The General Motors offensive continues as we bring you details about the all-new Chevrolet Enjoy which is all set to put up a fight in the burgeoning MPV segment
This was the third time in six months that I was entering GM’s gates at Talegaon with all the three visits being for all-new vehicles. This makes it clear that the American giant means business this time around and is trying hard to get its share of the market. With the Sail U-VA and the Sail sedan already out, GM has brought out the third offering from its GM-SAIC joint venture, the Chevrolet Enjoy. Now this isn’t the first time that we have laid eyes on the Enjoy. GM already showcased it at the 11th Auto Expo in Delhi and the response was terrific. A little over a year later, here it is in the flesh.
It is pretty evident that people in India like their MPVs but just because the car can seat six or seven, it isn’t reason enough to make it a runaway success. While cars like the Toyota Innova and the more recent Maruti Suzuki Ertiga are ruling the roost, the others haven’t really caught on as well. Which makes it clear that just space is not enough and people are looking for a complete package when it comes to MPVs. So how does the Enjoy fair amongst its fairly stiff competition? Let’s find out…
The first time you set your eyes on the Enjoy, the big MPV exudes quite a pleasant aura. There is nothing radical about the design and the Enjoy makes no bones about its van-like proportions. The mono-box design is devoid of any fancy creases or any drama whatsoever. The front has a pretty European feel to it with nice swoopy tear-drop headlights linked together by a twin slatted chrome grille with the big bowtie taking centre place.
The big honeycomb air dam below is flanked by two of the most stylish looking fog-lamps. Moving onto the side, one could say that the Enjoy bears a passing resemblance to the Mahindra Xylo, but then most typical MPVs almost boast the same shape.
A centre character line running all the way from the rear tail lights to the headlights along with a crease running parallel to it joining the front and the rear wheels arches are the only things that stand out from the otherwise slab sided profile. The rear although pleasant has nothing much to talk about. The tailgate is massive and extends almost all the way to the bottom and the only thing enhancing it is a well integrated lip spoiler. A di rigueur fat chrome strip runs above the number plate area with a pair of vertically stacked tail-lamps finishing up the rear.
Step inside the wide opening doors and you are welcomed by a spacious and airy cabin. A beige black theme is used all throughout and we pretty much liked the way it looked and felt. The front seats are extremely comfortable and offer very good support as well. The speedo console is pretty basic with a large speedo flanked by the rev counter on the left and the fuel-cum-temperature gauge on the right.
A small digital window reads out the odometer and the trip-meter. But the thing that really gets your attention is the wavy centre console. It’s a pretty neat design and very stylishly brings the controls towards you. The quality of plastics is pretty average but the design is quite catchy. While it may look good, the AC controls consist of your average rotary dials (no climate control) with the music system looking like an ‘80s cassette player.
Moving onto the back, both our cars had captain seats at the rear which were very comfortable with more than adequate legroom. We think a bench seat option might be provided at the time of the launch as well. The rear passengers get their own AC vents at the top with three adjustable blower speeds to play with.
Getting into the third row is a little tedious thanks to the middle seats not folding all the way but the seat is quite wide. But thanks to the raised floor at the back, it may get a bit uncomfortable for tall passengers. As far as the space and interiors are concerned we think GM has got it right and all it needs is a tad bit of flair to make it just right.
Carrying six or seven people with luggage is no measly task. While outright horsepower isn’t important here, the torque and gearing is. The Enjoy is offered with two engine options, a petrol and a diesel with the latter borrowed straight from the Sail sedan/hatch. The petrol in the Enjoy is a 1.4-litre DOHC unit pushing out a 104PS @ 6000 rpm and a maximum torque of 131Nm @ 4400 rpm. While these specs look quite decent for a sedan, one cannot say the same for a 1200 plus kg MPV which is meant to carry seven people.
The engine feels quite refined, and dumping the clutch and getting off the mark is quite a lethargic affair. The peaky characteristics of the engine means you have to keep shifting quite often which is not a good thing considering the notchy long throw gearbox is not exactly a joy to use and under a full load in a hilly terrain, this condition will only get further amplified. Once on the move though, the petrol Enjoy can do decent speeds and canters along quite well but other than that this, the petrol motor and the Enjoy come across as quite an average combination.
Getting into the diesel after the petrol brings forth a remarkable change in character. The Smartech 1.3 litre unit in comparison to the petrol puts out 77.5 PS @ 4000 rpm but more importantly a maximum torque of 188 Nm at a lowly 1750 rpm. This is where all the magic is. Getting off the mark, the diesel Enjoy feels much more sprightlier and kept in the meaty part of the power band can chug along all day doing decent speeds.
Even the gearing matches the power characteristics quite well. While we have yet to see how the diesel motor performs under a full load, initial impressions make it clear that the diesel is the motor to have in the Enjoy.
‘Ride’ing it out
The roads inside GM’s factory in Talegaon are pretty narrow and bumpy which were ideal to give us a fair idea about the Enjoy’s ride and handling virtues. Equipped with a run of the mill McPherson strut with coil springs in the front and a 5-link coil spring suspension at the rear, the Enjoy feels decently stable at low speeds, but as the speeds got higher so did the body oscillations. The suspension set up is pretty soft and while this a good thing in some ways, what is not as good is the damping. The Enjoy bobs about a lot as the roads get bumpy and this can get pretty unnerving. Again we did not get to see how the vehicle would respond under a full load but then even for an unloaded MPV, the damping could have been better.
Handling is pretty decent and the Enjoy keeps its height and weight in check at all times unless you try to drive it like a sedan or a hatch which it is not. We do, however, feel that the Enjoy is a tad under-tyred with the puny 175/70 R14 robbing the car of grip and some more stability. A 185 section 15-inch set up would do wonders for the grip and ride quality.
Does it make the cut?
Well, that answer can only be answered after we put the Enjoy through our rigorous road test routine. A thing to also note is that the vehicles we got were one step below the actual production vehicles, so we expect the quality to be slightly better in the production ones. Initial impressions though are a mixed bag as of now.
The Enjoy offers decent looks, very good space and seating and a satisfactory amount of kit as well with our top-end variants boasting driver-passenger airbags, ABS along with EBD. It’s the powertrain (petrol) and the ride quality that felt quite average. But a little amount of tweaking in both the departments is all that’s required and we hope GM is listening.
Apart from that the big question is the pricing and the positioning of the Enjoy. While it’s a tad bigger than the Maruti Ertiga, it is significantly dwarfed by the likes of the Toyota Innova, the Mahindra Xylo and the Nissan Evalia. The question is where will GM slot the Enjoy? Even putting aside the minor discrepancies, what will clearly decide the Enjoy’s fate is how well GM prices it. Wait and watch!
CHEVROLET ENJOY - TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
Chassis and Body
Construction: MPV with Body frame integral
Kerb weight:1345 Kg
Wheels: 14 X 5J
Made of: Alloy/Steel
Tyre size:175/70 R14 C 95/93S
Spare wheel: Full size, Steel wheel
Front: McPherson Strut with Coil Spring and Stabilizer Bar
Rear: 5-link Coil spring half isolate rear suspension