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Maruti Swift vs Chevrolet Sail Shootout

Maruti Suzuki Swift vs Chevrolet Sail U-VA – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Shootout – Chevrolet Sail U-VA vs Maruti Suzuki Swift

India and China concur more than half of the worlds population. The two countries differ on most criteria, be it food, culture or cars. Each of them have their own favourites and when it comes to hatchbacks, it’s no different. Maruti Suzuki Swift has been a segment best seller since the time it was launched almost 7 years ago. The newer generation model follows the same fan following and many have tried but have failed to dethrone it from its número uno status. Likewise, the Chevrolet Sail U-VA has been the chart topping car in China, selling close to 30,000 units every month. The Sail is soon going to be launched in India and GM agrees that the Maruti Swift is going to be its biggest rival. We pit both these top sellers against each other and find out who will take top honours.

Styling – The Chevrolet Sail has been jointly developed by GM and SAIC of China. Practicality supersedes any other quality in the particular region and this results in the Chevrolet Sail U-VA having a very bland exterior design. It takes time to grow on you but it’s no match for the Swift’s sporty attire. The Maruti Swift looks far more attractive and most will agree with this. However, head on the Sail does have striking resemblance to the Cruze with its wrap around headlamps and the family front grille, which is a good thing. The vertically stacked tail lamps look a bit old fashioned and from the side profile the car seems to end rather abruptly. In the Swift’s case, the character lines and curves give it a more premium look and add to sportiness.

Interiors – Get inside and and there is a marked difference here too. The Maruti Suzuki Swift sports an all black dashboard while the Sail gets two tone beige finished dashboard. Picking one out of the two would be wrong as its an individual choice. The plastics however feel better on the Swift while fit and finish is on par with both these cars. The steering looks better again in the Swift as the Sail gets no chrome treatment with the steering. Even the Chevy logo is inscribed in plastic, a bit of chrome would have certainly amplified the feel.

Interior space is where the Sail scores over the Swift and by quite a margin. The rear seat of the Chevrolet Sail is more comfortable and has more of a ‘sofa feel’ as compared to the Swift’s upright rear seats. The glass area is generous too, making the Sail feel more roomier. The rear windows on the Swift are very small and tend to make the passengers feel claustrophobic. The Sail outscores the Swift in the legroom, kneeroom and headroom department. The boot is bigger in the Sail and can swallow up large bags with ease. Furthermore, the seats can be folded flat in 60:40 ratio to create a more room, should you need it. The boot is more of a joke in the Swift. It’s smaller than the last generation model and even the seats don’t fold flat and do not have the 60:40 split option. The loading bay is higher in the Swift making it difficult to stow luggage, this is quite easy with the Sail. Comparing the top variants, the Sail misses extra goodies the Swift gets, such as automatic climate control, audio controls on the steering and drivers seat height adjustment. The Swift also gets a better audio system with better sound quality and an additional two front tweeters. Sound quality is average in the Sail U-VA. Both cars have provision for USB/AUX connectivity but the Sail has Bluetooth connectivity as well.

Performance – Both these cars are powered by the same diesel engine, well almost the same. The popular Multijet diesel engine was jointly developed by Fiat and GM. Effectively the Chevrolet Sail U-VA uses the same engine with minor India specific changes. GM uses a different turbocharger compared to the one used by Fiat and the engine is configured to Indian driving conditions, mated to GM’s own gearbox. The Sail produces marginally more power, 2 PS more to be exact. Maruti Suzuki has ruined the fun to drive aspect of the Swift by keeping the low end power very flat.

The Sail U-VA produces more low end torque and thereby is better to drive at low speeds, such as in slow moving traffic, etc. The midrange is pretty good too and is the Sail’s strong point but the high end is pretty flat. The Swift is exactly the opposite, there is hardly any low end grunt, which can make it frustrating in stop-go traffic. The mid-range and high-range of the Swift is good but you rarely get to the high end of the power band in city driving conditions. The fuel economy of both the cars is almost the same. The gearshift has shorter throws on the Sail and the gearbox is reasonably slick. The Maruti Swift is quite efficient too, as far as the gearbox is concerned. The petrol-powered Chevrolet Sail U-VA gets the same 1.2-litre engine from the Beat. This engine has decent performance but Maruti Suzuki’s 1.2-litre K-Series engine is an overall better option.

Ride, Handling and Braking – The Maruti Swift gets 15-inch wheels while the Chevrolet Sail U-VA gets 14-inch wheels. The Sail is superior to the Swift in terms of ride quality and takes up potholes with utmost ease, while the Swift’s suspension transfers a few into the cabin. The Sail feels comfortable even at the rear seat. Both the cars are very closely matched as far as high speed stability is concerned but the Sail just outdoes the Swift in this regard. The Sail handles very well but the steering has a very vague feel to it. The Swift on the other hand is very precise, with steering inputs. The Swift is more fun to drive but the Sail is much more planted to the road. Both these cars have ABS and EBD and despite narrower rubber, the Sail’s braking and pedal feel is better. NVH levels with both cars are very good, though at higher revs, the Sail is louder of the two.

Conclusion – The Maruti Suzuki Swift is one of the best hatchbacks in India, but it was surprising to find the Sail U-VA bettering it on many regards. The Swift is definitely a better looking car inside out but the Sail U-VA is a more practical car, offering more space and better ride quality. The Sail U-VA is definitely not going to dethrone the Swift, but GM does have a winner on its hand with this spacious hatchback. GM is offering its 3-years no maintenance package and 5-years engine and transmission warranty on the Sail U-VA. However the pricing is not as aggressive as we had hoped for, making the Sail U-VA a tough choice in front of the class leading Swift.

