General Motors India hasn’t ever been really successful in the fast growing entry level sedan segment of our car market. The first small sedan from GM India, the Opel Corsa, could never be as successful as the now defunct Maruti Suzuki Esteem. The Chevrolet Aveo, which can be rightly called the successor of the Corsa, too couldn’t bring many customers to GM India dealerships.
While the Aveo sedan and Aveo UV-A hatchback were pretty well sorted out cars, the lack of an oil burner proved to be an Archilles heel for the duo.
GM India, however, is not the one to be demoralized by the poor sales-performance of the Aveo siblings and have launched the Sail sedan and hatchback in the Indian car market.
The Sail sedan, which is GM India’s weapon to fight with the high selling Maruti Dzire, has been aggressively priced and is well-kitted out to challenge the more established rivals in the entry sedan segment.
We recently drove the car to find out if it is sufficiently potent to challenge the high selling Dzire.
Chevrolet Sail Diesel Sedan Review
Space & Styling
The Sail sedan looks bog similar to its UV-A hatchback sibling till the B pillars, after which it gets different rear doors, a boot and chunky tail lamps. The car also gets new design alloy wheels to further differentiate it from the hatchback sibling.
The new Chevrolet split grille, upswept headlamps, a neat crease on the hood, a quarter glass at the A pillar, swooping roofline and 8 spoke alloy wheels contribute to a pleasant, albeit conservative, exterior design.
Full points to Sail for having a well crafted boot which gels pretty well with rest of the car. No Swift Dzire like quirkiness here.
GM has decided to keep the interiors of the car very similar to its hatchback sibling and has used the same panels and hence, you get the same dashboard layout, centre fascia and instrument console.
The plastics are of decent quality and the shades of beige give the interiors a feeling of being airy. GM India has adorned the interiors with faux-silver tid-bits to try and inject some premium-ness .
The Sail U-VA, which is positioned a full segment lower to its sedan sister, has won a lot of acclaim for having one of the more spacious cabins in its segment. The Sail sedan though, which by any means isn’t cramped, breaks no new ground in its segment and please head to a Tata showroom if you won’t settle for anything less than ‘limo-like’ rear legroom.
The Sail sedan has sufficient bootspace which seems adequate for swallowing the entire luggage you might need to carry on a weekend family holiday.
SPACE & STYLING- 7/10- Safely styled but pleasant interiors with sufficient space for 5.
Comfort and convenience
Ergonomics play a major role in making the car a wee bit more comfortable and enjoyable. It is saddening to see many manufacturers struggling with getting the packaging and ergonomics right.
GM though, has done pretty well in this department and the Sail sedan can be a good companion on long journeys.
The driver’s seat, though lacking in height adjustment, is adequately comfortable and offers a good lumbar support. The rear seat too is quite comfy and only the tallest of the passengers would yearn for more legroom. The rear seat passengers also get a foldable armrest to further enhance the comfort quotient for rear occupants.
The Sail also offers some storage space underneath its rear bench and comes with many storage spaces inside the cabin. The front door pockets are deep enough to carry a few magazines and have a dedicated spot for holding a bottle of water.
However, like almost every car, the Sail has a few shortcomings in this department. The first to catch our attention were the electric windows switches that have been positioned near the gear. While this isn’t a deal breaker for prospective customers, it sure takes some time getting used to the unusual placement of these switches. Other bits that take away the points from Sail are the lack of a dead pedal, no driver’s seat height adjustment and a high loading lip for boot.
The Chevrolet Sail comes with a long list of features that includes Body Coloured Bumpers, Power Steering, Air Conditioning, Power Windows, Power Adjust for ORVMs, Day and Night IRVM, Remote Fuel Filler + Boot Release, Engine Immobilizer, Body Coloured ORVMs, Foglamps, Rear Antenna, Chrome Inside Door Handles, Chrome Parking Brake Button, Leather Wrapped Steering+Wheel, Cigar Lighter, Key in reminder, Bluetooth enabled Integrated Audio System with a set of four speakers and keyless entry.
The list of Safety features on the top end variant include ABS, Driver and Passenger Airbags, Security Alarm System and Speed Sensitive Autolock system.
Comfort and convenience- 8/10: Comfortable interiors but we need a dead pedal and conventionally placed power window switches.
Powering the Chevrolet Sail sedan diesel is the same 1.3-litre, Multijet common rail engine that is found in most other diesel cars in the country. The Sail’s engine comes with a Fixed Geometry Turbo and has a peak power output of 77bhp.
Chevrolet India has done a good job with tuning this motor and the power delivery is pretty linear. There is no jack-hammer boost (a la Maruti Diesel cars) when the Turbo kicks in. This makes the car easier to drive in crowded streets and the smooth and precise throws from gearbox makes the car even a more relaxing drive.
We took the car through its paces and a speedo indicated 150kmph wasn’t too big an ask. Such is the driveability of this car that it can be driven at speeds as low as 20kmph in fourth gear (Not something that we advise).
An ARAI certified fuel economy figure of 22.1kpl should keep the ‘average-conscious’ buyers happy.
ENGINE- 9/10- Easily among the better tuned version of the 1.3 Multijet..
Ride, Handling & Braking
Handling and road manners are something that can make or break a deal for prospective customers.
The Sail offers a comfortable ride and soaks in most of the craters that our roads are generous with offering. The Sail sedan is easily among the best riding small sedans out there.
Coming to the handling department, the Sail has a very light steering that doesn’t gain sufficient amount of weight at higher speeds and won’t encourage you to push it hard around the corners. The car also rolls a fair bit and leaves something to be desired when it comes to the handling capabilities.
The car gets a Front Disc-Rear Drum combo that provides sufficient braking force to haul down the car from triple digit speeds. The brakes feel reassuring and the optional ABS further enhances the braking capabilities.
RIDE, HANDLING, BRAKING 8/10- Top notch ride quality and decent brakes but we won’t want to take this car to a race circuit.