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Old 14th April 2008, 10:33   #1
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Default Which vehicle to buy for a Himalayan Road Tour?

Hi,

Two friends and I are planning a 2-3-4 month long Himalayan Tour by Road covering Kashmir, Zanskar, Ladakh, HP, Uttarnachl, Nepal, Sikkim, Arunachal.

Most of the time we will be driving on roads, but the quality of those in stretches could be pretty bad (as expected of mountain roads). No off-roading is planned, but some of the sections could be just dirt tracks (e.g. some Leh-Manali sections). Planning a summer trip, but some light ice/snow/rain conditions may occasionally crop up.

Which India available vehicle (Model & Features) is best for this trip?..... from point of view driving on these Himalayan Mountain roads, overall price, maintenanace & service (in local garages, if need be) and Fuel efficiency?

Would appreciate a detailed reply on Vehicle specfoically .... and any related suggestions from experienced and knowledgable drivers who have done similar tours. Thanks in Advance.
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Old 14th April 2008, 11:32   #2
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If you're ok with bikes I can help At the risk of sparking a debate that I'd rather not, a bike does let you "feel" the place way closer-up.

I have no first hand experience in a 4 wheeler in those parts, but Gypsies, Boleros, Safaris should all be capable, with the Safari also being really comfortable. There's always a MASS someplace closeby - though "close" in the region's context could be a 100+ kms away, very often. Some basic hands-on comfort with the vehicle would be useful. Gypsies would be suck at FE, the Safari would be great for that! Get a slightly used 3.0L Dicor perhaps ? loads of luggage carrying capacity too. Make sure its not a totally new one - given that these seem to "settle down" after a couple of trips to the workshops

On the other hand, it might be fun to experiment with an unlikely car - people have been known to drive Manali-Leh in Zens, Altos, etc - tho Zanskar, the lakes etc may be tougher (and hence more fun?)

Last edited by zenx : 14th April 2008 at 11:34.
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Old 14th April 2008, 11:45   #3
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@Kesri

what are your choices and budget ?

are you taking the vehicle on rent or will u buy ?

BTW Gypsy looks to be more reliable option.
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Old 14th April 2008, 11:46   #4
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IMO a Bolero would be the best option. It would be more comfortable amd fuel effiecient than a Gypsy. And a 4x4 Bolero should be able to take you to most of the places.
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Old 14th April 2008, 11:48   #5
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Gypsy King is what it should be.. nothing else would do.
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Old 14th April 2008, 12:05   #6
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Sumo 4x4 if you can manage. lighter than other diesels. 4x4 too. else bolero

the fancy things will have no support/help there
gypsy could be quite a guzzler tho its the ultimate vehicle for that kinda route.

btw, what about old mm540s? or was it a gypsy that someone fitted a toyota turbo diesel in? that would be cheap/besht

Last edited by phamilyman : 14th April 2008 at 12:11.
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Old 14th April 2008, 12:25   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simply_sunny001 View Post
@Kesri

what are your choices and budget ?

are you taking the vehicle on rent or will u buy ?

BTW Gypsy looks to be more reliable option.
No specific choices made as yet. Budget also nothing specific.

But vehicle must meet our requirement, but should not be an overkill. Not sure if 4WD is required for this kind of tour?

Thinking of buying a new vehicle; if of no use at end of trip, may sell it off.

Kesri
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Old 14th April 2008, 12:27   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khan_sultan View Post
Gypsy King is what it should be.. nothing else would do.
Why Gyspsy King? and Why Nothing else??
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Old 14th April 2008, 12:46   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kesri View Post
Not sure if 4WD is required for this kind of tour?
Kesri , Please dont do the mistake of not opting for a 4WD.

instead a 4WD will make you drive to more places if you wish to and there will be patches of roads where you will need it.

so pick your choices as per the budget.

