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Old 28th May 2009, 13:51   #1
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Default Need Help - SUV for Wildlife Photography EDIT- Its The Scorpio

Hi Folks,

I need some suggestions/advice/help on arriving at a decision on what to buy. Here's my situation:

I currently have a 2005 Ford Fusion Basic which I like a lot. I now have the option to go for a company leased vehicle. The max budget is around 10L ex-show room (Bangalore).

My requirements:
I normally drive around the country side for my bird photography around Bangalore. Not good roads. Fusion has been doing good here. I also drive to various Wildlife Parks around Mysore (Kabini, Nagarhole, Bandipur, BR Hills etc) and use the Jeep services of some resorts. I sometimes get permission to take my own vehicle inside the forest. But since I do not have any SUV, I cannot make use of that facility.

I need help in deciding what to buy:

Should I keep the Fusion and buy a Bolero 4x4 (if available) or any of the top end Bolero model ?

Or Sell my Fusion and go for a 10L range SUV ? If so, which one makes sense ? I need comfortable city driving experience (with family) as well as use it in the forests. Scorpio or Tata Safari or which one ?

Any help/advice on this matter appreciated.

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Old 28th May 2009, 15:21   #2
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Nice to see a Wild life enthusiast here. My suggestion, you retain the Fusion for city drive.

Go for the Bolero 4*2 SLX with the DI engine. It comes around 6.90 lacs on road in bangalore. This was their price at India Garage when i last checked with them few months ago. Bolero also comes with a advanced CRDE engine which is 8 lacs plus on road in bangalore. See how much you can spend.

My take will be Bolero SLX DI. It is a slow machine on a highway compared to CRDE engine bolero or Scorpio but has amazing pulling power which will do good for Wildlife safaris.

For Wildlife photography, you really dont need a hard core 4*4 for driving in forests. A regular 4*2 is sufficient in most of our jungles i,e, Nagarhole, Bandipur, BR Hills, Kabini. I am saying this as I am also an Wildlife enthusiast and have been to all the above mentioned places.
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Old 28th May 2009, 15:22   #3
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In 10 Lac budget you will get Xylo, Safari & Scorpio (if you can stretch)

You are happy with Fusion so, GC is not an issue with you on bad roads.

Scorpio will be your best bet in terms of reliability.

Safari is known to have small small frequent problems.

Xylo is relatively untested.

Go for Scorpio after selling fusion.
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Old 28th May 2009, 15:31   #4
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a good compromise between regular driving and offorad wild life photography is the Tata Xenon 4x4. comes within your budget and the bed at the back can be a very good place to mount your tripod and take unhindered shots with a 360 degree field of vision.

test drive it and see if you can live with it in the city. The engine is very refined, interior space is OK and the interior quality is at least at par with a Safari.
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Old 28th May 2009, 15:33   #5
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Good question Sudhir. So you need 4X4 or similar SUV to drive the vehicle in forests.

What you are doing right now is best plan which would work out with less risks and less headache even in terms of cost of owning vehicle in forest roads.

I do samething, travel in my vehicle to resorts and hire suitable vehicle to roam around which would work out best!

But If still want to own SUV then some ideas:

Among Safari/scorpio/bolero all get similar scores.

Safari is good choice for 10 lacs ex showroom, but considerring you own Fusion I suggest you stay away from Safari or Scorpio. The reason is simple. These two vehicles lacks build quality, have poor body shell, design. I am telling this after I travelled in these vehicles for thousands of kilometers.

Bolero is much better choice when you compare with scorpio and safari If you give importance to simplicity, money and maintanence.

If you take space/comfort and highway cruising into account: It has to be Safari.

If you need easy handler in city other SUV cant beat Scorpio. But its cramped vehicle for me at least.

If you still want to own vehicle and looking for overall winner for your Jungle trips it has to be Bolero.

But If you are ready to handle Safari you baught has niggles (visiting workshops frequently) and If you can sustain body roll, If you neglect solid feel then buy Safari eye closed. you will love this SUV which has great ability If driven in its limits. Nothing can beat Safari feel.

So to summarize: buy Safari If you can take risks. buy Scorpio If you are fine with its space. buy Bolero If you want simple and no nonsense jungle rider!

Please note that don't expect highway (upto 80kmph vehicle is super stable) high speed driving from these vehicles.

I still suggest wait for couple of years and then pick up better SUV as Fusion is very good vehicle! in comparision with these vehicle.


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Old 28th May 2009, 15:38   #6
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For wildlife photography, you need wild animals not SUV's. Jokes apart, only two vehicles come to my mind - Scorpio Getaway and the new Tata Xenon.

Both offer good off road capability and give you a loading bay where you can set up your photography gear.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 28th May 2009, 15:50   #7
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For wildlife photography it's better to buy soft top gypsy, it gives more flexibility moving around inside the cabin of vehicle.
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Old 28th May 2009, 15:52   #8
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I advice you to keep the Fusion (for Family and city drive) and go for Maruti Gypsy 4x4 which is very capable in most of the situation. You can drive it upto 100 KMPH on highways without any problem and can easily conquer any off road tarrain. Also one more advantage is it is quite silent, means no disturbance to the wild animals.
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Old 28th May 2009, 15:54   #9
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Not sure but would not the more silent petrol of a Gypsy be a better bet than an oil burner.
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Old 28th May 2009, 15:57   #10
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How about the Gurkha? Have you given it a thought. Heard getting one is difficult though. There is a load of information about the Gurkha in the forum.

Here are some links for starters:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/4x4-ve...good-gets.html (Trax Gurkha - As good as it gets??)

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/4x4-ve...-road-too.html (Trax Gurkha Test Drive on Horrible roads and Off-road too)

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/suvs-m...ce-gurkha.html (Buying a Force Gurkha!!)

and a ownership report you could check with the pros and cons

Seems that your highway driving is not that much since you are mostly in Karnataka itself. Hence this suggestion.
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Old 28th May 2009, 16:04   #11
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All you guys are wrong. A diesel engined car will absolutely scare away all animals. If the primary use is for wild life photography during all seasons then the GM Forrester it is. AWD, Petrol engine, and very comfortable.

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Old 28th May 2009, 16:09   #12
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Tata Xenon man....

Excellent road presence.

A.C. cabin!!!

In rear you can mount tripod!!!

good overall for highway as well as your jungle trips.

check out the website:- Tata Motors | XENON
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Old 28th May 2009, 16:13   #13
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Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
All you guys are wrong. A diesel engined car will absolutely scare away all animals. If the primary use is for wild life photography during all seasons then the GM Forrester it is. AWD, Petrol engine, and very comfortable.

Any idea on the cost of the GM Forester ?

Also, the maintenance will be taken up by the Leasing company and they will be bearing the cost of it (if this data helps)

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Old 28th May 2009, 16:22   #14
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I would suggest something which not only suits it primary requirements of photography an SUV plus gives additional benefits on road like zooming on highway..

Go for a 4X4 Scorpio
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Old 28th May 2009, 16:23   #15
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Go for Bolero. both the Safari and Scorpio 4x4(mHawk) will be out of your budget.
If you don't mind paying for petrol the Gypsy is also a viable option, however its not AC
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