Roads were just guidelines, any flat surface, or path (aka Pakdandi) meant it was a route which could allow you to reach your destination. Soon, the craze of reaching the destination transformed into travelling. All this while I was still small in my LKG-UKG & Class I. Meanwhile, in toys GI Joes & their vehicles acted as evidence for my theory about Vehicles. So did Tintin Magazine . Add to the fact that our Padmini was also doing the same (later I realized the place we were in wasn't having any so called formulated public roads). Hence, unknowingly I had first formulated the definition of SUV, as Cars.
While the Gypsy was omni-present in my upbringing in all its variants and more. So, once I started getting Vitamin M supplements various proposals were put forth for approval, to Home Ministry & Supreme Court ranging from Jonga(redrafted version Sher will rise), Contessa(someday this one will come to life too), BMW e36(Got a Good bargain but wasn't approved). Eventually Gypsy was muled okaish given my choice of proposals which went for approval. Though having lived practically out of them on all kinds of terrain and design as old as I am, which hasn't received an upgrade except the MPFI modified block & Ministry knowing all its short-comings, It was approved with a noting sheet.
The approval meant, I was curious to get my hands on it & start living, driving, exploring & rallying at some point of time. So I started, researching, designing & deciphering how & what to put. With rough idealogy in mind I visited Auto Attitudes, Aman holds the fort there, great down to earth fella & rally champion too, who lives a dreams and helps others realize theirs to life. One thing I realized was, My vision was a bit blur; as I was aiming for both OTR SUV & Raid SUV, and the one that could be my daily ride too & be in alignment with my future plans. Aman, helped me a lot, knowing I was a prospective customer with thin Vita - M, with big dreams; he was ready to start working on the car simply on a phone call. Eventually, I went back and forth on quotes received from 4L - 5.8L and so on. Meanwhile before visiting him I had also visited Mayapuri (Heaven for people like me).
The same was put forth with ministry & the approval came but this time around with very few add-ons to the noting sheet. Since I was so use to the fact of receiving rejections and noting points, very few numbers gave me a feeling "Something isn't Right, it cannot be this easy !". Then I started exploring & brain-storming, burning my wee hours I could squeeze out from work, studies & other commitments to finding the best fit solution. After hunting international forums, reading comments, travelogues. I finally landed upon the option of Grand Vitara (Used ofcourse). Meanwhile parallely I had gone into super-saving mode after meeting Aman. This time, first research was performed; reviews were gauged, checked the the international scene with respect to India & India itself - Venn Diagrams. While it had contenders in the likes of Pajero, Endeavour, etc. All these were coming but the year range I was getting in my sampling was pretty old & Diesel Blocks. I am not a fan of used diesel blocks. Petrol never pinched me, when you have to use your ride for leisure not as an necessity, most people think I am mis-alinged with the rest of India. Automobiles are not a necessity but Way of Life, Passion. So if I've to travel to office and I know I cannot enjoy my drive to office due to heavy traffic & Jams, I simply would walk to & from Office (3-4kms) or walk to the main road take a Shared Auto and travel to & from office. Brake & Clutch isn't my cup of tea with 3 Lanes turning into 9 in India. I hail from Chandigarh, people cruise here on roads even if they are empty, we adhere to traffic speed limits. Special mention and thanks to Chd. Traffic Police for promoting & forcing strictly all the traffic rules.
Long story short, Grand Vitara checked all the right boxes. Next question was could I land my hands on 2.4L block; the honest answer I gave to myself, stop fantasizing yourself and accept the reality NO, already I had aimed a bit high . Next question was what Year bracket will be considered and what all will be rejected.
Years to be considered : 2007 -2008, all others to be overlooked.
The passive hunt started in March'13, Semi-Active in June'13 which transformed into Active in Dec'13 which was the deadline as per my time-chart. During this course most of the good pieces I came across were too expensive & the ones which were cheap were a Disaster. Infact, I learnt a thing or two about Kadi in the process (See the Link : Kadi - Advisory ). My market was complete India
Finally, found my Chariot in True Value - Apra (See the Line : Apra - True Value Review)
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Model: Dec 2008 Engine: 1995cc / 2L 16v Engine Codename: J60A Power: 120bhp@5500rpm ( if the ECU update hasn't been applied) Torque: 170nm@3500rpm Transmission: MT
Things I Like
I like a lot of things, but few of the highlights which I have felt and liked
3) Road Presence
5) Single Click opens only Driver Door & Double Click opens all doors Loved this feature (though speed lock isn't there will see if the OBC has enable option)
6) Built Quality & attention to Detail here & there
7) Super Silent
8) Speaker Setup
Things that need to be looked into
1) The spare tyre Wheel Cover makes a noise everytime you close the boot.
2) Gear Throws are a bit long, especially compare to my Sx4 but then this is a 4x4, took time getting use to by the time I reached Chd. I was tuned, fine tuning will be done over time.
3) Music Head-Unit :- USB, Aux was missed but I have a fix for it
Loved the stock car so much that, I have put all my mods for it on hold as I want to relish this for awhile.
Have my exams, wanted to write this before the freshness is lost, photo-shoot will come later, meanwhile few random shots.