Tata Indica Vista Facelift spotted testing in Pune

From the Nano to the Aria, Tata Motors is struggling to sustain sales and market share in the Indian market. If there is one model that is consistently selling in moderate numbers for the Pune-based Indian manufacturer, it is the Indica series. But the problem is it is not the modern Vista that's selling more, rather the previous generation version that has basically remained the same since its debut in 1998. Naturally, private buyers are shunning the model as most of the sales come from satisfied cabbies who can't afford cars like the Toyota Etios and Mahindra Verito.

On retrospection, the widespread complaint against the Vista is that it looked and felt too much like the Indica that has become the quintessential cab. That's not an image that private car buyers would be fond of. Be it the smiling radiator grille that's not making us smile anymore, the rounded profile that has gone out of fashion half a decade back or the vertical 'christmas-tree' taillight cluster that's frankly boring to look at these days, the Vista shares too much with the Indica. The car that you see in this post, spotted testing in the outskirts of Pune, is what Tata thinks would get the Vista out of its current troubles.

Through these low-resolution spy-shots, it is clear that the Vista's rear is going for a substantial makeover. The registration plates are moving up from the bumper to fill up the available space in the tailgate. In what would be a big relief for many Tata fans, the christmas-tree taillight clusters are making their way out of Indica for the first time ever. It's being widely speculated that the Vista facelift would feature sharper design touches from the Manza Hybrid Concept displayed at the 2012 Auto Expo in New Delhi. The body shell and mechanicals are expected to be retained from the existing Vista. That would mean the current strengths of the Vista like the spacious cabin, the composed ride quality and the frugal diesel engine would remain intact.

But, will just a sharper looking Vista over the same body shell do enough to revive Tata's fortunes in the small car segment? Let's wait and watch!


Driven #22: 2013 Buick Verano

Despite its fancy name, we have never been fans of the ‘Badge Engineering’ concept prevalent in the automotive industry. What's the fun in picking a mainstream car, spruce it up with a nip and tuck externally to just about conceal its origins, splash often-excessive amounts of wood, premium leather and chrome inside, kit it up with some additional features and sell it with a 'premium' price tag? Or so we thought! When an opportunity to drive the 2013 Buick Verano, a proper badge-engineered car, in the United States of America beckoned, we jumped at it to find out if it changes our minds.

General Motors hit a rough patch in 2008 when the global recession brought an end to a host of brands in its fold. While Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab fell victims, Buick was spared the axe thanks to its strong presence in China and USA. The lure of the two biggest markets in the world was too good for GM to ignore.

Since then, Buick has been trying to reinvent itself with a spate of new models armed with style and substance and targeted at the Gen X population. The Verano that shares the Delta-II platform with Chevrolet Cruze and Opel Astra is the newest and smallest of them all.


Coming from India, a few minutes is all it takes for us to realize that what works in a country like ours doesn’t necessarily work in America. The tastes and preferences here vastly differ from those in the sub-continent or even in Europe. Staid designs are the norm here and the Verano, despite staying close to that definition, adds a touch of class to its arsenal. Being an entry model to a luxury brand, it is essential that Verano attracts buyers and the car doesn't disappoint.

Up front, the trademark waterfall grille with protruding vertical slats finished in chrome and the signature 'ventiports' at the outer edges of the hood screams Buick. Together with the neat trapezoidal headlights and the split air-dams in the bumper, the Verano carries an air of elegance in its frontal design. We are particularly impressed by the blue circular rings in the headlight clusters that adorn all modern Buicks. Flared wheel arches and a pronounced muscular ridge running along the length of the car keep things interesting in profile. The windows that take the shape of the character line are pretty neat too. What’s not pretty, atleast to our eyes, are the huge taillights with chrome strips on top that give an impression of a pair of frowning eyebrows. That apart, we feel that the Verano is impressive enough to attract the younger demographic that GM is targeting with the new Buicks.

The best part is that the Verano gives nary a hint of its origins. Those that aren't closely following the industry would just not be able to identify that the car is actually a Cruze underneath. The Verano wants to move away from its Chevy roots and it does that convincingly. We aren't kidding. How about laminated glasses all around, triple-sealed doors and additional sound-deadening material for reducing the NVH levels? That’s how far this baby Buick goes to differentiate itself from the less premium GM brands.


Step inside and the car again impresses. Except for its size, the Verano is every inch a luxury car, be it in the choice of interior appointments, the list of features on offer or the impeccable fit and finish.

