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Old 18th October 2012, 09:28   #1
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Default Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review

The Chevrolet Sail U-VA has been launched in India at a price of Rs. 4.44 - 6.62 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you’ll like:

• A well-rounded family hatchback
• Superbly tuned 1.3L diesel powerplant. Short-throw gearbox is a pleasure to use
• Spacious interiors. Rear legroom betters some sedans
• Excellent ride quality mated to neutral road manners
• Ideal for city driving : High seating position with a light steering, clutch and gearshift

What you won’t:

• Dated & unappealing styling
• Missing features (No climate control, MID, steering-mounted audio controls, seat height adjustment)
• Sensitive steering at high speed. Needs a steady hand on the expressway
• Some quirky interior bits : Push / pull type door locks, centrally-placed window switches etc.

This Review has been jointly compiled with Rehaan! Thanks to him for accompanying me on the drive.

Last edited by Rehaan : 2nd November 2012 at 14:30. Reason: updating opening line with price
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Old 18th October 2012, 09:28   #2
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Default Re: Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review

1960’s : "Japanese cars are too cheap, flimsy, lack depth in engineering, are a copy of other cars and will never make the cut."

1980's : "Korean cars are too cheap, flimsy, lack depth in engineering, are a copy of other cars and will never make the cut."

2000's : "Chinese cars are too cheap, flimsy, lack depth in engineering, are a copy of other cars and will never make the cut."

See a pattern?

Of all the car makers in India, General Motors holds the record for offering products from the maximum number of countries. The company has sold European cars (e.g. Astra, Corsa, Vectra), Korean cars (e.g. Optra, Spark, Aveo), Japanese cars (e.g. Tavera, Forester) and now brings a car from China.

In recent time, China's auto sales overtook that of the USA, becoming the world’s largest car market. China is not only a global powerhouse, but is also very keen to learn. It’s only a matter of time before Chinese brands & cars gain wider acceptability in developed countries. They'd do well in taking a leaf out of Hyundai's book. Since 2009, General Motors India has been a 50:50 partnership between GM (USA) and SAIC (China). SAIC is one of the largest Chinese car manufacturers. On 17th October 2012 however, it was announced that GM (USA) has upped its stake to 93% in the Indian operations.

The outgoing Chevy Aveo sedan and its hatchback sibling (the U-VA) performed miserably in the market. One reason was their lacklustre branding, design and positioning. The second - equally important - factor was the lack of a diesel engine. Remember, 9 out of 10 Swifts are sold with the oil-burning motor. The Aveo & U-VA simply never enjoyed any space in the customer's mind. GM India will be looking to change that with the new Sail U-VA. Thankfully, the Sail U-VA doesn’t pick up where the Aveo U-VA left off. In short, it’s a much better product.

This is the 2nd generation Sail and was introduced in 2010. In this day and age of brash and outlandish designs, the Sail comes across as a breath of fresh air for those who prefer conventional, understated and inoffensive styling. It’s a handsome car and unlike its smaller, eccentric brother - the Beat - the design isn't too loud. The Sail has none of that quirkiness and angularity. This makes the car completely unassuming and some folk might find it to be too bland. As a result, the Sail may get lost in the crowd of B+ segment hatchbacks. In fact, I think it even looks dated, just as the Figo did at the time of launch. Those ‘Christmas-tree’ tail-lamps for instance, have been around on hatchbacks for decades now. The design on the whole is ordinary at best. Exterior fit and finish is decent, while build quality is average. The doors lack solidity and feel tinny when you shut them, as does the boot-lid. Panel gaps are even and tight.

The Sail U-VA is available in 7 colours: Black, Grey, Silver, White, Beige, Red and 'Mistly Lake'.

