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Old 7th September 2015, 14:50   #1
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Default 2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake

We have formed a local group of enthusiasts with Grand Vitaras.

Members are:-

1. White 2008 2L MT - "thewhiteknight" aka Akilesh Prasad.
Vehicle acquired used in December2013.
2. Grey 2007 2L MT - Vishwanath Jagdale - aspiring to join Team-Bhp.
Vehicle acquired used in March/April 2015.
3. Black 2007 2L AT - "sridhar-v" aka Sridhar V.
Vehicle acquired used in May 2015.

Myself and Vishwanath are total newbies as far as off roading is concerned. "thewhiteknight" grew up on tea estates in Assam and was used to having 4x4 s around. But this was his first offroad with a Grand Vitara.
After a couple of weeks of discussions on social media we finally set out yesterday to see what we could do and learn.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-black-whitecompressed.jpg

Vishwanath, Priti, Yours truly, Rajamani
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-001-breakfastcompressed.jpg
Panshet lake area was chosen as I was familiar with the roads.

On the way we switched vehicles to get a feel of the differences between the gearboxes. I found, on the manual, that I had to give the accelerator a harder push, compared to the auto, to get going. Because the manual has better spaced gears acceleration upto 3rd. gear was also better in the MT.

Soon we found a grassy plateau where we stopped to chat and exchange notes.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-002-2-gvs-ownerscompressed.jpg

Looking around we found a simple slope where we could start our journey to obtain 4WD expertise.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-first-trial-compressed.jpg
And this gives an idea of the inclination of the slope:
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-slope-first-trailcompressed.jpg

Held a small meeting and decided to go for it.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-discussing-first-trial-compressed.jpg

Both of us climbed the slope at 10 Kmph. We had the transfer case in 4H-Lock. In both cases it was the driver & Vishwanath as observer. My AT did it with the gearbox in "Drive" and engine at 1600 rpm maximum.
The MT did it with gearbox in and engine at 900rpm maximum.


Then we looked around and found a good slope, which we could have easily driven down.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-recce-simple-trialcompressed.jpg

But we found that we did not have enough space to turn around, so we settled for driving down a nearby ridge. You can see in the right hand lower corner of this photograph:
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-simple-trail-actually-done-compressed.jpg

And so off we went :

We did the descent in 4H-Lock. The vehicles would easily have managed in plain 4H, but we did not want to take any chances as the grass was quite thick.

2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-2-gvs-going-down-simple-trail.jpg
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-black-climbing-down-final-slope.jpg
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-gv-white-against-green.jpg
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-white-going-down-final-slope.jpg
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-003-lakeside-3compressed.jpg



After the photo op at the bottom I started back in 4L-Lock. The car just pulled itself up the slope. I only had to steer around a couple of large rocks. Then "thewhiteknight" followed in the MT. Piece of cake.



After gaining some confidence we set off to a stream crossing that I had recce'd, in my Fusion, during the spring. During the recce I had found that there was a kuccha road of murum laid down approaching the stream and across it to the other side. My Fusion had done this with ease.
I anticipated that the rains and water would make things interesting, but it turned out to be much tougher than I thought.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-005a-climbing-down-stream.jpg
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-006-bad-road-childs-playcompressed.jpg

2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-007-waiting-crosscompressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-007a-long-shot-stream-crossing-compressed.jpg

The rains and water flow had washed away any traces of road in the river bed. The area I had previously crossed across was totally under water. So we were left with no alternative but to cross across the rocky bed as best as we could. We did a recce and finally walked the planned route.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-004-stream-recce-1compressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-004a-standing-conference-stream-compressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-004b-standing-conference-midstream-compressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-008-walking-palnned-routecompressed.jpg


The bed of the river had water flowing in a couple of channels and stagnant water in many places. There was moss growing under the water making things very slippery. There were a lot of potholes of various shapes and depths that made working out the route very difficult.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-011-stagnant-poolcompressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-012-upstream-moss-slush-compressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-013-moss-stagnant-poolcompressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-022-downstreamcompressed.jpg

There was a brief hold up for Bovine traffic. I went first with the AT. Transfer case was in 4L-Lock.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-010-bovine-traffic-holdupcompressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-013a-dipping-its-toes.jpg

Notice wheelspin.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-013b-wheelspin-unexpected-places.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-014-approaching-tricky-part-notice-wheelspincompressed.jpg

As is always the case our plans were sent for a toss. This is the part(lower left) from where our troubles began.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-009-point-real-troubles-startedcompressed.jpg

