It was a 14 hour drive from 6.30 AM to 8.30 PM in the 18th of November covering Chinnar, Anamudi Shola National Park and Munnar.
I am listing here the few things a Duster owner might be interested in but the full story can be found in the main post. Check the link above or that independent link below.
For the Duster Fans
Total distance: 338 kms
Fuel consumed: (full tank to full tank): 22 liters
Fuel efficiency: Highway - 18 +/-, Hills - 15 +/-, Off road - 12 +/- (based on figures shown on the FE calculator in the instrument panel). Overall - 16 kmpl (based on topping up after 352 kms)
Ride quality: Excellent. There were two people with bad backs in the car. Despite the gruelling drive in the Anamdi Shola we both never felt even a twinge of pain. On the highway there is no body roll even at high speeds and at no point do you get the feeling that you are losing control.
Engine noise: Barely audible even when negotiating tough roads in low gears, almost silent on highway
Gears: Easy shifting, no strain between 2000 to 3000 rpm, shift down if you run below 1500 rpm. I have found the clutch as easy as in my Punto. Drivers shifting from petrol engines might take a little time to get used to the heavier clutch and frequent need for down shifting.
Steering: Easy and ultra steady. It was only when the wheels slipped of loose rocks that I felt a wobble, which I think is natural. Again, people shiftin from a smaller or lighter car might find it a bit stiff.Tires: Excellent on the highway. Minor slipping on loose gravel in the Shola. The OE MRF Wanderers seemed to be better suited to paved roads than off-roading. Have to test it out on rough terrain in the rains.
Here is the link to the Unfinished Business in Anamudi Shola