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2013 Chevrolet Sail Test Drive Review


Chevrolet Sail Notchback Review

Chevrolet Sail Notchback – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Chevrolet Sail Review

Car tested: 2013 Chevrolet Sail

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 5.95 – 9.09 lakhs

The Chevrolet Sail is high on practicality, which is imperative to a large chunk of buyers.

Mid-sized sedans are seeing increased demand in India, with sales improving gradually over the past few years. Today, the mid-sized segment is quite crowded with many products on offer from a slew of manufacturers, both local and international. General Motors entered this segment long time back with the Chevrolet Aveo, a vehicle which tasted little success, due to the lack of a diesel engine and intense competition. Now in its second go in the Aveo segment, GM has armed the Chevrolet Sail with a potent diesel motor, which is sure to appeal to a larger section of buyers. So does the Sail sedan impress?

Exteriors – The Sail notchback is the sedan version of the Sail U-VA hatchback and thus the styling of both vehicles is almost identical till the B-pillar, post which we have slightly bigger windows for a better rear seat experience. However unlike some sedans in the segment, where the boot seems to be an after thought, the Chevrolet Sail has a well integrated boot which doesn’t look out of place. The tail lights are big and the rear bumper has nice lines too. The overall styling of the vehicle is conservative and the styling won’t grab eyeballs but neither will it offend anyone. The neutral design of the Sail puts it across as a simple vehicle where function precedes form.

The neatly integrated boot doesn’t look big on the outside but offers enough space to carry big bags. The loading bay is slightly high but overall SAIC has done a fantastic job to ensure the Sail’s rear is not an eye-sore like the Maruti Suzuki Swift DZire.

Interiors – GM has made absolutely no changes to the dashboard of the Sail sedan over the Sail U-VA hatchback. The interiors are almost identical too and there are minor changes like softened seat cushioning and fixed rear seats (the hatchback has folding seats which boosts carrying capacity). The interiors of the Chevrolet Sail are not a lively place to be in and overall quality levels are average at best. The use of beige colors on the interiors does give the Sail an airy feeling on the inside. However the plastics are hard and the steering wheel feels quite an over thought, with no color co-ordination whatsoever.

The Sail sedan is expected to fill the shoes of the erstwhile Optra, which was known to be a loaded vehicle. Sadly GM has thought otherwise with the equipment list of the Sail, which doesn’t get steering mounted audio controls, on-board computer and climate control. What the Chevrolet Sail sedan loses in terms of interiors design appeal, it makes up by offering loads of space. There is ample amount of legroom and headroom on offer throughout the vehicle and every occupant will be comfortable inside the car. Seating five is not an issue thanks to the centrally placed fuel tank. There are quite a few storage areas too and the doors have generous pockets as well.

A few things which GM should have fixed in the Chevrolet Sail notchback but haven’t is the power window switches which have been placed right ahead of the gear knob. There is no dead pedal nor driver’s seat height adjustment on offer. The instrument cluster doesn’t feel much intuitive either and the tachometer should be switched with the speedometer. A digital speedometer and an analog tachometer is easier to understand, rather than the other way round. The Sail does get keyless entry and a feature laden audio system which has AUX, USB and Bluetooth connectivity. Overall the cabin doesn’t feel special but is quite practical and there is loads of space to be utilized. We would have liked if GM would have offered more equipment, at least on the top-end variants.

Performance – Powering the Sail sedan is the same set of engines from the Sail U-VA hatchback. Which means you get a 1.2-litre petrol engine, even though the Sail is not a sub 4-metre compact sedan. GM chose the 1.2-litre engine over the 1.4-litre engine in the interest of fuel economy. The 1.2-litre engine is also a generation ahead of the 1.4-litre engine. The 1.2 Smartech motor is not the best when it comes to NVH levels but offers decent performance from the 86 horses it has on tap. In-gear acceleration is good and this motor feels best in the mid-range but the rubbery gearbox does take away from shifting cogs smoothly.

The more popular engine of choice will certainly be the diesel, which uses the highly acclaimed 1.3-litre Fiat oilburner. This motor has been tweaked by GM engineers to befit the Sail for better city drive-ability. Power delivery is linear and although turbolag is evident, it is relatively contained. Mid-range from this engine is fantastic and there is good progress between 2000-3500 RPM. The top-end is not as punchy though and power trails off quickly at around 4000 RPM. GM has used its own gearbox on this diesel engine, which has short throws and the overall experience from the diesel Sail is very positive.

Driving Dynamics – The Chevrolet Sail has decent stability at high speeds but the steering doesn’t feel as direct and involving as some of its Japanese rivals. While the steering is light at low speeds, making it easy to maneuver in city conditions, it doesn’t weigh well enough as speeds build up. GM has improved the steering on the petrol model which feels slightly better. Handling is decent though there is some amount of body roll which is marginally more than the hatchback. However the ride quality is simply fantastic and the Sail blows you away by absorbing bad roads in its stride with utter confidence. We took the vehicle on the worst possible roads around GM’s Talegaon facility and the Sail thoroughly impressed us. Braking performance is good with ABS on offer on top end variants.

