We’ll be honest – we never need an excuse to drive to Goa, a place that always manages to combine old-world charm with a modern vibe. When the Verna showed up at our doorstep, it was a moment’s work to plan a road trip there, and as always, we made an early start out of Mumbai to beat the traffic. The Verna, with a full tank, indicated a 700 km range, so we weren’t even worried about not having the diesel variant. It’s also loaded with comfort, safety and convenience features, so it ticks all our boxes.
A quick Expressway run to Pune was dismissed with ease, and we finally made a stop 70 km past the city; at this point, the range indicated was still well over 500, a marker of how efficient the 1.5-litre petrol engine is. A single tank of fuel was all we were going to need, clearly.
As the journey unfolded, the Verna’s features transformed each moment behind the wheel into a blend of comfort and functionality. The automatic climate control enveloped us in a cocoon of tailored comfort, effectively dismissing weather concerns. A few kilometres before reaching Kolhapur, the TPMS system proved to be a blessing in disguise, as an alert notified us of low pressure in the rear right tyre, prompting us to make a swift stop to address a puncture. We’d probably never have known about it until too late, had it not been for the TPMS.
Getting on the picturesque Amboli Ghat, the winding roads seemed custom-made for the Verna. The vehicle’s nimbleness and responsiveness came to the fore, as we manoeuvred through the ghat’s twists and turns. The awe-inspiring views made us pause for several photo opportunities, and we watched as the sun played peek-a-boo behind the lush hills. Later on, we accomplished our one-tank mission to Goa, with over 100 km of range left to spare.
The following morning, we set out to explore the lesser-known beach cliff nestled in the south of Goa, Cabo De Rama (although all automotive journos worth their salt will be familiar with it). Offering panoramic views of the Goan coastline, it’s a place that lets you immerse yourself in the beauty of the sky and sea.
Continuing the aquatic theme, we boarded a Ro-Ro ferry to Diwar Island. Parking on a ferry can often be a challenging task, but with the Verna’s front and rear parking sensors, it was an effortless endeavour. We were astonished by the affordability of these ferries – a mere Rs 7 for the car, passengers included. Try getting a cup of tea for that amount these days.
Our exploration of the Fontainhas area in Panaji was an education in 451 years of Portuguese rule; this influence is vividly displayed on the colourful streets here, adorned with quaint cafes and pastel-coloured houses. As night descended, we jumped into the nightlife scene by venturing into the bustling clubs on the famous Tito’s Lane. Neon lights illuminated the whole lane, and we set up the Verna’s ambient lighting system to match them; a bit of a lark, sure, but fun nonetheless.
No trip to Goa is complete without eating to your heart’s content, and our own culinary pinnacle was reached at the Purple Martini Restobar in Anjuna, nestled along the shoreline and offering a lovely coastal view. Without going into too many details, we can safely say that we ate our way through the superb menu. We ventured into the local markets of Anjuna after this, stocking up on souvenirs and doing our bit for the local economy. As a nightcap, we made a beeline for Morjim Beach, in the northern tip of Goa, where we watched the sun descend into the waves.
Goa is a place of contrasts. From the allure of Old Goa, with its heritage architecture pointing to its rich history, to the infectious energy of its vibrant nightlife scene, there’s something for everyone – and the Verna is a similar mix of the stately and the vibrant. The seamless transition between the hushed reverence of Old Goa and the pulsating rhythms of North Goa’s revelry also sums up the Verna’s ability to effortlessly switch between sophistication and dynamism.
At the end of our trip, we thought about how the Verna seamlessly integrated into Goa’s landscape, offering comfort, performance and practicality with every turn of the wheel. For us at Motoring, driving isn’t solely about reaching a destination – it’s about being in the moment during every part of the drive. The Verna helped us do that to wonderful effect.
Pictures by Tejaswi Dixit and Niket Bhanushali