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Old 6th June 2021, 19:27   #1
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Default Best car to drive to the Himalayas?

Hello, this is in the bucket list of mine! Reading a few travelogues posted here, I was wondering which would be the best vehicle to cover the Himalayas. My leanings are towards the Jeep Trailhawk. Any inputs would be welcome.
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Old 6th June 2021, 19:35   #2
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Default re: Best car to drive to the Himalayas?

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Originally Posted by Rangy62 View Post
Hello, this is in the bucket list of mine! Reading a few travelogues posted here, I was wondering which would be the best vehicle to cover the Himalayas. My leanings are towards the Jeep Trailhawk. Any inputs would be welcome.
Thanks
Nearly all the Himalayan roads are metaled now, and other than very few stretches, there is no need of a 4x4 at all. Be it Himanchal Pradesh, UT of J&K, UT of Leh; if you are traveling between July and October, there is hardly any place where a 4x4 will be needed, and if you decide to do it in September-October, even a high GC hatchback (In fact, even a Ciaz too) with wide tyres can do it.

So, Trailhawk is more than enough for the roads in Uttarakhand, Himanchal Pradesh, Leh and J&K. I doubt if you will need to engage the 4x4 even once!
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Old 6th June 2021, 19:58   #3
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Default re: Best car to drive to the Himalayas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rangy62 View Post
Hello, this is in the bucket list of mine! Reading a few travelogues posted here, I was wondering which would be the best vehicle to cover the Himalayas. My leanings are towards the Jeep Trailhawk. Any inputs would be welcome.
Thanks
Which place in the Himalayas are you talking of? Some specific locations may require a 4x4 to reach, but you can cover 99.9% of all the Himalayas with an Alto 800 stuffed with 5 people and luggage. Seriously, a large number of people do that here in Uttarakhand.

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Originally Posted by VKumar View Post
Nearly all the Himalayan roads are metaled now, and other than very few stretches, there is no need of a 4x4 at all. Be it Himanchal Pradesh, UT of J&K, UT of Leh; if you are traveling between July and October, there is hardly any place where a 4x4 will be needed, and if you decide to do it in September-October, even a high GC hatchback (In fact, even a Ciaz too) with wide tyres can do it.

So, Trailhawk is more than enough for the roads in Uttarakhand, Himanchal Pradesh, Leh and J&K. I doubt if you will need to engage the 4x4 even once!
Yes in the months of monsoon unpaved roads can create issues. But I won't advise anyone to travel here in those months as landslides, cloud bursts, trees or rocks felling down, etc. can block roads and sometimes even kill people.
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Old 6th June 2021, 20:54   #4
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Default re: Best car to drive to the Himalayas?

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Originally Posted by Rangy62 View Post
Hello, this is in the bucket list of mine! Reading a few travelogues posted here, I was wondering which would be the best vehicle to cover the Himalayas. My leanings are towards the Jeep Trailhawk. Any inputs would be welcome.
Thanks
Greetings and good luck for the travel youre planning! Driving to Himalayas is surely on my bucket list too!
It all depends on what month of the year youre going. Id say you hardly need any 4x4 and you can cover the trip with ease even in a Polo
But in the Jeep itll be fun. You can consider many alternatives to the Jeep like the Duster, XUV 500, Isuzu V-Cross and even the Alturas G4. Even the new Thar which is relatively cheap But id still the take the Jeep.
Though in winters or monsoons, the roads can be a disaster and due to repeated landslides and what not id go for the 4x4s.
In my opinion youll have a blast in the Jeep, Thar or the V-Cross.
Cheers!
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Old 6th June 2021, 21:58   #5
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Default re: Best car to drive to the Himalayas?

My first plan is Arunachal Pradesh. Myodia pass and then onto Walong. Need a comfortable drive as I have drive around 7000kms to and fro.
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Old 6th June 2021, 22:19   #6
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Default re: Best car to drive to the Himalayas?

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My first plan is Arunachal Pradesh. Myodia pass and then onto Walong. Need a comfortable drive as I have drive around 7000kms to and fro.
Then Id suggest you the trailhawk and the Alturas G4. For 7000kms, the car should also be a nice place to be in. Plus both of these cars are very capable off-roaders.
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Old 6th June 2021, 22:54   #7
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Default re: Best car to drive to the Himalayas?

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Originally Posted by Rangy62 View Post
Hello, this is in the bucket list of mine! Reading a few travelogues posted here, I was wondering which would be the best vehicle to cover the Himalayas. My leanings are towards the Jeep Trailhawk. Any inputs would be welcome.
Thanks
If it is Leh/Ladakh any 4 wheeler will do. I did it in Maruti Swift way back in 2010. For Arunachal Pradesh, you should be able to do in normal hatchback. I have gone up to Ziro that too in a 2WD XUV, so my view might not be valid. If you have any 4x4 at your disposal take that. Having 4x4 is like insurance, don't know when you have to use it.
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Old 6th June 2021, 23:42   #8
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Default re: Best car to drive to the Himalayas?

Maruti Alto 800 remains the most popular choice among entire Himalayas. There must be a reason for it.
Alturas G4 is very wide and some of the roads simply wont allow it to pass in oncoming traffic. If you want the go anywhere capability choose a vehicle which is
1. Not too wide
2. Has reasonable high GC.

You need nothing more.