Pricing comparison:
Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review-sailpricing.png

Specification comparison:
Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review-sail-specs.png

Features comparison:
Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review-sail-features.png

Note the large rear doors, short rear overhang and large front overhang:

Vertically stacked tail-lights. A design cue often used by manufacturers in the past:

Rear hatch can't be opened from the outside without the key. The keyhole looks a bit 'lost in space'

Round fog lamps against a plethora of straight creases. Makes for good contrast IMHO:

Headlights do an excellent job of illuminating the road ahead:

Reversing lights have a blue tint. Thick border around rear glass limits rearward visibility:

175/70 R14 tyres barely manage to fill up the subtly chiselled wheel arches:

Flappy door handles are dated. The Chevy's don’t feel great to use either:

ORVMs can fold both ways, saving owners unnecessary repair bills:

Exposed metal under the side skirts makes it look like a work-in-progress:

ABS as well as dual airbags present:

The rear bumper is flanked by a pair of reflectors on either side. Exhaust pipe tucked underneath:

Subtle creases wrap up the rear. A nice touch!

The baby-Cruze like face gives it some appeal:

Will the Sail shine a new light for GM in India?

The petrol has a ground clearance of 174 mm, whilst the diesel sits at 168 mm:

The Sail U-VA is a fairly large hatchback:

Despite being just 9 cm longer than the Swift, notice how the Sail has maximized rear space...something the Swift sacrificed in the name of styling:

The chrome-garnish on the grille stands out on brighter colours and looks nice on the red. It ties the whole thing together quite nicely:

Paint quality is very good for a car of this class. The silver looks okay, but the red really jumps out at you:

Last edited by Rehaan : 6th November 2012 at 09:57. Reason: Adding available colours / pricing / features.
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Old 18th October 2012, 09:29   #3
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Default Re: Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review

The moment you get inside the Sail, you’ll notice that it's a fairly basic hatchback in terms of equipment. The quality is otherwise on par with most hatchbacks from the segment. There are a whole lot of beige tones and light brown hues that give it a sense of airiness. Despite this, the barrage of beige got to me and it probably has something to do with the way the steering wheel looks. It’s completely beige and I would've definitely preferred some contrast here. Dirt and grime will be highlighted in this cabin, more often than not.

The design of the dashboard has a nice flow to it. I particularly liked a few touches like the baseball-cap peck which floats above the A/C vents on the waterfall console. That aside, it feels like an interior that has been around for a while. There aren’t too many modern bits that would set it apart from the herd. It’s functional yet basic, perhaps even dated, much like the theme of the exterior. The quality of plastics isn’t something to write home about. However, the Sail’s interiors sure do feel like they’ll hold up for years to come. There aren’t any rough edges, uneven gaps or ugly plastic mold-lines (unlike some competitors who have these in abundance). So even though it looks basic, the interior is well put together. Still, there is nothing that evokes a ‘wow’ reaction, there’s nothing that looks premium or unique. For instance, the wiper & indicator stalks make a loud plastic ‘click’ noise when operated. The buttons on the center console aren’t damped either.

The airiness of a car’s cabin largely depends on the space it has to offer, and the Sail U-VA doesn’t disappoint on that front. The foot wells are deep and allow occupants to stretch their legs, while headroom is good even for taller individuals. Shoulder room is adequate and you won't find yourself getting intimate with the passenger on every gear change.

The steering does have a nice feel to it. The thickness of the rim is just right and I like the protrusions for your thumbs. The wheel can be adjusted for rake but not reach. The instrumentation console is dominated by the large speedometer in the center. On its left is the digital RPM gauge. Since the revv counter displays ever-changing digits (rather than a digital tacho graphic), it's not as easy to just take a quick glance at. The single-line LCD display on the right only has the odometer and trip-meter data. The front seats are reasonably supportive and well-bolstered on the sides. Though lumbar support isn’t bad, taller drivers may not appreciate the ordinary under-thigh support. The seats do feel a tad too firm and could have been softer. On the positive side, fabric quality is decent. Sitting in either the driver's or passenger's seat, you get the sense of being perched higher than you’d anticipate. Getting into a good driving position is relatively easy considering that you’ve got only two levers to play with. You don’t get to adjust the height of the driver's seat, even in the top variant. Nevertheless, short drivers won't face any issues because of the seat's higher position.

