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Friday, March 24, 2017 33° Partly sunny

The big Sail

The Chevy Sail 1.5 AT LTZ redefines compact segment

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Text and photos by Eric Tipan

Everyone wants a good deal. That’s probably why just the mere mention of ‘sale’ gets the Department of Transportation all worked up. But speaking of ‘sale’ and ‘transportation’, there’s currently a Sail that isn’t getting its due attention.

First previewed at the Manila International Auto Show last April, the Chevy Sail is a B-segment (subcompact) model from The Covenant Car Company, Inc. (TCCCI), the official distributor of Chevrolet. It may be crashing the party a tad bit late but after spending a weekend with the Chevy Sail 1.5 AT LTZ, it is worth anyone’s consideration.

    PEPPY ORANGE

    The Chevy Sail is small without a doubt, but what it lacks in length and shorter wheelbase versus the competition, it makes up for with an extra 32mm at least in width.

    Compensating for its diminutive size is what Chevy calls the Peppy Orange color, which makes for an eye-catching hue. And if you plan to tint it out, the black B-pillars completes the look on top while perfectly matching the 16-inch gunmetal alloy wheels at the bottom.

    The front and rear of the Sail comes in pretty plain but it does carry a shoulder-line starting from the fender leading straight to the rear lamps that make it appear flashy.

    Setting it apart from the competition and in the segment perhaps is its best exterior feature, the sunroof with a Slide-and-Tilt feature. Usually found on higher models, it is nothing short of refreshing to know that you’ll also get to enjoy the cool breeze of Tagaytay or even Baguio even in a subcompact like the Sail.

    SLIM AND LOADED

    Chevy managed to trim down much of the Sail’s fat, which allowed it to maximize the extra width it had compared to other models in the segment. The first thing they started with was the power window buttons. It got moved to the dashboard (right under the aircon controls) to probably trim down the door panels for additional space.

    It took a lot to untrain muscle memory. I constantly had to open the driver window for parking and toll tickets, but I am living proof that old dogs can learn new tricks.

    There’s a good amount of space for five inside the Sail and as is Chevy’s tradition, they saved some for your gadgets and devices as well. They call it ‘user-friendly storage compartments’ and there are sixteen in total inside the cabin plus 366 liters of trunk space.

    Exclusive to the LTZ is a very attractive nine-inch touchscreen color display powered by an Android system with Bluetooth connectivity, Waze, Spotify and even a hotspot feature. Pairing your mobile device is easy but it only seems to be for audio streaming. My calls had to be on ‘speaker’ mode to avoid breaking the law.

    The audio system is adequate for the trim and it does come with customizable settings including an equalizer. Despite its capability, I couldn’t reset the default volume which is set to ‘pretty loud’ after every startup.

    The cabin has modern-day features and is even setup with a backup monitor, and driver and passenger airbags.

    SAIL-ING

    For a trim using a 1.5L multi-port fuel injection (MPFI) engine with only 109PS, the Sail is a lot spunky — more than what I expected and definitely a lot more fun than others in the same segment. It is due mainly to Chevy’s ‘Torque On Demand’ feature that releases all 141 Nm of it, when you need it.

    This made the Sail real zippy and able to either catch up or keep up with fast-moving traffic. Even on the highway, there wasn’t a situation where I found the Sail falling behind against bigger and more capable vehicles.

    The engine is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission, and if you don’t find the performance on Drive fun enough, which I’ll find hard to believe, it has Active Select so you can do the shifting using the +/- button on the knob.

    Being a subcompact, it is still an entry-level model and as such, the Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels are on the high side. But it is that size that makes it great to maneuver and easy to push forward. Although it would really pair much better with a softer suspension for better comfort and higher rollover resistance.

    THE SAIL YOU CAN’T MISS

    It probably is the most fun and energetic B-segment model out there and yet still returned a solid 10.5 kilometers per liter. I pushed it around for four days and it stepped up to the plate every single time.

    If you’re in the market for your first car or just looking for an extra unit to combat the new ‘no windows hours’ policy, the Sail should surely be in the mix. For P858,888, the Chevy Sail 1.5 AT LTZ also comes with a five-year warranty and free 24/7 emergency roadside assistance for three years.

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