Review: Chevrolet Enjoy
“All cars have their own purpose” were the words of a senior GM India engineer when we went to drive the new Enjoy, Chevrolet’s budget MPV for India. And there is little you want to argue about that sentence. Apart from some basic commonalities, all cars have their own set of target audience and all we need to find is whether the Enjoy will literally live up to its name when it comes to owning one.
We all first saw the first prototype at the Delhi Auto Expo in January last year. It didn’t have a name then but GM was clear it wanted a car like that in India. The prototype, imported from GM’s China operations, has undergone some serious work for chassis dynamics, ride and handling. Based on a platform GM internally calls CN, the Enjoy is a proper 7 or 8-seater people carrier. It looks around the same size as the Maruti Ertiga, but is actually longer and taller. The increased length has freed up more legroom for the third row seats. Compared to the Auto Expo display model, the front gets a new grille, which is the only major visual difference between the Indian production car and the Chinese prototype. It’s not exactly handsome, but manages to attract with some decent proportions and a few flowing lines on the side. The rear, flat hatch is the only sore point when it comes to viewing pleasure.
The Enjoy will be launched with two engine options. First, and more importantly, the 1.3-litre Multijet diesel, which is the same as in the Sail sedan, with the only difference being that in the Enjoy, it is longitudinally placed like in conventional utility vehicles. The engine bay isn’t huge, which means it is a seriously snug fit. It is reasonably refined but has some turbo lag. Once on the move, the diesel can easily oscillate between two and three digit speeds even when you stick to 5th gear. Which is good for the highways. The 5-speed gearbox has a rubbery feel and throws are long, which is a bit of a dampener.
The petrol is an all-new 1.4-litre unit that is being assembled at GM's new Talegaon plant near Pune. Power is a healthy 103bhp. While it's a no-brainer that an MPV in India makes sense with a diesel unit, this petrol makes for a more spirited drive. It will especially make sense if city driving is all you will do. Surprisingly though, cabin NVH isn't as good as the diesel.
Where the Enjoy does reasonably well, with either engine, is in the ride department. McPherson at the front, multi-link coil at the rear work in tandem to offer a slightly soft ride that does soak surface aberrations well. We drove a pre-production model with a touch of rattle but the engineers assured us that production models are clearly better built.
While a good ride isn’t surprising for a Chevy-badged MPV, it’s in the handling department that the Enjoy turns up better prepared. Make no mistake, it’s not a car to take to the race track. The height and length has it’s own challenges but the Enjoy can keep to its track on a corner. It is a rear-wheel driven MPV, unlike say the Ertiga, so there is a hint of understeer but the idea of not making it a normal front wheel drive was to offer better traction, especially with a full load on. In the Enjoy's case, this seems to work. The 175/70 R15 JK tyres provide reasonable grip, even under panic braking. More importantly, the car doesn’t lose it’s composure, which is the way it should be.
The Enjoy’s weakest link, possibly, are the interior materials. While space is abundant and the seats are well-contoured, the plastics feel cheap. There are also too many shades and texture types making the fascia look cluttered. The steering wheel is a tad oversized and seems to have been made with the intention of looking like a big black blob. The top-of-the-line variant will get captain seats but they do not flip forward completely. Instead, there is a wide alley between them to reach the third row seats. The latter flips forward completely giving enough loading space, however the seatbelt points make the boot look messy. With all seats in place, there’s just enough space for one big suitcase and maybe a couple of duffle bags.
In terms of equipment, there is an integrated full-spec music system with Aux-in and a USB port on the top two variants. Sound quality isn’t that great though. Aircon is powerful and manages to chill the cabin well. A rear roof-mounted aircon for the second row is a welcome touch.
While GM hasn’t revealed prices, we expect them to hover around Rs 8.5 lakh for the top diesel variant. The Enjoy is a pure MPV. It doesn’t have the finesse of the Ertiga but manages to do everything a bigger Xylo or Evalia can offer. The engines feel robust and exterior finish is good. Interior quality could be better but there's little to complain when it comes to ride, and even handling for an MPV. The vehicle currently uses a lot of Chinese parts but localisation is already in the process. If you looking for a budget people-carrier with genuine space for seven or eight passengers, the Enjoy can literally live up to its name...provided it comes for that price.
Chevrolet Enjoy Petrol
4cyl, 1399cc, 103bhp, 131Nm, RWD, 5M, 0-100kph: 13.97sec, 30-50kph (3rd): 3.91sec, 30-50kph (4th): 5.70sec, 50-70kph (5th): 5.45sec, 80-0kph: 26.17m, 2.91s, Highway FE: 12.1kpl
Chevrolet Enjoy Diesel
4cyl, 1248cc, 76bhp, 187Nm, RWD, 5M, 0-100kph: 19.75sec, 30-50kph (3rd): 4.12sec, 30-50kph (4th): 7.17sec, 50-70kph (5th): 5.16sec, 80-0kph: 28.46m, 2.48s, Highway FE: 15kpl
Lacks the Ertiga's finesse, but the Enjoy is a utilitarian and genuine people-mover.