All good things come in small packages! Well, it did for me too. After ages (a month actually) I had the weekend, just the weekend mind you, to myself. So, there it was! A short two-day weekend which goes away in a blink of an eye! A quick check with my colleagues and a few clicks on the internet later, I had booked myself at one of the many, many resorts dotted in and around Corbett National Park. The park itself hadn't opened up, thanks to the Monsoon but that area is quite pretty in itself. The drive is not too great, but it is the right mix of good and bad roads, perfect to test a new vehicle. The only question was which one to take?
Also Read: Mahindra Marazzo First Drive Review
The newly launched Mahindra Marazzo was standing in the office, silently staring, covered in a thin film of dust, imploring me to take her with me, with her limpid headlamps. And well, I just couldn't say no to her! So, without much ado, it was decided that I will drive the Marazzo to Corbett. I took her home, filled her up and as I was packing my bags, I got a call from Azam, my colleague, who wanted to take a short break as well. Knowing him to be good company, I was more than happy for him to come along. Plus, Azam is a cameraperson par excellence too! Well, I would have loved for the Marazzo to pose in the wilderness of Corbett and let us take a few pics of her. So, the next morning, I picked up Azam from his home and off we went to Corbett National Park, waiting for some daring adventures to come along our way.
The highway leading out of Ghaziabad towards Uttarakhand was as usual piled up with slow-moving traffic and under-construction flyovers which slowed down our progress but once, we were clear of that part, the highway opened up for us to make up on time. It was just the two of us and two duffel bags in the Marazzo which meant that the Marazzo was more or less empty, so the 1.5-litre diesel engine finally got a chance to breathe free and stretch her legs on the highway. We were doing well on time, almost praying that it goes on like this till we reach Corbett! But the almighty had a different plan. The moment I thought this is getting too easy, we found adventure!
And the adventure came down on us in form of torrential rain and some super bad roads right after the turnoff for Corbett and go towards Rampur from NH 58. The torrential downpour threw a spanner in our plans of taking some nice shots of the Mahindra Marazzo (we did manage a few of course, courtesy Azam) and the rains were making bad roads even worse. But, it was cakewalk for the Marazzo, who in all her Maroon glory took all of it head-on. The suspension setup was supple enough to soak up all the bumps and egged me to keep my foot planted on the accelerator pedal through some rather broken patches of tarmac. The rain slowed down to a light drizzle and it was almost as if the earth came alive. The leaves on the trees dotted along the road almost shone green and the sky too was painted in myriad hues of blue and grey. We found a nice spot for photographs and off Azam went click, click, click!
An hour and 3 GB of photos later, we resumed our journey towards Corbett and as we entered the periphery of the national park, we hit a jam! It was the weekend after all! We started our drive from Delhi at about 5:00 am in the morning and it was 12 pm by the time we reached our resort. Well, it is no tiring drive by a long stretch of imagination but it was the weekend and the pool in the resort looked quite inviting too! So, Azam and I dumped our bags in the room and hit the pool for a lazy, relaxing afternoon.
Having relaxed and feeling refreshed, Azam and I decided to get an early start and see if we could find some nice locations and get some interesting pics of the Marazzo! Upon asking a couple of locals, we found a way which was strewn by rocks of all shapes and sizes and led us to the banks of the Kosi, which flows through the eastern periphery of Corbett and is one of the three rivers apart from Ramganga and Sonanadi which flow through and around Corbett. While the location was a picturesque spot, it was disheartening to see a tonne of garbage that was lying around. A place like this ought to be kept spotlessly clean, but it feels as if cleanliness is a concept which is alien to Indians. It is a crying shame, but we did manage to clean up the spot a bit and get some nice photographs of the Mahindra Marazzo, which was promptly given a wash by the overnight rain. I even managed to say something to the camera (doing a PTC) without stuttering and received a look of admiration from Azam! We spent a nice couple hours on the banks of the Kosi, got some nice shots and then went on our way to find a nice place for parathas and chai.
After sumptuous breakfast, we lazed around at the restaurant and thinking of a good time to leave and well, that itself took us a good part of an hour. So by the time we decided to leave, it was actually time for us to leave (yea, we are a couple of lazy bums) if we wanted to avoid the evening traffic that was heading towards Delhi. And while the roads were bereft traffic for the better part, it was 50 kilometres outside of Ghaziabad that the traffic started and only ended when we reached office (which was 11pm in the night).
It was a tough drive, not because of the distance but the bad roads and the traffic but the Marazzo kept us comfortable throughout the drive. We had the top-spec model, which was loaded to the features and also proved to be decently fuel efficient, returning fuel efficiency of 15.4 kmpl overall. I am not going to bore you with the engine specifications of the Marazzo and its rivals. You can read all about it here, explained in detail by the boss himself.
Also Read: Mahindra Marazzo vs Toyota Innova Crysta
The final word is that the Marazzo has proved to be a worthy rival to the segment leader Toyota Innova Crysta and at a substantially affordable price, will definitely cause a dent in the sales of the Innova Crysta. It offers good performance, solid comfort and is priced decently as well.
Photography: Azam Siddiqui and Kingshuk Dutta