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Old 18th January 2013, 13:20   #1
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Default The Art of Style and Power - Toyota Fortuner AT

The Fruit of a long and patient search


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Likes

Amazing looks
Very good engine, lots of power on tap
Comfortable seats with electronic adjustments for driver
Good airy interiors
Amazing build quality, like a tank
Comfortable driving with Automatic transmission
Toyota reliability - Will have to experience this to justify the claims

Dislikes

Bouncy Ride
Weak horn
Very little storage spaces
Boot is exposed when parked, How to solve this?
Cleaning this big a vehicle, I have tried and its tiring work


The Requirements

A comfortable 5 seater with loads of luggage space.
Good road presence
Can take on bad roads
Good Service/Low maintenance


The Contenders

The above were the most basic requirements which absolutely had to be met. Anything over and above was welcome.

Pajero Sports
Good car with loads of space and legendary heritage. Good driving dynamics for a SUV. Was really comfortable. Good in the looks department as well. Well informed Sales staff.
Very sparse dealer network. No presence in Himachal Pradesh, where this car would go every month. Quite pricey for what was on offer and with additional accessories was nearing the 29 Lakh OTR price. Also was a bit narrow so middle row felt tight. It did feel rudimentary with the fittings on offer the music player belonged to the 18th century. Dealerships had a ghost town effect.

So NO NO

SSangyong Rexton

Very well priced and good kit on offer, the Mercedes sourced technicals were a boon. Comfortable front bench. Helpful sales staff.

Unheard of brand and as all Mahindra products, something with gets better with age. Scary dynamics, crossed three lanes at 90 KMPH in an emergency manoeuvre and it felt like the car would topple. Hard plastics. Does not look very butch.

So NO NO.


We also tried the new Captiva which although had very good interiors, lacked the space and was a bit pricey. Also the sales staff were horrible, no body knew anything about the car. Their loss.

Someone down the line suggested that we also try the holy trinity so well why not.

Mercedes

We tried the B, C and E. The B class was a fantastic package, very good space, class interiors and overall feel good factor. The panoramic sunroof gave the car a lot of appeal and the price was amazing too. The shortfalls though was the petrol engine which at the rate Petrol prices are increasing would make running this car a costly affair.
The C class was too cramped, so did not look much into it.
The E class was the most amazing surprise we got. The E 200 CGI avantgarde was being offered at 35 OTR with a 2 lakh petrol card so net was 37. This was a royal car both inside and out and price was very good too. We were also ready to make peace with the petrol heart but with the impending launch of the new E, we would be paying a Kings ransom for a soon to be outdated product.

Audi

Boy was I wrong about Audi, I had extensively driven the Audi A4 when I used to live in England, this was a 2005 model and I never was amazed with it. So with zero hopes I visited Audi Gurgaon, what happened there was nothing short of magic. Their interiors My God have become drool worthy now. Class everywhere. We were offered the A4 at 31 OTR and the A6 at 36 OTR. Both were diesel and although less on space, the center hump on the back is very uncomfortable, the Value for money was too great to miss out on. I could not test drive either car so will not comment on that aspect, Dad however liked it.

BMW was well BMW, but the run flat tyres concept on their whole range was off putting. What am I supposed to do, if I get a flat in the mountains, with the nearest Dealership at Chandigarah, this was risky business. So dropped BMW altogether.

The problem with both the E and the A6, which we had finalized out of the two brands was that taking them to Himachal twice every month would mean we would accelerate car damage by a great level. Anyone who has driven to Kangra and Palampur from Chandigarah knows that roads are bad to nonexistent in some stretches. This would greatly increase service costs which are not cheap in the first place. As city commuters these two are the ultimate pleasure but taking them out of cities into the wilderness means playing with ones luck. So we thanked everyone at Audi and Mercedes and they understood all too well our plight. The SA at Audi was a gentleman to the core, he took the extra effort to make sure we like the car and luckily I did persuade a cousin who had finalized the new 3 series in Chandigarah to switch and buy an A6 at Gurgaon. I was given a scale model of the R8 from the SA at Gurgaon for my good deed.

