Monday morning, I noticed that one of the best travelling cars in our parking lot was gathering dust. So, by Wednesday, we had a plan in place – round up the troops, take the Aria, and drive to Goa. We needed a break and the Aria needed a run. And with its 12kpl fuel efficiency, it would work out to less than Rs 1000 a head. It was the end of the month, after all. Also, seven people wouldn’t necessarily pack much luggage, but every inch of the Aria’s huge cabin would be needed to accommodate Ameya’s butter-chicken belly.
Jokes apart, with all seats up, the Aria’s boot is not big but can still hold quite a bit of luggage. The best way to squeeze in more luggage, I found out, was to stack the smaller bags from the inside once the big bags had been loaded the conventional way.
So, five big bags, four small bags, seven people and one tortoise later (yes, Devesh brought along Herbie, his pet reptile) we set off at 12am on Friday. We made good time thanks to the late hour and less traffic on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. And the Aria’s brilliant headlights made the night driving quite unstressful.
We know the Aria’s a great highway car, but this time was different. We just might have overloaded it a bit, so while it was stable on the long straights of NH4, it would roll around and become quite a handful on the Amboli ghat. It wasn’t too bad, mind you, and we had quite an uneventful 12-hour drive to Arambol, North Goa.
We unloaded our bags and headed for the beach, and immediately ran into a problem. Goa’s narrow inner roads were a tad too small for our luxury liner, so the first thing we did was park the Aria at Ameya’s holiday home there and hire scooters (it’s the done thing in Goa, isn’t it?)
Two-day holiday over, we headed back home. Leaving Goa at 4pm in the afternoon, we made it to the NH4 post sunset. Surprisingly it started raining heavily, but we had no reason to worry as the Aria’s unconventional wipers did a great job of keeping the massive windscreen clear.
The rain did slow us down a bit, but we made it to Mumbai in decent time. We did notice one thing though; the edges of the front tyres have started wearing out. We put it down to a combination of the full load and our enthusiastic driving through the Amboli ghat.
It’s 20,000km on the odo now and the Aria is going strong with no rattles or squeaks. Impressive. Currently top on our long-distance people mover’s list, the Tata Aria sure has many more miles to go.
Maintenence costs: None
Faults: 12V power socket not working
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