Further Reading (hatchback shootouts) –

Maruti Suzuki Swift vs Fiat Grande Punto
Maruti Suzuki Swift vs Hyundai i20
Volkswagen Polo vs Fiat Grande Punto

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • kedar

    There is no NVH shield (dont know the exact word) under Sail’s bonnet. Is that petrol or diesel sail in that picture?

    • Mohit

      Kedar, petrol that is why both petrol and diesel are bit noisy when compared to others, otherwise its easy to live with

  • Sangram

    Clicked on it for high resolution, forget resolutions, there are no pictures :-)

    • Mohit

      you need to check the pictures on flickr and you can even download whatever size you want! its much much faster and BETTER then previous system we had

  • Atluri

    GM doesnt have its own turbocharger..The turbo used in Sail U-VA is by Garrett. This would be first vehicle multijet powertrain in India with a Garrett turbo…

    • Mohit

      alturi, javeid means to say is, the turbocharger is better and different then what maruti uses for the same engines

    • Javeid Khan

      Thanks for the feedback. As Mohit mentioned, i was implying that GM is not using the Honeywell turbo used by Fiat and Maruti. Have corrected it. Appreciate the feedback.

  • No One

    Is not it too early to say unless the actual onroad price comes out for this car ?

    If the price is close to premium hatchbacks like i20 / Swift or Punto 90ps, i doubt if it would see success

  • No One

    Compare to spark with Alto K10 please

  • Atluri

    Garrett and Honeywell turbo are the same..Garrett is a brand of Honeywell…Fiat, Maruti and Tata use KKK turbo in India for multijet powertrains…

    • Kedar

      You are correct Atluri. Honeywell and Garrett are the same and are division of Honeywell Transportation Systems.

      Here is the source:

    • Javeid Khan

      Alturi, GM says its not Honeywell, they did not mention which one they are using. Its different to the one used in Fiat and Maruti.

  • Ben

    Good review. Suzuki detuned the mjd engine in swift to the utmost because most of its customers are mileage seekers. Lets see if this new chevy is fuel efficient or not. Nowadays suzuki’s most of the cars have become like commuter cars lacking power which other cars offer. But think of the early esteems, gypsys and 800s, how much performance they offered.

  • Chamanlal

    kitna deti hai?

    • Faisal Khan

      Diesel returns around 16 in city.

  • fjadfjal

    nice review but swift remain the king of the roads. chevroelt cars are garage friendly and this cheap chinese offering will be like the chinese toys.

  • afsal

    swift is a king of indian car industry

  • kushal sharma

    swift is very bad i20 and sail is the best

  • kushal sharma

    hyundai is korean company and swift is of indian company

    • Javeid Khan

      Kushan, even though Hyundai is Korean, they make very good cars. In fact the only issue faced with their cars is a soft suspension setup, which is being addressed the company soon. Besides, Swift in not by an Indian company, Swift is a completely Japanese model with Suzuki having the majority stake in Maruti Suzuki.

  • Rohan Khan

    This review is non-sense. The handling of the swift and that handling of sail is incomparable, Swift is the best handler under 10 lacs catogery after tyre upgrade, and sail has just got some safe handling but not meant for enthusiastic people, why would anyone buy the sail if he gets a much better product after just paying 20k extra. More features, More stylish, much better handling, Almost everything is better, (except space and boot), this review does not make sense, i think GM has bribed motorbeam for doing this nonsense.

    • Faisal Khan

      Rohan, have you driven the Sail yet?

  • Rohan Khan

    @Faisal khan, yes, i have driven it.. thats the reason i had to comment.

    • Faisal Khan

      Rohan, I personally drive a Swift on a daily basis, trust me, I like Swift way more but the fact is a fact. The Sail is quite a good car, but GM has messed it with the optimistic pricing.

  • Subramanyam


    Length : 3995 mm

    Width : 1710 mm

    Height : 1510 mm

    Wheelbase : 2450 mm.

    Engine : MJD 1.2, 90 BHP/ MJD 1.3 75 BHP.

    Boot Space ; 300 Lts.

    • Faisal Khan

      Subramanyam, next gen Swift due in 2017.

  • Subramanyam

    But do you think Maruti will be a little bit more liberal about space even then (2017)? Even thouh Vdi costs approx. Rs. 7.35 lacs (on road in Vizag) it cannot match the space or practicality of I20 with almost similar features for same price (magna version).

  • Vicky

    I want 2 bye Chevrolet SAIL U-VA, LS ABS, is this right car, this is my fist car

    • Faisal Khan

      Vicky, what are your requirements?

  • Shambhu Nair

    I have test driven both Swift and Sail U-VA. Both the cars are amazing to drive. I personally feel Sail is not a nonsense car and I was surprised that it is better than Swift in many aspects.
    I have booked Sail U-VA diesel and I am very much happy to own a Sail.

    • Faisal Khan

      Shambhu, congratulations. Do update us with your buying experience.

  • http://Motorbeam annand

    Swift is better,any day

  • arnab jaan gogoi

    sorry chevy,, swift is my choice.

  • san

    Maruti Suzuki …..swift …. & ….dezire…. MOST UGLY Looking Cars…. but interior THE BEST

  • jaywant patel

    I have booked sail sadan is it a batter option than dasire

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