The Fortuner

So we come back to the story of the white bull, a Japanese beauty, an angry yet gentle beast which ironically had been the default choice long before the search was done.

We had narrowed it down to the AT model although mileage was low, the comfort was great and moreover this would be a weekend car, so were not too worried about the mileage. 4X4 was dropped because well we would never use it and no point in carrying a 100 extra kilos at all times.

The Fortuner was as I had mentioned been the ultimate bad boy car and appealed to everyone. The reason we did not jump straight in right away were the horrendous waiting times. Gurgaon dealers were not even accepting bookings.

The dealer in Himachal was known to us so we thought of trying our luck there. One phone call and we were assured a Black AT in 20 days. We wanted white, who doesnt? but what the hell, Black is equally satisfying .
So the booking amount was transferred immediately and the wait began. We got a call on the 1st of Jan that a white AT is free and if we want we can take delivery with in 8 days. We did give them some grief but inside we were happy that we were getting the colour we wanted.

I found out about the existence of the 5 speed AT around two days before taking delivery, I immediately called the dealer and he accepted to change the booking but he did say that there was no gurantee on the time frame, which soon bought us back to square 1. So I either had to wait for another 5 to 6 months or take delivery of the white in two days.

We knew the benefits of a 5 speed box over a 4 speed, but couldn't wait any longer, there is also an upcoming wedding in January end and the family wanted a new car ASAP. You see when you weigh in the excitement of a new car at a wedding with the benefits of a gear box with more ratios and your target audience is an impatient groom and noisy sisters, well you can imagine who won.


Dad and me reached the dealership in the morning and were immediately taken downstairs to have a look at what was going to be our car. I have heard of love at first sight but never felt it, I have been with a lot of members of the opposite sex but never had the feeling I did at that moment when I saw the car for the first time. There she was gleaming in white, that coating of 3M paint protection just done was radiating in the otherwise sombre looking environments of the service center. I for one will never forget that moment when I first laid eyes on her.

I was hooked but sense suddenly kicked in and all the wordings from the Team BHP thread about the initial inspection which I had memorized slowly started trickling in, I wiped the smug grin of my face and asked to check the bonnet, Ok everything was in order, now right side I had to fine the stamp...done, next check the last 4 digits for the month and year of manufacture 1212...done. Next step was to check the odometer reading and it said 6KM, so far so good. Next I carefully inspected each and every nook and cranny of the car. Yes A OK. So I could continue my infatuation with ease now.

Everything went silky smooth from then on, Anand Toyota Solan was amazing, their staff should be commended for the effort they put in. Their GM and Toyota's own North Zone in charge was there and they all went the extra mile to make sure this would be a happy occasion.

I got the following accessories

Scoop Guard - Chrome
Rear Muffler cutter
Fender mirror - This is the most beneficial accessory in the Fortuner IMHO
Side cladding

We wanted the front and back nudge bars and the chrome gear box covers but these were not available. FYI please dont buy the nudge bars for your fortuners till February as the current one has some problem and Toyota is coming out with a new model in Feb. I will provide the product code for the same when I get it installed.

