Suzuki Grand Vitara Rally-Spec: Alter Ego

Fifteen minutes have ticked away since I have acrobatically entered the SUV, strapped myself in and sadly, not moved an inch. By this time even the curious onlookers who had gathered in hopes of watching some monster truck action, have left the parking lot.

With a turn of the ignition key, the engine blasts to life. And this is something you simply have to hear to understand. The sheer noise that leaves the exhaust is more animal than machine. The free-flow exhaust does its bit for the decibel fest. Clearly, Noise, Vibration and Harshness were the last thing Maruti had on its mind when it put the rally Vitara together.

Moving out on to open highway, I stab the throttle. What follows is a bit of an anti-climax. With all that thundering from the exhaust, I expected instant whiplash every time I squashed the throttle. Sadly, this Vitara’s pace does not match its shouting skills. Not that it’s slow, just that going by the noise, you’d think it was good for well beyond 120kph, but it isn’t – on regular roads, it’s more comfortable in the 100-120kph range. Still, it did keep my fellow motorists a good distance away.