Verdict – The Chevrolet Sail sedan thus comes across as not much more than a Sail U-VA with a boot but in this case, the boot has been integrated very well. GM has retained the interiors, engines and features on the sedan, with its hatchback sibling. There are a few shortcoming like the lack of features and average steering feel, but the ride quality and space more than make-up for it. The 3-year Chevy promise on offer will make the Sail a very competitive car in the segment. Now GM only needs to price the Sail sedan very aggressively to taste success in the mid-size sedan segment. The Chevrolet Sail does offer plenty to the buyer but the company has to play the value for money card in view of intense competition from more established rivals.

Good interiors space, generous boot and splendid ride quality make the Sail sedan a very practical vehicle in its segment.

Whats Cool

* Excellent ride quality
* Interior space
* Well integrated boot

Whats Not So Cool

* Plastic and interiors quality
* Some equipment missing
* Steering feel

Chevrolet Sail Specifications

* Engine: 1248 cc, 16V, DOHC, SDE (diesel), 1199 cc, 16V, DOHC, Smartech
* Power: 78 PS @ 4000 RPM (D), 86 PS @ 6000 RPM (P)
* Torque: 205 Nm @ 1750 RPM (D), 113 Nm @ 5000 RPM (P)
* Transmission: 5-speed manual
* Top Speed: 160 km/hr
* 0-100 km/h: 16 seconds (D), 15 seconds (P)
* Fuel Consumption (as per ARAI): 22.1 km/l (D), 18.2 km/l (P)
* Fuel Type: Diesel and Petrol
* Suspension: Mcpherson struts with coil springs and stabilizer bar (Front), Semi-independent suspension with coil springs (Rear)
* Tyres: 175/70/14 Tubeless Radials
* Brakes: 240 mm Disc (Front), 200 Drums (Rear), ABS, EBD
* Safety: ABS, EBD, Dual SRS Front Airbags

Chevrolet Sail Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 4249 mm X 1690 mm X 1503 mm
* Wheelbase: 2465 mm
* Front/Rear Track: 1462/1457 mm
* Ground clearance: 174 mm (D), 168 mm (P)
* Turning Radius: 5.15-metres
* Boot Volume: 370-litres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 42-litres
* Kerb Weight: 1124 kgs (D), 1065 kgs (P)

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{ 24 comments… add one }

  • No One January 25, 2013, 10:24 pm

    Do you people read teambhp ??

    Have look at their way of review, I feel reviews here are really short and not in-depth to satisfy the hunger :(

    Reply
    • Faisal Khan January 25, 2013, 10:39 pm

      We have already reviewed the Sail U-VA and since both cars are very similar, we have not gone into much depth.

      Reply
      • No One January 25, 2013, 11:51 pm

        Care to add a link in the review ??

        Reply
        • Faisal Khan January 26, 2013, 10:40 pm

          No One, link to Sail U-VA review added.

          Reply
    • rakesh January 26, 2013, 11:43 am

      I do not think the comparison by u is even apt dude, if they write like team-bhp then what is the point, everyone has a different style and that is the whole point of getting different perspectives and styles. what if everyone had the same format, it wud be boring..

      anyways team-bhp does do a good job, their reviews are really detailed but other than a prospective buyer, nobody reads them, i dont want to know inside out of every car, like how much gap there is between the driver seat and door, that a buyer would want to know..

      reviews should be simple and to the point. are u going to be buying the sail no one? i also checked other magazine reviews and they are much smaller than this, with 4 photos put for the sake of it. i am not defending Motorbeam but nowadays i see ppl dont appreciate the good things and keep critizing, u do it and then i will be the first one to c..

      no offense

      cheers – Rakesh

      Reply
  • S Pani January 26, 2013, 8:02 am

    You forgot the most important disadvantage of this car. It is the most boring car out there in the market. It seems to have no passion behind it.

    The only thing going for it is probably the space. But in the sedan segment, its space is not that big a winner, as it was in the hatch. The only sedan in its price range which is bad on space is probably the Dzire, which will be cheaper. There are some superb big space sedans on offer like the Verito, Sunny and Manza.

    Reply
    • rakesh January 26, 2013, 11:45 am

      bingo, it does look boring but again verito, indigo, etios are also very boring cars. only the linea, verna and fiesta are exciting..

      Reply
      • S Pani January 26, 2013, 12:40 pm

        The Manza doesnt look boring, it may not be the best looking thing out there, but its not boring. In fact in some colours and from some angles its great looking. The headlights are very striking in the Manza. The interiors too dont feel boring at all and looks pretty premium.

        The Verito too, is not boring in my view. It has a certain appeal, in the way its a car made primarily of straight lines, when pretty much every car is a combination of curves. The new gaping front grill of the Verito does stand out too. The Etios may be a bit boring, but overall its not that bad. And the Etios interor is pretty funky, with those vertically stacked air-con vents, and the white background, elongated central speedo.

