Maruti Suzuki Swift, the leader of premium hatchbacks in India, received a facelift in August 2011. The new Swift retains the same driving and handling characteristics of the old model. Here we see if the upcoming Chevrolet Sail small car has what it takes to bite in to the Swift’s customer base.
The Chevrolet Aveo U-VA which has been in the market for many years has neither achieved huge sales nor the popularity of the Swift. Chevrolet will now launch the Sail hatchback which will replace the Aveo U-VA.
We compare the new Swift with the upcoming Sail hatchback to know if the Sail can become an alternative to the Swift, which has long waiting periods.
Driving and handling
The Swift is powered by a 1.2-litre K-series petrol motor that puts out 86 bhp of power. The Swift diesel is powered by the 1.3-litre DDiS (based on Fiat’s mulijet engine) that puts out 74 bhp of power. Both the Swift petrol and diesel engines are known for their performance and consistent mileage.
Coming to the Sail, the petrol version is expected to get the 1.2-litre motor that powers the Chevrolet Beat. This motor puts out 82.6 bhp of power in the Beat. The diesel version of Sail hatchback may get the GM’s version of Fiat’s 1.3-litre Multijet engine. The power and torque specifications of this motor are not known yet.
Summing up, in terms of drivability, the Swift petrol may have an edge while the Sail diesel may have similar performance as the Swift diesel. With regard to handling, expect the Swift to have an edge over the Sail.
Space and comfort
The Swift measures 3,850 x 1,695 x 1,530 mm and a wheelbase of 2,430 mm. The Sail hatchback measures 3,947 x 1,690 x 1,503 mm (length x width x height) and a wheelbase of 2,465 mm. Hence, the Sail is lengthier than the Swift in height which essentially means, the Sail can offer more legroom than the Swift. The Sail with its 248 litres luggage space is 38 litres more than the Swift’s boot.
The Swift has comfortable front seats. The rear seats also offer good under thigh support and adequate headroom. However, the limited legroom makes life difficult for the middle passenger.
The Sail has a wider wheelbase offering adequate leg room both front and rear passengers.
The fuel tank is positioned in the middle of the car and hence, it frees more space inside. If the upholstery has adequate plush feel, it will be comfortable during long drives.
Overall, the Sail may offer slightly more space than the Swift. Comfort wise, the Swift will be best for four adults while the Sail may accommodate even five passengers with ease.
Maruti Suzuki did not want to spoil the sporty looks of the Swift and hence the facelift version is more of an evolutionary design when compared with the old model. The front has long swept back headlamps and a rising shoulder line with smaller rear windows. The rear has refreshed tail lamps with vertical slits.
The Chevrolet Sail has Chevrolet’s trademark bowtie grille. The side swept headlamps and deep set fog lamps complete the front profile. The side profile reveals mildly rising shoulder line but has large glass house area. The rear has plain boot door with high mounted stop lamps alike the Ford Figo. Summing up, the sporty looks of the Swift will appeal to young buyers while the practical looks of the Sail hatchback may appeal to mature audience.
Price mileage and overall VFM
Chevrolet Sail hatchback is expected to have a starting price of sub Rs. 4 lakh while the top-end may go up to Rs. 6 lakh. The Swift is priced in the range of Rs. 4.22 lakh – 5.53 lakh for the petrol version and Rs. 5.17 lakh – 6.54 lakh for the diesel version. Hence, the Sail, if priced below Rs. 4 lakh may have an edge over the Swift.
The Swift has a claimed mileage of 18 kmpl for the petrol variant and 23 kmpl for the diesel variant. The Sail hatchback may come with a mileage in the range of 17 – 22 kmpl. Since the diesel version of Sail is expected to come with 1.3-litre Multijet motor, it may have mileage similar to the Swift. The Sail may have an advantage in terms of price. But when it comes to performance, handling characteristics and long term reliability, the Swift will likely lead the race.
Pros and Cons
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If you want a stylish premium hatchback with low maintenance costs, consistent mileage and high resale value, go ahead buying the Swift. But, if you want a practical car with more interior space at a less price, wait till May, for the Sail launch.