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Old 5th November 2007, 00:46   #1
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Talking The First Grand Vitara on Team-BHP [100000 KMs & 8 Years]

This story starts almost at the beginning of this year. My cousin says he has booked a Gurkha. Since I was already following the Trax Gurkha thread, I could think of the fun stuff he can do with it. Then it hits me that I need a SUV more than him. After all he lives in Bangalore and I live in bad road country. The terror of last year's monsoon roads was still fresh in my mind, and I suddenly realized that I may be again held hostage by the roads this year too. Therefore I started taking active interest in SUVs. But then what's the point in buying just a SUV, there has to be a fun angle too, so why not an off-roader. Since the starting point was Gurkha, it was not hard to think in that line.

Too make a very long story short, after considering Gama/Gurkha/Bolero/Scorpio/Sumo/Safari, and TDing Gama & Safari 3.0L, I finally decided to look into the premium SUV segment.

Oct 12th: First time considered test driving Grand Vitara. The only reason was I wanted to compare something with Tucson which was the real interest that day. I conveyed my TD request to the local MASS works manager whom I know.

Oct 15th: Grand Vitara comes in for a TD, gives us a pleasant surprise. But we are still waiting for Tucson test drive.

Oct 16th: Tucson doesn't show up despite repeated request, a disappointing sales experience. No other acceptable option within budget. Started thinking seriously about GV.

Decided in GV by evening, informed the local dealer. A silky silver MT model was blocked.

Oct 17-18: Great inactivity by the local dealer, which was quite puzzling.

Oct 19th: The local dealer finally reveals that they are not authorized to sell GV, I need to talk directly to Mangalore dealer. So I call the Mangalore dealer and he asks whether I have any interest in GV. I tell him I was trying to place order for 3 days. He is shocked, but he wants to see some advance to block a piece. And there is no silky silver MT model, only Silver AT is available. Only colors in MT are black or white. But he promises delivery by November 10th or before. After some teeth gnashing we settle for white, but we reserve the right to reject the color on delivery day. Negotiation about the free accessories completed. A payment for 2L was collected by the dealer rep by evening.

Oct 22nd: The Safari 2.2L TD finally comes through, two weeks later than expected. Not bad, but doesn't shake our decision about GV.

Oct 27th: We visit the Mangalore dealer, pick the sun film/seat cover colors, have a closer look at the GV again. This time the sale manager shows me the pearl white color on SX4 and Swift and swears it is the same one on white GV. We like that color on SX4 and Swift.

Oct 31th: HDFC loan disbursed, had to sign some 80 times.

Nov 2nd: Morning, the sales manager confirms receiving the funds, predicts delivery very soon. He calls in the evening to tell me that my car has arrived. I request delivery very next day, and ask him to start on the PDI and accessories. But he reminds me about my reservation about the color, after a brief chat with the wife, I ask him to go ahead.

Nov 3rd: At 5:30PM the dealership MD hands me the keys along with a bottle of champagne while posing for a photograph. The drive out of Mangalore was terrible, the roads were under repair or new construction. Basically it was SUV territory, soon we were running circles around other trucks and cars that were negotiating the roads. It was night when we reached home.

With that I become the first Grand Vitara owner on Team-BHP.

Nov 4th: Today. I only had two items on my schedule. Get the traditional puja ritual done and shoot lots of snaps. This is today's report:

The sun didn't show up for a long time today morning, that's the best thing that can happen for automotive photo shoot. The whole sky acts like a giant diffused light source. But the car was very dirty from last night's dusty drive. So I couldn't shoot until the our driver washed the car. Actually our driver (aged about 65) does everything else except driving thanks to his cataract. But he is ten times better at cleaning cars than me, so I let him handle that.

Once the car got cleaned, I noticed that keeping a white car clean is going to be much more difficult than keeping a black car clean. Considering I am planning to off-road with this car, the paint is going to chip and get scratched very soon. So let me say this right away, I won't promise to keep this car clean and gleaming like my former black beauty. This one is going to be a grunt, the bigger brother of SX4 (the man).

First let's start with externals:

These seats are currently in upright position, all rear seats can be reclined to a great extent. The rear seat comfort was heavily appreciated by the M-I-L.

