First Love..and Infidelity
The story begins in the streets of Madras (I still like to call it that way). We had a blue-green Ambassador, old yet reliable, at home. These were years before I started to drive and all I knew of cars was what my Dad taught me. He loves driving and those days were no different. His work required him to travel around the country. His escapades of Madras to Delhi in that Ambassador fixed a firm belief in my little head that Ambassador was the most invincible thing on four wheels. I had decided that as soon as my legs could reach the pedals I will have to buy my own ambassador. I was eight.
As years ticked away on the calendar, more miles ticked away in the Odo and love for the Ambassador grew as pure as the distilled water we had to put in her radiator. No amount of beauties I saw on the road could shake that puppy love.
Enter, the white beauty! The neighbor brought home a swanky huge white Safari. The one with the tiny graphic streaks on the sides and so were sown the first seeds of infidelity. My teenage heart swung like that tail gate and I had fallen for the beast. All packed up and ready with the spare on the tail gate like a backpack, to go somewhere far and rare, somewhere only Safaris could go. Mind was made. Someday ,maybe.SUV fever. Bullet Meri Jaan.
Fast forward to a few years ago, I found myself bitten by the travel bug. And as many in the forum would vouch for, it’s incurable. Age made me wiser and reality slapped me on the face. Cars will have to wait or I had to rob a bank. So I went ahead and gifted myself a Royal Enfield with my first few salaries. “So Many Roads So Little Time” has been the perennial echo in my head for the little time I‘ve been touring this great wide nation of ours. When the echo got loud enough, I made a sticker and put it up behind my trusted steed, as we went around the country, treading on two wheels, getting surprised around every turn of the road as to how much more India had in store…to see, to feel, to taste. Grew a Pair of Extra Wheels.
I grew a pair of extra wheels and our Wagon R helped us commute from point A to B. Plus one soon as the family bought the lucky first Nano in Madras (with that lottery gimmicks). After tying the knot, a petrol Figo became the wife’s car. And when I realized that I can’t leave wife behind on these bike trips anymore (is there ever a choice?), I used it as the best excuse to revive that old crush. Let’s get the Safari home.!!
The Cheetah Vs Refined Beast Dilemma…
The launch of the XUV 5 double Oh took the nation by ‘storm’(pun not intended)and I was no exception. The fresh looks and the international fascia was enticing. Took test drive after waiting in a long queue and was baffled on seeing so many features stuffed to the brim. And at that price tag, it was definitely VFM
. My childhood crush was still my sweetheart, but I couldn’t give this new girl next door a miss. Darn! Frankly, The SOLD OUT weeks and the lottery games made it only more elusive. (Come on, you guys agree with the ‘hot cakes that sell out must’ve been great’ analogy) As bookings closed anyway and reality slapped my pocket again, I decided to keep the dilemma hanging. Moreover, they said a Storme’s coming and I owed it that much to my sweetheart to wait for her newest avatar. I was at sea then, so the wait was easier. Storme hits the Capital.
Providence or destiny, I found myself at TATA Concorde on the day of the launch and was one among the first to take the TD.
First look First Impressions:
# Excellent paint quality. Deliciously mouth watering.
# Okay, the smiling face looks a little funny. That’s not how I remember my lady love. But the cheesegrater grill does very remotely remind one of its richer cousin. This grows on you eventually. I can live with this.
# Brawny with the body cladding.
#Urban Bronze! Yes!
#Where’s my back pack? But the back looks neat even without it. Traded elegance for character. Acceptable considering practicability with the heavy spare off the gate.
#Excellent all round visibility. The high seat and the large windshields front and back give almost nil blindspot . ‘A’ pillar doesn’t get in your way.
#Height adjustable seats were good enough for the wife to drive it also. This is the first SUV she is driving but was pretty comfortable with the Storme’s size and handling.
#Both of us loved the way the Storme ate up potholes and bad roads.
# Impressive turning radius and confident braking.
#Over all experience was very impressive though it didn’t quite score on the features side.
I‘ve covered my views about the Storme in detail in my Review elsewhere. So I’ll jump to the part where I decided to go for it. Signing on the dotted line…
It was now time to take a call.
Duster: Light weight and agile for an SUV. Liked the handling and the ‘car like’ road manners But frankly the car’s size didn’t convince me for an SUV and the looks were too quirky French for me. Lack of a 4x4 option and that price tag for what it offered looked overpriced to me.
Scorpio: Good Workhorse. My best friend has it and will vouch for it. But both wife and myself didn’t like the Scorpio for its boxy looks and body roll. Heard a facelift is coming. But couldn’t wait for it.
With all the features and the gizmos the XUV did appeal to my head. But the heart was stolen by the Storme. The design of the dash and the waterfall console look stunning but quality of materials inside the Storme was better. The Storme came out as an elegant no nonsense option with no fancy electronics that I may never need.
The Storme looked more rugged and built like it was meant for abuse. Nothing plasticky about it. Space and comfort was unmatched and ride quality was a winner.The Safari design DNA and the childhood crush won over everything else and I went ahead and signed on the dotted line.
I would’ve definitely gone for the 4x4 if not for budget slap. I’m still disappointed that no entry level 4x4 trims are available.
Went for the EX against the budget happy LX for the following:
Height adjust was required.
Rear wash and wipe.
Factory fitted Fog lamps. The D-Day…
After many days of frustration and waiting, picked up the beast today on 02 Feb 13. At a simple and an eventless delivery ceremony at TATA Concorde, brought the beast home.