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Old 28th January 2010, 22:58   #1
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Default Linea and City: An Ergonomics Comparo

After the stunning looks of Linea wear off and you step in, you are greeted by an anticlimax of 'cramped' (for the class) rear space. I've been baffled by why Fiat would do this to such a big (huuuge, actually) and lovely car. Is it more exaggerated perception or real facts? I went on a fact finding exercise and here are the results. The comparison is with ANHC because most people compare these two cars. I tweaked line sketches of both cars from their profile photos to a reduced scale of 1:100 and compared them. The downscaled dimensions are faithful to a max error of 2-3 mm over 4500 mm. So here goes.

Linea (L: 4560 mm, H: 1487 mm, WB: 2603 mm):
Linea and City: An Ergonomics Comparo-linea_sketch.jpg

City (L: 4420 mm, H: 1470 mm, WB: 2660 mm...hmmm?):
Linea and City: An Ergonomics Comparo-city_sketch.jpg

And the superimpose (green/blue lines Linea, red for City). Note how similar both cars are:
Linea and City: An Ergonomics Comparo-linea_city_comparo_sketch.jpg

Yellow ovals 1 & 2 show bigger windows of Linea. Steering for both are similarly placed as are all doors, ORVM and most other things except the extended derriere of Linea. Circle 3 showing longer WB for City made me go back through both cars' websites and recheck the figures and yes, the longer Linea has a shorter WB than the City.
The longer WB means more cabin space for the City (if intelligently managed). In this case, it seems to have been used for liberating more space in front footwell since rest everything is a good overlap.
Purple line 4 is the rear seat backrest for Linea and Line 5 is for City. Instantly, more rear legroom for City here. Also, the greater recline would lengthen headroom. The Linea rear passenger has lost out on the view of rear quarter glass which is available for the City passenger. Part of the claustrophobic feeling is explained, no? But there's more.
Take a look at the interior of both cars.

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The photo of Linea interior is taken to hide limited rear legroom. If the front seat is brought to the same position as in the City's pic, rear legroom would be severely reduced. Imagine if tall drivers push it fully back. Apart from this, the pushed back front seat would eat into the rear window space and the claustrophobic feeling is enhanced. For short and medium height drivers, the middle positioned driver seat would be closer to the dash and the steering thus explaining the in-your-face steering column feeling reported by some people, especially those who found the interior space otherwise satisfactory. But for these drivers, this would remain true for other cars too.

The forward positioning of rear seats in Linea and the long rear end should liberate humongous boot space but oops, it has 500 L of it compared to the 506 L of the City. Either the boot space in Linea is poorly managed (boomy sound in 200-300Hz range in rear speakers...hmmm?) or one of these figures is simply not true.

ALL this said, how much of a concern would this restricted rear space pose? Not many would push the driver's seat fully back, most would keep it in some middle position (considering the average height of Indians), and a few would keep it a little more forward. On the other hand, one doesn't expect economy space in a looong car like this. Then again, one doesn't expect a small engine of 1.3/1.4 in a heavy car like this. But THEN again, one doesn't get a big (and loaded to the teeth) car like this at the economy price of Linea and this price has to reflect somewhere. So we get some compromise on plastic quality here and there, some lack of fit/finish alongwith the less than luxurious room.
This economy vs luxury logic got me thinking: if you DO pay the higher price to acquire a similary big car (give and take a few 4-5 centimeters of overall length), so that you can be chauffer driven while sprawled on the rear seat, DO you get a luxuriously spacious cabin? Some comparison is called for:

Octi Cedia Crolla Optr SX4 cClass Civic City Linea
4507 4595 4530 4500 4490 4526 4545 4420 4560 L
1731 1695 1705 1725 1735 1728 1750 1695 1730 W
1455 1455 1490 1445 1570 1426 1450 1470 1487 H
2512 2600 2600 2600 2500 2715 2700 2660 2603 WB
0134 0175 0170 0173 0190 0130 0170 0160 0165 GC
0820 0850 0920 0880 0870 0870 0930 0920 0860 Max rear legroom[all mm]

Sometimes you do get luxury, sometimes not, regardless of the money. However, the point is not economy. The point is ergonomics. What did you do with all that space Fiat? We wouldn't have minded a little smaller boot at all for those extra 5 cm of rear legroom.
Other tidbits:
Note the high and aft positioning of gear knob in Linea, this would lead to more acutely bent elbow during gearshift and cause driver's hand to brush co-passenger. Also, the distance from the center armrest is less which would foul and force you keep armrest up in city driving. The door armrests look angled downwards at a funny angle. Also note the neat middle headrest at the rear.
My 2 cents.
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Old 28th January 2010, 23:27   #2
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Awesome comparison.

