Last week, I finally got my own car, a Suzuki Swift. It was on backorder. It’s a compact car, which is ideal for the narrow roads here, and the driving conditions in the villages, where people simply park on the street to quickly visit a shop.
There are highways, mainly in the centre of the island, but they are not the closed-off, fast travel channels as found in Europe. While the maximum speed is 110 km/h, you rarely drive that fast. Many sections are limited to 80 or 90 km/h. There are roundabouts from time to time, and sometimes you encounter a farmer on his tractors or even a bicycle. And some bus stops. So it’s simply a good idea to keep your speed down – and your awareness up!
The Suzuki has a nice quality feeling to it. Its weight is below 1,000 kg, so the 1.4 litre engine is sufficient, considering the roads and traffic conditions. It’s fun to drive, with ergonomic seats, adjustable steering wheel, and precise steering and manual gearbox. There’s Bluetooth integration for my iPhone, both for calls and for music. I also use the iPhone for navigation, with the TomTom application and maps downloaded on the device, as I would not want to rely on on-line access for Apple or Google maps.
The gasoline price is about 45 Rupees per litre, which is roughly 1.25 Swiss Francs, hence pretty high compared to other prices here. The yearly road tax for my car is 4,000 Rupees (110 CHF), the all-risk insurance about 18,500 Rupees (510 CHF).
Cars are considered luxury here, hence there’s a hefty registration tax, which gets over-proportionally higher for more expensive models.