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Old 24th May 2015, 21:06   #16
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Default re: Best car for the hills?

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Originally Posted by Guna View Post
But bellow the point at which the turbo kicks in (which may be the case on these roads) doesn't the problem compound because turbo engines are operating under lesser compression ratio?
AFAIK, Petrol engines run on 10:1 (Approx value) compression ratio whereas diesel run around 14:1 so diesels are running at a higher compression ratio hence the engine construction is slightly heavier and stronger as compared to their petrol counterparts.
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Old 24th May 2015, 21:21   #17
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Default re: Best car for the hills?

Down south in Coorg the good old Jeep CL 550 MDI , MM 540 works well for the western ghats terrain. You get stuck with a 2WD get one more jeep and pull it out
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Old 24th May 2015, 23:23   #18
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Default re: Best car for the hills?

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Do NA petrols do better then diesel cars at higher altitudes?
My friend took his Mobilio diesel to Doddapetta peak and the car died in-between. He could drive down once the engine cooled down.
That's surprising! Could you elaborate on what exactly happened and how many were there in the MPV? Why did the engine overheat? I've done Doddabetta once in my Swift diesel and the engine huffed and puffed near the top and while negotiating a steep incline, the engine died - not due to overheating but I miscalculated the angle of approach and the lag caught me out. Cranked immediately and was on my way. I'm really curious to hear from you.
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Old 24th May 2015, 23:40   #19
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Default re: Best car for the hills?

I was in Meghalaya last week and could see that the older Maruti 800 is the most favourite car for the owners in the capital Shillong and even smaller towns and villages in the hinterland. Private ownership of the 800 is maximum and also it makes up for more than 80 % of the taxi trade. Its nimble, easy to park or manouvre on narrow hill roads/ lanes that abound in hilly towns and cities. The taxi trade does not like to have the best selling Altos, but A Stars and Alto 800's as replacements for the 800 are preferred, since production of the latter is stopped. Some Nanos are also seen as taxis (yellow and black). But nothing beats the 800 ! There is no law here to get rid of 15 year old plus motor vehicles (even commercial too). The B segment offerings from Hyundai are also quite popular.

While at Gangtok, Sikkim, it was also the Maruti 800 and Omnis. 800's are popular as personally owned cars alongwith the newer Maruti and Hyundai "B"segment offerings. In fact Omnis carry eight passengers on a shared basis on fixed routes across Gangtok and its suburbs.

The Mahindra Savaris,Boleros, Maxx's and Tata Sumos are common ( with some of those exteeeeended chassis Forces Gurkhas) but these are people's carriers for long distances, inter-town journeys.

Jeeps and Gypsys are also loved. The bigger C Class and D Class sedans or the SUV's are seen but are rarer and with people, who want to flaunt their love for such vehicles, but these are tougher to manouvre and even park. Rich people too own smaller cars in many cases, as parking is a nightmare.

In Shillong I was moving in an Ambassador, a Tata Indigo CS and a Bolero, all individually owned. While moving through narrow sloping, hilly lanes, even if an 800 came along, the bigger car felt a bit uncomfortable, as the 800 could not leave the road surface very often while the larger car had to.

Lane discipline is among the best ever seen anywhere in India. Nobody leaves his or her lane, as that would amount to traffic jams and a mistake here or there could mean possibility of the vehicle or other vehicles going out of control, downhill or turning turtle.

Hence for me, the best car would have to be small, nimble and with a powerful engine ( power to weight ratio ) but also safe with ABS / EBD and also with proper NCAP star ratings.

Best car for the hills?-dscn0901.jpg

Best car for the hills?-dscn0905.jpg

Best car for the hills?-dscn0899.jpg

Best car for the hills?-dscn0988.jpg

Lane discipline in the pictures below

Best car for the hills?-may2015mithubdayshllongkolguwa-151.jpg

Best car for the hills?-may2015mithubdayshllongkolguwa-146.jpg

(some pictures of the traffic scenes in Meghalaya)

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 24th May 2015 at 23:47.
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Old 25th May 2015, 08:50   #20
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Default re: Best car for the hills?

