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The best cars to drive this monsoon!

Posted by Royal Sundaram on 27 Jul 2015

The onset of the rains rouses in us many aspects that we have come to long for. Pakodas and chai. And the typical slow romantic songs that you listen to on weekends, driving along the coast.

However, for car lovers, the monsoons signal a time of great importance as they tune up their engines to withstand the weather and keep their driving smoother than oil spills on a turn!

And sadly, for those aspirants looking for a new set of wheels, the rains signal an alarm in terms of maintenance, value for money and durability.

Well, fear not, because AWDs are the way to go! In a country like India with uneven roads and the odd turbulence in the terrain, AWDs give you an edge due to uniform power sent to each of the four-wheels in the vehicle. Consequently, a 4×4 can be the difference between suffering a stall on a challenging road and roaring through it without a glitch, making AWDs your best bet for the rains. We bring you the best cars in this segment that will prepare you to sail through the monsoon without a hitch or hike!

Mahindra Scorpio

Being one of the best-selling SUVs in India, the Scorpio continues to find appreciation across the car-owner fraternity. With the launch of the newest model in 2015, the company has retained most of the mechanics and revamped the face of its oldest guard, giving the new variant an all-new meaner, rugged look. With minor adjustments to the interiors, what catches your eye is the amped-up driving experience. With a lowered turn radius of 5.4 metres, 5 variants housing the m2DICR 2.5 L engine and smoother gearshifts, the new model has bettered the Scorpio’s blind spots in handling and comfort.

Other minute features such as the shift of the power window keys to each door or the revision of its stereo system add to the value-for-money experience that Mahindra is expected to provide, with the 15.6 kmpl mileage helping the cause.

Mahindra XUV 500

M&M’s newer flagship, the XUV aims to be a dependable 4×4, which also provides nicer comforts and a swankier look. While the facelifted version may only seem like a cosmetic overhaul, its mechanical side has been touched up as well. The ESP 9 system allows for better cornering and on-road stability, with the 140 Bhp and 330 NM of torque keeping up its ‘power quotient’. A mileage of 16 kmpl keeps its standing competitive, economy-wise.

Although AWD is available only on the higher-end of its variants (W8, W10), they compensate for the price with additions that make the XUV a desirable SUV, such as sunroofs and 17’’ alloy wheels. The basic styling and mechanical changes stay put in all 5 variants, though. With the mix of parking sensors, infotainment systems and the XUV’s native ambient lighting system, there is much to expect from this vehicle, even as prices remain largely unchanged.

Toyota Fortuner

In the mid-level range, the Fortuner is a perfect fit for those who place capability over design but still expect creature comforts. With the new-generation model launched this year, the vehicle still holds its own. The interiors are tweaked with wood garnish and greater seat spacing, letting the car look classy but spacious. Add-ons such as xenon headlamps, a voice-enabled navigation-cum-entertainment system, cruise control and connectivity options for USB, AUX and Bluetooth amp up the vehicle’s inner functionality, leaving you at ease when ploughing through the mucky rains.

Fortuner makes a strong claim for contender in this segment technically. Its 3.0 Litre engine is bolstered by perhaps the AWD version’s most important addition, an automatic gearbox that improves a driver’s ability to handle it more seamlessly than ever. The gearbox gives the already pumped-up Fortuner more teeth. While not as quick as a typical sedan, the Fortuner’s power and propensity to handle the worst of terrain make it a favourite among SUV enthusiasts in India. A manageable mileage of 11 kmpl and an 80-odd litre fuel tank allows you to space out your refuelling trips as much as possible too. Packing in the goods, with a menacing look to boot.

Renault Duster

Coming in from a brand that is still on the fringes of the Indian market, the Duster has quickly made a mark for itself. Audiences have lapped up this car as a choice that combines both quirky looks and style with a powerful base that can tackle most Indian roads. The upgraded Duster this year only builds on what is a nearly flawless report card. The AWD variant improves driving quality on bad roads more than the previously high benchmarks set by its predecessor, with steering kickbacks massively neutralized and handling far smoother on harsh terrain. The engine, while not tweaked much, continues to be dependable. With the 3 driving modes of Lock (AWD), 2WD and Auto (RWD as required), the Duster is well equipped to toggle power distribution as and when necessary.

While the Duster never gave much cause to complain for style, the add-ons such as touched-up headlamps, a nicer navigation-cum-entertainment system and a snazzier steering wheel only complement its already suave look on both the inside and outside. Thus, while the Duster retains all of its style and substance from earlier models, AWD capability increases functionality for varied conditions. It is perfect for the traveller who is based in urban centres but hits the long road every now and then.

Ford Endeavour

Ford’s flagship vehicle aka Everest in overseas markets offered us Endeavour in India is an attempt to provide the best of both pricing and engineering. With a limited history in India, the new 2015 model is slated to be an AWD that comes laden with features. A 3.0-L engine fitted with its own Turbocharger setup called the VGT makes up the core, with 380 NM of promised torque making it a frontrunner in the segment. With stylized facelifts such as dual A/C systems and foldable seats, the interiors too pack a punch. Aspects like the omniscient entertainment-cum-navigation system and its sensor-based alarms for fuel, parking and remote keyless entry make it a vehicle with reasonably smart AI. The Endeavour’s titanium and ebony finish help it avoid the gaudy colour traps that most SUVs fall into, giving you every reason to invest in it, both for the looks as well as to beat the treacherous roads during the monsoon.

So there you have it! While there are a good number of choices, clarify your aims before you sign the dotted line. Compare options using dealerships and the Internet. Always remember to check with Royal Sundaram Car Insurance to find the best insurance option for your vehicle, before your dealer sells you one!

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