T-ing off coconuts

The winds are changing. Scirocco is dead and a new car has been launched by VW synchronously. Fitness seems to have taken over people and in a flash, it’s trending. Everyone on Instagram is suddenly a fitness guru. Broccoli has replaced cauliflower. Coconut oil seems to be the new fad. But, amidst all this monkey-business, our very own ‘cheta’, the dexterous and elusive Mr. Nair, tells us that it’s been a staple diet for the clan for decades. He also goes on to throw light on newspapers, politics and engaging pettikadai discussions involving Mr. Varghese, Mr. Appukuttan and Mr. Hussain. And of course, a few other mundu clad gentlemen who generously append their two cents quite unprompted. But yeah, back to the topic. Coconut Oil.

I know this Mr. Nair really well and I’m going to ditch the ‘Mr. Nair’ nonsense and just call him Monu. Monu is a very dear friend and a fairly meticulous bloke who communicates in research papers and PPTs. So, when I asked him a simple question on coconut oil, I, quite evidently got 13 PPTs and a very studied response, carefully compiled from over 15,343 research papers, which spoke about everything from coconut, to oil, to benefits, to hype, to timbuktu and chinese conspiracies. 

In between 30,000 pages of the report on coconut oil, Monu managed to crack-down on some ‘trends’ that are conspicuously media driven. Damn! The word ‘driven’ just helped me realise that this is supposed to be a motoring article. But, what I figured from the offset was that ‘trend’ is what drives the current generation and that is quite evident in the ‘other’ research document that Monu compiled.

Back to automobiles. 

Crossovers have seemingly arrived. There’s a beeline for this particular archetype. Compact, Mini, Micro, Nano, Pico, Femto, Zepto, Yocto SUVs and something smaller for our pet ladybugs are bound to mushroom as they are ‘trending’. People want to bulk up and then shred. Thor is trending. So are muscular folks with sixteen pack abs. The beefy look is what’s garnering likes and that makes it ‘trending’.

So, what is a crossover? Well, it’s a car where you get the same amount of interior space as a normal hatchback, but with extra weight and height to create an impression that the car can tackle the western ghats. Unfortunately, with the added weight and height, the performance is bound to plummet and so will fuel economy.

But there are positives to this. The extra height gives you a commanding view of the road and gets you through potholes and precarious Indian roads comfortably. It bestows an illusion of having a big car as compared to owning a hatchback. Thor is trending, remember? So is Dwayne Johnson. Which explains the taller, bulkier and more butch stanced Golf. My apologies, the T-Roc.

A VW owner himself, Monu swears by the manufacturer. And swears at them whenever he gets a service done. So we decided to accompany ‘cheta’ on his truth seeking pilgrimage to the next block where another friend of ours had purchased a T-Roc. So, our PPT man got to work and below is an abridged excerpt from his painfully long scripture. 

Historically, VWs have had a great build quality and always felt safe. Clean lines and crisp designs have been the hallmark of the manufacturer for aeons. The T-Roc doesn’t disappoint here. It retains the design philosophy of VW and what we see are great proportions, emphasised by a well balanced design all round. The sharpness of the crease lines on the rear doors, the SUV-ish wheel arches, the wide front grill with minimal distractions and a rather clever little chrome strip that runs right up the A-pillar, over the doors and down the D-pillar make this a rather good looking car. 

But once inside, we can see that VW has scrimped and saved in costs. The overall outlay of the dash is quite nice but lacks finesse that you would expect in a car that costs upwards of 26 lacs. It’s not bad but just doesn’t feel premium. Nevertheless, in true VW fashion the fit and finish is efficient, sedate and not over the top. All buttons work well and so does the touchscreen infotainment system. I refuse to delve into the baloney of 7 inches vs 9 inches vs 10 inches that most ‘experts’ bat around in every car review. It’s a bloody car; not a television and the touchscreen does nicely. There’s Apple car play and Android Auto which should make everyone happy. Taller and more upright seat position makes it seem roomier inside along with a snug fit from the seats. It can seat five. Two in the front and three behind. Doing the math on optimum seating, based on the height of people, their shoulder width and the size of their underwear is better left to the expert statisticians that car companies employ. We’ve travelled in the car and it’s fairly comfortable. The boot has 445 litres of space. So, that’s basically about 25 bottles of wine and 20 bottles of scotch. If you decide to travel without spirits, the boot should comfortably fit two large suitcases and a few golf balls.

Where the T-Roc feels fantastic is when it’s in motion. The DSG gearbox is a joy and is bound to make you smile; even when you are not in Sports mode. Paddle shifters allow you to take control of the gear shifts any time you get an itch in your throttle foot. The steering wheel feels a little light at high speeds, but the handling of the car is pretty darn good and you won’t have heart attacks going into corners. Well, I can’t be just as confident when it’s time to replace parts or pay for services though. Overall, it’s a peppy car and should keep you smiling for most parts. Unless, of course, it’s time for service. 

Now, our friend the T-Roc is a Compact SUV in India. In most other parts of the world, he’s just a Golf who paid attention to ‘leg days’. Not just is he muscular above the chassis, he also stands taller with more developed muscles below when compared with the Golf. Is the car a SUV? Absolutely not. But it is compact. It looks good, is cheaper than the other German badges and is a fun car to drive. Don’t get too creative with terrains and the car will do just fine. It’s a T-Roc and not a T-Rex. So, taming terrains is best left to its more carnivorous models. 

So I guess Monu has made his point. This is the era of crossovers and this car is inevitable. Just like any other crossover from any other manufacturer. Coconut oil has been a staple ingredient for aeons in God’s own country. But now, cold pressed coconut oil is a superfood. Hatchbacks have been around since decades, but now is the time for the ones on stilts. 

Crossovers are trending. So is cold pressed coconut oil. 

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