Last edited by sridhar-v : 9th September 2015 at 15:17.
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Old 9th September 2015, 11:45   #2
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Default re: 2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake

"thewhiteknight" discovered a pothole by falling into it.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-015a-discovering-pothole.jpg

I then discovered 2 more, at different places, by getting my wheels stuck in them .
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-015-gv-discovered-its-first-potholecompressed.jpg
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-015b-getting-stuck-pothole.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-015c-wheel-spinning-merrily.jpg

You can get an idea of the potholes by comparing these 2 photos. In the first the water barely covers the sneakers. Just 6 inches away it comes upto the knees.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-016-see-whhel-akhi-feet-barely-wetcompressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-017-potholes-left-right-see-akhis-kneescompressed.jpg

But some deft manuvering and the oodles of torque from the vehicle helped me come out successfully from the first pothole. Only to get stuck in the second.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-017a-getting-stuck-again.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-018-just-after-climbing-out-second-potholecompressed.jpg

Finally managed to get out and climb up the far side.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-019-approaching-exit-embarkment-compressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-020-checking-see-if-clearance-therecompressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-020a-climbing-up-far-bank.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-021-out-streamcompressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-021a-celebration-after-crossing.jpg

Here are some videos:
From far bank


From driver's side



From head on view

Last edited by sridhar-v : 9th September 2015 at 15:26.
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Old 9th September 2015, 12:10   #3
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Default re: 2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake

We did not want to repeat the same mistakes with the MT. So we did a post mortem and decided on an alternate route that had very little margin on both sides. A stone strategically placed in one spot ensured that the chances of succeeding were improved.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-023-working-out-better-route-mtcompressed.jpg
I then guided "thewhiteknight". I decided to break up the route into smaller segments and guide him precisely. Particular care was taken to ensure proper positioning of wheels.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-024-signaling-moves-short-segmentscompressed.jpg
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-024a-mt-dipping-its-toes.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-025-spotter-repositioningcompressed.jpg

The cattle were interested onlookers:
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-025a-mt-close-guiding-bovine-onlookers.jpg

While coming up to the tricky part we moved in small steps till I was satisfied with the positioning:
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-026-spotting-revised-route-1compressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-027-positioning-tricky-segmentcompressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-027a-mt-positioning-tricky-part.jpg

After proper positioning the MT entered the water and immediately took a hard left, coming exactly onto the narrow ledge.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-028-getting-into-watercompressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-029-immediately-hard-left-notice-wheelscompressed.jpg

Except for some scary moments, where I discovered a new pothole, we managed to pull it off.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-029a-mt-discovering-pothole-hard-way.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-029b-mt-turning-new-path.jpg

Then it was like a walk in the park.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-030-crossing-easecompressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-031-mt-climbing-exitcompressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-031a-mt-climbing-up-far-bank.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-031b-mt-relieved-end.jpg

Some Videos.

From far bank:


From Driver's side:



From Head On view:



The held up traffic then crossed. The regular commuters also got caught in the potholes. (See second photo right centre)
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-033-held-up-traffic-crossingcompressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-032-even-regulars-got-caught-potholescompressed.jpg


We found Vishwanath managing to cross without getting his shoes wet at any time. Looks like we will really need to initiate him into the spirit of offroading!!
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-crossing-without-getting-feet-wet-compressed.jpg

Looking back it looked so calm and easy. But now we know better!
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-034-looks-deceptively-simplecompressed.jpg

Some well deserved snacks:
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-035-some-refreshmentscompressed.jpg

And just had to post these 2 photos.
4 legged youngster checking out the 4WD at one of our halts:
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-checking-out-gv.jpg
AT against the stream
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-036-against-streamcompressed.jpg

And finally at the end of the day we compared fuel efficiencies:-

The AT
225/70 R16 Yokohama G92S tyres. Airconditioner not used at all.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-kms-run-compressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-average-fuel-consumption.jpg

The Mt
235/70 R16 Yokohama Geolander A/T-S tyres. Airconditioner used for major part of the trip.
2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-mt-kms-run-compressed.jpg2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-mt-average-fuel-consumption-compressed.jpg

