If you want a relatively compact sedan that offers plenty of cabin space and a relatively large boot along with a decent list of features then the look at the Chevrolet Sail is a good idea. It’s also decent value for money, which makes it worthy alternative to more established rivals. Well, the Sail has its work cut out for it, considering it competes in a segment dominated by the likes of the Honda Amaze and Maruti Dzire.
The Sail is one of the better balanced designs in the affordable sedan segment. Prominent features include the two-part grille with the Chevrolet bow-tie badge in the middle. That along with the large swept back head lights gives the face a pleasing personality. The short and stubby boot has generously proportioned tail lamps which give this car a nice look. The side profile looks well balanced as well. Overall, it’s a design that might not wow many but won’t disappoint either. The overall length of this car is around 4.25-metres, which means that it won’t get the tax benefits given to sub-4 metre length cars.
The Sail comes in a beige and black cabin. It’s not the most impressive cabin in terms of design but on closer inspection you will notice that it impresses in terms of sheer practicality. There are plenty of places to keep odds and ends and even the glovebox is big for sedan standards. All the controls are neatly marked and easy to operate, making it a hassle free place to be in. Overall design is a pretty Spartan.
Where the Sail truly impresses is in the space department. Thanks to relatively long wheelbase, there is plenty of space in both rows of seats. The seats offer generous cushioning as well. Though both rows are good, it is the Swift Dzire, which still has the best seats in this segment.
Engine, performance and gearbox
The Sail comes with a choice of 1.2-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel motor as well. The diesel is the one we test drove. It is the same motor that the Maruti Dzire as well as the Tata Zest use. However, it comes in a different state of tune in this Sail. Though power at 74bhp and 190Nm of torque is similar to the Dzire, this engine responds differently to throttle inputs on the Sail. Just like the Dzire, there is a lot of turbo lag till 2,000 rpm. Once past this mark the engine picks up generous momentum all the way to its redline. Power delivery is generous but the gearbox isn’t as smooth as most rivals and there is a rubbery feel to it. That said, the clutch is light and smooth to operate for the most part. Engine refinement is acceptable but not the class best. That said, the cabin remains a calm place when the engine is spinning at around 2,500rpm and the car is doing 100kph on the highway.
Ride and handling
The ride comfort on the Sail is exceptional especially at slower city speeds. Its only when speeds increase that some undulations manage to enter the cabin. The steering is neither sporty nor very light, so it can be best described as decent. Keener drivers will have to look elsewhere for sheer driving thrills.
Features and safety
You get all the bells and whistles associated with this category of car. However, the big omission is the fact that the steering wheel doesn’t offer controls for the stereo. Another irritant is the fact that the power window switches are placed around the hand brake and not on the door pads. This can become a bit of an irritant on long journeys. Among the safety features you get ABS as well as dual airbags.
The biggest asset the Sail has over its main rivals is the fact that it offers a roomy cabin and a fuel efficient diesel engine. Though it may not wow you immediately with its talents, with the current discounts on offer, it is a sensible choice.