In Kumaon, invariably people have a preference for short wheel base cars. In the taxi segment, Santro seems to be gaining popularity (UK numbering).
Interestingly, lane discipline has been on a downward slide owing mostly to affinity for unruly driving by people from the plains. This is especially true in the shivaliks, and traffic jam nightmares are quite common here. As one goes higher , and to offbeat destinations, local drivers are more law abiding, for reasons quoted ^^^.
The ubiquitous people carrier of choice is the Bolero - go to any bus stand - and you will find these in plenty. Though I have also spotted Tavera, Innova, Xylo - but these are for the out-of-state tourist - not for the inter-town shuttles.
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Old 25th May 2015, 11:28   #21
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Default re: Best car for the hills?

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Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
Here in Sikkim, either its petrol hatches or EcoSport/Duster or Scorpio/Fortuner.

4WD because at places, in hills you will require if you go a bit off the beaten track.
+1. In my recent tour of Sikkim I have taken my EON through a longer route from South to West Sikkim. The car was fully loaded (4 adults, 2 large suitcases, 3 small bags etc. at the boot), no issues faced.

Only when I went for a beaten track accidentally with slush, loose mountain soil, I had to turn back.

What I liked most about these small cars is the short turning radius. It let's you park and reverse/turn around from practically shortest of lanes. And because of their lighter weight, the torque-to-weight ratio is higher than it seems.
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Old 25th May 2015, 11:34   #22
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Default re: Best car for the hills?

Jassi your second name says it all. Well as most of them have suggested the best vehicle for your kind of driving and terrain would be the Renault Duster 1.5 Diesel 85 PS. I am suggesting the 85 PS model as I have driven it extensively and found it better in terms of driveability at low and medium speeds. It has a better torque distribution over the gears and has a flat torque curve which helps driving on inclines and downwards. My experience comes from driving my cousin brothers' Duster which is kept for farm use. I have myself driven it numerous times on dirt roads, inclines, narrow village roads, rocky roads, broken tarmac, etc. Everytime I rode it at low or medium speeds over those roads it surprised me with its suspension and ride quality and not to forget that massive ground clearance which is boon while going offroad. Similarly the driveability due to flat torque curve was so relaxing and relieving wherein one doesn't has to keep playing with the gears to be in the correct RPM band. I also found minimal turbo lag on the 85 PS Duster. You can also check the AWD if you want an all wheel drive. Although through my driving experience I feel two wheel drive is adequate enough.

Another option would be the Bolero or Thar DI or CRDe. The latter would be better as it has a shorter wheelbase than the Bolero. Since you live in the hills I believe the DI would be better at lugging loads and chugging along happily. If I were you I would go for the Thar CRDe . There is nothing like a Jeep, ain't it? .
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Old 25th May 2015, 11:37   #23
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Default re: Best car for the hills?

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Originally Posted by swiftdiesel View Post
That's surprising! Could you elaborate on what exactly happened and how many were there in the MPV? Why did the engine overheat? I've done Doddabetta once in my Swift diesel and the engine huffed and puffed near the top and while negotiating a steep incline, the engine died - not due to overheating but I miscalculated the angle of approach and the lag caught me out. Cranked immediately and was on my way. I'm really curious to hear from you.
This is the summary of what he posted on his FB

"Took it to Ooty up to Doddapetta peak- 8000ft + , with 5 people. At the highest peak of South India it stopped! Engine got hot due to continuous uphill drive. Do not take this vehicle for uphill drive. Very good on the plains of course. It was fine after the engine cooled down. Also we had to climb down so there was no load on the engine.
Was reading about driving at high altitude. discovered that oxygen level reduce from 15% to 30% between 5000ft to 10000 ft. This hill is at 8000 ft. Due to lack of oxygen the fuel and air mixture will be not appropriate. There will be more fuel and less of oxygen and it will generate black fume and clog engine and reduce the engine power. That's exactly happened I think"
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Old 25th May 2015, 17:10   #24
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Default Re: Best car for the hills?

