Land Rover Himalaya

Flawed Vigilantes – 1

The world was in mundane order. Monotony reigned supreme. Cars had slipped to being repetitively tedious. Most cars being launched looked and felt similar fitted with the same basic set of features and equipment. Damn! They looked like row houses. 

I had to do something.

The idea was quite clear. Multiple channels and digital mediums had suppressed clear thought suggesting the same repetitive crap. Everywhere I looked, there were similar sounding reviews with the same specs being dished out. No one was on fire. Not a soul. Or an engine. Cars used to be exciting and their write-ups were loads of fun. Sadly, not anymore. The exposition had become as unexciting as the cars themselves. So, it was time to take a little petrol, or diesel, given that there is not much of a price difference between the two anymore, and set things alight in flames of automotive capers.

But first, we needed to steal the thunder and put out meaningless humbug out there. Something that would jolt the dreary nonsense of automobile reporting to its core. So I devised a devious scheme to get the ball-bearings rolling.

I thought I’d begin by recruiting a crew, but first I needed a wingman. Why a wingman? Simple. I needed someone to keep a lookout for the actual owners of the car, while I boosted it. We’d then drive it around and get an actual feel of the automobile and return it safe and sound where we found it. Our contraband article would follow the next day. So the cunning plan was set.

Thanks to the expansive reach of e-commerce, I could easily procure the requisite equipment to nick cars. Now, it was down to finding a wingman. I made a list of proper villains and narrowed it down to two. After four pegs of Gin and a lot of deliberation, I decided that two pairs of eyes are better than one. I would now have two wingmen. The advantage was that now we could test backseats as well. Quite remarkable, I concluded. 

Given the nature of our clandestine activity, I am compelled to keep the names of my thieving buddies anonymous. 

In all honesty, we weren’t really stealing anything. We were just borrowing without knowledge. I went a step ahead and checked if there was some sort of insurance we could get on the cars we ‘borrow’. No such luck. So we had to be careful. 

We listed out the cars we wanted to nick and got around to getting the addresses and locations of the cars. The three of us were now ready to begin our adventure. We were the automotive vigilantes. My wingmen emerged from the shadows in their burglar costumes. I looked up towards the deity of automotive gaiety and knew it was time. 

I shed my plain clothes and donned my alter ego, The Man of Steal.

Vigilantes Assemble – 2

So there we had the team. Three whackjobs with day jobs. I was the Man of Steal, and my two sidekicks were ‘Nut’ and ‘Bolt’ respectively.

Nut was the equipment guy. The break-in expert. Extremely clever with his fingers (we urge you to harbour inappropriate thoughts), who could work his magic on many surfaces along with locks. He was also quite adept with other things like singing out-of-key and staring at mirrors. 

Bolt was incharge of planning our escape. We had to ensure that we had plans B, C and D ready to be deployed, just in case things got hot. He was the master of clandestine, and, though a close friend, it took 2 months to track him down. A rather laborious chap, who even wiped down fingerprints after drinking coffee. 

And, well, I was the Man of Steal. 

So, with the team all raring to go, we plotted our first caper. It took a bottle of scotch through the night and 5 black coffees in the morning to finally agree on the car we proposed to nick…er…borrow. We decided that our first stunt was better performed on someone we know; you know, to avoid certain small possibilities, like, being thrown in jail, for example. Our plan B was that If push came to shove, we’d beg the guy’s pardon and polish the car for free. 

We decided that we’d be well served if the car we ‘borrowed’ was a Maruti. We wanted to start Indian. The plan was made-in-India and the car also needed to be made-in-India. And also, it was way cheaper to repair, if things went horribly wrong. 

Our first target then.

It was a unanimous decision. Rahul. As bright as a zero watt bulb, although he shone through like the fierce rays of the afternoon Sun when compared to his car, the morbid little S-Presso. A match woven together with the needles of destiny. It was agreed that our opening antic would thereby be called Dumb and Dumber. 

