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Chevrolet Sail U VA Review: Chevrolet Sail U-VA Review

Chevrolet Sail U-VA Review

By Aditya Chatterjee; 30th March, 2013
Introduction

Chevrolet Sail U-VA Review

You have finally decided to go in for a small car or a “hatch” as it is popularly called these days. A hatchback which does not get you into parking lot fights as well as a vehicle which doesn’t make your hand frequent your pockets.

Chevrolet Sail U VA

After spending productive time researching on various mediums, you finally know it that you will be opting for a hatch which the largest car manufacturer produces in India. To justify your decision and throw in a convincing debate, you show the one your dad, uncle, friends, relatives and neighbors had and how happy they were with it.

We decided to review a hatch for this client group which can also be described as the “influenced ones”. However, this wasn’t a hatch from the famous hatch maker but it’s the Sail U-VA which has been brought in to resurrect Chevrolet’s image in India. We chose the Sail U-VA with a 1.3L SMARTECH diesel engine which also promises of great fuel efficiency. Read ahead through the different sections to find out if this one takes the most popular of the segment head on.

Exterior

There are some people who look beautiful and get praises very often for the way the look and there are some who get praised not cause of their looks but their heart, the Chevrolet Sail U-VA is the one which fits in the second type perfectly. It doesn’t look like a stunner on the streets but then that does not mean the hatch lacks character. The front bow tie face is the only peculiar family design about the U-VA. This one has no flamboyant lines running all over which makes it an average looking hatch.

Chevrolet Sail U VA

With the front bow tie and overall facial lines including the solidly positioned logo in between makes the Sail U-VA look like a humble sibling of the modern looking Cruze. The bumper looks very cheeky with subtle profile on the lower section. The headlamps stretch their way to the shoulder line. The headlamps provide sufficient illumination in pitch conditions and enough section of the road is patched underneath as the fog lamps too are as powerful.

The side profile looks dull with nothing exciting about it except for a wedge profile flowing on the door panels. The latter half of the design looks like the Ford Figo especially with the roof line descending from the B Pillar. This one comes with body colored door handles and ORVMs which can be electrically adjusted from inside. The ORVMs are nicely planted on the front door and give a helping view of the rear.

Chevrolet Sail U VA

The Sail U-VA comes equipped with 175/70 R14 Apollo tyres. The 12 spoke 14 inch alloy wheels with nice flares on the wheel arches are an interesting combination. Also something on the design front which will get your attention is the front and rear quarter panels. Overall the greenhouse area is generous and thus inside cabin visibility is great.

Rear section of the Chevrolet Sail U-VA will remind you very strongly of the Ford Fusion and Figo with the C-Pillar embedded tail lamps. The multi reflector rear tail lamps offer superb illumination as well. The waistline is the most prominent section on the tail door with the centrally placed Chevy logo. The tail gate opening is also very convenient and light. The rear windscreen is petite in design but as it may seem the rear view visibility is decent so the size of the windscreen is not an obstacle while reverse maneuvering.

Chevrolet Sail U VA

The rear bumpers start from a very tall position exactly underneath the tail lamps. It is a huge piece of FRP but then its dimension can be an issue in case of repairing a small damage which will need the entire rear bumper to be replaced making it a costly affair.

Interior

While reviewing cars, a great deal of time is spent inside the cabin while travelling from one point to another. This is the perfect time to gauge how engaging is the cabin feel. The Chevy Sail U-VA similar to its exterior looks offers a very simple looking interior but then the interior fit and finish offer a positive feeling about this hatch.

Chevrolet Sail U VA

Get inside and you will notice the adequate cabin space of this vehicle. I naturally had to do my routine shifting and sliding of the steering wheel and the driver seat as I sit at the healthy side of life. Even for a tall person like me getting inside the cabin is not difficult which gets my thumbs up. The feelings remain same when I slide inside the rear half of the vehicle. This is cause of the bog door design which facilitates easy ingress and egress. The door handle quality is decent and the doors too are solid in construction which closes in with the usual thud.

The headroom and the legroom remain sufficient for the front row passengers but the sloping roof line can make the space a little cramped for tall passengers seated behind. The legroom is sufficient for an average sized individual.

Chevrolet Sail U VA

The Beat and the Cruze offers very futuristic interiors, the Cruze gets a cockpit approach while the Beat gets a jazzy motorcyclish instrumental panel along with other gizmos. The jazzed up story is for the 2 only as in the Sail U-VA there is nothing stylish worth mentioning. Inspite of having no fizz in the design, the U-VA does not disappoint in its trims. The coffee beige dual tone interiors along with the fabric upholstery form a very pleasing combination.