Enough ICE to keep me happy, integrated SU, a tiny sub under front passenger seat, and 6 speakers.

A closed look at non-ice part of center console.

The OE Highway all-season tyres (Yokohama Geolandar G92C)

Driver side controls

The mileage display is currently useless, it varies wildly from 3Kmpl to 30kmpl from second to second. Hopefully gets better after more data.

Last edited by Samurai : 5th November 2007 at 01:06.
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Old 5th November 2007, 00:58   #2
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By the time photo session got over, the driver announces that all the near by temples are closed for the morning. He is kind of a temple expert, so he suggests an ancient temple 15Kms away which has some great reputation. I have never heard of this place, so he informs me that it is located in a very internal place. Considering I haven't bothered doing to puja to many of my previous cars including Baleno, this is the most boring part of the day. Therefore when he said very internal place, it got me interested. So we set off to this temple by 11:30AM, the delegation included my family of four, my M-I-L, and the driver to show the way. After about 4Kms on Karkala-Udupi highway, we turned into a narrow tarred road. The remaining 11Kms or so were was such nice road, we decided to shoot photographs on the way back. Meanwhile driver makes some small talk, one of them was about how the smaller version of this car forced the Santro price by 50K. After some wonder, we realize he means Swift. We reached the temple exactly at 12PM, only to find out that we need to wait 30-35 minutes for the car puja.

We parked the car in the small parking lot and walked to the temple. As I explored the temple, I realized that there was a mud road coming right into the side entrance of the temple. That would be an ideal place for the puja rather than the silly parking lot away from the temple. Since I had time to kill, I figured I'll try to get the GV from that mud road. Upon inquiry I found that the road was quite disconnected from the front road, it came from a completely different place. And it was currently blocked few KMs away because of some bridge construction. I found that a little puzzling since I found a autorickhaw (AR) on that road. When I questioned about that, a priest manning a prasad counter told me that it came via the unused paddy field. I suddenly brightened at the idea, I mean GV can handle any path that can be handled by an AR. So I ran out of the temple to check the route. I see no route, and the parking lot is almost full leaving only one gap behind my car, which can get taken by the next car. I had to hurry.

So I ask another priest about this route, he gives me a wild look and says it can't be done. When I mention the AR, he said it crossed over few days ago, it has rained hard since then, the field is soft and slushy, full of long fresh grass. The AR is actually trapped on the other side servicing the blocked stretch of road. By this time the our driver caught up with me and started pleading with me to give up the hare-brained idea of going over a green slushy paddy field. While the priest and the driver were on my case, my arguments about GV being a off-roader, 4x4, big GC, diff-locks were all falling on deaf ears, they both had no idea what that all meant. Meanwhile the first priest walks out and joins the word duel. He says "If this SUV can't go over the paddy field, what can?" The second priest says it is wet and slushy from the morning rain, but the first priest says it doesn't matter for a vehicle like this one. Nobody knows the model of my car, nobody has ever seen it before in their lives, but the first priest sees something in this SUV. So he goes about showing me where the off-road route begins. It was about 200ft away from the parking area. I walked over to that place, and I could faintly make out a clearing which is now fully covered with fresh grass and other plants.

So I walk back to the parking lot just in time to see a new swift trying park behind my car. I stop them and get my car out before they settle in. Now the driver finally gives up and follows me on foot. By this time even I had started wondering. The field looked quite wild, and starts out at least a foot and half below the road. What if I get stuck, the second priest had already warned that they don't have the manpower to pull me out. It will be quite a shameful affair on the very first day. But then I thought, this is supposed to be a capable SUV, if it can't handle a slushy paddy field, then I better know it right away than later. So, I plunged into the green valley of a paddy field. Wow, what an experience, it was like fording a river, I see no road, just a faint difference in grass level indicates the old path. The path is not level, it had many invisible ups and downs that can take out a car, but GV practically glided over everything and reached the side entrance of the temple. I almost jumped out and wanted to dance. The driver also reached the entrance from another trail with a stupefied look on his face. This time he was more open to the idea of 4x4 SUV and not just big Swift. In fact, I had not used the diff-locks, I was using the regular 4H used for on-road driving.

