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Chevrolet Sail U-VA - Introduction

Bowtie

General Motors has launched the much anticipated Chevrolet Sail U-VA hatchback in India earlier this month.  The Chevrolet Sail U-VA will be replacing the Aveo U-VA hatchback and has been developed in collaboration with General Motor’s Chinese counterpart – Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC).

 

Presently, the Chevrolet Sail U-VA is being sold in 16 countries around the world and has sold over 5 lakh units till date. This car has been performing very well in China. General Motors has positioned the Chevrolet Sail U-VA in the mini B2 segment at the price point of Rs 4.44 lakh for the base petrol variant and Rs 5.87 lakh for the base diesel variant – both the prices being ex-showroom, Delhi. The Chevrolet Sail U-VA will be available in a total of four petrol and three diesel variants.

 

On a November afternoon, we went out for a spin in the new Sail U-VA (LT) petrol variant to figure out just how well the latest offering from Chevrolet’s stable has fared. Read on to find out.

Chevrolet Sail U-VA - Design & Engineering

Facia

The Chevrolet Sail U-VA is a very humble looking car and is not likely to turn many heads on the road. At the front, the two-part grille and golden Chevrolet bowtie ensure that the Sail U-VA won’t be mistaken for anything other than a Chevy. Walking along the side, the car looks quite mundane and doesn’t really make a style statement.

 

Tail-Light

At the rear end, the high-mounted tail lamps look nice and that is about it. The overall design elements on the exterior of the Sail U-VA are very old school and may not impress those looking for a little bit of zing. Honestly, after the Chevrolet Beat which stood out in terms of its style quotient, we were expecting a lot more fireworks from Chevrolet this Diwali and was a bit disappointed.

 

 

The Chevrolet Sail U-VA has been built on a  monocoque chassis with transversely mounted engine driving the front wheels. The suspension system in the Sail U-VA has McPherson strut doing duty on the front and a torsion beam at the rear. This is the routine hatchback architecture that most car manufactuere adhere by these days, but GM's design engineers has fine tuned all these elements to ensure that they produce a quality product.

 

Unlike in other car's where the fuel tank is located under the rear seats, the engineers at GM have placed it under the front seats which has enabled them to provide storage space under the rear row, a first in this segment. Also the high roofline in the Chevrolet Sail U-VA results in more head room and increases the overall spaciousness of the car, which is one of its USPs.

 

Alloy

Body coloured front and rear bumpers comes are standard across the entire model range. The LT variant that we tested came fitted with a 12-spoke, 14-inch alloy wheels which added some character to the otherwise ‘Plain Jane’ looking car.

 

What remains to be seen is whether the Sail U-VA’s lack of external appeal reflect in the sales figures since the decision of many car buyers in India is often driven by appearance.

 

Chevrolet Sail U-VA - Interiors & Comfort

Interior

But as you step inside the Chevrolet Sail U-VA, you finally have some reason to smile. The feature that strikes you immediately is the spaciousness of the cabin. The Sail U-VA might appear like your average hatchback from the outside but is surprisingly spacious on the inside.  Sail U-VA's high roofline and slimmer door padding proves conducive to this cause. And the two-tone coffee-beige colour interior further helps to accentuate the spaciousness and airy feel of the cabin.

 

The seats are comfortable and provide decent all round support. The Chevrolet Sail U-VA LT variant that we tested came with height adjustable driver’s seat and a steering column which adjusts for rake which should allow most drivers to gain a comfortable driving position and good visibility.

 

Rear-Seat

 

One of the main fortes of the Chevrolet Sail U-VA is the amount of space on offer and this fact is further reaffirmed with ample leg room for rear passengers. The high roof also ensures good head room and the 248 litres of boot space is one of the largest available in a hatchback in India.

 

Boot-Space

The rear seats of the Sail U-VA folds completely flat and offer more than adequate luggage space when the need arises. It also has a 60:40 split options and comes as standard across model range.