Last edited by wanderernomad : 6th June 2021 at 23:44.
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Old 7th June 2021, 07:33   #9
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Default re: Best car to drive to the Himalayas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rangy62 View Post
Hello, this is in the bucket list of mine! Reading a few travelogues posted here, I was wondering which would be the best vehicle to cover the Himalayas. My leanings are towards the Jeep Trailhawk. Any inputs would be welcome.
Thanks
As rightly mentioned by members here, a 4x4 is really not needed. For 95% of the roads in the Himalayas you can do in 2WD vehicles. However having a 4wd is always a bonus, safer and for that one day that you may get stuck. There are still remote areas in Ladakh, Himachal, J&K and Arunachal which are nothing but dirt tracks.
Above all whichever car you choose, 4wd or 2wd, it should be tough and safe, with good safety ratings and reasonably good ground clearance.
As a personal preference, I use a Ford Endeavour for my trips in India because of various reasons.

Last edited by ruzbehxyz : 7th June 2021 at 07:35.
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Old 8th June 2021, 10:49   #10
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Default Re: Best car to drive to the Himalayas?

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Originally Posted by VKumar View Post
Nearly all the Himalayan roads are metaled now, and other than very few stretches, there is no need of a 4x4 at all.
A 4x4 may not be needed, but I would still recommend it for such scenic road-trips. Reason = a 4x4 / AWD will take you places that a 4x2 never could. Let's say you are on a mountain road, and see a lush green patch on the right. Engage 4x4, drive there, enjoy the view and eat your sandwiches. In a 4x2, you'll only be admiring the view from afar, or have to walk to it.

A 4x4 / AWD will also help you in adverse weather, muck, slush, snow etc. A 4x4 has helped me save many hours....many times! One was when a bridge broke and I was able to safely take an alternate mucky route down to cross a stream without issue. Second was when a narrow highway was blocked for hours due to some accident. I engaged 4x4, drove to the right onto some greens, up and down tiny hills and was back on the road. It was an awesome experience! My two bros who were riding with me remember that incident till date.

4x4 can at times bring FOUR times the fun .

@ Rangy: You are on the right track with the Compass. Also consider new ones like the upcoming XUV500 AWD and next-gen Tucson AWD. Their launch isn't too far away. The regular Compass 4x4 will do for you, if you don't want to splurge on the overpriced TrailHawk.

Last edited by GTO : 8th June 2021 at 10:51.
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Old 8th June 2021, 10:57   #11
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Default Re: Best car to drive to the Himalayas?

Thank you GTO. Considered the compass limited. Is there a substantial difference in GC between the 2 models?
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Old 9th June 2021, 10:03   #12
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Default Re: Best car to drive to the Himalayas?

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Originally Posted by Rangy62 View Post
Thank you GTO. Considered the compass limited. Is there a substantial difference in GC between the 2 models?
I've done a trip to Chandratal Lake in Spiti in my 4x2 Jeep Compass Petrol AT through slush, mud and dirt roads, and never found ground clearance to be a problem.

The tyres on the other hand...
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Old 9th June 2021, 10:39   #13
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Default Re: Best car to drive to the Himalayas?

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Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
Maruti Alto 800 remains the most popular choice among entire Himalayas. There must be a reason for it.
Here are reasons for Maruti Alto 800 being so popular in the hills:
1. Cheap, reliable and cheapest/quickest to repair in case there is a breakdown which is never rare.
2. Short wheelbase means ground clearance is never an issue.
3. Small car with great visibility makes it really easy to breeze through the narrow and curvy mountain roads.
4. It pulls well at low end and is very quick off the mark. You won't be driving at high speeds in the hills and Alto is real fun in 0-60 km/hr range.

All these points aside, cramped cabin coupled with small boot means Alto is not for long drives and is best suited for quick transfer from one point to other.

The road infrastructure has improved very well in the hills over the years and almost all cars can do 99% of the job. A 4X4 is only needed if you want to get off the road. So, if it is a Jeep Compass, then you need not worry about the ground clearance irrespective of the variant.

Happy trip in advance
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Old 9th June 2021, 11:17   #14
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Default Re: Best car to drive to the Himalayas?

Mahindra Thar would be my suggestion. It has an extremely short wheelbase (compared to other similar SUVs). That will help you to turn your car in extremely tight corners without stopping.

While driving on the hilly roads in Sandakphu, Mustang valley and Sikkim (e.g.: road to Pelling Skywalk) you will find many such sharp corners with a steep drop on the other side. If you are driving a longer car there (e.g.: Endeavour 4X4) you may not be able to complete the corner in one turn. You have to take your car back and then go forward again. I have seen many good drivers struggle while releasing the clutch in the last step.

Of course, the Thar will also bring in other issues. Elders will have a problem with getting to the last row. It also has a very small boot and so is not practical for travelling with more than 2 persons.
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Old 9th June 2021, 11:49   #15
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Default Re: Best car to drive to the Himalayas?

It all depends on a few factors below

1. Will this be your primary vehicle ?
2. How often will you be embarking on such trips ?
3. How many passengers will you have usually ?
4. I assume from your avatar you will be travelling from Bangalore, which means the distance travelled to reach the Himalayas will be pretty significant every time ?
5. How extreme/ adventurous are you willing/ wish to get while on such a trip ?

The Trailhawk will be a great choice if this is going to be your primary vehicle. However if this will be just for trips and you have other cars for primary use, it doesn't make sense to spend so much unless you are going down the used route. The Trailhawk is very overpriced for what it offers in my opinion.

If this is a second car and you are not too adventurous, dont want to do vertical drops or something extreme, wont have too many people travelling with you, I donot see the use of a ladder on frame SUV. Again my opinion. The highway travel to the Himalayas will be significant and this will be very uncomfortable. That's where used examples of the likes of Trailhawk, Duster 4WD, Tuscon 4WD becomes a better choice. Also you will passing through crowded or small cities etc thats where the size of the car also matters.

Last edited by Altocumulus : 9th June 2021 at 11:51.
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