So we got in the car and got the mighty beast refueled. The bull is thirsty I will tell you that with an 80 litre tank, it does twice the fuel of my humble figo.
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Initial Impressions

We drove the car from Solan to Kangra and back to Delhi and in this have covered around 950 Kms, the auto box is amazing, clutch what clutch?, my left leg is feeling comforts it did not know existed. Took it in the mountains and even parked at inclines it does not have problems taking off from D with no hand brake usage to prevent slip. Power delivery is very good, all you do is tap the throttle and it obeys ever so gently. It upshifts very fast and this can be a problem coming downhill and around steep corners, but adequate breaking or driving in D-3 can help. The brakes are well OK, nothing compared to my Figo or Civic, but they get the job done. You change your driving style accordingly and before you know it you are fine. The seating position is amazing, it felt like I was sitting on top of my Civic and when driving in the crowded bazaars of Palampur of which this is the first registered car, the looks you get from passerby's is amazing. I did feel like Moses parting the seas on certain ocassions, with the left hand on the horn and gentle throttling people were giving way with no qualms. Even the mighty HRTC buses and their self involved drivers, who show no mercy to the Figo's and Civics of this world were stopping to let the beast pass.

The Auto box

This is my first time driving an automatic car and first time I think apart from a MAN truck which I drove in their assembly station in England which was a 4.2 liter engine, that I am driving such a massive engined vehicle. The torque on the Fortuner is endless and it shows. You press the brake pedal, slot into D and you are off, it is as simple as that. I did fight urges to touch the gear shift as someone coming from manual might but soon learned. Toyota defines the positions D-3, 2 and L as levels of engine braking which I think means that the engine is prevented to upshift and stays in the preconfigured power bands. The SA advised us to drive in D-3 all the time as he said the D mode is only for starting the car, something like a first gear. I knew he was wrong but dad was like he is the expert, I had to show my father the page from the manual that explicitly states that driving should only be done in the D mode, he did not argue after that.

The modes D-3 was used on some ocassions when the car was to go downhill on inclines and I thought it might help with any sudden braking, but I did not feel the car actually needed this. This was more for my safety than anything else. I have not tried the 2 and L positions, which I believe are there to get you out of tricky situations or if you want to move boulders.

The trick I learned after 1000 km of driving is if you want to conserve fuel and drive fast, you floor the throttle and the car upshifts and keep on doing that till you know the maximum gear has been reached, after this point just a gentle press of the throttle will keep you in your required speed zone.

We are getting a combine cycle mileage of 10.2 according to the MID, will post more accurate details after first tank full to tank full method.

The drive and other misclenia

As said above the drive is effortless but it is bumpy on bad roads, you get jostled around a lot. I did not feel too much of this as I was the driver throughout but the passengers on the second bench were thrown around. The SUV has a good turning radius and turning or even doing a full U in the middle of the road is not a very difficult affair, the very good ORVM's and the fender mirror help a lot in such situations.

My grandmother had a lot of problems getting in and out of the Fortuner and I don't blame her it is quite high and getting in the middle row without a B pillar mounted handle is tricky. I am 6'2" so I can just step in this car, but shorter people will no doubt have problems.

The front passenger seats are electrical in adjustments, but I do wish that there was a bit more range in height and rear travel.

The steering wheel also has height adjustment but a bit more range on the higher side should have been there.

With the bulging curves on the central console, I felt that viewing from a distance is not very easy. Although the central console on itself is very easy to read and light intensity setting is provided so can be dimmed for easy night time driving.

I do feel that Toyota should have provided an automatic IRVM as although the manual is very good, it doesn't do justice to a car of this price.

The lights in the car are excellent, the auto mode is very intuitive, the sensor is mounted on the windscreen and it lights up the road according to the environment. The parking lights are just fine and the level 2 bulbs throw out a white beam, it is the high beam which is truly spectacular, it has a far reaching throw and lights up the road with ease. The fog lights are just OK, nothing great but they get the job done. The fortuner is armed with an electronic head light level adjuster in which it checks the weight of the car and the passengers inside and then automatically sets the throw height...Neat.

The horn is seriously weak, it does not do justice to a vehicle of this size, my figo has a more powerful horn. I want to get a second one installed but will wait for around six months to see if I really need one.

The music system in the Fortuner has a lot of connectivity options and being a touch screen type is easy to use. There is your standard AUX, USB and bluetooth streaming options. The phone app is very handy and it lets you dial numbers with ease. It paired with my Bold 9900 and iphone and also synced all our contacts, you can also store contacts in the music systems memory, upto 1000.

