India-Proof Steeds!

Luxury and speed have their place, but for inveterate travellers in India, choosing a vehicle hinges on versatility, durability and on-the-road support.

Road Tripping in India is not for the faint-hearted. There was a time, not that long ago, when pan-India adventurers had little choice but to pick up the rugged Maruti Gypsy for their travels. The Gypsy was super capable, but performed best with no air-con; and that incredible suspension, capable of handling all kind of terrain, wasn’t exactly a bed of roses for the occupants. The Gypsy continues to be the ride of choice in remote areas around the country, but there’s much more choice out there now for those looking for India-proof steeds. Here’s a short round up.

Luxury Sedans

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BMW 5-Series


The 5-Series is the most successful premium luxury sedan in the world and for good reason. BMW’s sedans are literally bulletproof and while a German luxury car will never be tailor-made for India, this is possibly the one that adapts the best to our road conditions. The latest edition is possibly the most tech-loaded sedan in the world—it even parks itself while you stand outside with the key fob. I kid you not.

1995cc petrol;
190 bhp;
400 Nm;
Rs 49.90 lakh onwards


Premium

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Toyota Corolla Altis


It’s not the most powerful mid-sized sedan and it won’t win any beauty pageants, but the Corolla is an amazingly durable machine, capable of going from one end of the country to the other without as much as a whimper. Toyotas sell on durability, and the Corolla is a fine testament to that fact besides being one of the safest sedans on the road. With the 2017 variants you’re not scrimping on luxury either.

Petrol: 1798cc;
138 bhp;
173 Nm;
Rs 14.88 lakh onwards

Hatchbacks

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VOLKSWAGEN GTI

ROCK-SOLID BUILD QUALITY, EUROPEAN SAFETY STANDARDS, AND PUNCHYpowerplants make this two-door hatchback perfect for quick scoots about town as well as longer drives on the highway. The GTI is a favourite amongst enthusiasts for its ability to run circles around sports cars. The GTI range is pricey, but the cabin is genuinely premium in a way that no other small cars can match while the performance is true ‘hot hatch’ territory.

1800cc TSI;

190 bhp;

250 Nm;

Rs 25.99 lakh


Luxury SUV

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Audi Q7


Audi’s top-of-the-line luxury SUV might have been made for European conditions, but acquits itself surprisingly well in the rough-and-tumble of country roads. Even more crucially, its ‘pre-sense’ technology is genuinely helpful in the kind of unpredictable traffic conditions you encounter on Indian roads. Cameras and sensors alert you to oncoming traffic irrespective of which side you’re overtaking from and the car flashes lights at pedestrians that it detects at night. In case the driver and the pedestrian fail to pay heed to the warnings then it will even brake itself to avoid a collision.

3-litre V6 diesel;
245 bhp;
600 Nm;
Rs 70.12 lakh onwards

Premium SUV

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Hyundai Santa Fe


The Santa Fe is an incredibly capable SUV, much more so than most people realise. There’s a case for buying a premium German compact SUV for the price you would pay for the Santa Fe, but if you’re planning to do some serious travel then you should probably trade sticker value for Hyundai’s expansive service network. And it is still luxurious and supremely frugal on gas for an SUV of its size.

2200cc CRDI;
264 bhp;
436 Nm;
Rs 31.07 lakh onwards

Compact SUV

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Suzuki Brezza


It’s a Maruti. Will take more punishment in one year than most cars could take in a lifetime, and still keep running. And you can fix it in every single town around the country. Bonus? The Brezza looks great and much chunkier than its compact-SUV dimensions. It’s even got Apple and Android integration tech on its multimedia system. It’s economical so you’ve got plenty left to splurge on blingy rims and chunky treads. Throw in a Pete’s tuning box and you can bump up the power to 100bhp.

1300cc diesel;
89 bhp;
200 Nm;
Rs 7.23 lakh onwards
MERAJ SHAH

Premium Bikes

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Triumph Tiger


With a reasonably expansive service network, it now makes sense to buy a Triumph, and for India, there’s nothing quite like the Tiger. Not only can this iconic all-terrain machine go anywhere, it’s also incredibly reliable and takes little spills in its stride without damage. The XrX, biased toward road-riding is ideal for people who find the XcX (more equipped for off-roading) too tall. The 1200cc Explorer is the ultimate all-terrain cruiser, but a tad heavy which is what makes the 800 the perfect two-wheeled animal for India.

Tiger XrX/XcX: 800cc liquid cooled 3-cylinder;
94 bhp;
79 Nm;
010.87 lakh onwards
Explorer: 1215cc liquid cooled 3-cylinder;
137 bhp;
123 Nm;
Rs 18.75 lakh onwards

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