Check of the new puja location.

The mud road leading away from the back side.

Parked right at the side entrance of the temple

Meanwhile a senior priest walks by and does a double take. How did that car come here, he asks. I told him, just like that AR did. But he says that's impossible under current conditions. Then I tell him those conditions are not a challenge for a 4x4 SUV. He walks away in disbelief. I was really having fun looking at all this reactions.

The car puja finally starts...

The big picture of the puja location, where no other cars could come.

Time to turn back, this time I hand over the camera to my wife so that she can record the off-road adventure.

Now comes the real fun-part, the return journey. This time the car was fully loaded, I asked the driver to sit behind with the kids, so that my wife can shoot snaps from the front seat. Since she shot almost 20 snaps before reaching the real road, I created an animated gif to show the off-road travel. It is about 3MB file, here is the link. Enjoy.

Rest of the ride back.

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Old 5th November 2007, 01:03   #3
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In the evening we (all four of us) did some minor exploring around our native village. We entered into 3 different unknown roads to boldly go where no car has gone before. We had to back out of all three places in reverse since those places didn't have space for an U or K turn. At one place few villagers were watching us going into a tiny road which turned into a cattle trail, then we came back with big smiles. They were like "Where did you come from, Where did you go?" (Sing to the tune if you remember). In a day or two they'll find out, it is small place after all. But they won't understand why we did it.

Meanwhile we found out that our old driver is a treasure trove of old local roads, he knew roads that even PWD may not know anymore. We plan to fully exploit his knowledge to discover old country routes.

Snaps from the outing.

The road to my wife's family home.

The first dog to mark his territory on my GV.

Road to nowhere, it turned out.

King of the hill.

And that's the end of a nice day.

We finally drove home in drenching rain on slushy muddy road, fine way to end a day of goofy off-roading. That's all Folks!
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Old 5th November 2007, 01:14   #4
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Thumbs up What a great write up!

As usual, a great review and wonderful pictures from you!

The car looks stunning.. especially nice color for the seats!
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Old 5th November 2007, 01:15   #5
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Hi! Samurai...Congratulations on the new GV. The car looks great and purposeful. Take car of the baby and do keep us updated regarding FE and Build quality, since Maruti swift and SX4 are prone to rattle quite early!! Though the GV is a direct import, the chances of a poor build quality are less. Enjoy the ride...
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Old 5th November 2007, 01:24   #6
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Excellent report and stunning pictures..!
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Old 5th November 2007, 01:26   #7
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Congratulations Samu-san! Nice report & an eventful first day!!

May you have an excellent ownership experience with the new beast!
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Old 5th November 2007, 01:30   #8
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Superb writeup, and a fundoo ending

Loved the last pic - btw, where's the slush that the AR couldnt cross - looks likea well worn mud road in the pics!
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Old 5th November 2007, 01:35   #9
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Awesome ! I specially love the last pic.

And the gif was superb !
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Old 5th November 2007, 01:47   #10
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I enjoyed reading that Samu. Thanks and congratulations.
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Old 5th November 2007, 02:03   #11
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@san congratulations. The last pic is awesome. I guess now you will be a good chap, go where you have never gone before and post more and more yummy pics and write ups. right
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Old 5th November 2007, 02:07   #12
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Amazing pictorial. The GV looks stunningly beautiful. And of course those pics are awesome. You know what... post the full sized pic of that last one. It will make for a nice wall paper for my 15" widescreen comp.
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Old 5th November 2007, 02:14   #13
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man o man nice write up you have loads of patience i must say, i enjoyed the pics and in particular KING OF THE HILL was perfect title for it. congratulations on the new car keep us posted!
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Old 5th November 2007, 02:42   #14
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congratulations Samurai on your new KING OF THE HILL toy. the colour is beutiful and you have matched it perfectly with the seat covers. hope you have a wonderful off roading experience with the car and keep filling us in with the experience.
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Old 5th November 2007, 03:22   #15
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awesome vehicle and i must say nice photography . congrats samurai .. i know its too early to ask, but did u notice 'enough' engine noise as stated by all the TV car shows and written car reviews ?
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