The windows are reasonably large and the windscreen gives you a good view of the road ahead. Frontal and lateral vision isn't compromised. The A-Pillar is thick and might make the driver crane his neck on twisty roads. It doesn’t create a massive blind-spot though, like in my Jazz. Rear visibility is poor. You’re going to have a hard time reversing this car as the rear windscreen is woefully narrow and the fixed rear headrests block more of the available view.

Ergonomically, the Sail is nearly perfect. The doors open wide and allow for easy ingress & egress. Once you’re inside, the critical driver controls fall easily to hand. There are just a few things that feel like they’ve been positioned awkwardly; for example, the door handles are placed way too forward on the front doors. For my driving position, I felt like the gear-lever was positioned a bit too far back, although Rehaan found it perfectly placed. Another ergonomic question mark was the placement of the power window switches on the center console, just ahead of the gear lever. Contrary to what you’d expect, they are easy to reach (due to the raised center tunnel). In fact, they have an advantage as well – the passenger can control all four windows. A prominent issue is the lack of room to rest your left foot next to the clutch. There is no dead pedal either. The floor isn’t flat and the distance between the pedal and floor is more than you’d imagine. Be prepared to exercise your knee more often than you’d like to.

You certainly won’t hear rear passengers complaining of the lack of space in the Sail. Leg & knee room exceed the most spacious hatchbacks from the segment. In fact, it even betters some C-segment sedans! A reason for this could be that the Sail has an almost tall-boy like seating position for the front seats, as they are placed over the centered fuel tank. This chair-like seating position makes occupants takes up less longitudinal space as their legs don’t have to be outstretched as far, thus maximizing space for rear occupants. Large swept-back quarter glasses extend the rear glass area, opening up the view. The rear seats are almost flat and devoid of contours, however, they are still comfortable thanks to the generous recline angle and tall rear seat-back. As with other hatchbacks, accommodating a 5th passenger will be a squeeze width-wise, though the flat floor and abundance of knee room will ease the process. Headroom at the back is sufficient too. I found the neck restraints to be reasonably comfortable to rest your head on.

The music system is equipped with a CD/MP3 player, an auxiliary line-in and a USB port. Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free calling are pleasant additions. The integrated compartment below the head unit gives you some space to stow away the iPod. Sound quality gets an average 7 on 10 rating. For low-volume listening, it’s acceptable. But to truly enjoy your music, a speaker upgrade is a must.

The air-conditioner is incredibly effective, thanks to the 160cc compressor on the diesel. I often found myself redirecting the vents away from me. Even without sun film, it doesn't take more than a few minutes to cool the cabin on a hot day. It isn't loud while in operation either, and that’s with reference to speeds 3 & 4! The rectangular vents in the center-console don’t close completely, but the circular ones on the far left / right do.

In terms of storage, there are several little compartments and recesses in and around the dash area that allow you to keep your mobile phones and assorted knick knacks. The glove-box has a very wide mouth, but it’s only about 7 inches deep. While the front door pockets can accommodate 1-liter bottles and then some, rear passengers have absolutely no storage area except for the seat-back pockets. Sail owners get 248 liters of boot space with the rear seat in place. That’s enough for 3 medium-sized strolleys. The rear seat can also be folded down to provide 1,215 liters of cargo room. The fact that the rear seat splits in a 60:40 ratio gives you added versatility.

Safety wise, the top variant we drove had ABS + EBD and 2 airbags as part of its kit. All of the Sail's variants (barring the petrol base variant) get a driver's airbag! ABS (and presumably EBD too) is provided on the top two variants of each engine.