My take on the suitability of the AT gearbox for offroading is as follows:-
1. I used the "Drive" or "Reverse" positions, as required, thruought.
2. The gearbox ensured that the engine never stalled.
3. That left me free to concentrate on steering and giving throttle inputs.
4. Torque available was more than enough at all times.
5. Experienced a lot of tyre spinning at various points of time. I could sense this immediately. Must be mainly due to the fact that my tyres seem to be totally road biased. The Geolander A/T-S, on the MT, performed much better in similar patches. Some spin occurred with them also. You will see this clearly in the videos .
6. Never had any doubts in my mind about the Grand Vitara coping. My only worry was to avoid breaching the vehicle.
7. If Suzuki had provided Limited Slip Differentials in the front & rear axles the car possibly would have not got stuck in the potholes.
8. I felt, at some times, that "thewhiteknight" was gunning the engine more to avoid stalling. Had to make him reverse a few times. He can confirm if this was indeed the case.
9. I could feather the throttle very minutely to move just how much I wanted. The additional torque effect of the Torque Convertor did help.
10.My personal experience has been that using the airconditioner does not have any effect on fuel economy. So I am quite comfortable with the 12% reduction in fuel consumption vis a vis a MT.

Last edited by sridhar-v : 9th September 2015 at 15:29.
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Old 9th September 2015, 15:58   #4
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Default re: 2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the 4x4 Excursions section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 9th September 2015, 17:42   #5
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Default re: 2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake

Nice Adventure, great report! Next time carry some recovery gear, at least a 3 ton row rope with D-shackles. Mine always has one in the trunk.

While Grand Vitara could do this with careful maneuvering, a Jeep can just pass though this stream without even pausing.

If you plan to do this a lot, consider replacing the plastic skid plates with aluminium skid plates like sudev (Grand Vitara gets custom made skid plates) has done.

I offroad with my new Grand Vitara in the very first week (First off-roading with Grand Vitara), without having any clue. Then I caught the offroading bug.

A video from 2008:

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Old 9th September 2015, 18:46   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Nice Adventure, great report! Next time carry some recovery gear, at least a 3 ton row rope with D-shackles. Mine always has one in the trunk.

While Grand Vitara could do this with careful maneuvering, a Jeep can just pass though this stream without even pausing.

If you plan to do this a lot, consider replacing the plastic skid plates with aluminium skid plates like sudev (Grand Vitara gets custom made skid plates) has done.
Thanks for the tips. We were carrying tow rope and jumper cables.
Aluminium skid plates will come once I finish all the repairs.
Also longing for a 50mm suspension lift.

Aye a Jeep is a Jeep. Particularly with good tyres.
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Old 10th September 2015, 11:35   #7
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Default Re: 2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake

Nice going Sridhar saar. Nice pics and very nice report. Putting the 4wd to test.

Was the 200mm GC good enough or did the belly scrape anywhere, even the slightest bit?

I think ironman makes lift-kits for the GV. Maybe that would be your next step.

Cheers,
Raj
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Old 10th September 2015, 11:46   #8
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Default Re: 2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake

The Grand Vitara is one of the most handsome vehicles released on the indian roads along with the Ford Mondeo IMO. It can compete strongly with most of the claimed "offroaders" this side of 30L. Great review, will read it in detail again once again in the evening. Hope you get time to continue this passion and post more such adventures !!
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Old 10th September 2015, 11:52   #9
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Default Re: 2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake

This is one awesome experience with those good looking Machines . The Videos and Photos have brilliantly complimented the reading experience.Thanks for Sharing !

Btw, wouldn't it be safe if people carried something like Sturdy Sticks/Staffs to assess and access the depths before wading into running streams which are sure to have deceiving zones . Just a Thought !
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Old 10th September 2015, 12:24   #10
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Default Re: 2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake

It is always fun to explore not only new places, but also the capabilities of one's vehicle.

Great photos and videos!

Quote:
Originally Posted by poised2drive View Post
...wouldn't it be safe if people carried
something like Sturdy Sticks/Staffs to assess and access the depths before wading into running streams which are sure to have deceiving zones . Just a Thought !
+1 to this. Losing grip and falling hard, as can be seen in one of the videos, is not a pleasant experience. Fortunately, this fall was mild.

When is the next trip planned, @sridhar-v?
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Old 10th September 2015, 13:00   #11
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Default Re: 2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake

I am curious: whose property is this?

Thinking along 'worst case senario' lines ( which in India one must, at all times) : If someone comes along and starts accusing you of trespassing/ ruining standing crops/scaring cattle, etc.

How many cases are narrated in the 'Accidents' thread of villagers looting the injured instead of helping them. This happened most famously with Aishwariya Rai's mother when she had an accident. So please assume that the villagers in general dont like you and given a chance , will mess around with you.