Unlike most of its ‘redesigned and rebadged’ competition that try to hide their origins in vain, the Verano makes you feel special. And that's where it wins. The treatment starts right from the instrument cluster that’s neatly laid out in four elliptical pods. The whole thing, with its ice-blue backlighting and chrome surround for the pods, exudes quality. The LCD panel at the center has nine modes to choose from that, apart from displaying the regular stuff like speed, distance to empty, fuel efficiency and trip info, also offers modes like timer and navigation.

The steering wheel is good to hold and operate with the perfectly-shaped recesses proving to be a great boon for the thumbs that's often left to starve for comfort. All the buttons are of just the right size and shape, irrespective of their location inside the cabin. The combination of colours and materials used all over the interiors ensure that there is no monotony in here. The center console, for instance, has no less than four shades and three types of finish that offer terrific contrast. What makes it nicer is that none of it looks garish to the eyes. Detailing is top notch too, be it the wooden inserts in the grab handles, the nifty parking brake button or the chunky chrome-outlined climate control knobs. Buick's 'Intellilink' infotainment system is fairly simple to get used to.

The premium cashmere leather seats in our test car were plush and offered extremely good comfort levels. The front seats, especially, have good head, leg and shoulder room and offer adequate under-thigh support too. The same can't be said about the rear bench that not only lacks under-thigh support but is also set a bit low for our liking. Space is just about sufficient with the legroom reaching strictly average levels when the front seats are pushed all the way back. This is one area where the Verano can't shake off its roots. Though Buick states that the Verano can seat upto five in full comfort, the high transmission tunnel and the absence of a proper headrest is extremely unwelcoming for the fifth passenger.

With a 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Verano is among the safest cars in its class. In addition to the long list of safety features that include ABS, traction control, stability control and ten airbags, the 'Leather Group' variant that we drove came equipped with premium leather seats, Bose 9-speaker system, push button start, heated front seats, heated steering, rear cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert and a sunroof.


Buick has given the Verano two engine options, a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder ECOTEC engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that was available in our test car and a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, turbocharged engine that joined the lineup about an year back and is available with the choice of either a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission. The latter powers just the top-of-the-line 'Premium Group' variant.

With the base 2.4-liter engine rated at 180 horsepower at 6700 rpm and 232 Nm of torque at 4900 rpm, the Verano is more powerful than the regular compact cars like the Ford Focus. That would ensure that the buyers, who pay more and expect more obviously, aren't disappointed. The motor offers adequate grunt and makes the Verano a sprightly performer off the line. Slam the throttle and the car moves forward eagerly, but its obvious that the motor isn't enjoying the run as it gets really noisy at higher revs. Save those 'pedal-to-the-floor' runs for another day behind the wheel of the turbocharged variant. The 6-speed auto tranny goes about its job in a smooth and fuss-free way, albeit with a wee bit of lag when the throttle pedal is pressed hard.

Buick's 'QuietTuning' technology has elevated the Verano's ride comfort to an altogether different level. When the doors, windows and sunroof are shut and the music isn't playing, a hushed silence is all you hear inside. The laminated glasses, triple-sealed doors and all those we wrote and didn't write about earlier prove their mettle here. GM's engineers need a pat on their back for going that extra mile in making the Verano what it is. Though American roads are not the right place to judge ride quality, the Verano soaked up occasional bumps and span joints with utmost ease. Handling is predictable and the steering offers respectable amount of feedback. Turn-ins are eager and the Verano won't let you down if you are looking for some fun behind the wheel.

But, if you belong to the group that prefer piloting rear-wheel drive cars, which we know is quite a lot in number in the luxury segment, give the Verano a miss. This car has its limitations stemming from the fact that the platform it shares with other GM cars is front-wheel driven. 