Plain vanilla steering. Horn buttons are small and their location takes some getting used to:

Though basic in functionality, the choice of graphics and silver trim makes the instrument cluster look good:

Gear shifter has nice, short throws and a positive action. Collar needs to be lifted to engage reverse:

Foot well is large, but desperately needs a deal pedal:

Front seats are firm, yet provide good support. No height adjustment:

Note how the seat is on a raised platform (above the fuel tank). The foot well is at a lower level, giving the Sail a semi-tall-boy seating position:

Aux-in, USB and Bluetooth streaming too:

A/C controls:

Storage includes a large bin at the front, two cup-holders and a shallow recess:

Power window switches are within reach and even allow the co-passenger to control all windows:

Front doors have the handle placed too far forward. No fabric trim. Large storage pocket:

Electronically-adjustable mirror controls and a small storage compartment below:

Large ORVMs provide a good view of what's behind you:

Indicator stalk on the "right" side:

Small rear window + large neck restraints = poor rear visibility:

Shallow and wide glovebox. Narrow storage recess on the dashboard just above:

Rear bench is rather flat, yet has a very comfortable recline angle:

That's the legroom available for (5'8") Rehaan sitting behind his driving position:

Tons of foot room too. The gradual slope up - under the front seats - is a comfortable spot to rest your feet on:

Scooped out seat-backs to maximize knee room. Loose upholstery hanging off the bottom looks down-market:

Wheel wells do encroach on space. The remaining 248 liters is big enough to house a couple of medium size bags:

Maximum luggage space is 1,215 liters with a flat floor. Rear seat backs are covered in felt cloth with no solid material backing it. Sure to get punctured if you use the Sail for hauling regularly:

Last edited by Rehaan : 2nd November 2012 at 15:18. Reason: Updating safety info. EBD is also present.
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Old 18th October 2012, 09:29   #4
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Default Re: Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review

1.3L SDE Smartech Diesel:

This 1.3L Smartech SDE (small diesel engine) is essentially the same motor that propels the Swift, Vista, Punto and many other Indian cars. The only difference is the turbo-charger unit and some other components. GM had jointly developed this engine with Fiat and thus, unlike Maruti, doesn't have to pay any royalties to the Italian company. Power is rated at 77 BHP (@ 4,000 rpm) and 205 Nm of torque.

Crank the engine and the 16-valve 4-pot motor thrums to life, before settling into a surprisingly silent idle. Once warmed up, the clatter isn’t as apparent and you’d be hard pressed to hear it in the cabin with the windows rolled up. Slot into first gear and it's immediately evident that the relatively light clutch bites early. Power delivery is linear & gradual post 1,750 rpm, unlike the Swift’s engine that gives you a more noticeable turbo boost. The Chevrolet Sail has much better low-end driveability, due to the lesser turbo lag. The 205 Nm of peak torque (@ 1,750 rpm) comes in a full 300 rpm earlier than in the MJD & DDiS cars, making it more adept for the urban crawl. The Sail's behaviour within the city is extremely balanced. That said, the Nissan Micra holds the trump card for urban driveability.

The SDE mill does have the legs for the occasional highway jaunt, but it's more suited to a sedate driving style. 5th gear @ 100 kph sees the revv counter at ~2500 rpm. The engine is a reasonable performer on the highway. The 3rd gear is extremely tractable and mid-range performance is certainly worth exploiting. However, like most MJDs, it loses steam when climbing well into 3-digit speeds. With two burly people and a few bags of luggage onboard, the car struggled to get past 140 kph on the Amby Valley Airstrip. Chevrolet quotes ARAI ratings of 22.1 kpl for the diesel Sail.

The diesel is mated to a competent 5-speed gearbox. You'll enjoy using the extremely close-gated gearbox and its short-throw shifter. We didn't experience a single missed shift throughout our drive. The gearbox has a very positive, slick and sure-slotting feel. But the VW Polo's gearshift still remains the benchmark.

On the inside, NVH levels are excellent with impressive overall insulation levels. Wind & tyre noise are properly controlled at high speed, while rattles & squeaks were absent, even when the car was pushed over bad roads. The whooshing sound of the turbo spooling up does filter through into the cabin at times.

1.2L Smartech Petrol:

In a country where diesel engines have become the norm, it’s hard to find a competent petrol engined car. GM hasn’t neglected the petrol-car buying lot.