The steering wheel has controls for volume and track/radio station changing along with Mode selection and changing the display on the MID, on a note what material are steering wheels made of ?, the Fortuners felt like wood but I don't think it is.

There are very little storage spaces and that is a big let down, even the dash board box is tiny. The center armrest can store a few things but that's about it.

The boot is large and well can gobble almost anything thrown at it, the only drawback is that there is no covering, so if you are parked, anyone can see your belongings. Can something be done about this?, with the ban on film what other alternatives are there?.

I did go on a long drive to Tashi Jong monastery all on my lonesome and to be honest of all the hundreds of times I have been there, this one time felt different, It felt that I was visiting for the first time in my life. Those sights from the high seats, that sound from the amazing stereo system was something else entirely.

Since the interiors of the Fortuner are a hot topic, let me chime in my 2 cents as a new owner. The interiors are fantastic and let me explain. Of all the comparisons done with the Innova, the interiors most resemble the top end Innova which in itself is around 16 Lakh OTR and for that kind of money they are excellent interiors in both quality, comfort and finish. It will be unwise to compare the interiors of the Japanese products with their German counterparts as the philosophy is different. The Japanese give priority to form over function and it shows. I can honestly say that the interiors in the Fortuner can last for at least 10 years with out any trouble. That steering wheel is a delight to hold. Even the stereo unit is only of putting because of the silver colour scheme, had the same been done in black, goose bumps. Even overall the Fortuner feels very very upmarket and premium.

Also and I did not know this but the Indian fortuner is cheaper than the ones available in Thailand 24,80,000 for the AT 3 liter and Malaysia 32,00,000 for the 2.7 AT. So for once we get a similar product at a cheaper price point. Yes I know the Thai fortuner gets a few other features but one can get them as accessories for not very much.

I would give my sincere thanks to all the esteemed members of Team BHP who have in no short measure helped me make this big decision. This is without a doubt one of the finest treasure troves of information.

So this brings me to the start of hopefully a long and strong journey with what I can say has been our most wonderful purchase to date. It's time for me to go out and experience the art of Style and Power.

Some pics for your viewing pleasure.
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Last edited by eq24 : 22nd January 2013 at 13:41. Reason: Done adding abt auto box and drive
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Old 23rd January 2013, 10:36   #2
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Default Re: The Art of Style and Power - Toyota Fortuner AT

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 23rd January 2013, 11:08   #3
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Default Re: The Art of Style and Power - Toyota Fortuner AT

Congrats on buying the new Fortuner, I am sure it would give you miles and miles of trouble free ownership experience,
Just wanted to know which version of A6 was being offered by AUDI Gurgaon at 36L and who was the SA, as I am too in the market for the same.
Also, what was the best OTR offered to you for 520D incase you checked upon it as well..

Cheers !
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Old 23rd January 2013, 12:26   #4
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Default Re: The Art of Style and Power - Toyota Fortuner AT

Congratulations and welcome to the club! A Fortuner is meant for a long term relationship rather than short term, more exciting flings.

Re: "I have been with a lot of members of the opposite sex but never had the feeling I did at that moment when I saw the car for the first time" - you like them big and imposing, is it? :-)

Agree with you about the interiors. Though, I would have loved it if the Fortuner had come with a black and tan or black and gunmetal trim instead of the grey and tan that we get in the Classic Fortuner.
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Old 23rd January 2013, 13:13   #5
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Default Re: The Art of Style and Power - Toyota Fortuner AT

Congrats on the bull!