In the couple of days that we spent with it, the Verano averaged 25.4 miles per gallon with a driving pattern that fell more on freeways and less on city roads. That's not an impressive score, given that the EPA estimates rate it at 32 mpg highway and 21 mpg city.


| Engine Type: GM ECOTEC In-line |
| No of Cylinders: 4 |
| Displacement: 2.4 L |
| Maximum Power: 180 HP @ 6700 rpm |
| Maximum Torque: 232 Nm @ 4900 rpm |
| Transmission Type: 6-speed AT |
| Tires: 235/45 R18 |
| Brakes: Disc (Front & Rear) |


* Premium interiors
* Terrific refinement and ride quality
* Value for money


* Limited space
* Uninspiring engine


If you have read through the full post, it would be clear that we are undoubtedly impressed with the Buick Verano. And that also means the opinion that we had about 'Badge Engineering' with our limited exposure till date goes down the drain. Forget the Micra-Pulse and Sunny-Scala episodes that have spoilt us in India, that's not what badge engineering is about. With a conservative yet attractive design, plush interiors, excellent build quality and terrific NVH levels, the Verano shatters our misconception and presents itself as a true-blue luxury car inspite of its humble origins in the Cruze. Yes, the engine isn't that powerful. But there is the Turbo variant for those who are looking for power in their next car. The limited rear seat space might be another issue for which Buick again offers a solution in the form of the bigger and very similar Lacrosse. For all other purposes, the naturally-aspirated Verano is great.

If the Verano is a sign of things to come and Lexus, Acura and Infiniti are watching Buick's moves closely, they better be wary of The General!


Hyundai rolls out 5 Millionth car in India

As soon as it set up shop in India, Hyundai's aggressive growth path and the slew of top-selling models that it unleashed raised eyebrows. That was between 1998 and 2000, when the Santro, Accent and Sonata came and conquered the market one after the other. Thanks to the strong foundation built up by those models, the milestones just don't stop coming for this South Korean manufacturer that has made Chennai its home.

October 17, 2013 marked the production of the 5 millionth car at Hyundai's manufacturing facility at Irrungattukottai near Chennai. Incidentally, the car for this grand milestone was the recently-launched i10 Grand flanked on either sides by Mr. B. S. Seo, MD and CEO of Hyundai Motor India Limited and the Bollywood heartthrob Shahrukh Khan, who has been the brand ambassador for Hyundai cars ever since the late nineties.

While the growing number of Hyundai cars on Indian roads tell only a part of the story, Hyundai's press release focused on the other often-ignored part of this success story. So far, Hyundai has pumped in US $ 2.7 Billion as investments and has paid US $ 7.4 Billion as taxes to the Government. With an yearly turnover of US $ 5 Billion and more than 100,000 people employed directly and indirectly, Hyundai Motor India contributes a significant 4% to the GDP of Tamil Nadu.

Hyundai's journey in India over the years and the important milestones crossed are listed below:

* April 27, 2000 - 100,000th Car Roll-Out
* December 11, 2003 - 500,000th Car Roll-Out
* March 13, 2006 - 1 Millionth Car Roll-Out
* August 04, 2010 - 3 Millionth Car Roll-Out
* October 17, 2013 - 5 Millionth Car Roll-Out

An interesting part of this growth story is the significant chunk of exports from Hyundai's Indian facility. It was Hyundai that ambitiously explored the strategy of making India its small-car production hub. That move has paid off handsomely as it not only catapulted the Korean brand to the top of the list of exporters from India, but also the second largest domestic automotive brand in India. Going by the long list of automotive manufacturers that have since joined the fray in making India their export hub, Hyundai's strategy was indeed right. Of the 5 million cars that Hyundai has rolled out from its Chennai plant, 62% came from domestic sales while the remaining 38% are exports to more than 100 countries around the world.

With the Santro, Eon, i10, i20 and Grand i10 raking in substantial volumes in the small car segment and the Verna and Elantra comfortably outselling competitors in their respective segments, Hyundai's trajectory isn't going to taper off anytime now.


Next-generation Ford F150 spotted testing

The Ford F150 pick-up enjoys a chequered history. For more than three decades, the F-Series, the collective nomenclature used to denote Ford's full size pick-up trucks in which the F150 is the most popular model, has been the largest selling automobile in the United States of America. Inspite of stern challenges and several scares in the past, neither the Silverados, Rams and Sierras nor the Camrys, Accords and Altimas could dethrone the F-Series from the top of the sales charts. The sheer dominance of the F-Series and the fat profit margins that are generally associated with such trucks means that this model contributes significantly to Ford Motor Company's bottom-line.

When such an important model is due for a change, the entire automotive fraternity takes note. One such moment occurred at the 2013 International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this year. The Atlas Concept that made its debut at the show was the precursor to the next-generation F150 that is slated to go on sale sometime next year. Those vertically-stacked headlights, that massive grille with its unique vertical vents at the two ends, those flared wheel arches and that suave detailing in the quad-LED taillights did create a lasting impact that was quite unusual for a truck.