We had a short spin in the petrol Sail. This 1.2L 16-valve Smartech mill churns out 85 BHP (@ 6,000 rpm) and 113 Nm of torque (@ 5,000 rpm). The initial throttle response is decent, and the torque lower down the rev-range allows you to pull away from slow-moving traffic easily. It’s no Santro 1.1, yet it’s pretty good. As you work your way through the ratios, power builds up nicely and the Sail petrol feels acceptably quick for a hatchback of this size. The engine remains refined and silent. At high rpm, the motor does get audible, but it's not too obtrusive. The Sail petrol gets a short-throw 5 speed gearbox as well. However, shift quality wasn't as positive as in the diesel, and getting into 5th required a firmer shove than I’d have liked. The clutch pedal was spongier too. The petrol engine has an ARAI rating of 18.2 kpl.

Ride, Handling, Braking etc.

We encountered a 10 km stretch of bad road, sprinkled with potholes and undulations. The Sail U-VA surprised us in the way it dismissed this broken stretch. The ride is on the firmer side, yet the suspension managed to soak it all in without transferring much into the cabin, apart from a few muted thuds on the largest bumps. The ride is quite supple but not cushy, and your back won't complain. High speed ride quality is equally good, and there is no bounciness or bobbing about on highways. The sure-footed and planted character is confidence inspiring in an almost European way.

Around ghat sections, the Sail is just as composed as it is on the expressway. No, it doesn’t corner like it is on rails. Behaviour is safe and predictable though, and body-roll is well controlled. The Sail is light, nimble and eager to change direction, thanks to the quick steering. The car does eventually understeer around corners when pushed hard, but that's only after a fair deal of pushing. The 175/70 R14 OEM Apollo Aceleres performed well. The steering is a mixed bag. The Sail's turning radius is 5.15 meters. While it’s light and ideal for city driving (the masses will love it), you don’t get much feel and feedback from it. The steering remains light at high speed as well. On-center, the wheel is too sharp & sensitive - you do change direction quickly. This makes expressway driving a bit of a twitchy ordeal, with steering adjustments required at more frequent intervals.

When the need to anchor the car arises, the ABS-equipped braking system will oblige without a fuss. Our first braking test had the car losing its line and squimmering to a halt (we might have moved the sensitive steering), but the car stopped dead straight when we tried it for a second & third time with a firm hand on the steering wheel.

The turbocharger is mounted right up front:

Note the sound deadening material on the underside of the hood. Only the diesel Sail gets this treatment:

Last edited by GTO : 6th January 2015 at 19:40. Reason: Correcting power figures
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Old 18th October 2012, 09:30   #5
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Default Re: Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review

Other Points:

• Petrol & diesel engines are both built on the same manufacturing line at Talegaon, MH. Click here to view pictures of this factory.

• Ever since the Sail began its Chinese leg via the SAIC-GM JV back in 2001, it's been a success. It's worth mentioning that Chinese customers are very particular about rear legroom.

• Few differences in the Indian Sail over the Chinese version : Beige interiors, higher ground clearance, Bluetooth / USB audio and a few other miscellaneous items.

• GM didn't bring in the Aveo (Sonic) to India due to “cost concerns”. No plans in the near future either. Related Thread

• A sedan version of the Sail could hit the market as soon as December 2012 / January 2013.

• The distance from the front seat's base to the floor is roughly 1 foot, giving it that perched feel. Result = Good view of the road ahead. The reason for this raised seat height could be the fuel tank, which is placed under the front seats.

• Typical of Chevrolet cars, the horn sounds itself when the car is remote locked / unlocked.

• Doors auto-lock once past 10 kph. They unlock when the engine is switched off.

• Rear windows don’t roll down completely, about 10-15% remains above the sill.

• As with other Chevrolet cars, warranty coverage is for 3 years / 100,000 kms. The drive-train is covered for 5 years / 150,000 kms!

• 'Chevrolet Promise' is a paid option for 3 years / 45,000 kms. This includes all parts except tyres, battery and accidents.