Though personally, I think a contrasting color combination would have looked nice aesthetically as well as would have been better to maintain as light colored interiors are more prone to attract dust easily. The switch gear quality is good and do not feel tacky at all. The quality of buttons and knobs is good. They are very easily accessible and operate at one touch. Mounted on the central panel is the audio system which has radio, MP3 and CD support. This one also has a USB and AUX-in support. Something that I loved is the fact that there is no fuss in the position of buttons and jacks unlike in some cars where one has to go on a quest to spot the USB plug in which is hidden inside the glovebox, under the armrest or at the bottom of the central console.

Chevrolet Sail U VA

The music system offers a good playback quality. It has a 4 speaker output range with 2 speakers placed in the front and 2 at the rear. The speakers perform well till upper mid range as when the frequency hoes in higher ranges, the speakers give up on quality. The music output can be adjusted for different Bass, Treble, Fader and Balance levels. It also offers an option of pre-saved equalizer options.

Upto 5 phones can be paired with the integrated Bluetooth system and indeed the system is very swift in detecting Bluetooth devices and streaming music from them. The only issue felt here is while the music is streaming via Bluetooth, it gets difficult the adjust the Bass-Treble etc configuration through the Tune/menu knob as the same knob is used to fast forward, rewind or change track. So it needs some playing around with this knob to get used to.

Chevrolet Sail U VA

It has a four speed AC but then the AC takes its time to cool the cabin. This is not cause of the AC capability but Mumbai heat which can get very challenging at times. We often were using the AC at its maximum speed to cool the cabin.

Out of the 4 variants, 3 variants get leather wrapped steering wheel and just the top end LT ABS gets leather gear knob. So basically except the base variant the other 3 variants are very identical in options. The steering wheel feels nice and confident. It however does not offer any sort of controls on it and this you have to reach for the actual controls every time. One more hassle is the power window buttons since it’s a row of them it often happens that you end up sliding up/down the wrong window. These buttons are too closely placed with each other. The ORVM adjustment button has a very neat arrangement.

Chevrolet Sail U VA

Along with other simple things, the instrumental panel too is of the same nature with yellow backlight. The speedometer takes the central position while the tachometer has been squeezed in the left with a digital display. The instrumental panel displays tripmeter and odometer readings only.

The glove box is not generous when it comes to gulping articles but miscellaneous paper tickets can find its place there. There are bottle holders on front doors. On the central panel, there is a very smart interim recess which can take a phone as big as Samsung Note. The rear passengers get one cup holder located just after the hand

Performance

I had not frequented inside a Chevy for long. Frankly, not that I was too enthusiastic about driving this hatch. Not that I was disinterested but I knew it this is not going be a drive while will leave some very impressive memories. But then was I right?

Chevrolet Sail U VA

I was not as the Chevrolet Sail U VA is the most surprisingly performing hatch I have driven lately and yes even after giving the car back I have pleasant vibes about the car. The one that we drove is a diesel LT ABS variant and unlike some of the other diesel options available this one didn’t seem noisy at all. I find the Skoda Fabia the loudest of all the hatches available.

These days it’s all about tall claims where every manufacturer wants to snatch away clients from each other but then Chevrolet interestingly chose the silent route. It didn’t go blowing around a trumpet about the merits of Sail U-VA. The other way of seeing it is as the brand had earlier faced setbacks, the company itself was a little apprehensive about its image.

Chevrolet Sail U VA

So coming back to the 1.3L SMARTECH Diesel engine, which has a displacement of 1248cc produces a peak power of 78 PS at 4000 RPM and a torque of 205Nm at 1750 RPM. It is meshed with a 5 speed manual transmission.

The SMARTECH engine is a no fancy detailing and is indeed an impressive unit. The engine offers superb torque when required in over taking maneuvers. The transmission is smooth and is tall in nature. Though I fail to understand the logic behind the digital display of tachometer unless you are one of those who want to precisely know the RPM at which the engine is revving. Shifting across gears is smooth. Like most other diesel hatches this one too starts getting some heat post 2000 rpm.

Chevrolet Sail U VA

The 2nd gear can max out at a speed of 80-90kmph while the 3rd gear takes it ahead from there on. The in-gear acceleration is decent. More than the power delivery the torque delivery is the one which gets all the attention. Even while climbing through different sections the engine does not die out and continues to pull strongly. Gear ratios are very well distributed. The only tad bit of an issue was engaging it in the 5th gear which took some effort. Like a normal Chevy, the reverse in this one has to be engaged by pulling the lever on the gear stick.

The Apollo sets of tyres perform decent but when it comes to high speed cornering, they tend to lose on confidence. They become very screechy on the road and lack the tight grip. We felt this while we are turning at a speed of 80-90kmph which is not too fast on highways. The U-VA gets McPherson Struts for front suspensions and since it is a front wheel drive car, so rightly it gets the Twist axle rear suspension setup. The suspension quality is decent and with a ground clearance of 168mm, taking on the realistic Indian road conditions is not difficult.

Chevrolet Sail U VA

The gas filled Passive Twin-tube shock absorbers contribute towards this really well. The braking effect needs some work as it lacks the effective bite. The retardation felt is less with the disc-drum combination. The steering wheel gets lighter when braking at high speeds and needs some efforts to keep the vehicle straight.