As concluded in your report, YES - the rear is more claustrophobic in the Linea.

By any chance have you done such a comparison between the Linea and the Manza? It has the same engine, but is supposed to be more roomy IIRC.
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Old 29th January 2010, 00:54   #3
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Fantastic comparo. You'll surely get requests for more such analysis between other cars !

Any idea about the front seat travel of the cars. I 'felt' the Punto/Linea had a lot of travel and that even tall folks may not need to push it back fully.
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Old 29th January 2010, 14:31   #4
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Originally Posted by shuvc View Post
I 'felt' the Punto/Linea had a lot of travel and that even tall folks may not need to push it back fully.
I have been inside the Punto (not Linea) and did notice that the seats do travel a lot. That does give a feeling off rear being more cramped than it actually is.
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Old 29th January 2010, 14:47   #5
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Beautiful Comparison.
Did you use images scanned or the drawings for the same
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Old 29th January 2010, 14:50   #6
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City's wheelbase is 2550 and not 2660. (http://www.hondacarindia.com/city/specifications.aspx) That is 53mm less than Linea, which stands at 2603. Can't comment on the rest of the comparo, but I had thought that City's backseat was more upright than the Linea's. Maybe I am wrong.

Last edited by civic-sense : 29th January 2010 at 14:53. Reason: added src
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Old 29th January 2010, 14:53   #7
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Default Wonderful comparison

I can see the effort that's gone behind this. It was a great read. Thanks for the beautiful comparison. Really opens up the key things to watch for in interior ergonomics ... cheers!
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Old 29th January 2010, 14:56   #8
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Originally Posted by civic-sense View Post
City's wheelbase is 2550 and not 2660. (:: Honda City ::) That is 53mm less than Linea, which stands at 2603. Can't comment on the rest of the comparo, but I had thought that City's backseat was more upright than the Linea's. Maybe I am wrong.
Does this mean the OP will have to redo the ergonomics design templates and his summary of the findings?
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Old 29th January 2010, 15:05   #9
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Is there any comarison in the recline angle of the rear seats .To me they seemed much better than the city .Also the part of seat on which we sit is much broader and longer in Linea compared to city thus providing great support to thighs and pamper you in luxury.

Also when the op talks about why fiat why then a thought comes to my mind why didnot Honda made there car more stable at high speeds or talk about the suspensions where Linea hugely better than City , what about the brakes , the tyres
I am going overboard .I have a feeling this thread will be going the old way .
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Old 29th January 2010, 15:06   #10
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What happens to the Width. You have not shown any comparison on that - Not part of your ergonomics!
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Old 29th January 2010, 15:19   #11
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wow, wonderful comparo! the issue of front and rear legspace has always been vexing. No one parameter, length, wheelbase, dashboard profile, seatback angle etc gives a complete picture.

However, please correct the WB of ANHC as posted by another bhpian ...

BTW, do you work in automobiles ?
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Old 29th January 2010, 15:32   #12
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Great review, i think it is the first in which something has been done technically with facts & figures for interiors space & ergonomics. It will start a new dimension of car designs dissection & am sure that you will establish few best practices as how to do this for others.
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Old 29th January 2010, 15:34   #13
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Great comparison. One area which is usually not mentioned is the seat length in itself. Lot of cars have narrow rear seats and do not offer good thigh support.
Others make compromises on ingress/egress and give better support.
Ikon is an example. Looks cramped, but extremely comfortable rear seat!
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Old 29th January 2010, 15:39   #14
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Nice comparo. Hope this won't get converted into another Linea Vs City fight.
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Old 29th January 2010, 16:50   #15
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This is great piece of work. I wish similar comparison was avaialble for every car.

Coming to the cars compared here, I have not sat in Linea but I have sat in City in both the front and rear seats. With front seat adjusted comfortably for me (I am 175cm tall), I found the rear seat space good in City, but underthigh support was not good enough, probably because the seat is low even though the underthigh portion of the seat is reclined upwards.

For my height, I find underthigh support is not good enough in many cars. Among the cars I have sat in the rear seat, this is what I have found w.r.t underthigh support

Good: Swift, Ikon, Indica Vista, Santro

Not good: Getz, Verna, Lancer, City, Opel Corsa
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