Special Feature: A getaway with the Toyota Yaris...
Goa. If there's a place that essentially figures on the bucket list of a traveller, Goa would probably occupy the prime spot. It's the destination for pristine beaches, lush greenery, delectable cuisine and an unrivalled nightlife. So, it was a no-brainer when we decided to take a couple of days off from our super busy schedule and head to this gem on the West coast of India.
It had to be a road trip, though. We love driving and we're always looking for ways to drive down, no matter the distance. But we didn't want to arrive in Goa feeling fatigued after the journey. We wanted to make the most of this short, impromptu trip. Thankfully, the new Toyota Yaris was up to the task.
The seats, for instance, offer great under thigh and lumbar support, and that goes a long way in reducing fatigue, especially after spending long hours behind the wheel. The controls are also intuitively placed, so everything falls at hand naturally. Plus, the infotainment system can be operated using gesture control, and that allows the driver to stay focussed on the road.
The drive to Goa is quite spectacular and if you are the kind who loves to soak in the sights along the way, the Chorla ghat, just before the Karnataka-Goa border offers some spectacular vistas. But the real draw is the tight and twisty roads. And tackling these in the Yaris turned out to be a revelation.
While the Yaris is as comfortable as any other Toyota, it is epic fun when you drive it in a spirited manner. The feedback from the chassis, which is amazingly balanced, allowed us to revel in the Yaris' sweet handling and we had a whale of a time driving it. The CVT gearbox too was in tune with the demands while the paddle-shifters behind the steering wheel only made the drive a lot more involving. It actually felt good to let the inner boy racer out!
Later that night, we reached our hotel in South Goa, an area that's perfect for those seeking respite from the madding crowd without missing out on the fun aspect of Goa.
The next day, we set out to meet Fernando Monte Da Silva, a young and dynamic food blogger who has been living in Margao, Goa, for most of his life. He is as passionate about Goa, as much as about food and has also been working towards conserving Goa's heritage for a few years. After all, it's on the young that lies that onus, right?
But, as is the case with the young, we like doing things differently. To give me a taste of this, quite literally, Fernando took me to the Bottlejack Bistro in Porvorim. Run by his good friend Carlton, Bottlejack is the apt representation of moving with the times whilst sticking to one's roots, or in this case, Goa's traditional tastes.
The Prawn Karwari, Rava Masala fried fish, Prawn Curry and Chicken Cafreal that we had were delicious beyond imagination. The Chicken Cafreal, for instance, was succulent and to say that we relished the fare would be an understatement.
With our appetites satiated, we drove towards Panjim, Goa's capital. The route was slightly congested due to the ongoing road building and to make matters worse, the afternoon sun was beating down on us. Inside the Yaris' cabin, however, it was all calm and peaceful. The Toyota Yaris has excellent sound deadening courtesy of an acoustic and vibration control glass that filters out most of the road noise. In addition, the solar energy absorbing windshield was imperative in keeping the cabin cool while the outside temperature display on the colour MIFD in the instrument panel crept closer to the 40-degree mark. "I am actually surprised by how comfortable it is to be seated in the Yaris," said Fernando.
Driving by the iconic churches in Panjim and colourful houses, in the heart of the city, gave me a sense of how steeped in history Goa truly is. Much like Toyota, a car manufacturer that has continually evolved with the times, but while at it, has stuck to its core ethos of reliability, throughout its illustrious history. And the Yaris, one of the youngest members of the Toyota family only carries this rich legacy forward.
As the sun set over the horizon, we retired to a lounge near Baga beach to chill and unwind.
It's important to feel refreshed and energetic whilst vacationing. How else would you make the most of this granule of time you've made for yourself, from your busy life. And if you aren't comfortable, how else would you stay refreshed?
Goa turned out to be the perfect, short getaway for a little downtime and we could only enjoy it because we were comfortable, all along. That's what makes the Toyota Yaris so popular, in our books. Throughout our time in it, we were cossetted in utmost comfort. From the soft leather seats, the smooth petrol motor to the quiet cabin, everything added up to offer a relaxed drive. An ideal companion for the young traveller? You bet!
Also see: Getaway to Goa with the Toyota Yaris (Part 2)
Getaway to Goa in the Toyota Yaris
Starts Rs 9.29 Lakhs