Talking about mileage figures, the best we were able to squeeze with a mileage only driving style was 16.5kmpl. The company however claims 22.1kmpl which is in ideal conditions.

Chevrolet Sail U VA

So the overall impression about the Chevrolet Sail U-VA’s performance is very positive. Let’s face it the U-VA has not been made for the performance hungry bunch but then it satisfies the mundane needs. In city bumper-to-bumper traffic conditions all you need is an easy to drive car with a swift engine response also promising of a decent mileage. The Sail U-VA happily puts a check on all those boxes and comes across as a decent commuter for every day use.

Tech specs
Technical Specifications
 Make Chevrolet
 Model Sail U VA
Variant LT ABS
Parameter Diesel
Engine Displacement (cc) 1248
Power in PS/RPM 78/4000
Torque in Nm/RPM 205/1750
Transmission 5/M
Tyre size 175/70 R14
Brakes Front Disc
Brakes Rear Drum
Fuel Tank capacity 42
Dimensions in mm
Length 3946
Width 1690
Height 1503
Wheel Base 2465
Ground clearance 168
Minimum turning radius m 5.2
Kerb Weight 1124
Boot Space in Litres 248
Claimed Mileage Kmpl 22.1
Features
Features Base LS LS ABS LT ABS
Ex-showroom Price  Mumbai 555242 602367 620210 701787
Power steering Yes Yes Yes Yes
Air conditioning Yes Yes Yes Yes
Front Power windows Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tilt adjust steering Yes Yes Yes Yes
60:40 Split Folding rear seat Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rear power windows No Yes Yes Yes
Central door lock No Yes Yes Yes
Rear wiper washer No No No Yes
Rear Defogger No No Yes Yes
Integrated audio system No No Yes Yes
Driver airbag No Yes Yes Yes
Passenger airbag No No No Yes
ABS No No Yes Yes
Speed sensitive autolock No No No Yes
Alloy wheels No No No Yes
Leather wrapped steering wheel No Yes Yes Yes
Leather  Gear Knob No No No Yes
Competition
Specifications
Chevrolet
Sail U-VA
Ford
Figo
Maruti Suzuki
Swift
Variant LT ABS Titanium Zdi
Ex-showroom Price  Bangalore 701787 599999 723177
Engine Displacement 1248 1399 1248
Power in PS/RPM 78/4000 69/4000 75/4000
Torque in Nm/RPM 205/1750 160/2000 190/2000
Transmission 5/M 5/M 5/M
Tyre size 175/70 R14 175/65 R14 185/65 R15
Brakes Front Disc Disc Disc
Brakes Rear Drum Drum Drum
Fuel Tank capacity 42 45 42
Dimensions in mm
Length 3946 3795 3850
Width 1690 1680 1695
Height 1503 1427 1530
Wheel Base 2465 2489 2430
Ground clearance 168 168 170
Minimum turning radius 5.2 4.9M 4.8M
Boot space in Liters 248 284 300
Claimed Mileage (Kmpl) 22 20 22
Features
Power steering Yes Yes Yes
Air conditioning Yes Yes Yes
Front Power windows Yes Yes Yes
Driver seat height adjust Yes Yes Yes
Tilt adjust steering Yes Yes Yes
Music system Yes Yes Yes
Steering mounted audio control No Yes Yes
Bluetooth phone interface Yes Yes Yes
Intelligent Central locking Yes Yes Yes
Rear wash and wiper Yes Yes Yes
Rear Defogger Yes Yes Yes
ABS Yes Yes Yes
Dual front airbag Yes Yes Yes
Fog lamps Yes Yes Yes
Conclusion

The name Sail U-VA brings back memories which were not so good for the company. Opel Corsa Sail was launched in 2003. This was a hatch version of the Corsa sedan and the name U-VA has been retained from the Aveo U-VA series, which is again surprising as the Aveo despite of its marketing failed to get any response from the consumers.

The Sail U-VA is a very well packaged hatchback. It doesn’t have the looks of a modern hatch. Apart from the exterior looks, the interiors of the U-VA are reasonably decent. With good quality fit and finish and good overall trim quality, the cabin scores more than the looks. It is more of a Point A to Point B type of commuting car so it won’t score heavily with the enthusiasts.

The 1.3L diesel engine gets all the attention. It is a very well built diesel unit which doesn’t have the vibrations and lags of a typical diesel unit. It is surprisingly smooth and yet offers goof fuel efficiency. This engine is one of the most reliable ones we have come across off late. So with an impressive performance in city and on highways, the Sail U-VA is one of the best reasonably priced hatches in the country.

Chevrolet Sail U VA

The major stumbling block for Chevrolet is its brand image which is not too reliable for this segment. Unlike, the Cruze which dominates the D-segment, the Sail U-VA has to battle the odds against it very heavily. We hope this car brings an impressive change in the company’s brand image as well.