• Disclaimer : Chevrolet invited Team-BHP for the Sail U-VA test-drive. They covered all the expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by Rehaan : 2nd November 2012 at 13:50. Reason: Adding additional warranty points
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Old 18th October 2012, 09:30   #6
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Default Re: Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review

The Smaller Yet Significant Things:

The seat base lowers as you fold the seat-back forward, allowing it to create a "flat" luggage area:

For the rear seat to fold down completely, the front seats need to be pushed forward, limiting space for taller passengers:

Though cost cutting isn't evident everywhere (unlike some other cars), you don't have to look too far to find it:

Control stalks stick out through a shockingly large, ugly cavity. It's missing the rubber boot:

The USB slot cover fouls with the volume knob when opened:

Unusually long radio antenna is roof-mounted:

The heel of the gear knob has a gloss-black finish that allows your palm to slip off when pushing forward. Petrol has reverse gear at a more conventional position:

Operating the tiny lock/unlock buttons of the key fob requires small fingers. They need a firm push as well:

Rake adjust lever sticks out a fair bit, even in its locked position. Can foul with your knees when exiting the car:

Seems simple enough, but we spent tons of time un-jamming the latches for folding the rear seat forward, as well as figuring out the ideal way to remove & replace the parcel tray. The entire operation is far from seamless:

Decade old push-pull door locks make a comeback on the Sail. Seat belt height isn't adjustable:

Cordoned off rip-zone for the dash will save you money in repair bills if the airbag does ever deploy:

Vanity mirror for the co-passenger only:

Storage space under the rear bench, but how usable is it? You can't really keep much here, other than an umbrella or two:

Rear door panels look nice. Unlike at the front, window switches are conventionally placed at the rear:

Full size spare wheel, but it’s not an alloy.

Illuminated luggage area:

Last edited by Rehaan : 18th October 2012 at 15:13.
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Old 18th October 2012, 09:31   #7
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Default Re: Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review

Chief Competitors of the Chevrolet Sail

Maruti Swift

What you’ll like:

• Snazzy styling packs appeal. Interiors are well-designed too
• Competent engine range. Very refined motors
• Balanced ride and handling. Superbly tuned suspension
• Terrific fuel efficiency, especially from the diesel
• Effortless to drive in the city; lots of fun on the highway
• Maruti’s excellent after-sales service & wide dealer network

What you won’t:

• Small, impractical boot. Luggage capacity is severely restricted
• Mediocre brakes (LXi / LDi & VXi / VDi). Inadequate for emergency braking conditions
• Looks nearly identical to the outgoing generation car
• Rear seat space, though improved, still isn't "spacious"
• Pricey ZXi / ZDi variants. Also, ABS no longer an option on the middle “V” variants
• Long waiting period for delivery. Runs over 6 months in some cities

Ford Figo

What you'll like about the Figo:

• Robust build and construction
• Interiors more comfortable than chief competitors i10 & Swift
• 1.4 Diesel's proven driveability and fuel efficiency. No turbolag
• The Ford Figo's mature big-car-like ride quality
• Ford's DNA in the on-road behaviour and quick steering
• Class-topping 284 liter boot space

What you won't:

• Lacks the modernity of recently launched hatchbacks
• Both of the engines in the Figo are lacking in outright performance. Neither engine can exploit the car's dynamics
• No true top-end variant (tilt adjustable steering, rear power windows, MID etc.)
• Average backseat legroom. Not in the league of, say, an Indica Vista
• Ford's sub-par dealership experience

Hyundai i20

What you’ll like:

• Top notch quality inside out. New Fluidic styling works
• Class-leading equipment list (auto headlamps & wipers, keyless entry & go, reverse camera, electric folding ORVMs etc.)
• Fast, fuel-efficient diesel engine mated to a smooth 6 speed gearbox
• Amongst the more spacious hatchbacks. Comfortable for 4, or even the occasional 5
• Big, practical 295 liter boot
• 5 star safety equipment & rating. Upto 6 airbags, all-wheel disc brakes, ABS & EBD

What you won’t:

• Underpowered 1.2L petrol engine. Offers mediocre performance on the expressway
• Light, vague & sensitive steering at speed
• Highway dynamics are unfitting of a premium hatchback
• Diesel i20 carries an unusually high difference of ~1.5 lakhs (on the road) over the petrol
• Asta variants are priced in the vicinity of bigger, more powerful sedans
• Hyundai's service costs are usually higher than that of the competition