We waited patiently for the Sun to set between banal Zoom calls and daily reviews. When the day finally ended we all regrouped at our lair, where we had meticulously set up a round-table with three chairs. All equipped with a white board with black light. We had also planned on painting the walls black, but better judgement, in direct correlation to our better-halves, prevailed. We’d think of other ways to get a sinister feel to our lair, which for now, was my living room. 

Our opening act was here. We felt the tingle of excitement right down to our toes. We felt sharp. We felt confident. We felt hysterical. Damn! We almost felt like superheroes. Ignoring the last feeling, we quickly heard the Pink Panther soundtrack in repeat mode to get us in the groove. Praying for help from the Deity of automotive Gaiety, we donned our costumes and stepped out into the dead-of-night. Stairway to heaven or highway to hell, only time would tell.

There it stood, the brilliant car. It was lighter than a coffee maker and handled like one.

Dumb & Dumber – 3

Dumb and Dumber – 3

Rahul lived in a grey apartment. The security guard wore shades of grey. As we stealthily made our way into the compound, our troubles were compounded by the arrival of grey security cameras.

Our first job was to take out the grey security cams and grey out any subsequent imagery. Nut got the job done. The grey building was now blind. Just as Rahul was when he purchased the S-Presso. Breaking into the car was easy and Nut got that accomplished without much fuss.

It was time to now drive the car out of the building. We just put the car on high beams to blind the guard and he quickly obliged by opening the gates. We were through with a wave of thanks.

Review for channels that pay us good money:

On open roads the car felt like a dream. It ploughed through with its silky smooth AGS transmission. We all had a tough time keeping our wits about, as the car was maddeningly quick on its 1.0 litre, 3 cylinder engine, which had us pinned back to our seats. Through corners the car was planted and managed like it was on rails. Bolt was in the backseat and he enjoyed the space and the headroom. We even managed to play a few songs to check the audio quality, which was very good. The touchscreen infotainment system was very responsive to our touch and displayed driver alerts. We never felt like we’d ever need the two airbags up front as the build quality was enhanced by Maruti’s new ‘Heartect’ platform. The car could also perform U-turns in just 4.5 metres. Add the 180mm of road clearance and you could glide over undulations and bad roads like a bird. Fabulous! With the U-turn made, we doubled back to Rahul’s parking lot to leave the car as we found it. Maruti, with its amazing after sales service with a large dealer network, seems to have delivered big with the S-Presso.

The Paid Verdict:

You can never go wrong with a Maruti. It has one of the best after-sales services and has dealers scattered across India. All these conveniences make a really good package. Buying your first car has a sense of pride and when it is a Maruti Suzuki, the situation is quite a pleasant one. Maruti Suzuki, with their S-Presso offers all the basic amenities in the vehicle along with some first in segment features. With that said, S-Presso is also offered in CNG which will surely be even more efficient.

The Vigilantes review:

On open roads we wished that we did not have open roads. The car, with its AGS (As Good as Shit) or something-like-that gearbox, was constantly in a dilemma whether to shift up or down, eventually doing neither. The claimed peppy powertrain was throttle happy, no doubt, but it did nothing. As I revved, the engine screamed and our ears bled, while the car just sat there doing 30 kmph. Cornering in this car is as easy as eating soup with a fork. Better back off and drive like a sedated grandpa if you don’t intend to test the two perfect ‘Zeros’ this tin-can received for its safety standards. The touchscreen infotainment feels responsive and will not mind you touching it repeatedly (the most exciting thing you’ll probably do in the car). The turning radius is the only bright spot, as it allows you to make a quick turn and disappear before someone spots you driving this car. Also 180mm of road clearance really helps when you can’t make a U-turn and desperately need to get off the road to hide behind a few trees before anyone sees you driving the S-Presso. 

The Vigilantes Verdict:

Save some more money and invest in a good coffee maker instead. If you have decided to purchase the S-Presso, just make peace with the sound of a parachute failing to open in mid-air. All the service networks scattered all over the country makes little sense if, God forbid, you are scattered all over the road. Think safe. Drive safe.