 

 

Under-seat-storage

General Motors gets a thumps up for intelligent space management with useful storage spaces under the rear seat (first in this segment), cubby space ahead of the gear lever and a slot just below the music system to keep your music CDs. Kudos to the engineers at GM for placing the fuel tank below the front seats as oppose to the rear which alllowed them to provide that extra space under the rear bench.

 

Instrument-Cluster

The digital tachometer looks fab and will attracts the attention of the young and the young-at-heart. However, GM could have easily done away with the analog speedometer and replaced it with a digital one. In my opinion, that would have looked much better.

 

But all is not rosy inside the cabin of the Chevrolet Sail U-VA. There are two small buttons for the horn on either side of the steering wheel making it difficult to operate when turning the wheel. The power window switches too are stacked up in a row right ahead of the gear and didn’t make for either a very pleasant sight, nor were they very ergonomically friendly especially while driving since you have to reach out for them every time you want to roll up or down the window. This was obviously a cost-cutting measure for Chevrolet as they saved some money on the extra switches and wiring adding much discomfort to the customers. The LT variant also had an integrated audio system with radio, CD player, MP3, auxiliary input, Bluetooth connectivity and four speakers. However, the sound quality of the system is very ordinary and nothing to sing a song about. In comparison, the factory fitted Blaupunkt system in the Ford Figo boasts of impresseive sound quality. GM should take note of this and try to improve upon these shortcomings when they do decide to launch a facelift.

Chevrolet Sail U-VA - Performance & Handling

Rear-Track

Under the hood of the Chevrolet Sail U-VA is a 1.2-litre petrol engine which produces 86PS of maximum power at 6000 rpm and pumps 113Nm of peak torque at 5000 rpm. This is the same petrol motor which does duty in the Chevrolet Beat (80.5PS and 108NM) and has been tuned differently to produce slightly more power and torque in the Sail U-VA.

 

The top-of-the-line petrol variant that we tested felt quite refined and didn’t gruff even when we revved it up. The steering response in the Sail U-VA is light and the car was a breeze to drive in the city traffic. The Chevrolet Sail U-VA  has a McPherson strut with coil springs at the front with a semi-independent set up at the rear which has been tuned brilliantly for Indian road conditions. We drove the Sail U-VA over stretches of bad road and the suspension swallowed all the undulations without a hiccup. In fact, none of the jerks were filtered into the cabin with the Sail U-VA literally sailing over the rough patches rather smoothly. Full marks to GM's technology centre in India who have done a good job with the suspension set up. Unlike the Maruti Suzuki Swift which however fun to drive, doesn't impress with the  ride quality or the Hyundai i20 which offers good ride quality but less-than-satisfacory handling, the Chevy Sail U-VA maintains the fine balancing offering not only impressive handling but also good ride quality.

Chevrolet Sail U-VA - Fuel Efficiency

Engine

The Chevrolet Sail U-VA petrol that we tested boasts of an ARAI ratified fuel efficiency of 18.2 km/l  and although real-world fuel economy will be less, however, it should comfortably deliver about 12km/l within the city with air-conditioning. Just for your understanding, the Chevrolet Beat petrol, which uses the same motor, but is a 100 kilos lighter, manages 18.6 km/l.

Chevrolet Sail U-VA - Safety

ABS

When it comes to ensuring the safety of the vehicle, General Motors has done a decent job with the Chevrolet Sail U-VA. Safety features such as the safe cage, side impact front and rear beam, three point ELR front seat belts, rear seat child protection door lock and engine immobiliser have been offered as standard across the model range. Driver’s side airbag and key in reminder too are available in the entire model range with the exception of the base model.

 

The top-of-the line LT petrol variant that we tested had ABS with EBD, rear defogger, rear wash and wiper, front passenger airbag, security alarm system and speed sensitive autolock.  

 


In a country like India where we do experience a fair amount of rainfall and often require driving on slippery roads and graveled surfaces, essential safety features like ABS with EBD should be provided as standard across the model range. So GM has some room for improvement in this department. However, Chevrolet has chosen to offer a driver's side airbag as standard across the model range, which isn't an entirely convincing strategy.

