General Motors is going to be launching their first passenger van for India any time soon. The Enjoy is the third model from the GM SAIC partnership and will be available in both petrol and diesel variants. We drove both the models and came back with mixed reactions.
The Enjoy isn't the best looking MPV out there but is a smart design. It looks best viewed from the front, the bonnet is well defined while the angular front headlamps gives it a more car like face. The chrome detailed grille doesn't look out of place and merges well with the lower grille in the bumper. The fog lamps are well designed too. Move to the side and its a typical MPV silhouette, the sides feature large panels. However, the designers have added a prominent shoulder line running all the way from the front wheel arch to the rear. This adds some character to an otherwise boring side. The top end version gets alloy wheels as standard equipment but the 14-inch wheels look quite small for the MPV. At the back, it looks just like a van, tall and boxy. Panel gaps are inconsistent and the doors don't shut well either. We drove a pre production model though and expect GM to fix these issues in the production version.
Step inside, and the space utilisation all round impresses. The floor is low since the Enjoy features a monocoque construction. This has allowed the engineers to liberate more space especially with the use of a lower floor board and space in the car. Ingress and egress is very impressive and a large glass area with beige interiors adds to the airy feel. Visibility is good too. The rear door doesn't slide like in the Evalia but is a regular hinged door. The front seats aren't wide but were good enough. There is ample thigh and lumbar support and the driver seat is height adjustable too. The foot well however is cramped and there is no dead pedal or even space to rest your foot. The middle row doesn't get a bench seat but two captain seats with armrests that are comfortable. The seats slide forward and backward liberating space for either the middle or third row passengers. Speaking about the third row, since the middle row seats don't fold, one has to walk in between the two captain seats to reach last row of seats. Since GM is selling this as a seven seater, the last row feels decently spacious, but for two adults and not three making the Enjoy in this top of the line trim, a six seater at best.
The front passengers get a unique five blower air con while the rear passengers get a separate roof mounted air con. The dashboard is a simple two tone beige/black unit. The controls are positioned well too. However, the fit and finish is poor and the quality of plastics is average. Every detail inside lacks quality and the plastics are hard. Despite the Enjoy being an MPV, there's hardly any storage or cubby holes. The front door pockets are narrow and pointless. There are just two small cup holders in the entire car. A lot of areas could have been made use for storage and it is disappointing to see it being left out. The third row however folds twice to liberate a lot of boot space.
In terms of engines, the Enjoy will be offered in both diesel and petrol forms. Both engines are longitudinally positioned since the MPV puts down power via its rear wheels. The more important diesel engine is the same Smartech unit used in the Chevrolet Sail hatchback and sedan. The 1.3-litre diesel produces 77.5PS at 4000rpm and 188Nm of torque from as low as 1750rpm. At idle the motor is quite refined, however it does get noisy when on the move. Despite GM engineers having improved the NVH levels for India, there is quite a bit of noise seeping into the cabin. Vibrations are slightly on the higher side and even rear passengers feel it on the floor. Like in the Sail the engine is quite linear with very little turbo lag. There is decent low end poke and the engine feels torquey at low speeds even in higher gears. The engine features a fixed geometry turbo to keep costs low. Power is sufficient to ferry six adults and luggage in town but on the highway the engine lacks steam. We tested the car and the Enjoy took a slow 23.6 seconds to reach the ton. It isn't heavy (1345kg) but the short gearing along with focus on efficiency has affected performance. In terms of top speed the MPV maxes out at just 130kmph.
The second engine option is the 1.4-litre S-TEC II petrol motor. This is the same series of engines seen before in the Chevrolet Aveo but with minor updates and increased power. The engine puts out 104PS at 6000rpm and 131Nm at 4400rpm. We expected this motor to be quieter than the diesel but it's not. It's surprisingly noisy and as revs climb it only gets louder. The engine is typical to all Chevrolet petrol units, there is hardly any power low down and the engine needs to be revved hard to extract power. In town one will have to shift gears often. The car is quick to reach 100kmph (15 seconds flat) but just like in the diesel lacks top speed performance. The petrol Enjoy maxes out at just 142kmph. The engine feels strained at this speed and it's best to cruise at about 100-110kmph.
The Enjoy features a MacPherson strut with coil springs up front with a stabiliser bar while the rear sits on a 5-link coil spring setup. Handling isn't car like as seen in the Ertiga. There is quite a bit of body roll. We didn't drive the car around tight corners and twisties. At high speeds the car feels light. The steering despite being a hydraulic unit lacks feedback and weight. The diesel Enjoy's steering felt lighter. In town however it is effortless to drive, ride quality is impressive and bumps and potholes are soaked in well. At higher speeds over undulated surfaces, the ride can get quite bumpy.
The top end LTZ variant we drove comes standard with ABS and front passenger airbags, a single -DIN, alloy wheels and a 12v socket for the third row passengers. However, there could have been more comfort features added. The Enjoy excels in terms of space, ride quality and ease of driving and we think it won't cost a lot of money too. Expect the basic petrol model to start at Rs 6 lakh while the top end diesel to be priced at Rs 8 lakh ex-showroom when it goes on sale on May 9. At this price, it will be much more affordable than the Ertiga and will be almost half the price of an Innova making it a definite value buy.