Nissan Kicks Visits the World’s Highest Cricket Ground
- Published On: 6 June 2019
- 7 min read
Nissan launched the Kicks earlier this year at a price that was tempting enough to lure in customers looking at purchasing a smaller, sub 4m compact SUV.
Nissan launched the Kicks earlier this year at a price that was tempting enough to lure in customers looking at purchasing a smaller, sub 4m compact SUV. Engineered specially for the Indian car market and much larger in dimensions as compared to the model sold internationally, the Kicks does come across as a value packed product. And while we drove the car a few months back in Bhuj during the official media drive, the time we spent with the car wasn’t enough to sample it properly across various parameters.
And this brings us to the idea about this article. The Nissan Kicks is the official car of the 2019 ICC World Cup and Chail is home to what used to be the world’s highest cricket ground at some point of time. These two aspects combine together well, well enough for us to take a break from work and head out to the Himalayas.
The route from Delhi takes you via the four-lane NH44 that runs across the length of the country. Road work to widen the Delhi - Panipat stretch is in progress but leaving Delhi early did help us. Beyond Panipat is where the local authorities like stationing their Interceptors to catch speeding offenders and we loved utilizing the ‘speed limiter’ function of the Kicks. It helps you stay under a pre-defined speed at all times.
NH44 is also where we spotted numerous sunflower farms on either side of the highway and decided to take a break and capture the Kicks in all its glory. We had the top spec Pre-Option variant with us and with a contrasting orange roof, this model looked great when viewed from most angles.
Moving on, Pinjore is where you start gaining altitude via the fabulous Himalayan Expressway. The four-lane uphill section gives drivers a first-hand experience of what to expect in the next few hours. Beyond Parwanoo, more than half of the four-lane stretch is now open to traffic and even with four of us on board, boot stuffed with luggage and air-con running full blast to keep the summer sun away, the Kicks went about chewing up miles rapidly. This one uses the tried and tested 1.5 dCi motor that churns out 108 bhp of power and most importantly, 240 Nm of torque from just 1750 rpm.
Kandaghat is where we left the Chandigarh-Shimla highway and took a right that goes to Chail. It is a narrow state highway but most of it is well laid out with good tarmac, less traffic and a thick tree cover. Perfect spot for photo-ops, eh?
Our photographer wanted a few re-runs and I wasn’t complaining. The slightly heavier steering starts feeling so much better when you want to have fun with the car. Throw it around corners at a relatively quick pace and the Kicks responds oh so well. Dynamically, it is a very sorted vehicle for its size and class and further, the brakes infuse a lot of confidence. It does sit high up the ground but yet, body roll is something that is well under control.
Taking of ground clearance, we took a trail going down to the Ashwani river (at Sadhupul) and the Kicks was more than happy to cross a river stream or two. It is places like these were you feel satisfied with your money having gone into the right product. The place also allowed us to enjoy the audio set-up, with the windows rolled down and four of us lazing around in the waters. Worthy of a mention is the ‘around view’ camera that allowed me to park the Kicks perfectly well without going too deep into the waters.
The trip had to go on and our next destination was the Chail Palace. A lot has been spoken about this place and in spite of coming here for the nth time, I had a smile on my face. Nestled deep between pine trees, the lush green lawn is just what a metro dweller needs every now and then. But with time running out and sun all set to disappear behind the hills, we made a dash for what is the highest place a car can reach in Chail.
This is the Kali Mata Mandir and at 7200 feet above sea level, gave us a scenic view of the hills around. More than that, it was a perfect place to capture a sunset - the sky was overcast and this made the views even better. The night drive back to our hotel was uneventful and the LED lights did light up the forest roads perfectly well.
The next day is what was special for us. Situated in the cantonment area and what used to be the polo ground for erstwhile Maharaja, the place is now under the control of the Rashtriya Military school. Between these two transitions however, it used to be the world’s highest cricket ground and this is what made our trip even special. The official car of the 2019 ICC World Cup was right here at the Chail cricket ground!
We spent an hour here for our photo-ops and a quick video and later, it was a 350km dash back to Delhi. The to-and-fro 750 trips consumed just under 40 liters of fuel, translating into a real-world economy of about 19 kmpl. Not bad considering the amount of weight on board, the uphill stretches and a heavy right foot at times. Spending two days with the Kicks brought out the best this car has to offer. Priced from Rs 9.55 lakh onwards, there is no reason we will not recommend compact SUV buyers to have a look at this one too.