So, when this camouflaged truck whizzed past in the opposite direction in one of the suburbs of Detroit, our reader didn't have trouble identifying the model. Yes, the integration of headlights and taillights in the test vehicle matches the size, shape and location of the lights in the Atlas Concept. The outline of the massive grille that was a show-stealer at the Detroit Motor Show can be traced behind the canvas as well. But, the muscular crease and the flared wheel arches that adorned the profile of the Atlas Concept is nowhere to be seen in the test vehicle. Whether this is clever masking by Ford or one of those many instances where nice design touches gets lost in the transformation from concept to production stage remains to be seen.

The next-generation Ford F150 is said to be focusing on shedding its weight and improving its fuel-efficiency for meeting the CAFE standards that's getting stricter with each passing year. A combination of Ford's award-winning 'EcoBoost' engine, several tech features like active shutters in the grille and wheels that closes automatically when not needed to be open, stop-start system and aluminium body components are said to be aiding the company in achieving its mission. One thing that's certain is, when this next-generation F150 goes on sale, expect it to give the competition a run for their money.


Grand i10 rakes in more than 10,000 bookings, but Hyundai isn't done with the testing yet

There are certain things about Hyundai that doesn't fail to impress us. Despite being the largest car exporter out of India and second only to Maruti-Suzuki in domestic sales, the company is targeting further growth and continue to launch models across all segments of the passenger car industry. Between the Santro, Eon, i10 and i20, Hyundai's small cars hold the second largest share after Maruti-Suzuki's lineup of six small cars. The Verna leads the mid-size segment in sales while the Elantra does the same in the premium midsize segment. A major attribute that helped Hyundai achieve such a big success in India is coming out in the Grand i10 episode, Hyundai's newest entrant in small car segment.

The Grand i10 is hardly a month old in the Indian market. Within this time-span, Hyundai received a colossal 100,000 enquiries for the car of which more than 10,000 odd were apparently converted into confirmed orders. But Hyundai, being who they are, isn't resting on it's laurels. Instead of basking on the success of the Grand i10, Hyundai India continues to test the car in and around Chennai where the company's manufacturing facility is located.

So, what's cooking in this test car? We know that Hyundai is about to launch an automatic transmission variant of the Grand i10 in a few months, powered by the peppy 1.2-liter Kappa2 engine. It could be the auto tranny that's being given a workout here. But then, the test car with its steel wheels sans wheel covers hints at the base variant. So, is Hyundai readying a new base variant to go below the existing 'Era' variant? We don't know yet. On the contrary, this car could just be part of an endurance run of the Grand i10 with no new parts or components being tested. Anyway, if the test car was without the partial camouflage that it had, we wouldn't have even noticed it thanks to a healthy number of Grand i10s roaming around in Chennai already.

Whatever it is, Hyundai's relentless commitment and focus comes out to the fore here. This will all but ensure that the grand run of the Grand i10 is here to stay!


Nissan launches Terrano, positions it above the Duster

Nissan India announced the launch of Terrano, its premium compact Sports Utility Vehicle, yesterday. Over the last few months, Nissan kept the media busy by first revealing the name of the model along with an official sketch followed by an unveiling before opening the pre-launch bookings last month. Despite the Terrano being a rebadged and redesigned Renault Duster, Nissan also took time to test the Terrano on public roads, with the test vehicle even featuring on our blog once. All those efforts have paid off, with Nissan already sitting on an order book of 6000 units for the Terrano. The fact that so many Indians were ready to put their money on the Terrano even before it's prices were announced just goes to show the craze that our country has for utility vehicles.

In line with the pricing policy followed by the Renault-Nissan Alliance in which the donor model is cheaper, the Terrano is priced higher than its sibling, the popular Renault Duster. In keeping with the market demand, the Terrano is launched in one petrol and six diesel variants. While the petrol variant is powered by a 1.6-liter engine with 104 PS of maximum power, the diesel variants have the same 1.5-liter dCi engine in two states of tune with power outputs of 85 PS and 110 PS.

The petrol variant retails for INR 9.79 Lakhs. The 85 PS diesel variants are priced between INR 9.59 and 10.94 Lakhs, while the 110 PS diesel variants retail between INR 11.33 and 12.46 Lakhs. All prices are ex-showroom, New Delhi.

