Diesel March

Driving across three capitals in Fiat diesels.

Fact number one: diesel engines have considerable stamina for long distances. Fact number two: there is no shortage of long distances in India. These are probably the two facts that led Fiat to organise their Fiat Diesel Drives India drive around the country, and they invited us for the leg that stretched from Ranchi to Patna via Kolkata. We had at our disposal Fiats entire range of diesel cars, which comprises the Palio, the Punto, the Linea and the 500, all powered by the famous 1.3 Multijet motor. Over five days, we would cover just over 1100 km the idea was not to cover ground at record-breaking pace, but to experience India with the Fiat diesels for company. And I can tell you, it was quite an experience indeed.

Leg 1: Ranchi to Kolkata
The first part of the journey began with the usual enthusiasm and hope that accompanies the start of every long trip. Our convoy rolled out of a Ranchi that was slowly waking up to a cold morning. The Linea looked more beautiful than usual in the great weather, as did the Punto and the 500. The Palios decade-old design really cannot match the lines of its Italian sisters, but since the same heart beats under its skin, the Palio had no problem keeping up with the rest of the bunch. Wherever possible, I was giving the Linea the stick and it responded very well to my inputs, darting from corner to corner in the hilly sections and cruising at triple-digit speeds on open roads. However, the roads got increasingly traffic-stricken as the day progressed and there were photographers to be satisfied, which meant that when dusk came, which happens at around 5:30 pm in these parts, we were still on the road with 200 km left to go. That was no problem, however, with the Linea