May not be your cup of tea - but have you considered an Omni? It has fairly good ground clearance for the rough terrains and is a rear wheel drive which has some advantages while climbing uphill. I have had taken Omni uphills several times with ease on unpaved roads where other FWD hatches and small sedans struggled to move forward, wheels spinning and hitting bottoms etc. Also in Omni you can pinpoint the position of all tyres easily than other cars with which one can accurately steer the car in tricky and narrow spaces. Fuel economy, interior space, pocket-friendly maintenance and Maruthi's ASS makes it a no-brainer multi purpose car that suits your requirements. Also less electronics onboard the vehicle means you can easily sort out most problems yourself incase you got stuck in the middle of nowhere. So if you can live with its minivan characteristics (no crumble zones,handling,lack of safety and comfort features etc.), then its worth adding to your list too
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Old 26th May 2015, 05:04   #25
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Hello all,
This is the most suitable thread as per my query. So here it goes.

Since his childhood days, my Dad has wanted to own a 4x4. From his hiking days, he has always wanted to have a Gypsy. Currently our garage consists of a Fiesta(Classic) 1.6. This car will be mine once I attain the legal age to drive. After that, my Dad will surely drive a 4x4. Its not that we will buy the truck when the sedan is passed on to me. But we aren't in a hurry too. So can't say when we will buy a 4x4. The car will be driven on long tours and of course the hills.

Now comes the real debate. This is the reason why I had to come to BHPians, those never ending discussions with my Dad.

So the shortlist is as follows:

1. Maruti Gypsy ( either new or pre worshipped): This one will be the cheapest and most mod friendly truck out of the lot. Plus there will be a lot of moolah left to spruce up the ride. And as said before, Dad is a Zuk lover.

2. Mahindra Thar CRDe: Ride quality will be better than the Gypsy(back breaker). Mod potential is good in this too. But problem is that as they say, it's a Jeep. Niggles will be always present. Wonder whether my Mom n' Dad will be able to keep up with a Jeep after I am off to college.

3. Tata Safari Storme 4x4: This will be the best tourer of the lot, considering that the tours will comprise of highways and off roading. But this will also be the most expensive of the lot. And it is a bit too big for parking in tight spots.

4. Renault Duster AWD: Considering the minimum off roading that will be carried out, this car makes a strong case for itself considering its car like manners. And of course the 'magic carpet' ride which rivals much more expensive cars.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by petrolhead_neel : 26th May 2015 at 05:06.
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Old 26th May 2015, 07:33   #26
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Default Re: Best car for the hills?

My choices

Skoda Yeti 4x4 - The combination of small size, perfectly weighted steering, competent chassis and four wheel drive allows this car to handle the twisty roads without batting an eyelid The electronic aids like Hill Hold and Hill Descent Control make it a breeze to drive without burning out your clutch and/or brakes and the powerful engine has more than enough grunt to get ahead of that smoke belching bus crawling its way up a steep uphill section. Slushy road sections, small patches of snow, gravelly tracks etc. are all taken care of thanks to the extremely competent haldex 4x4. There may be a few instances where you may wish you had a couple of inches more of ground clearance, but in such instances I prefer to have a co-passenger walk ahead and guide the best path and remove any large rocks/boulders manually to make way - given that it's a soft roader (and not a true blue off-roader) and is stellar on the highways which make up 90% of the journey, I'm happy to overlook this (Also, since the car is well protected thanks to its Rough Road Package, a few minor undercarriage scrapes don't give one much cause for worry)

Hyundai I10 - Till the time I got my hands on the Yeti, the i10 was the default choice of car for the hills, small footprint, agile dynamics, peppy engine. It was a dream on the well paved road sections (dare i say as good as the Yeti as long as the car was lightly loaded with only 2 passengers and minimum luggage). Where it lost out was on the skittish handling on gravelly sections, and its changed dynamics (for the worse of course) when heavily loaded - both in terms of handling and engine pep. But that said, the narrow width was a definite advantage on several narrow roads, and as a VFM proposition, the i10 is tough to beat.

