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Evo India ISSUE #75 December 2019 


We’ve gone big with the December issue of evo India with two badass SUVs, the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen and the Jeep Wrangler, headlining this issue. While these two SUVs can’t be compared to each other, they share a lot of similarities: both have their origins in army vehicles, both remain body-on-frame SUVs and both have stood the test of time. The G-Wagen may be found crawling through city-centres and Wranglers have a tendency to be modified heavily to take on the hardest trails in the world, but even in their bone stock forms, these are immensely capable machines. We drove these icons to one of our favourite off-road destinations, the Rann of Kutch to understand their charm and allure, and what makes them such endearing machines.

Another insane story that you will find inside is our attempt to climb Shingo La in the Volkswagen Tiguan. We’ve also pitted the most affordable turbo-petrols you can have against each other on a go-kart track to see which one is the fastest. Mini’s rallying history is rich and we drive a modern Mini Cooper S up the Monte Carlo rally stages, and then drive some classic rally minis on ice. That isn’t the only rally action in the magazine: we chat up WRC champ Seb Ogier on what drives him and what the future holds for him. The new Audi A6 is finally here and we give you a detailed review, along with a comparison test with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. As for roads trips this month, we have taken the Renault Duster to the beaches of Malvan, the Camry Hybrid to the green spaces around the national capital, the entire range of Range Rovers to a luxury resort in the western ghats while our drive in the Hyundai Venue across the north east comes to an end.

We’ve ridden some exciting motorcycles as well including the Ultraviolette F77, as well as the latest in the slew of classic motorcycles including the Royal Enfield Classic 350, Jawa and the Benelli Imperiale. Find out more about our experiences at the TVS MotoSoul Days and the California Superbike School inside as well.

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Also in this issue:

Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen & Jeep Wrangler
In this story, we take two off-road icons to the Rann of Kutch to see what makes them such appealing lifestyle vehicles. Both SUVs are very capable — the Jeep is Trail Rated while the G is Schochl-proved — and yet, most owners don’t even scratch the surface of their capabilities. With much more in common than just retro styling, these two SUVs have stood the test of time and how.

VW Tiguan to Shingo-La

The Shingo-La pass is a place shrouded in mystery. For the longest time it was a walking trail that connected the Zanskar valley to Lahaul, and was used to trade goods. Earlier this year though, it was widened by the Border Roads Organisation to be motorable, though it is more a rough trail than anything else. We attempt to climb this pass which stands at over 16,500 feet in our long-term Volkswagen Tiguan. It wasn’t easy with the heavy snow, sub-zero temperatures and lack of oxygen but it was a challenge we relished. Did we make it to the top? Check out the magazine to find out!


Turbo-petrol shootout
We take the most affordable turbo-petrols on sale in India and put them head to head, on track, to see which one is the fastest. The Volkswagen Polo GT TSI is the benchmark, and has been so ever since it was launched. The Hyundai Venue rivals it for price, while the Kia Seltos is the logical upgrade. We also get two cars with motorsport links: the Tata Tiago JTP and the Mahindra XUV300. Driven flat out at the Ajmera karting track in Mumbai, we time each contender to see which one is the fastest.


Citroen at WRC
The Ed chats with WRC legend Sebastien Ogier at the Spain round of the WRC. They talk about what makes him tick, and how he has been so successful in the WRC. They also talk about Citroen’s rich rallying heritage and what the sport means to the brand. Giving tremendous insight in to what goes on in the mind of the champion, this is a story that the motorsport enthusiast should not miss.


Mini’s rallying past
The Monte Carlo rally is one of the most iconic rallies of the season, with proceedings kicking off on the hills in the Cote d’Azure every season. We take a Mini Cooper S, the spiritual descendent of the rally-spec Minis of the 60s that ripped through these very hills, and attempt to trace their tracks. We also drive two Works-spec Minis from the 60s on ice, with studded tyres.


Audi A6 + A6 vs E-Class
We have finally gotten our hands on the Audi A6, an all-new car that marks the start of Audi’s new product offensive in India. Available as just a front-wheel drive petrol engined car, does the new A6 do enough to stand out? Considering the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is such a runaway success, we put the two up against each other to see which one comes off better in addition to our in-depth review.


Toyota Camry Roadtrip
The Toyota Camry, with its hybrid drivetrain, is actually a clean alternative when compared to the IC engined cars sold in the country today. Started from the polluted streets of the national capital, we drive the Camry to the outskirts using everything from its fully electric mode to the optimised hybrid more, in search of greener pastures.


The Range of Range Rovers
We attempted something different with this story: all the pictures have been shot on a mobile phone. Modern mobile phones are surprisingly capable and we attempted to shoot an entire feature story using one: the OnePlus 7T McLaren. In this story, we take the entire Range of Range Rovers to a luxury property nestled deep in the western ghats explore their legacy of great design and focus on opulence.


Hyundai Great India Drive-II
After the madness that was Kolkata, the Great India Drive continues further east with the Hyundai Venue for company. In this leg, we continue to explore how football binds us together but instead of big clubs and mega-stadiums, we find it in the streets and out in the open — a common language that has the people of this region fixated.


Renault Duster to Malvan
Hunting for a great beach to drive on brings us down to the western coast of India. Malvan is famous for its forts and turtle nesting sites, but we also find out that the beaches here are pristine (and more importantly empty) so you can actually take a capable all-wheel drive car out on to them. The Duster makes for a great road-trip companion, as always.


Be the Better Guy – III
In this edition of the Be The Better Guy series, we take a bunch of youngsters who have just learned to drive and give them a crash course on safe and defensive driving. The Deputy RTO of Pune was there to lend his insights as well. Post the workshop, the group was taken out on a drive in Hyundai’s newest cars to put everything they learned to practical use.


Ultraviolette F77

Here’s an indigenous electric bike-maker that cares more about performance than just range. The Ultraviolette F77 is the Bengaluru-startup’s first product and it nails the sporty bit: great handling and sprightly performance. The fact that it looks as good as it does only helps its case, doesn’t it?


Classic Motorcycles
What is it that makes classic motorcycles as popular as they are? Royal Enfield has been immensely successful in the recent past and two new contenders are here to take bite of that pie. Jawa’s past is inexplicably linked with India’s and its revival has perked up the ears of more than just old-timers. Benelli has also entered the frey with the Imperiale 400, a sorted motorcycle that doesn’t have the legacy of its rivals. Where do they all head from here?


California Superbike School
The California Superbike School is the ultimate way to learn how to corner a motorcycle well. We attended the school earlier this year, and kept a detailed log of what took place. This story is an excerpt of that log-book, and just goes to show how detailed the course is.

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