Quote:
Originally Posted by eq24 View Post
...You press the brake pedal, slot into D and you are off, it is as simple as that. I did fight urges to touch the gear shift as someone coming from manual might but soon learned. Toyota defines the positions D-3, 2 and L as levels of engine braking which I think means that the engine is prevented to upshift and stays in the preconfigured power bands. The SA advised us to drive in D-3 all the time as he said the D mode is only for starting the car, something like a first gear. I knew he was wrong but dad was like he is the expert, I had to show my father the page from the manual that explicitly states that driving should only be done in the D mode, he did not argue after that...
I don't see the "D" option mentioned next to the gear lever. How do you slot into D?

Wish you miles of happy & safe motoring!
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Old 23rd January 2013, 13:49   #6
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I don't see the "D" option mentioned next to the gear lever. How do you slot into D?

Wish you miles of happy & safe motoring!
If you see the pic it is marked as D-3. D is on the left and 3 is on the right. You move it from left to right to go from D to 3.

3 basically keeps the car in first 3 gears and will not shift into 4th. It may provide additional engine braking but this needs to be confirmed by the manual.
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Old 23rd January 2013, 14:05   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Congratulations and welcome to the club! A Fortuner is meant for a long term relationship rather than short term, more exciting flings.

Re: "I have been with a lot of members of the opposite sex but never had the feeling I did at that moment when I saw the car for the first time" - you like them big and imposing, is it? :-)

Agree with you about the interiors. Though, I would have loved it if the Fortuner had come with a black and tan or black and gunmetal trim instead of the grey and tan that we get in the Classic Fortuner.
Hehe no I like them normal, that was just for the car, Thanks for the wishes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
If you see the pic it is marked as D-3. D is on the left and 3 is on the right. You move it from left to right to go from D to 3.

3 basically keeps the car in first 3 gears and will not shift into 4th. It may provide additional engine braking but this needs to be confirmed by the manual.
Yes all the ratios 3 2 and L provide engine braking as mentioned in the manual.
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Old 23rd January 2013, 14:33   #8
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Congratulations for the beast. The white still is the best colour for the Fortuner.

Do you belong to Himachal? I am asking because you mentioned you drive regularly to Kangra and palampur. I belong to palampur and I too drive down atleast 4-5 times in a year. And yes about the roads part, most of the times most of the stretches are not in good shape.

CHEERS
Rachit
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Old 23rd January 2013, 14:41   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eq24 View Post
Dislikes

Bouncy Ride
Weak horn
Very little storage spaces
Boot is exposed when parked, How to solve this?
Cleaning this big a vehicle, I have tried and its tiring work
Hey Congrats on your Fortuner.

There is a slide-able accessory available at your nearest accessory market (Aftermarket). It might help. Photo attached.

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Cleaning is a pain. Why dont you try pressure washers. They start at 6000 rupees. If money is not a problem, I would recommen Karcher k 3.550 @ 16000/-.
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Old 23rd January 2013, 21:20   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachit.K.Dogra View Post
Congratulations for the beast. The white still is the best colour for the Fortuner.

Do you belong to Himachal? I am asking because you mentioned you drive regularly to Kangra and palampur. I belong to palampur and I too drive down atleast 4-5 times in a year. And yes about the roads part, most of the times most of the stretches are not in good shape.

CHEERS
Rachit
Thanks for the wishes, yes I belong to Palampur, we should meet next time each other is there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
Hey Congrats on your Fortuner.

There is a slide-able accessory available at your nearest accessory market (Aftermarket). It might help. Photo attached.

Attachment 1041655

Cleaning is a pain. Why dont you try pressure washers. They start at 6000 rupees. If money is not a problem, I would recommen Karcher k 3.550 @ 16000/-.
Wow thanks Bharat, can you share some more information on what is it called and if it fits the fortuner. We have a pressure converter which attaches to the pipe and it is about adequate, it is not the washing which was tiring but the drying and wiping. Even though our cars are cleaned every morning, I do not miss any opportunity to clean the cars myself, it is intensely satisfying and a bloody good workout.


Anyways the bull had it's first service today, I had planned for next week but decided to get it done today. The first service is at 1000 km's and is more of a washing up then anything else.

