Words: Aatish Mishra
Photography: Vikrant Date
Gurgaon. Cold, grey, dusty Gurgaon. The buildings are grey, the sky is perpetually grey and life there in general seems grey. Sure, they have a lush green golf course and fancy malls to sedate you from reality. But you really need to be working your back side off if you want to keep yourself cocooned in that artificial environment. I hate such places. If given a choice, I’d avoid it like the plague. But this time I had no choice. We were hosting the 2016 OFF ROAD Awards, and having our OFF ROAD Expo in Gurgaon and the whole team was obligated to be present. Well, damn.
Something I was looking forward to, however, was the food. I pictured myself feasting on butter-soaked parathas and kebabs for every meal, but our schedule left us with almost no time to eat. We were surviving on sandwiches and rolls, food that we could eat on the go. No way was I coming here and not satiating my palate with what it wanted. So on the one day we had free between the Awards and the Expo, I grabbed Vikrant by the collar and headed out food-hunting on the pretext of doing a story.
We were back with our regular steed, the trusty Nissan Terrano, but this wasn’t like the Terrano that I’ve been using on all my other grub-hunting escapades. This wasn’t powered by their acclaimed 1.5-litre diesel engine, instead this was special — it had the 1.6-litre petrol burner under the hood. It’s almost like Nissan knew the sanctions that diesel engines would be facing in the days to come in the National Capital Region and were keen to tell us, hey, there’s also a petrol option. And I must say, it turns to out to be a rather nice engine.
The first thing you notice is how refined the motor is. It makes a 102.6bhp and 145Nm of torque which kicks in somewhere around 2000rpm and smoothly delivers it to the front wheels. It’s a most un-SUV like feeling, no diesel engine clatter, no vibrations, just the purr of a smooth petrol unit that had me constantly looking at the tacho to confirm that, indeed, the engine was ticking over. To give you an example, after picking up the SUV we were returning to our hotel and I pulled over to answer a call, Vikrant who has this fantastic ability to fall into deep slumber immediately after getting on the road, wakes up and tells me to switch off the headlamps lest the battery drain out. He couldn’t make out the engine was idling! The steering here is also hydraulically assisted, while the one with the diesel engine has electrically assisted hydraulic power steering —even better for keen drivers. Anyway, enough about the SUV. Let’s get to what we are really here for.