Note: I'm comparing the two cars above to the remaining cars in the household - namely - Toyota Innova (extremely poor traction on slushy uphills, especially when lightly loaded, also engine seems underpowered when fully loaded), Swift Vdi (The i10 dynamics are better suited to hill driving, petrol allows fewer gear changes, and light steering is a boon), Honda City (It's a city car, soft suspension is a pain, engine response is lethargic, due to the seating position being so far back from the front wheels, twisty roads end up causing neck pain - doesn't happen in any of the other cars).

Last edited by adisag : 26th May 2015 at 07:35.
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Old 26th May 2015, 10:18   #27
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Default Re: Best car for the hills?

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Originally Posted by adisag View Post
Note: I'm comparing the two cars above to the remaining cars in the household - namely - Toyota Innova (extremely poor traction on slushy uphills, especially when lightly loaded, also engine seems underpowered when fully loaded), Swift Vdi (The i10 dynamics are better suited to hill driving, petrol allows fewer gear changes, and light steering is a boon), Honda City (It's a city car, soft suspension is a pain, engine response is lethargic, due to the seating position being so far back from the front wheels, twisty roads end up causing neck pain - doesn't happen in any of the other cars).
I spent substantial years living in hills and I learnt driving on hilly roads. I also keep going to visit my friends in Kumaon region mostly in Swift Vxi or City Zx. I still find Alto (old one, as i did not have opportunity to drive the newer ones on hills) far easier and comfortable to drive than Swift or City. However, I never felt any fatigue or pain in any of these cars.

Biggest drawback in both these cars is the obstructing A-pillar though which hampers the view while cornering.
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Old 26th May 2015, 10:27   #28
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Default Re: Best car for the hills?

I feel the following diesel SUV's the best for hills driving-

1. Mahindra Thar/Bolero DI
2. Tata Sumo
3. Mitsubishi Pajero 2.8 (preferably the SWB)
4. Duster 85PS

All these cars have Diesel Engines with negligible lag which is very helpful in the hilly conditions. When it comes to cars-

1. Maruti Suzuki Swift/Ritz (petrol)
2. Mahindra Verito/Vibe
3. Toyota Etios Liva Diesel
4. Hyundai Grand i10 (petrol)

I know the Alto's and Wagonr's are used extensively but its best that they are used as Taxi's. Having driven the Wagonr (F10D) around Western Ghats in Maharashtra i feel these cars struggle especially when it comes to performing an overtaking maneuver in the hills. A hatchback with 85-100 BHP with good low end performance should suffice for the hills.

Asit

Last edited by asit.kulkarni93 : 26th May 2015 at 10:28.
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Old 26th May 2015, 10:49   #29
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Default Re: Best car for the hills?

Having driven M/T cars all my life, just curious to know how cars equipped with A/T handle the steep-incline driving conditions? Do the engines feel more lethargic when coupled with an A/T box?

The overwhelming choice for hilly terrain driving seems to be NA petrol cars which I find a bit baffling. Always imagined that a turbo charged car (petrol or diesel) driven in the turbo zone will be better equipped to tackle steep inclines. Have been driving my Swift D since 3.5 years but haven't experienced the sluggish feel on the slopes as yet. Its either because I haven't driven on the really steep inclines or driving closer to or in the turbo zone has worked for me. AWD certainly would make light work of any hilly conditions.
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Old 26th May 2015, 11:05   #30
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Petrol is good; but fuel efficiency?

Any diesel without huge turbo lag should do fine. That puts the renault's dCi first in the list and the swift's ddis last in the list.

And then comes the service center troubles for these cars, and then people buy the DI jeep and develop complicated relationships with the friendly neighborhood mechanics.
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