Report: Rahul Kapoor, Photography: Mohd.
At 7 in the
morning, on one of the most perfect days for some off-road fun, with a slight
drizzle of rain and overcast skies, we found ourselves in the middle of barren forest
land near the Delhi-Haryana border and we were given the mighty Polaris RZR XP4
900, which has just returned from Jammu & Kashmir after rescuing lives
during the after math of the horrific floods that left numerous people
If you live
in the real world and do watch television or keep an eye on the news, you must
probably know that recently in September in the northern state of India --
Jammu & Kashmir-- a massive flood had broken out, destroying 2600 villages,
leaving many homeless, helpless, stranded and hungry. With no food, no potable
water, harsh temperatures and bad weather, many people went missing, some dead
bodies left unidentified and many more lives lost with around 600 people dead.
The numbers of deaths were increasing day by day. There were many people trying
their best to help as much as they could. Polaris pitched in here with their
all terrain vehicles to assist in the rescue operations. But thanks to some of
these brave people, and the Indian Army who at least tried, the death toll was
controlled in some ways.
operations were launched like air lifts and aerial food drops. The small fleet
of Polaris ATVs donated to the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) helped
them out in the rescue mission. Some of the vehicles were the Polaris Ranger
Pick-up, the Polaris Ambulance and the RZR XP4 900.
were brought back to the city we were asked if we would like to have a go at
one of them, so we naturally obliged. Because we think it should be illegal to
say no to anyone or anything who/that is a true National Hero.
So we took
the 900 for a spin. Technically it is almost identical to the XP 900, but the
XP4 900 has a longer wheelbase and two more seats so it can accommodate 3
passengers with the driver.
these ATVs can handle all terrains; sand, slush, dirt, rock and road, but it’s
an all-terrain vehicle that isn’t allowed on all terrains. The problems with
the ATVs are they aren’t road legal and hence can’t be registered with a number
plate. But on my way to the off-road location, I can’t help but wonder; how
well this car is perfectly suited to Indian road conditions. The ride is damn
near perfect on the road, normal pot holes feel like ant hills with the
massively wide tyres. But if I had to drive them on the road I would prefer the
optional windscreen with wipers, a roof, some side view mirrors, indicators and
a horn. In India, it’s more vital to have a horn than an engine. You can’t
drive without a horn! Maybe one day we could see some of these on the roads
with some road tyres. I’m very hopeful for that. But before all that, this one’s
a left hand drive, it has to be a right hand drive one before it can be
registered in this part of the world.
Back to the
where the XP4 900 is meant to be off the tarmac, and on to the rough stuff.
With an 88 horsepower 4 stroke 875cc 2 cylinder engine, mated to a variable
transmission and mounted on an extremely light-weight chassis the power is more
than enough for a vehicle that weighs as little as this. I mean it just drives
the way it looks. A full blown monster, and that plastic body looks so radical,
it looks like it would bite your head off if you approach it from the front and
startle it. So the best way to enter the vehicle is to strap on your helmet and
gloves then slowly approach it with caution from the sides, un clamp the side
nets, and strap yourself in. Adjust the steering wheel, ignite the fuel in the
liquid cooled engine put it into ‘H’ (high range) to set off. I thought I was
going to be gentle with it at first to get grips with the machine but it came
to my notice that the car has 2 modes; stationary or cardiac arrest.
875cc 4-stroke 2
Automatic PVT with P/R/N/L/H
On-Demand True AWD/2WD
Dual A-Arm Walker Evans 2” Body/Trailing Arm Walker Evans 2.5” Body
4-wheel Hydraulic disc with Dual bore front and rear calipers
27x9-12/27x11-12 ITP 900XCT with
cast aluminium rims
The RZRs also
come with on-demand AWD, just pop the switch on the dashboard and you get the
best kind of traction you can possibly get from any Range Rover that costs 7
times more. Put this bad boy into low range and you can climb any hill of any
incline you can throw at it and it will conquer with ease without a fuss. So it
was in its natural habitat in J&K when it rescued lives, families and
delivered food to the stranded and helpless.
But I would
also like to point out that I would also spend a little more on some better
seats on the list of options if I was to go proper off-roading. Not because it
was uncomfortable, but because I had a sore behind the following day.
buy one? I’ll admit you can’t drive it
on the road, you can’t get it registered and unless your wife is Vijay Mallya’s
girlfriend, she would scream at you for taking the kids out in it in fear of
killing them and it costs around Rs.24.1lakh. But in your defence, which I
would vouch for completely, there is no car out there that will let you have
this much fun, you can take it for a rally for a weekend getaway instead of a
cheap hotel. Because it has 4 seats, you can still take your family, and a boot
so it’s practical. So it’s now up to you, a Toyota Corolla Altis, or this? I’d
pick this any day of the week. But I have a mental
aptitude of a 5-year-old so what do I know?
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