Sorry to sound so over-cautious , but this is my experience talking.
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Old 10th September 2015, 15:33   #12
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Default Re: 2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desmosedici View Post
Nice going Sridhar saar. Nice pics and very nice report. Putting the 4wd to test.

Was the 200mm GC good enough or did the belly scrape anywhere, even the slightest bit?

I think ironman makes lift-kits for the GV. Maybe that would be your next step.

Cheers,
Raj
Please so formalities like saar.
The belly did not scrape anywhere, though I think the front lower arm may have touched. Will check under the car in a day or two.
Yes Ironman is very much on the cards, after accumulating Vitamin-M.

Quote:
Originally Posted by happy_traveller View Post
The Grand Vitara is one of the most handsome vehicles released on the indian roads along with the Ford Mondeo IMO. It can compete strongly with most of the claimed "offroaders" this side of 30L. Great review, will read it in detail again once again in the evening. Hope you get time to continue this passion and post more such adventures !!
Yes. It is indeed handsome in its own restrained manner. It is much better than many 50L plus suvs also. And the low cost of spares means one does not bother of scrapes and the like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by poised2drive View Post
This is one awesome experience with those good looking Machines . The Videos and Photos have brilliantly complimented the reading experience.Thanks for Sharing !

Btw, wouldn't it be safe if people carried something like Sturdy Sticks/Staffs to assess and access the depths before wading into running streams which are sure to have deceiving zones . Just a Thought !
The water flow was just marginal. One needed to only look for the potholes. The couple that gave us trouble were more because of our inexperience.
I had already done this path in the dry season and my Fusion had crossed with ease. Of course there was a murum road on the bed to help matters.
Another of our members crossed the stretch, during winter, in a Honda city.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...g-horizon.html (Panshet Parikrama - Chasing the Horizon)
The murum road is very clear in his post.
The rains washed away the murum, leaving us with no choice but to go on the rock bed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyWheels View Post
It is always fun to explore not only new places, but also the capabilities of one's vehicle.

Great photos and videos!

+1 to this. Losing grip and falling hard, as can be seen in one of the videos, is not a pleasant experience. Fortunately, this fall was mild.

When is the next trip planned, @sridhar-v?
Falling in the water is part of the fun. Even the ladies got into the spirit and were wet to their knees!! Only Jagdale managed without wetting his shoes.
We will keep exploring around here. Some will be only driving trips and some will be offroading. Will post interesting trips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by john doe View Post
I am curious: whose property is this?

Thinking along 'worst case senario' lines ( which in India one must, at all times) : If someone comes along and starts accusing you of trespassing/ ruining standing crops/scaring cattle, etc.

How many cases are narrated in the 'Accidents' thread of villagers looting the injured instead of helping them. This happened most famously with Aishwariya Rai's mother when she had an accident. So please assume that the villagers in general dont like you and given a chance , will mess around with you.

Sorry to sound so over-cautious , but this is my experience talking.
This was a public path. On the contrary, in my experience, the villagers are very helpful. Depends on how you approach them. I had my Fusion , which was bogged down in the road shoulder, rescued by a passing tempo driver and his passengers. All of them volunteered on their own.
"thewhiteknight' goes camping in villages around Pune, with his wife & 2 dogs. No bad experience. According to him the villagers are most helpful.
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Old 10th September 2015, 16:09   #13
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Default Re: 2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake

Hey Sridhar,

It is so refreshing to see the Vitaras off roading for a change

Thanks for sharing this thread

Last edited by karan561 : 10th September 2015 at 16:14.
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Old 10th September 2015, 16:34   #14
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Default Re: 2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake

It's so nice to see SUV owners making full use of their vehicles nowadays rather than just buying them for their street presence.

Well done.

Here are some pics of a grand vitara that joins us on our SUV excursions:

2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-img_4595.jpg

2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-img_4656.jpg

2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-img_4701.jpg

2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-img_4725.jpg

2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-img_4863.jpg

2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake-img_5064.jpg
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Old 11th September 2015, 10:01   #15
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Default Re: 2 Grand Vitaras go offroading - At Panshet Lake

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tejas@perioimpl View Post
It's so nice to see SUV owners making full use of their vehicles nowadays rather than just buying them for their street presence.

Well done.

Here are some pics of a grand vitara that joins us on our SUV excursions:
Thanks. When will you be organising the next offroad?
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