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Review: Chevrolet Enjoy TCDi

Driven July 2013

Review: Chevrolet Enjoy TCDi

So, it’s beginning to happen. More and more of the 2012 Delhi Expo’s stars are now rolling on our roads – or are about to soon. The Ford EcoSport will start selling soon, hundreds have already upgraded to the Safari Storme, and the SsangYong Rexton is giving the Fortuner a proper fight. One more of the interesting exhibits is about to make its India debut – the Chevrolet Enjoy, which was simply called ‘Chevrolet MPV’ at the expo.

While the shape has remained almost unchanged from what we saw at the Expo, the engineers say a lot of work has gone into the chassis from the time Chevy decided to bring this to India. That chassis tinkering likely explains why we kept spotting so many camouflaged Enjoys doing test runs on our highways.

For starters, it looks more or less as big as the Ertiga, but if you go at it with a measuring tape, you’ll find it’s longer and wider than the Japanese people mover. But the wheelbase is 20mm shorter than the Ertiga’s, resulting in a longer overhang.

From the front, the Enjoy looks rather nice with large headlamps, a big Chevy badge, signature Chevy lower grille and well placed fog lamps. As you move towards the back, the styling starts getting bland. And the rear looks a bit too tall for its length and width. Vertical tail-lamps add a bit of flair to that dull rear. The tailgate is huge and needs lots of space to open completely. The top-end gets alloy wheels that give it a premium MPV look.

If you’re in the people moving business, you’ll be glad to have an eight-seater Enjoy, which gets a second row bench instead of the captain seats that the seven-seater gets. To get to the third row, the eight-seater gets 60:40 split seats that double fold to create room to get to the third row. But that’s not true with the seven-seater, in which you need to wriggle your way through the aisle, which can get cumbersome at times.

But seven-seater or eight, once you get there, the third row offers enough room to be comfortable on long drives and you won’t be sitting with your knees touching your chin. The front seats are spacious but lack arm rests, which come handy on long drives. The Enjoy has a large glass area, which makes the interior feel airy and
gives the driver good all-round visibility. The boot is too small for an MPV and can take only one large bag and a couple of small ones.

Plastic quality is not something that Chevrolet can brag about and some bits need improving – like the dashboard, which sports far too many designs and patterns and ends up looking cluttered. The door pockets are too narrow to store anything but toll receipts, and the length adjust lever under the front seats is placed too far back for easy access.

In the top-of-the-line variant, the seats are covered with leather, there’s a multimedia system that has USB and AUX ports but no Bluetooth connectivity. The outside mirrors are electrically operated. Even on the top-end, there are no steering-mounted controls and the single-tone wheel looks far too boring.

Under the hood is the ever popular 1.3-litre MultiJet with a Fixed Geometric Turbo. Output is rated at 76bhp and 187Nm. This is the same engine that you’ll find in lots of other cars, but this time it’s longitudinally mounted. The Enjoy is only the second car that gets this engine mounted north-south (the first being the Premier Rio).

You can hear the engine loud and clear in the cabin only at really high revs; at other times it’s adequately muted. It is tuned for punchy low- and mid-range grunt, mapped that way primarily to minimise gear changes in stop-go city traffic.

There is some turbo-lag before the engine reaches 1700rpm, but after that there’s nothing to worry about. The engine doesn’t rev as freely as it does in other cars that it powers, and past 3800rpm, there’s only noise and no power. We reckon it would have been far more fun to drive if Chevy had plonked in a Variable Geometric Turbo, which gets more usable power out of the mill.

The engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox that transfers power to the rear wheels. Yes, rear wheels – something you certainly hadn’t expected Chevy to do. The shifts are clunky and the throws are far too long. Also, there’s some amount of play in the lever – that’s minus one for Chevy.

The Enjoy does the 0-100kph sprint in a leisurely 19.75 seconds, but 0-100kph is not priority in an MPV. But it’ll only go 15kpl on the highway and that’s not good.

Ride is really comfortable and passengers will appreciate that on long drives, given the condition of our highways. There is some vertical movement, but body roll is well within the acceptable range for MPVs. That’s thanks to the tuning of the springs and dampers to suit Indian conditions.

The Enjoy gets hydraulic power steering, not the electronic one that carmakers have been fancying recently. It strikes the right balance between being light at crawl speeds and offering adequate feedback at highway speeds. With that, and tyres that offer good grip, you can take high-speed corners more confidently than you would in most other MPVs.

The brakes too have good feel and do a decent job of stopping the Enjoy in a shorter distance than any other car in its class. In the ride and handling department, the Enjoy outperforms most of its rivals.

The Enjoy's aggressive pricing has undercut the Ertiga by a good margin. The base diesel is Rs 6.75 lakh against the Ertiga’s Rs 7.40 lakh. The top-end Enjoy can be had for Rs 7.99 lakh. The eight-seater (only a base variant) is pegged at Rs 6.69 lakh (all ex-showroom, Delhi). If you aren’t impressed with the Ertiga, or you’re on a tight budget for an MPV with good dynamics and enough space, look no further.

The numbers
4-cyl, 1248cc, diesel, 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 efficiency: 15kpl, Rs 7.99 lakh (ex-Delhi)

The verdict
Chevy has created that rare MPV that can brag about ride and handling and its space and practicality.

Agasti Kaulgi

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