The best thing about the Terrano is that Nissan has went that extra mile to ensure that its compact SUV is quite different from the Duster. Up front, Nissan has neatly integrated its family look that we have seen and liked in models like the Pathfinder and Patrol. The four-pod headlights along with the three-part radiator grille with twin chrome bars look impressive. Nothing much changes in the profile with the massive wheel arches lending the Terrano a butch stance. In the rear, new taillight lenses complete the makeover. The changes continue inside too, with a redesigned center console and air-conditioner vents lending the cabin a fresh and upmarket look.

Right from the Micra, Nissan has left us impressed with its no-compromise approach on safety and the Terrano is no different. The Driver Airbag is standard across the range, while the higher variants offer Antilock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA). The top-of-the-line XV Premium variant comes with Bluetooth-enabled audio system, rear air-conditioning vents, leather upholstery, wood finish in door trims, reverse parking sensors and 16-inch machined alloy wheels. While all this is good, the Ford Ecosport trumps the Terrano in terms of features on offer. That's probably why things like touchscreen entertainment system with navigation, steering-mounted audio control module and rear parking sensors with display in rear view mirror are available as part of a big list of official accessories right from launch.

The debut of Nissan Terrano makes it two rebadged models launched in the Indian market in two days. Overall, this is the fourth rebadged model from the two joint ventures between Renault, Nissan and Ashok Leyland. With the Ford Ecosport giving the Renault Duster a run for its money, the Nissan Terrano, with its premium positioning, has its work cut out. Looking at the initial response though, Nissan seems to have done well in the litmus test.

Ashok Leyland launches Stile, a rebadged Nissan Evalia

Thanks to the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Indians are now familiar with the concept of 'badge-engineering', a diplomatic definition of denoting new models that are nothing but re-badged variants of an existing model. Ashok Leyland, Nissan's Indian partner for Light Commercial Vehicles, joined the party with the launch of its Stile Multi-Purpose Vehicle earlier this week. Following its debut at the 2012 Auto Expo in New Delhi and the formal unveiling in the presence of Mr. Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault-Nissan Alliance, the Ashok Leyland Stile was officially launched this Monday at an event held in New Delhi. M.S.Dhoni, India's cricketing sensation and Ashok Leyland's brand ambassador was present for the launch.

Don't be deceived by it's name. The Stile is nothing but a re-badged and a subtly redesigned Nissan Evalia. While the Evalia, amidst expectations that it would put an end to Toyota Innova's dominance, failed spectacularly in our market, Ashok Leyland (and Nissan too) would be hoping that the Stile hits the sweet spot. The most prominent change in the Stile is its grille and the headlights, that are quite different from the Evalia. While the profile remains unchanged, the Stile gets sliding rear windows that was absent in the Evalia. At the back, the reflector strips aimed at reducing the visual bulk of the Evalia are done away with. The Stile isn't unattractive, but not what we would call attractive either.

Ashok Leyland has made it clear that the Stile is targeted at the commercial segment that includes applications such as taxis, hotel shuttles, ambulances, parcel vans and courier services. Available in 7 and 8-seater configurations with the popular 1.5-liter K9K diesel engine under the hood, the Stile has just what it takes to succeed. Air-conditioning, power steering, seat belts for all three rows and tilt-steering are standard across the range while the top-spec variant can be bought with features such as rear air-conditioning vents, captain seats in the second row, central locking, front power windows and a silver-finish center console. Safety features have been given a miss, with ABS, EBD and Airbags not available on any variant.

With prices starting at INR 7.49 Lakhs for the base LE variant and going up to INR 9.29 Lakhs for the top-end LX variant with optional alloy wheels, the Stile is significantly cheaper than the Evalia. Will this make the difference between the two cars and help the Stile succeed? Looking at the success of Dost, the first product of the Ashok Leyland-Nissan LCV joint-venture and the way in which the Stile is positioned purely targeting the commercial segment, we don't see a reason for it to fail.


Travelogue #11 - Chennai to Mahabalipuram

India might not fare well in modern architecture but our country, in ages gone by, undoubtedly possessed the best of everything. Mahabalipuram, also called Mamallapuram, is a feel-good destination that not only proves that point but also makes us proud of our legacy. Famous for its magnificent structures carved and cut out of huge rocks that are spread over a few square kilometers adjacent to the Bay of Bengal on the east coast of India south of Chennai, the monuments of Mahabalipuram are declared a "World Heritage Site" by UNESCO. And quite deservedly so, if we are eligible to say that.