Toyota Liva

What you'll like:

• Modern diesel engine with minimal turbo lag and excellent driveability
• A neutral family hatchback with the "T" badge
• Spacious interiors can easily carry 5 adults
• Well-tuned suspension. Safe handling and flat ride
• Toyota’s fuss-free ownership experience & excellent after-sales

What you won't:

• Diesel clatter above 3,000 rpm can get very intrusive
• Lacklustre petrol engine has poor low-end torque
• Cost-cutting glaringly obvious in many areas
• Economy-grade interior quality & unconventional dashboard
• Missing equipment (alloys, tachometer, climate control, audio system, height adjustable driver's seat etc.)

Volkswagen Polo

What you'll like:

• A well-built solid European hatchback
• Clean and contemporary styling. Absolutely no quirkiness
• "Big car like" ride quality. Suspension setup ideal for Indian roads
• Neutral handling & mature road behaviour
• Fuel efficient range of engines
• 280 liter boot. Figo-like & substantially larger than direct competition

What you won't:

• Commuter 3-cylinder engines. Neither hits the sweet spot nor matches the segment benchmarks
• Some niceties missing. Climate control, USB / AUX audio input, electric ORVMs etc.
• Ordinary rear bench legroom. Comparable to the Ritz
• VW's poor dealership experiences
• Long-term cost of ownership is yet unknown territory

Tata Indica Vista

What you’ll like:

• Variety of engine options (Tdi, Quadrajet, Safire65, Safire90). Take your pick!
• Well-equipped from the second variant & over
• New interiors look and feel much better in terms of overall quality
• Improved gearbox, light clutch and light steering make for effortless city driving
• Spacious interiors. Roomiest in the segment; beats some sedans from 2 segments up
• Absorbent, comfortable ride quality

What you won’t:

• Fit and finish need improvement. Exterior panel gaps are inconsistent too
• Soft suspension setup. Best driven sedately
• Centrally-mounted instrument cluster takes some getting used to
• Niggling issues & irritants persist (as reported by existing Vista owners)
• Tata’s after-sales-service remains a gamble
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Old 18th October 2012, 10:30   #8
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Default Re: Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review

My quick views on the Sail U-VA:

First Impressions:

The Sail has no USP inside or out. It doesn't stand out from the crowd. There is no one thing that people will feel the need to talk about. This doesn't speak badly of the car, its just a balanced all-rounder. However, word of mouth is the best marketing tool available in India today, and GM shouldn't miss out on this! GM needs to leverage the remaining two tools it has in order to give the Sail a good shot at being a success: A tempting price & an aggressive marketing campaign.


Once again, its par for the course. The feature list keeps it in the middle of the segment. The window switches will take a little getting used to. The push-pull door locks are a real pain every time you try to exit, since the doors do auto-lock. The leg-room is great, especially at the back. It matches most C-segment sedans in terms of rear space and ride quality. A big plus in India.


The steering is eager to turn in, and fairly quick and responsive, making it fun on twisty roads. In the city, this is the kind of light steering that the masses would enjoy too. On the flip-side, it is too sensitive on-center, making the car a bit indecisive on a straight expressway at high speeds. It also lacks feel, but thats the case with most hatches these days, and its not a mass-market deal-breaker. Handling is very neutral - not much body roll and very little understeer, despite being on 175mm Aceleres.

The diesel 1.3 is tuned for driveability. Just compare the bigger torque coming in a few hundred RPM lower than almost all its competitors (spec sheet in 2nd post above). It's not quite a Micra at low-rpms, but it will make the diesel more pleasurable in everyday city conditions than the other 1.3 diesels. The gear box too is sure-slotting and the short throws are nice. All said, its an impressive all-rounder in this department. Am keen to see how the Indian market takes to it.


Last edited by Rehaan : 19th October 2012 at 14:40.
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Old 18th October 2012, 10:35   #9
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Default Re: Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review

When you guys returned from the drive and shared your observations, I was surprised. Don’t think any of us expected the Sail to be so darn competent. The 1.3L diesel, sheer space and awesome ride quality should win it many fans. Masses will love the light steering & neutral road behaviour too. Indeed, it’s an all-rounder of a family hatchback.

