Professional roadtripper — Nissan Magnite owner's story
I don’t know if he gets dreams of being on the road. There’s good chance Siddhant smiles in his sleep with his hands on the steering wheel visualising the acoustic treatment he is giving the next studio he is designing hundreds of kilometres away. Because when he wakes up, that’s probably what he does at least a few times a week. Meet Siddhant Amonkar, a Goan who has driven his car for over 75,000km in just 25 months. His story starts from the day he received the keys to his Sandstone Brown Magnite in March 2021. A month later, most states in India including Goa went into lockdown and Siddhant’s new Magnite was pressed into ambulance duty.
But before that, let me give you some background. We created a series of stories when Nissan clocked 50,000 unit sales last year. It was called the Big, Bold and Beautiful drive, where we found locations around the country that share these attributes with the Magnite. From the Western Ghats to Mughal architecture in the North to national parks and beautiful highways, we went everywhere in search of Magnite owners who would like to share their love for adventure with us. It was so interesting to meet people from different walks of life who have something in common with each other, and the consensus was that the Magnite was a key enabler in their mobility and travel needs. A year later, we began our search for Magnite owners who have extensively driven their car, setting a minimum cap of 50,000km, to know what life is like from behind the ’wheel of a Magnite after driving it extensively and that’s when we stumbled upon Mr Amonkar’s details.
A week later, the evo India crew was in Goa, catching up with Siddhant who introduced the Magnite with quite a dramatic statement. “I call it a mini-ambulance.” Clearly I was curious to know more, with my eyes wide open. You don’t usually refer to your car that way but then I remembered, he got his car delivered in March 2021. In early April, when the lockdown was announced, he had barely run-in his Magnite. The car that was going to take him places was parked in the garage. Soon after the lockdown was announced, the first COVID-19 patient he knew who had to be rushed to the hospital 40 minutes away from his home was his father. That was the longest he had driven in the new car, and as he drove his father to the hospital, he was getting to know his new car, learn how it performs at high speeds, its stability on the highway and the car’s agility on Goa’s narrow roads. His father reached the hospital in time and recovered a few weeks later. Over the next couple of months, Siddhant ferried seven more family members, friends and clients to the hospital. No wonder he calls it a mini-ambulance.
As the lockdown was lifted, work was back in full swing. Siddhant is an acoustic engineer who designs and sets up private theatres in cities such as Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore, in addition to Goa. He has to often drive to his sites to supervise work and everywhere he goes, the Magnite goes with him. Since Siddhant is his own boss, he also takes along family on some trips. One of the key considerations before buying the Magnite was cabin space. He is six feet tall, and his parents and wife are quite tall too, so comfortable space for four adults was non-negotiable. After shortlisting many cars and visiting many showrooms, he only found that space and comfort in the Magnite. Designing home theatres has also given Siddhant excellent aesthetic sensitivity. He looked for that in his car too and that’s where the Magnite’s interior fit the bill too. Minimalist, functional and upmarket, the car still feels as good as one that must have left a showroom yesterday.
That brings us to the odometer reading. While I knew beforehand that Siddhant had driven the car for over 50,000km, when I saw the car, even sitting in it, it felt like he had maintained it so well — it was like a new car. Then I glanced at the odo reading. It read 76,586km, in a little over two years, with a massive national lockdown in between. The only thing Siddhant has changed so far are a set of brake pads and tyres. 76k is a lot of running for a car that is barely two years old and Siddhant is well aware of that. But the pandemic turned out to be hugely beneficial for Siddhant’s company Sygnus Technologies. The fear of disease kept people out of multiplexes but those who wanted to indulge and had the means for it, built themselves home theatres. Business more than doubled for Siddhant but that also meant more sites to supervise, more projects to execute, and most of these were a fair bit away from sleepy little Goa. Driving to his sites, the Magnite kept good company with, “its pliant ride and JBL music system. The ride quality and strong turbo-petrol motor helped me cover long distances without stress. The seats are so comfortable and I also like the driving position.” Siddhant is also impressed with the service and 24/7 assistance. “This one time I needed emergency help on the highway near Satara when I was driving to Mumbai because the brakes were making some sound and were very hot. The towing van arrived in 30 minutes, the car was towed to a nearby Nissan workshop and the right front brake pads and discs were replaced. After a full service, the car was returned within a day. The towing service was free of cost too. Even the stock tyres were replaced at 74,000km, which is why I went for the same brand again.”
The whole family loves to travel. This is something Siddhant says he got from his father. Now a father himself with a three-year-old son, he takes him on long drives often. I wouldn’t be surprised if the child is bitten by the travel bug as well. The beauty of Siddhant’s story is how the Magnite has become such a key enabler for his business, while doubling up as the perfect family car. Some memories last a lifetime, and the memory of being there for his family and friends when they got COVID and driving them to the hospital in his Magnite is something that has been instrumental in Siddhant’s bonding with his Magnite. The SUV has also proved to be an excellent highway cruiser for Siddhant’s frequent intercity runs. The Magnite is more than a car for Siddhant. “It’s a part of the family, and I hope we meet again to exchange more stories when I cross 1.5 lakh kilometres,” are his parting words.