It's not without reason Mahabalipuram is one of the most popular destinations in India for tourists from other countries. The moment you venture left off the ECR, this historic town mesmerizes with its grandeur and splendor. Believed to be built between the 7th and 9th centuries by the Pallava dynasty who ruled this part of the country, Mahabalipuram is a symbol of beauty and a shining example of the architectural skills of our great ancestors. It's a pity then, that we depend on architects from other countries for building our cities these days.

The Shore Temple, by far the most popular monument in Mahabalipuram, is a majestic structure that stands tall adjacent to the sea. Being a structural stone temple built out of blocks of granite, the Shore Temple is different from the other monuments in the town that are rock-cut. It's not uncommon to hear instances of the ocean waves crashing on the temple walls during high tides. This continuous hammering for centuries has slowly eroded the structure, which is evident from the smoothened and blunt surfaces that have lost definition. A recent exploration off the coast of Mahabalipuram has uncovered remains of similar temple complexes under water, hinting that the "seven pagodas", as ancient European explorers apparently called Mahabalipuram referring to the seven structures, is not just a myth.

The Pancha Rathas, which means 'five chariots' in English, is yet another must-see destination in Mahabalipuram. Each of the five rathas are made out of a single stone and are named after the Mahabaratha fame Pancha Pandavas and their wife Draupati. It is believed that these rathas are incomplete and have no connection with the epic Mahabaratha, despite carrying those names. Whatever it is, the five rathas are a sight to behold and, quite understandably, is one of the 'most photographed' structures in India. Walk across the road and enter the commercial complex that's lined up with small shops that sell colorful stone-made items and souvenirs.   

Between the Shore Temple and the Pancha Rathas is the Descent of the Ganges or Arjuna's Penance, a huge, glorious, open-air bas-relief that has a crevice at the center intended to depict the descent of the river Ganges to Earth. Another interpretation is that the figure standing on one leg in the structure is that of Arjuna who is performing a tapas to receive a boon from Lord Shiva. A total of 146 carvings including scores of gods, goddesses, mythical figures and animals are immortalized in this structure. The life-size carvings of elephants in this monument are one of Mahabalipuram's post-card images and considered to be amongst the best animal carvings in India.

Just behind the Descent of Ganges is a big complex that has a series of intricately carved caves. Mandapams, as they are called in Tamil, are pillared structures that are cut into rocks, giving the impression of a cave. Varaha Caves, Rayar Gopuram, Ramanuja Mandapam, Ganesha Ratha and a huge stone called 'Krishna's Butterball' that's perched precariously over an open rocky hillock are all interesting and attractive in their own ways. The Light House and Mahishasuramardhini Mandapam inside the same complex are very popular monuments for the awesome views that they offer and get really crowded on weekends.

Unlike many other tourist destinations, Mahabalipuram is at its best when the sun is shining hot. The sunlight brings out the glory of these monuments spectacularly, as is evident from the images posted below. But, there is a flip side to it. The ruthless Chennai weather drowns your energy levels, so much so, you get tired after just a couple of hours. Don't get bogged down though. The beauty and sheer magnificence of these monuments will keep you in a high.

Following in the footsteps of our previous travelogues that took us to Puducherry and Pitchavaram, Mahabalipuram is the third beautiful destination in the East Coast Road. We have made no secret of the fact that we love the ECR and never miss an opportunity to drive along this scenic two-lane highway that runs parallel to the coast. And every time we go there, the road reminds us to stay alert, drive within the limits and get back home with the widest possible grin. This time, it was a toppled Mahindra Scorpio that gave us a grim reminder of what the ECR is capable of doing.



* Total No of Days: 1 (18.08.2013)
* Vehicle Make & Model: Honda Civic

* Odometer Start Reading: 53064 km
* Odometer End Reading: 53196 km
* Total Distance traveled: 132 km
* No of Toll Booths: 2
* Money spent on Toll & Parking: Rs. 118

* Total Quantity of Fuel filled: 12.84 l
* Average Fuel Consumption: 10.28 km/l
* Money spent on Fuel: Rs. 958

* Destinations Covered: Mahabalipuram
* Route Followed: Chennai-Sholinganallur-Mahabalipuram



Despite visiting this coastal town atleast a couple of times in the recent past, this was the first time we managed to cover its complete grandeur on a single day. Needless to say, it's an experience that is going to stay in our minds forever! Anything On Wheels is here to stay. So, stop staring at this post now and start planning your trip to Mahabalipuram. And if you happen to be in Chennai, all you need is a moisturizer tube and a sun-glass to head out!