Chevrolet Sail U-VA - Verdict

Badge

General Motors has launched the Chevrolet Sail U-VA at a very competitive price point and will be taking on the likes of some of the more established players like Maruti Suzuki Swift, Maruti Suzuki Ritz, Ford Figo, Hyundai i20, Volkswagen Polo and Toyota Etios Liva in this segment.

 

Lets take a look at how the top-of-the-line Sail U-VA LT variants fares when compared to the Maruti Suzuki Swift ZXI and the Hyundai i20 Sportz. Firstly, lets talk about the price. The Chevrolet Sail U-VA is priced at Rs 5.76 lakh compared to Maruti Suzuki Swift which is Rs 20000 costlier at Rs 5.96 lakh.  The Hyundai i20 Sportz  priced at Rs 5.94 lakh, (Rs 18000 costlier than the Sail U-VA) all prices are ex-showroom, Kolkata. So clearly in terms of pricing, Chevrolet Sail U-VA seems to have hit the nail on its head. 

 

Now lets look at what each of them are offering. The top-of-the-line Chevrolet Sail U-VA LT comes loaded with an integrated audio system with radio, MP3, CD player, auxiliary input, USB and Bluetooth, 2 front and 2 rear speakers, rear wash and wiper, power steering, power windows, tilt steering, leather wrapped gearknob, central locking, engine immobiliser, fog lamps, driver and passenger side airbags, ABS, side impact front and rear door beam, and security alarm system.


The Maruti Suzuki Swift ZXI comes with power and tilt steering, power windows with auto down function on driver side window, driver seat adjuster, automatic climate control, lane change indicator, stereo with radio and CD Player, intelligent speed based auto volume, auxiliary input and USB socket, 2 front and 2 rear speakers, 2 integrated front tweeters, steering wheel mounted audio controls with illumination, ABS with EBD, brake assist, driver and passenger side airbags, side door impact beam and security alarm system.

 

The Hyundai i20 Sportz features power steering, power windows, electrochromic inside rear view mirror (ECM), parking assist rear camera and ECM display, ABS with EBD, driver airbags, rain sensing wipers, front fog lamps, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, chrome finish gear knob, tilt and telescopic steering, 2 din music system with radio, CD Player, MP3, auxiliary input and USB socket, Bluetooth connectivity, 2 front and 2 rear speakers,steering mounted audio and Bluetooth control.

 

So if you look closely, the Maruti Suzuki Swift and Hyundai i20 Sportz offers a few more features than the Chevrolet Sail U-VA LT for a little extra price.

 

Now lets shift our focus to handling and ride quality. Unlike the Maruti Suzuki Swift which, however fun to drive, doesn't impress with the  ride quality or the Hyundai i20 which offers good ride quality but less-than-satisfacory handling, the Chevy Sail U-VA maintains the fine balance offering not only impressive handling but also good ride quality.

 

The Chevrolet Sail U-VA is a no frills, no nonsense car which certainly doesn’t boast of either ground-breaking technology or head turning looks but makes practical sense for the Indian buyers. If you view it as a complete package, the Chevrolet Sail U-VA does have a lot of positives. It is very spacious and boasts of good handling and ride quality. The Sail U-VA also comes with a 3 years/100,000 kms warranty and a 5 years/150,000 kms warranty on the engine and transmission. The Sail U-VA is also available with the Chevrolet Promise (cost: Rs 19999 for petrol and Rs 21499 for diesel) where cost of service and maintenance will be taken care of by the company for three years or 45,000 kilometres whichever is earlier. This definitely adds to your peace of mind and makes it a sensible choice for prospective buyers. So everything taken into consideration, the Chevrolet Sail U-VA could prove to be a realiable choice.

