Step into the Chevrolet Sail U-VA and you immediately feel..well..not very interested. The Sail's interiors are jaded, the color combination of dark brown and beige leaves it with a very outdated look and feel.
The Sail's cabin is vast (we'll come to that in a bit), and it certainly does not need the illusion of using a lighter color to make it feel airy, but unless the cabin is appointed with leather, the dark beige-brown combination does not feel delightful or fresh.
One thing that you notice once you settle down the large amount of glass area. The Sail U-VA has very useful quarter glass panels that are designed to help the driver and not the looks of the car! The driver seat offers supreme lumbar and shoulder padding, but cannot be adjusted for elevation.
The steering wheel will look better if GM can place an 3D emblem of the bow-tie and garnish it with chrome. It can be adjusted for rake, but its reach is fixed. There is no steering mounted audio controls, but the stereo can play tracks off a CD or USB port. The display on the stereo shows the time when the stereo unit is not in use.
[Outside mirror assembly and the electronic key are low-cost]
The air-conditioner is a manual unit with ergonomic controls. Power window switches for all doors are placed in front of the gear lever, and we had no trouble getting used to the relocation.
GM has interchanged the indicator stalk to the right, so that the Indian driver can feel at home. The gear lever has a chunky top, that feels great to grip.
[Storage solutions are very clever - there are plenty of spaces around the cabin for everyday items]
There are lots of cubby holes to store toll tickets and spare change. There is a dedicated slip holder on the dash near the driver door. There are pockets between the front seats and the dash is large enough to hold a couple of notebooks.
The rear seat is the Sail's forte. Thanks to squared-off roofline, the rear seat experience is excellent. There is plenty of head and shoulder room for three passengers. The long wheelbase (2,465mm) provides unmatched rear legroom. Believe me, a 6-footer can sit fairly comfortably when the seats are pushed back completely.
The rest of the cabin is a mix of dark beige and brown, with dull gray accents on the center stalk and doors, and a sprinkling of chrome on the door and hand brake release handles.
GM has to rethink color combinations, add a bit more chrome and develop new parts such as auto climate control, steering-mounted controls with Bluetooth pairing and streaming, and a more upmarket sound system.
[There's fabulous rear leg- and head-room. 6-footer Shenoy had no complaints sitting at the back]
The Sail's interior score is bang in between the function-only Toyota Liva and the neatly-stacked Maruti Swift.
What I loved about the interior of the Chevrolet Sail U-VA
1) Space - There's so much of it! The rear seat is the best place to be on this car.
2) Visibility - First time car buyers should have no trouble driving this through traffic or around bends
3) Simple, no-nonsense nature - not everyone wants the interior to pack gadgets of all kinds. For these customers, the Sail's interior does the job.
What I didn't like about the interior -
1) The curvature of the center console on the driver side obstructs the knee movement when operating the clutch. This problem is observed on the Spark, and future generation Sail vehicles need to have their dashboards pushed in further. Shorter drivers however will not find this a problem.
2) The pull-up type door lock does not belong in 2012.
3) The pitch of the horn could have been lower
4) The horn is excited momentarily when the unlock button on the key is operated. This is an easy way to identify the car in a parking lot, but not giving it an independent voice isn't a nice touch.
Stay tuned for the driving review.