Gypsy King,Bolero invader,Safari 4x4,Sumo 4x4,Grand Vitara 4x4 and so on.

one more thing,make sure you have a driver who know hows to use 4WD and if it will be self driven,please take some quick lessons to be more effective.
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Old 14th April 2008, 12:55   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simply_sunny001 View Post
Kesri , Please dont do the mistake of not opting for a 4WD.

instead a 4WD will make you drive to more places if you wish to and there will be patches of roads where you will need it.

so pick your choices as per the budget.

Gypsy King,Bolero invader,Safari 4x4,Sumo 4x4,Grand Vitara 4x4 and so on.

one more thing,make sure you have a driver who know hows to use 4WD and if it will be self driven,please take some quick lessons to be more effective.
So you think 4WD is a must? are all the vehicles you listed with 4WD??

By any chance do you readily have an approx Rs Value for these??

All of us will be new to 4WD ....and even to mountain driving ... guess we will have to do some learning and even do some trial/pilot runs!

If you can list your choices in order of preferences with some approx total values will be a big help. Thanks.
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Old 14th April 2008, 15:06   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kesri View Post
Hi,

Two friends and I are planning a 2-3-4 month long Himalayan Tour by Road covering Kashmir, Zanskar, Ladakh, HP, Uttarnachl, Nepal, Sikkim, Arunachal.

Most of the time we will be driving on roads, but the quality of those in stretches could be pretty bad (as expected of mountain roads). No off-roading is planned, but some of the sections could be just dirt tracks (e.g. some Leh-Manali sections). Planning a summer trip, but some light ice/snow/rain conditions may occasionally crop up.

Which India available vehicle (Model & Features) is best for this trip?..... from point of view driving on these Himalayan Mountain roads, overall price, maintenanace & service (in local garages, if need be) and Fuel efficiency?

Would appreciate a detailed reply on Vehicle specfoically .... and any related suggestions from experienced and knowledgable drivers who have done similar tours. Thanks in Advance.
Have done all the sectors you mention (except Nepal) in a small 800 cc Matiz and none the worse for it. Nowadays use a Scorpio. If the car did everything, what skills does the driver have left!!!????
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Old 14th April 2008, 16:34   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kesri View Post
So you think 4WD is a must? are all the vehicles you listed with 4WD??
The 4WD is not a must, but it can help you have to get out of the road due to landslides, etc.

Recently while I was parking in a road under construction, I noticed that a couple of people at a shop were waving at me to stop. I noticed it too late and both front tyres dropped into a small ditch I hadn't seen. I got out and looked at it, then I just shrugged and went ahead with my shopping.

When I came back and got back into the GV, I noticed the same fellows giving a knowing smile that I won't be able to get out. They obviously thought I had a FWD vehicle. About 5 seconds later their smile vanished.

In such situations, 4WD helps. But if you drive carefully knowing the limitation of your vehicle, you can manage with 2WD. I have heard enough cases of Innovas and Zens making it to Leh.
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Old 14th April 2008, 16:41   #13
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Check out Overdrive Sep 2007 issue. They had a round trip in the himalayas with a Prado, M-Class, CRV and Suzuki GV. Very informative
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Old 14th April 2008, 17:57   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zenx View Post
If you're ok with bikes I can help At the risk of sparking a debate that I'd rather not, a bike does let you "feel" the place way closer-up.
I second this opinion and will encourage you to do it on a bike. I beleive in "What ever it is...it is best in the wind"

A bunch of 30 bikers went up the Manali-Leh route from Bangalore last year(2007) and the pics from the below link should give you a preview of what one can enjoy on 2 wheels.

Flickr: Photos & Video from oldskoolbikers

If you are particular about 4 wheels, you may consider Scorpio/MM 540.

Cheers!
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Old 14th April 2008, 21:06   #15
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Guess Safari or Scropio should solve the purpose without much of issues.

and I must say it should be a fun (& adventurous trip) for you guys. Wish I could join you but job takes all the time in the life....

Have fun !!
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