity as well. But you will miss Climate Control and steering mounted controls which are available on other hatch.


Driver Fun


Sail has a 1.2 l petrol engine and a new 1.3 l multi jet diesel. First lets check on the petrol engine. The engine initially is the same twin cam on the beat but has been re-tuned to give you 85 HP which is on par with the Swift. The engine is responsive in the lower speeds and adopts linear power delivery which enhances city driving. At highways straight line speeds are good with the car reaching 100 km in 14.6 seconds with its flat performance making it faster than the Swift.
But during regular highway speeds if you want a sudden acceleration such as an overtaking maneuver you need to shift the gears up. The gears are a bit rubbery to use but okay. The car is too audible after 4000rpm so you keep on hearing annoying noise at speeding.
The 1.3 l Fiat Diesel engine will be Indians favorite. The diesel engine is the same multi-jet Diesel engine sourced from Fiat which is currently powering Swift, Tata Vista and Fiat Punto. But GM has tun some re-engineering to the engine. they have added a new fixed geometry turbo, and air filter to deliver max power of 77 HP(2 HP more than swift). Through this diesel engine GM has reduced all the negatives we felt in other multi-jets. The car is more responsive than the swift from the lower end but you don't get the bottom end grunt of the i10 or the Figo. You won't feel the turbo lag bellow 2000 rpm like in the Swift. Power delivery is pretty linear too. After 2000 rpm you won;t feel the sudden burst which can be annoying in other multi-jets. The gear box is fun to use, but not precise. So you will shift into wrong gears from in the beginning.
You get strong power band till 4200 rpm which makes the engine responsive at mid range and bottom range. Overtaking is easy in this engine too. But you won't get the enthusiastic top end of power that you get on the Swift.
We did not test the mileage of the petrol but the diesel gives 14.2 kmpl in the city and 20.1 kmpl on the highway under regular driving conditions. May be up to 22 while driving efficiently.

What about the Ride Comfort and Handling

Ride quality is the key strength of the Sail UVA. The suspension has been reworked for India and that results in an unshattered ride. The dampers have been softened the chassis is stiff and the tires are tall too. And so the car easily slides through the undulations the Indian roads offer. You can say the car just flattens the road with the fantastic suspension.With 170 mm of ground clearance don't be afraid to take rough roads.
The car is stable at straight line speeds , you can have some fun in high speeds, but softened dampers create a bit of vertical which will cuts off your fun a bit. The Hydraulic steering of the car is fantastic and gives you plenty of feedbacks in city and curvy roads. but it sucks up more fuel. While cornering really hard(mostly for pro drivers) the body roll will affect the composure. But that doesn't matter for regular Indian families. No body will drive harsh with their family on the board. If you are an enthusiastic youth who needs thrill go and buy a Swift.

Our Conclusion


The Sail UVA is the perfect choice for practicality conscious Indians. it has all the things that a normal Indian needs. It is spacious to accommodate a family, offers a sweet ride and has god engines to use in city. The Sail's exterior styling, cabin design and short features list will be a drawback. But it has safety features like ABS and airbags to keep you and your buddies safe. Interiors are very funtional appart from the bland design.

Sail UVA is more practical than the Swift. The petrol version is even faster than the Swift. So if you prefer practicality go for Sail , if you prefer sportiness take Swift or some other car.



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