Most young adults that I know think of Goa as the ultimate weekend escapade. It’s got plenty of beaches, resorts, an active nightlife and a general calm and laid-back ambience. But Goa being Hari’s hometown, there was barely any excitement from him when I proposed my plan of a dash down to the coastal state for the weekend. We desperately needed a break, but didn’t have too much time. “I’ve never roamed the streets of Mumbai,’’ says Hari. “What! You’re kidding right?’’, Hari ignores my exasperated reaction and the Goa plan is dropped. The next thing I know is we’re driving the Toyota Glanza towards one of the most diverse and happening cities in the world.
It’s a city full of dreamers, hard-working labourers, artists, film stars and even gangsters, they say. It’s one of the most densely populated cities of the world and also the financial capital of India. But what really brings life to Mumbai is its thriving young and energetic population that has earned it the tagline, ‘The city that never sleeps’. So, Hari and I dropped by Mumbai for a night to get a taste of the life in this city once the sun sets. And tagging along with us was the newly-launched Toyota Glanza.
Why the Glanza? Most Mumbaikars live hyper-social lifestyles and we needed a car with a similar kind of energy. With the Toyota at our disposal, there was no need to look elsewhere. We hit the roads at 11pm and were amazed at how this city was still very much awake. The eateries on Carter Road in Bandra West didn’t seem to call it a day and people just kept pouring in. In this posh locality where the rich and famous flaunt their luxury wheels, and practically all of Bollywood lives, the Glanza still managed to turn heads. The premium hatchback’s design is unmistakably striking. The car has a low-slung stance and the front bumper, with its sharp cuts and creases, makes it look sporty. The LED DRLs add a touch of class and the hatchback’s compact proportions make it a practical city car.
Moreover, our car was shod with some Toyota Genuine Accessories – front and rear bumper extensions, side skirts and scuff plates – all of which made it look much sportier (there are more options if you wish). While wandering around the streets of Bandra, a young couple walked up to us, proudly narrating their test drive experience of the Glanza. They had booked it the same evening and couldn’t wait for the delivery of their new car. Hari and I made new friends just like that, with the Glanza being our main topic of discussion.
After devouring some lip-smacking shawarmas at an eatery on Carter Road, we headed to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. While in Mumbai, one simply cannot miss driving past this cable-stayed bridge. I’ve heard stories of how citizens’ hearts swell with pride while approaching this 5.6km-long bridge and are awe-struck by its complex architecture. Also, it just makes getting to the city centre easier. To our disappointment, the Sea Link’s lights were switched off due to the heavy spells of rain. But that didn’t pull us down. Even though we missed the fully lit up Sea Link, we could see the gleaming night skyline of Mumbai’s business district from a distance, its reflection shimmering in the sea beneath it.
The Glanza’s peppy motor made the drive even more enjoyable. The 1.2-litre K-series petrol engine puts out 82.9PS and 113Nm of torque. It is free-revving, smooth and incredibly well refined, with no engine noise seeping into the cabin and the vibrations are well contained. This engine is mated to a seamless CVT, but you also have the choice of a manual. And for those craving more power can choose the G (MT) with Advanced Lithium-ion battery with ISG that makes 89.7PS. The Glanza comfortably crawled in traffic and the CVT made sure my feet weren’t stressed.
But if the enthusiast in you is craving for some fun, the Glanza won’t disappoint. Put your foot down and the engine builds power linearly and gets you to three-digit speeds. The Glanza likes stretching its legs, and it does so effortlessly. And with a BS-VI compliant petrol engine, you know that the car is future-proof.
After the flawless tarmac of the Sea Link, we headed towards Fort, the most iconic and historic part of Mumbai. During the day it’s a busy commercial district with colonial-era offices, chain stores, street stalls and road-side vendors selling everything from coconut water to used books and even gramophone records. At 3am, it’s a blissful and calm drive through history. The British built a number of Gothic-style buildings in the late 18th and 19th centuries – the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station, Bombay High Court, Rajabai Clock tower, Asiatic Society of Mumbai Library, National Gallery of Modern Art are a few prominent ones. The grand and imposing elements of Gothic architecture helped the British portray Bombay as a global power. What pleased our shutterbugs Rohit and Sachin the most was that each of these colonial-era buildings is extremely well-lit, providing enough light for great shots despite the ungodly hour.
Driving the Toyota Glanza around this part of Mumbai highlighted its sprightly handling. The premium hatchback’s suspension is well balanced and is not too hard or soft. The 16-inch Apollo tyres grip very well and instil the confidence needed to drive enthusiastically. Even when the rains were lashing the city, we kept driving at normal speeds without any issue. What also helps in improving the Glanza’s handling is its weight. The ‘V’ manual variant has a kerb weight of just 890kg while the CVT that we drove tipped the scales at 935kg. This makes the Glanza one of the lightest cars in the segment.
Despite being light, Toyota hasn’t compromised on safety. The Glanza is built on the new- generation Heartect Platform which ensures superior crash resilience, enhanced rigidity and improved NVH performance. The car also comes standard with dual front airbags, ABS, EBD and BA, complying with all the safety regulations that have recently come into effect.
It’s 4am now and I realise there’s something extremely soothing about the post-midnight ambience of a coastal city. As we drove the Glanza around Marine Lines, we noticed how life had finally mellowed down after an utterly chaotic day. The chaos in Mumbai is incomparable to any other city of the world. A recent global survey stated that commuters spend 65 per cent more time on the roads during peak hours than when the roads are free. But soaking in the peace and quiet along Marine Drive in the wee hours of the morning, you wouldn’t think that the same road will be choked again in a few hours. Youngsters relished the cool coastal breeze as the tetrapods by the shore broke the waves and stopped them from washing out the land from under them.
There were plenty of tea, coffee and ice-cream vendors even at this hour. Such is the extreme transition Mumbai goes through every single day and night. However, after a tiring day in office, the Glanza is a superbly convenient and comfortable car to drive back home. The dashboard is smartly laid out. The Smart Playcast system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay makes sure that your connectivity and entertainment needs are satisfied. Also, features like the reverse parking camera, auto-folding ORVMs, follow-me-home headlamps and split rear seats make life much easier. I wouldn’t be surprised if you head out for a party after a commute back home in the Glanza.
But the Glanza is more than just a good car. Being a Toyota, it offers a great buying experience including after sales and service. It comes with a warranty of three years/one lakh kilometres, three years of free roadside assistance, six months warranty on parts and express maintenance time of just 60 minutes. So, clearly, the company has focused on customer centricity and value for money proposition.
We crossed police barricades at least a dozen times during our stint. And never have I ever been put through breath analysers this many times. The city clearly works hard and parties harder. The Toyota Glanza, then, is perfect for individuals who live that sort of lifestyle. It resonated with Hari and me, two youngsters out to have a blast in the city at night. It is perfect for the daily commute, and stylish to flaunt after dark. Also, the Toyota badge brings solid long-term reliability. What more can an enthusiastic city-dweller ask for?