I don’t mind the conservative styling of the front & side profiles, it’s in tune with my tastes. However, the rear looks seriously outdated. The other area of improvement is equipment; Chevrolet could have overcome the “bland” image by loading it with snazzy equipment. That would have been an easy fix. A true top-variant with bells & whistles is seriously missing.

The pricing has to be spot-on. Chevy must be hoping some of that Beat diesel magic rubs off on the Sail. The li’l Beat has been selling ~5,000 units each month.

Great review, guys. Thanks for sharing it with us. *Rates thread a fully-deserved 5 stars*
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Old 18th October 2012, 11:03   #10
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Default Re: Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review

Excellent Review! I guess this car can be successful if priced rightly. The space available inside is excellent. However the missing features is definitely an irritant. I guess GM would have tuned the National engine in a way that reduces the turbolag and increases the city driving comfort.

However, I am disappointed that Skoda Fabia and Fiat Punto does not make the cut in the comparison sheet. As a free and fair automotive forum, I guess its our duty that all the choices available to the customers and the products in the market need to be included. Irrespective of their sales numbers!
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Old 18th October 2012, 11:07   #11
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Default Re: Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review

Nice review there guys.
+1 to Rush. Looks will only find takers in the first go. But later its the equipment levels and maintenance costs that will decide.

- Did GM say anything about spare costs? Because that is one worry factor
- I felt tyres were a bit skinny. Did you feel the same? Will beefing it up help?
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Old 18th October 2012, 11:07   #12
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Default Re: Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review

My father-in-law has been looking for a car and as soon as I read this review, I immediately recommended it to him. Great urban drive-ability, excellent rear legroom, and great fuel efficiency with a diesel engine. What more can you ask for! Let's all hope GM does not pull a Fiesta on us.
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Old 18th October 2012, 11:12   #13
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Default Re: Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review

Great review as always!! Thanks.

No doubt this is a competent car and has many positives. Will surely appeal to the head, I am not too sure about the heart.

However, somehow I feel that GM has not done enough to make this a unbeatable package.

1) For e.g. dated styling, push-pull locking mechanism, flap door handles - are easy fixes.
2) It should have been better for GM by adding true top end model with lot of features as also mentioned by GTO.
3) Also, using "U-VA" in the brand name will not help much. It has an image of a car which was not successful and obviously was unexciting.
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Old 18th October 2012, 11:17   #14
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Default Re: Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review

No nonsense car...agree it has a little dated design that dosent match up with the i20s and the swifts but sure is a VFM car...spacious, nicely tuned diesel mill (cannot go wrong as they are using the tried & tested 1.3L 4 cylinder Fiat engine) and has the quality of a all round hatchback!! Good job Chevrolet!!

Last edited by Rehaan : 18th October 2012 at 11:36. Reason: Please don't type in all BOLD text. Thanks.
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Old 18th October 2012, 11:20   #15
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Default Re: Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review

Originally Posted by MCR View Post
However, I am disappointed that Skoda Fabia and Fiat Punto does not make the cut in the comparison sheet. As a free and fair automotive forum, I guess its our duty that all the choices available to the customers and the products in the market need to be included. Irrespective of their sales numbers!
This has been discussed several times earlier on review threads. Please note that the comparison sheet cannot be made infinitely w-i-d-e. It's already got 7 cars in it!

To add to your list, even the Nissan Micra, Honda Jazz (petrol), Renault Pulse, Maruti Ritz and Premier Rio (basically a hatchback) haven't been included. Of these, the Micra & Ritz are a lot more relevant to the Indian market than the Fabia & Punto, by the way.

We will include only the ones we feel are direct competitors and have reasonable success in the market place. Yes, when limited by space, we'll let the market (i.e. sales numbers) decide.

If you have any more suggestions, please continue on the "Suggestions for Team-BHP Thread" thread.


Last edited by GTO : 18th October 2012 at 11:22.
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