Tradition. A neat word indeed, since it has a great sense of permanence embedded in it. But please do not get visions of old ladies wearing lace gowns and picnics by the side of the church. When we talk of tradition at BSM, the talk centres around our annual Slush Fest – an event that we missed out on last year, but one that we were longing to do this monsoon. An event where the newest, baddest SUVs sold in our country would get together to get spanked by the BSM team. An event where the monsoon is a playback singer and Mother Earth the villain. An event where going sideways is the rule rather than the exception.
So as soon as the first drops of rain fell on our windscreens, we started calling the PR offices of various car makers. We shortlisted three diesels that never took part in this definitive four-wheel drive showdown – while the Endeavour is put together in India, the Tucson and the X-Trail are direct imports. It may not be of consequence to you, but we would love to tell you that it isn’t easy to get test cars, especially when they are imported pieces. But then ‘tradition’ helps and car makers obliged after a few phone calls. As the cars started turning up, we had our other concern – aren’t we doing this a tad too early? Sure, had been raining for close to a month in and around Mumbai, but just two days before July 15, the scheduled Slush Fest day, the sun decided to shine bright. That meant an event with less slush and lower degree of difficulty than we would have liked. But we still had a good time! Read on.
Just two months back, the Hyundai Tucson thrashed the Ford Endeavour in a BSM comparison test. Oh boy, how the tables turned when a bit of slush was thrown into the equation. Adding insult to injury was the Nissan X-Trail which is closer to the Tucson as far as its monocoque construction roots go. The Tucson is far too civilised a machine to be doing mudslinging with the rest of the two SUVs featured here. It has a four-wheel drive system which can be locked to get good all-weather traction – that means you will be safer in the Tucson than in the Elantra that it is based on, when it is pouring or worse still, during a snow storm. But it is too much of a car to handle hub-cap deep slush and it showed in our PET lap times. It was a good five seconds slower than the X-Trail and three seconds off the best time set by the Endeavour.