        What I meant by boring is not bad looking. Its a car that doesnt have any objective other than not to ruffle feathers. Nothing in the car looks bad by itself, but there is not one eye catching thing which is either good or bad to look at.

        Just as an example, there are loads of people who like the XUV500, and there are loads who dont like its looks. But you cant say the XUV is a boring design. For me the XUV is a pretty ugly and very overdone design. But even I wont call it boring.

        The Sail/Sail UVA though is a boring design. It’s a design that neither appeals nor repeals, which to me is the worse kind of design.

        Reply
        • Mohit Soni February 1, 2013, 3:59 pm

          First of all it doesn’t get in comparison with manza, manza is a segment above..the true blue real contentedor is the ETIOS same dimensions same dito pricing with same level of equipment and same boring looks and cheap interiors and both offer peace of mind with their guarantee and powertrain warranties

          YOU DECIDE! Dear consumer ;)

          Reply
  • rakesh January 26, 2013, 4:51 pm

    Manza does look boring, again it depends on everyones own perspective but it does look boring to me, it looks dated, fiesta is what an exciting car looks like and so is the linea, manza is fat, needs to cut down on weight.. the sail is definitely among the boring saloons but gm should price it well to give benefit of it to buyers

    Reply
  • madhav January 27, 2013, 10:39 pm

    hey No one: it’s Fas’s style of review. y do you want him copy Team Bhp? makes no sense.

    Reply
  • manish January 31, 2013, 4:34 pm

    this is a practical car and although not striking, value can win it many buyers

    Reply
  • shankar February 1, 2013, 12:11 pm

    To make it more attractive, GM should offer LTZ variant with sunroof..

    Reply
  • Sagar February 1, 2013, 6:25 pm

    Only 2 odd things in Styling from my point of view
    1) Dull Steering (No colors) As mentioned in the review.
    2) Small 14 inch Alloys.

    Reply
  • nitin February 4, 2013, 9:25 pm

    is a very good review, Smart n Short

    Reply
  • ajay February 7, 2013, 12:23 am

    gm will break even in 4 years, that is 13 years after entry, get the sonic and u might break even sooner

    Reply
  • Gajbar February 10, 2013, 12:55 pm

    they plan to sell 4000 SAIL a month! quite a target

    Reply
  • GKRao February 18, 2013, 11:22 am

    Many visitors here are of the view that the new Chevy Sail is ‘boring’. Some times I wonder what they mean by ‘exciting’ and ‘boring’. DZire has a offending boot but some feel it’s exciting!!!. Manza has awkward front and a bland boxy rear still some people find it exciting!!!. SAIL here has a decent, neutral and well rounded design and people feel its ‘boring’!!!. Simply the perception of Indian consumers is beyond me. In my view SAIL is a simple no-nonsense car and deserve some love from the Indian car market. Even VW Vento, for that matter, looks plain simple. But it has tatsed reasonable success. So why not SAIL?. It has less options than Vento but that’s beacause its cheaper. Even Aveo for that matter looked lot more decent than the bulky elephant like DZire (the old one). Don’t know why people hated it…. As I said the perception of Indian Market is beyon me….

    Reply
    • Faisal Khan February 18, 2013, 12:49 pm

      GKRao, the reason people find DZire interesting is its interiors, which are of much better quality.

      Reply
  • Radha Vallabh Arora February 19, 2013, 5:56 pm

    I really Liked this car… Has an awesome mileage and power in an awesome price range…
    And really impressed with its design…

    Reply
  • shivendra mishra February 28, 2013, 4:33 am

    Whomsoever think this sedan boring go and check for yourself in white or black color.i bet you have to eat your words.. From my POV this is the best looking entry level sedan lot better than manza,dezire,etios and verito.Hyundai verna excels in designing and a segment higher than these cars.

    Reply
  • Dev G May 12, 2013, 12:42 am

    Designwise this car is better than all the cars in it’s segment. I checked it in personal and found it to be a true sedan. Had a test drive as well of petrol version .. engine response is good and handling is terrific. Space in front and rear is excellent. Has a very large boot .. one can travel with lots of luggage. Excellent and intelligent car.

    Reply
  • Saptarshi August 4, 2013, 1:32 am

    The review is good and neutral. The SAIL Sedan with the ALLOY Wheels is a looker. To be more specific, it is a mature and handsome looking car. If you dont want to take my words, go to the showrrom, walk around the car – you will feel what i mean to say. With its price tagging and warranty offer it is absolute value for money car. Even the sail Hatch is good looking and a big hatch well engineered car. When your family will sit at the back and they become very happy with space you will feel proud. The SAIL duo has everything of right amount to make you happy. All cars have their own negatives, SAIL is no exception. A very practical car.

    Reply
  • Rajesh September 16, 2013, 11:35 am

    Team-BHP reviews are not forthright, even if they are very detailed. This one is crisp and un-biased.. Thanks for this man.

    Reply

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