Which Service Center

Gurgaon has two Toyota dealers, Grace and MGF. I had been to MGF before, it is in 14 sector and is on a very narrow road, the approach is quite tight. I have seen Grace on the way to Jaipur many times but never actually been there. So what to do, decided to alphabetically select and because of that called Grace first and they were able to fit in an early morning slot. Drive to Grace was easy. I will say this and I don't know because it was the Fortuner or Grace's staff is like that but I had one of the most courteous start. They had all the paper filled in in around five minutes and showed me the way to the lounge. The lounge was horrible though, they had rats, YES rats in the lounge but no worry, I don't plan to live there, but this was the one disappointing bit as I was then spending more time out in the cold then comfortably in the lounge. Service was done before the stipulated time and overall was quite good. Some pics from the washing area.

The Art of Style and Power - Toyota Fortuner AT-serv1.jpg
The Art of Style and Power - Toyota Fortuner AT-serv2.jpg
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Old 23rd January 2013, 21:58   #11
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Quote:
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Wow thanks Bharat, can you share some more information on what is it called and if it fits the fortuner.
Oops - I do not know a name for that . Just imgine that roller sun shade for windscreen, mounted horizontally.

May I suggest a simple DIY?
  • Measure the distance between the boot door and the rear-most seat.
  • Purchase Rexine / Tarpouline or some other thick sheet.
  • Run this along the length of the boot (Attach multiple sheets if needed)
  • Attach Velcros on the Sheet on the seat facing side and boot facing side.
  • Attach the other end of the Velcro to boot door and seats.
Voila - You have a removable cover.

Last edited by scopriobharath : 23rd January 2013 at 22:05.
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Old 26th January 2013, 16:05   #12
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eq24 !! Awesome purchase dude ! Congratulations on the new beast. I have booked a new one myself and can hardly wait to get my hands on it.

After having migrated from a sedan to this massive SUV do you notice the body roll yourself or not until someone else mentions it ?

Do you use the Fortuner on twisty roads which have good surfacing or on semi off-road rough and pot-holed roads ?

enjoy the beast buddy
cheers
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Old 26th January 2013, 16:42   #13
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eq24 !! Awesome purchase dude ! Congratulations on the new beast. I have booked a new one myself and can hardly wait to get my hands on it.

After having migrated from a sedan to this massive SUV do you notice the body roll yourself or not until someone else mentions it ?

Do you use the Fortuner on twisty roads which have good surfacing or on semi off-road rough and pot-holed roads ?

enjoy the beast buddy
cheers
Dieselite
Thanks for the wishes dieselite, which variant and in what colour have you booked and what is the waiting time given to you. If auto I hope you get the newer one.

Regarding the body roll, not so much, but then I drive this quite sedately. I guess all the years reading about bad brakes on the Fortuner, I am quite carefull not to over speed. That said Yes it is a bit top heavy but this is only very rare and have felt it in one of driving scenarios, which I will hardly ever replicate.

I guess usage is on all roads, in Himachal most of the roads are Twisty, either going uphill or down, it is the ones with too much twist, where I engage D-3. On semi of road and pot holed roads which are abundant in Gurgaon, you get a bouncy feel.
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Old 26th January 2013, 16:53   #14
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Thanks for the wishes dieselite, which variant and in what colour have you booked and what is the waiting time given to you. If auto I hope you get the newer one.
It is the 5 speed AT in Pearl white mica colour. Delivery hopefully in February. Will post once i get delivery of it !
cheers
Dieselite.
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Old 26th January 2013, 23:34   #15
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Originally Posted by Dieselite View Post
It is the 5 speed AT in Pearl white mica colour. Delivery hopefully in February. Will post once i get delivery of it !
cheers
Dieselite.
So you are getting both the new things, Good stuff. Are you going in for the TRD kit as well?
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