The bright orange Maruti Suzuki Alto glistened in the searing heat of the afternoon sun. It has covered quite a distance on the Ahmedabad-Bhuj highway, zipping past windmills, saltpans, maize fields and maneuvering through traffic-clogged towns that come on the way. We were at the end of the 4-day self-driving trip in Kutch, as part of the ‘Wheels of Wander’ campaign by Maruti Suzuki Alto and Outlook Traveller. Three friends, Meisha, Delna and Diisha were the chosen ones to drive the car and experience the Kutch region. At the close of a fantastic road trip, it was time to take stock of how they had done behind the wheel.
The road trip to Kutch had it all - smooth highways, bumpy village roads, cemented, tar and even uphill winding roads. There were plenty of detours that took us to villages, narrow streets or festivities. Right till the end of the trip, the fights over who was going to drive, hadn’t abated – a proverbial testimonial in itself. The girls were not only eager to drive the peppy hatchback for its stylish looks and ease of maneuvering, but they also thought it was the perfect company for a liberating road trip, with many more features.
A dream drive that is easy to park
While Meisha loved how light the car was to maneuver, Diisha raved about how easy it was to park. The road trip was full of pit stops. There were craft villages to explore, highway restaurants to fuel up and hillsides to explore. The girls found the Maruti Suzuki Alto very comfortable to drive on the Kutch terrain, as well as park comfortably where needed. The petite size is beneficial to find a parking spot no matter where. The hatchback could be comfortably wedged between tiny spaces.
Shop till you drop, the boot won’t complain
Kutch, with its bright handicrafts and stunning textiles, brings out the dormant shopaholic in one. It was no different on this trip. The craft villages of Bhujodi and Nirona, as well as the Rann Utsav haat had given the girls ample time to shop. Despite being a compact car, there was enough boot space for all the shopping bags to fit snuggly in the boot. The only thing that the girls needed to worry about was their weight restriction on the flight back home.
While a large part of the road trip was spent on smooth silver tarmac, we also had to detour into narrow, bumpy village roads to reach few destinations. But the Maruti Suzuki Alto tackled the bad roads with ease, giving fewer jerks to the passengers inside. This was seen at the Nirona village stretch and also in Hodka, where the roads could have been in better shape. The car remained balanced through these and even a hilly drive up to Kalo Dungar, the highest point in Kutch.
In the company of music
The long highway drive could not have been done without music. With aux-in and USB ports and a two-speaker unit, lively music was always present in the backdrop. Unfaltering sound gave the girls company through the trip.
It may have an 800 cc engine, but the Maruti Suzuki Alto manages to keep up with traffic on the highway, with a refined performance and smooth output. This was seen in the longer driving stretches of Dhordo to Kala Dungar and back to Bhuj. It was slightly challenging because of the winding roads to Kalo Dungar, but both speed and stability were never compromised. Another notable feature was the effective air conditioner that kept everyone comfortable during the sweltering heat of the desert.
An all-rounder car for first time buyers
All in their early career stages, Meisha, Diisha and Delna, do not have the ease of inflated budgets when choosing a car. An entry-level hatchback that gives ample mileage and is a good companion for both city driving and long trips is what they had been looking for. Diisha pegged the Maruti Suzuki Alto as an ‘all-rounder’, while Delna was happy that it matched her personality. Being quirky and stylish, her eyes were on a car that resonates her character. Meisha emphasized on the fuel economy factor, which she thinks is a massive plus point after the fourth-day drive. The car caters to pressing factors like economy, speed, and most importantly comfort, making it a high-performance car and an ideal pick.
Like a perfect travel companion, the Maruti Suzuki Alto meandered with them to vibrant villages and barren lands, adding colour to their trip both literally and figuratively.
Courtesy of Outlook Traveller