 

Having said that, we mustn't forget that the Maruti Suzuki Swift has already established itself as a strong product in the market and it has Maruti's trusted brand name and after sales service network to back it. Any battle against  Maruti Suzuki in the hatchback segment in India is not an easy one. Hyundai has also worked tirelessly over the past decade to earn some respect in that space with successful products like the Santro and i20. In comparison, Chevrolet is yet to win a similar level of trust and respect of the Indian customers. So while Chevrolet has come up with a sensible and practical product like the Sail U-VA, it now has to work towards creating the brand recognition and loyalty among the Indian car buyers to ensure the success of their present and future product line.   

Chevrolet Sail U-VA - Competition Check

Maruti Suzuki Ritz

Maruti Suzuki Swift

Ford Figo

Toyota Etios Liva

Hyundai i20

Volkswagen Polo

Specifications

Dimensions
Length x Width x Height (mm) 3946 x 1690 x 1503
Wheelbase (mm) 2465
Ground clearance (mm) 174 (petrol), 168 (diesel)
Turning circle dia (m) 10.3
Kerb weight (kg) 1065 (petrol), 1124 (diesel)
Fuel tank capacity (lt) 42 (petrol), 40 (diesel)
Boot space (lt) 248
Engine & Transmission
No of cylinder & configuration 4
Capacity (cc) 1199 (petrol), 1248 (diesel)
Power (PS @ rpm) 86 @ 6000 (petrol), 78 @ 4000 (diesel)
Torque (Nm @ rpm) 113 @ 5000 (petrol), 205 @ 1750 (diesel)
Gearbox 5-speed manual
Suspension & Brakes
Front suspension Mc Pherson Strut
Rear suspension Twist Axle
Front brakes Disc
Rear brakes Drum
Wheels & Tyres
Tyre size and type 175/70 R14
Wheel size and type 14 X 5.5J
Fuel efficiency
ARAI (kpl) 18.2 (petrol), 22.1 (diesel)






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Chevrolet Sail U-VA Alternatives

Looking for other cars in the same segment and price range? Your choices are many. Click on any model of your choice to go directly to that page, so you can have a quick and easy reference of the specifications and features of competing vehicles in the same segment.


Maruti Suzuki Swift
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Fiat 500
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Tata Indica Vista
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Chevrolet Aveo U-VA
Rs. 4 Lacs. - Rs. 5 Lacs.

Hyundai i20
Rs. 5 Lacs. - Rs. 8.1 Lacs.

Honda Jazz
Rs. 5.8 Lacs. - Rs. 6.3 Lacs.

Maruti Suzuki Ritz
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Volkswagen New Beetle
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Ford Figo
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Nissan Micra
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Toyota Etios Liva
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Honda Brio
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Renault Pulse
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MINI Cooper
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Skoda Fabia Scout
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Mercedes-Benz A-Class
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BMW 1 Series
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Nissan Micra Active
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Hyundai Grand i10
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Tata Bolt
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BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
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Abarth 500
Rs. 25 Lacs. - Rs. 25 Lacs.

Fiat Punto Evo
Rs. 4.6 Lacs. - Rs. 7.2 Lacs.

Volkswagen Polo
Rs. 5 Lacs. - Rs. 7.4 Lacs.

Hyundai Elite i20
Rs. 4.9 Lacs. - Rs. 7.7 Lacs.


Chevrolet Sail U-VA Review

Recent User Review

5.0/10
by deepak agarwal, 17

THE EXTERIOR DESIGN OF CAR IS WAT IMPRESSED ME...ALSO THE INTERIOR IS AWESOME THEIR IS LOT OF LEG SPACE AS WELL AS BOOT SPACE .....I M ENJOYING WHILE DRIVING IT .... AWESOME CAR

7.4/10
by deepak agarwal, 25

i am quite satisfied with my car ,driving sail uva gives me best comfort then other car .sail may look very small from outside, but inside the car it has enough space to be comfortable. driving and handling is really cool in sail it is very good in city conditions as you can easily park it in a small space. the AC is good and interior is good quality. mileage is very good and maintenance cost is low. it is really a good small ca

5.0/10
by Basant Kausy, 18

It is a perfect MUV yet small car for the family. It is ideal for any road surface. Within its virtual small body, it offers spacious interior besides offering joyous and smooth ride.