Being an auto-journo has its perks with one getting to drive most cars and bikes. However, being in the profession also attracts a barrage of questions if and when anyone you know is on the verge of his/her next vehicle purchase. Just recently I was inquired about a purchase and according to the needs, I suggested the recently launched Chevrolet Sail UVA, but my explanation was immediately cut short saying, ‘Dicky-wala gaadi chahiye’. Which brings me to the point about us Indians and our obsession with saloon cars. It is pretty evident that anyone with a decent budget prefers a saloon over a hatch-back.
And the reasons behind the choice is not just the extra boot space afforded by the saloon but in fact the reasons are on a totally different tangent. For some buying a saloon means buying a prestigious ‘big’ car, for others it’s the extra safety offered by the boot in case some one ends up rear ending you and some even believe that the saloons are more stable at higher speed than their hatch counterparts. While there are reasons aplenty, logical or illogical, what cannot be reasoned with are the sales figures of these affordable saloons.
And as a result most manufacturers when designing a car make sure that the platform is flexible enough to accommodate a hatch and a sedan and in some cases a station wagon too. This trend in India was pretty much started by the Fiat Palio/Siena/ Siena Weekend and then moved forward by the likes of the Opel Corsa/ Corsa Sail/Swing, Tata Indica/Indigo/Marina and more recently the very successful Maruti Suzuki Swift/Dzire.
GM recently launched the Chevrolet Sail UVA hatchback in order to grab their share of the premium hatchback pie and now they have come up with sedan variant of the same as well. It’s pretty clear that GM wants to take some customers away from the Maruti Suzuki Swift/Dzire and this model offensive is an indication of just that. But is this new Sail Sedan good enough to take on this giant of a competitor? Let’s find out…
The hatch has spawned a boot, and it still looks good!
At first glance, most would pretty much mistake the sedan for the hatchback and it’s not without a reason. The sedan looks exactly like the hatchback right up to the B-pillar and it’s only when you move to the side that you spot the boot and the new 8-spoke alloys. That said, it’s a job well done and from no angle does it look like the boot has been put there as an afterthought. The Sail UVA boasted a pretty fuss free design and the sedan follows the same theme. There is just a single character line running from the front fender to the tail lights to give the otherwise plain-jane design some much needed depth.
Seen from the back, the big gold bowtie stands out in an otherwise good looking rear. All in all, the Sail sedan comes across as a handsome looking car which won’t tickle your fantasies but it’s not something you would want to shy away from either like you would from some of the Sails better known adversaries. That said, Chevrolet should have made some subtle changes to differentiate the car from the hatch version by means of a different grille or some chrome touches or something at least.
Space for the passengers and now their luggage too!
Like on the outside, the insides of the sedan get the same interiors of the hatch. And that’s a good thing and a not so good thing. The width and the wheelbase are exactly the same and as a result so is the space. One will never fall short on legroom unless you bear the dimensions of a big wrestler. Some smart packaging means the Sail comfortably accommodates three people abreast. The front seats are pretty accommodating as well but again devoid of any driver seat height adjustment or a dead pedal.
While space retained is the good thing, the bland interiors are the not so good part. Design, like on the outside, is pretty straightforward. No snazzy shapes on the dash, no radical console and the steering is still devoid of any audio controls. No climate control either. The dated rotary dials are retained in the sedan. GM should have at least given different fabrics on the seats. The practicality aspect though is well taken care of with plenty of cup holders and storage spaces. The boot space too is quite impressive and thanks to a well designed loading bay, it can easily accommodate a good amount of luggage.
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