Journey to the land of Thunder Dragon
May 8, 2015. The day I acted on my ever-standing desire of travelling long distance in my trusted Liva, MH05AX2991. Others said covering a distance of 7255 KMs in a hatchback was a daunting task, but I always trusted my Liva and time & again it proved that Toyota Liva is one of the best hatchbacks in the country.
The schedule I followed was:
8-9/5/2015 – first stop at Raipur covering 1213 kms
10/5/2015 – second stop at Kolkata covering 824 kms
11/5/2015 – third stop at Siliguri covering 570kms
12/5/2015 – forth stop at Phuntshoiling of Bhutan covering 180kms
13-25/5/2015 – I travelled in Bhutan as Paro-Thimphu-Chelela Pas-Ha valley-Gangtey-Bhumtahnag-Mongar-Trashiyangatse-Trashigang-Samdrup Jhonkhar to Guwahati covering almost 1324kms.
27-30/5/2015 – Last stretch was Guwahati-Kolkata-Kishanganj-raipur-Nagpur-Pune-Dombivali.
I started on 8/05/2015 at 3.30pm from Dombivali by Expressway to Pune. The journey took two hours & 20 mins, with one stop. During this ride, I realized Liva has great grip & matured high speed handling; even though I touched speeds of 140-150 kms/hr, I never felt the lack of grip, or the ‘leaving the road’ feeling one gets while travelling at similar speeds on other hatchbacks.
After having a series of sprints on the expressway, we stopped for dinner at Pune, and resumed our journey at 10.30 pm. We had to reach Raipur, our next stop, and the stretch was almost 1100 KMs. In the beginning of this stretch, from Pune to Ahamadnagar, road conditions were good but heavy traffic slowed us down, and yet I was able to maintain 60-70 KMPH initially. Another factor that needs to be mentioned is that I had virtually no trouble in driving during night, as the light was powerful enough to illuminate the roads clearly.
The next day, we encountered severely bad roads in the morning, riddled with potholes but thanks to Liva’s suspension setup, it could absorb the brunt of bad roads with ease, which helped me maintain the speed of 80-85 without much discomfort. This stretch of road tested the handling of Liva’s power steering, & did not result in even a single strike from bottom! We finally reached Raipur at 9.30pm, thanks to the tremendous power of Liva, it allowed me to easily take over other vehicles on the road. After the long stretch of comfortable driving, we encountered bad roads again enroute Kolkata to Siliguri, for about 20-30kms. But again, because of fine tuned suspension and power steering, I could navigate my way out very comfortably.
The next day we headed out fresh to finally reach our destination: Bhutan. The journey so far was long & memorable. Travelling in Bhutan was slightly tricky, some of roads were narrow, some were steep and spiral, and some were downright bad due to landslides and at some places especially at the end of my journey, roads were not even commutable due to road works. But all thanks to excellent ride quality, handling and the durability of my Liva, I could overcome them all without much effort.
During the entire tour, my Liva was providing a consistent mileage ranging from 14.21kms/litre to 17.01kms/litre, with continuous use of Air Conditioner (except in a few stretches). To sum it up it was great experience of driving our own vehicle from my home to another country and back.
Needless to say, the land of the thunder dragon – and my Etios Liva – lived up the expectations!