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Old 22nd September 2008, 22:19   #1
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Default A day of extended test drives - Safari 2.2, Bolero and Ambassador Grande

Back at my adopted home town, the last Saturday started out as any other lazy day but it was nothing but that.

The main one:
My brother informed me that he has asked the local Tata dealer to send across the Safari 2.2 VX for a test drive. Great!

The guys were at my brothers place sharp at 11. They were from VST motors, Trichy.

Since I have already done a test drive under normal test drive conditions, here at Bangalore, I wanted to find out how it behaves under hard braking (especially check the ABS) and also high speed drive on rough mud / sand roads with enough patches.

Driving at 80-90 on that non-existing road was much more comfortable than I had imagined! Just wonderful! (not that I will be doing this all the time, but incase I need to, I know how it will feel).

Next was the ABS test: braked hard on a stretch filled with small stones. The ABS did take over and the vehicle did stop without much fuss, but one thing I did notice was that the tail was getting out of line. The same thing happened when we hard braked on a road with the left tyres on the mud and the right ones on tar. The exec told that the vehicle did have an issue with brakes and seems like it is not yet fixed!!!

Did some more tight corner turns and then, after a small comfortable ride with the rest of the family, with a thanks, they were sent.

It was after the test drives, while having the presentation by the exec about the features, that I notice the vehicle was Mountain Green. It is truly a wonderful color on this vehicle.

Likes:
- the ride comfort
- the all round view
- the ground clearance! Man, that is one hell of a clearance! Some places has the Safari going over some really mean looking humps, which we suspect it to scrap the bottom, but none of it happened! A big plus!
- the control that one has over this huge vehicle. You never feel that you are riding a 2 tonner!
- the ability of this guys to pull himself from sharp steeps. We tested this by backing down onto a step side besides the road,which once smittened my brothers Sumo. Slot 1st gear and out he came!

Dislikes:
- issue with the brakes causing the tail to slide out of line!!! If the dealer is not able to rectify this major issue with his own vehicle, what will be do with his customers vehicles???

No photos taken.


The second one:
Had taken my Alto for the rim bend removal. Had a hour to kill, so went down to the automobile agency my uncle works for. We told him about the morning TD and he told about Bolero (which is one of the vehicles that his company deals in). We got talking about various things and finally he asked me if I need a TD of Bolero - a big smile was the response!

Took the top end 4x2 for a TD. The brakes gave me a shock, so to say. They felt too light and did not give me enough confidence. Maybe it was due to the 'just finished' Safari TD.

The Bolero had power windows and power steering and a powerful A/c. A good practical ride.

The last one:
Noticed set of new Ambassador Grande's parked and took one for a really short TD. Unlike the olden times, times when Amby's were driven down from factories, these were transported and had just 11km on the ODO.

A day of extended test drives - Safari 2.2, Bolero and Ambassador Grande-image004.jpg

What was surprising was the interiors:

A day of extended test drives - Safari 2.2, Bolero and Ambassador Grande-image005.jpg

What you see is a power steering, power windows, A/c and an audio unit as standard fitment. The steering was soft but had a sort of play which made it a bit unpredictable. It turned a notch, on either side, by itself when left freely after a small turn. Maybe it was an issue with this particular vehicle.

The vehicle was much better if you take the earlier ones that were available. But with the current vehicles available and the standards maintained, HM seriously needs to up their standards! But hey, they still sell 25-30 odd vehicles a month, minimum! So, who's complaining!

And what was the odd thing was the placement or accelerator, it rises from the floor! Had a really tough time for the first few seconds!

That was the end of a day of test drives. One planned and two unplanned, but the unplanned ones were something that I had never thought that I will do. A day well spend, I must say.
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Old 23rd September 2008, 09:56   #2
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Good review(s).
Ha, Amby. Interiors are surely great.

OT: There was talk about launch of new Amby. Any news from dealer you met?
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Old 23rd September 2008, 10:17   #3
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MJothi,

My uncle works there at the dealer and is in charge of the workshop. They deal in Yamaha, Amby, Mitusubishi (HM) & MM. So it was not a dealer visit, but a personal visit which turned out like this! (lucky me!)

So, just did a quick call and asked him about the new Amby and he said there is no news or any info about anything of that sort. He was rather surprised. He did say that there is going to be a new Mitsu which is going to be launched in the Metro's, petrol engine, with a price bracket of 15-18 laks.

OT: Brings back memories of my TVS 50 being serviced there, a long time back! Imagine, a TVS in the midst of all those Yamaha's! I guess we were testing the patience of those mechanics!!!
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Old 23rd September 2008, 10:58   #4
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Quote:
HM seriously needs to up their standards! But hey, they still sell 25-30 odd vehicles a month, minimum! So, who's complaining!
Best back seat this side of the S-Class! HM sells a lot more than just 25 - 30 Amby's per month.
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Old 23rd September 2008, 11:15   #5
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Best back seat this side of the S-Class! HM sells a lot more than just 25 - 30 Amby's per month.
You got that right, GTO. That is why I said these figures are the "minimum" monthly sales figures! And that too with little or minimal marketing, which other vehicle can pull a trick as this!
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Old 23rd September 2008, 19:02   #6
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Originally Posted by HappyWheels View Post
You got that right, GTO. That is why I said these figures are the "minimum" monthly sales figures! And that too with little or minimal marketing, which other vehicle can pull a trick as this!
Till a little time back, the only type they could count on was the repeat customer : The Government! I don't think that would have changed much, though babu's from some departments have taken a liking for more modern cars (Indigo, Accent, NHC etc.).
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Old 23rd September 2008, 19:40   #7
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The government still is one of the largest customer over there. But I did notice 3 cars which had private owners, so there are still a set of customers who still hold a good amount of value to our dear old Amby!

Long time back, I remember when an Amby's was sold, they had to be taken to the tinkering shop immediately to make it day to day use worthy! And then next thing would be take it to Koyas, Coimbatore for extra fitting!

Those were the day!
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Old 23rd September 2008, 21:20   #8
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Do they have a waiting period on the Amby?
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Old 23rd September 2008, 21:48   #9
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Yes, there is. But the period is comparatively very less. This is mainly due to regular supply of new vehicles. Chances are you might get lucky due to a dry buying spell and get an immediate allocation.
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Old 24th September 2008, 11:42   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Best back seat this side of the S-Class!
GTO, I disagree here. The headroom on the backseat sucks. It can be used as a slow torture device for people over and around 6' by taking them on a nice long drive, with slightly bumpy roads thrown in for the extra zing.
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Old 24th September 2008, 12:22   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Best back seat this side of the S-Class!
I agree. Few months back I went in an old amby with bucked seats for a two day trip. And the journey was comfortable than in my ikon. Hope they retain the same comfortable seats IF they launch a new Amby.
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Old 24th September 2008, 12:58   #12
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and we are still not talking about the Amby Avigo - nothing to beat it's comfort levels yet.
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