Taking on the challenge of an off-road adventure to Lo Manthang, Bijendra Suwal, the Deputy General Manager of Nepal Investment Bank Ltd (NIBL) drove his Citroen C5 Aircross to the walled capital of the Kingdom of Lo. Lo Manthang is the capital of Upper Mustang lying at an altitude of 3,840 metres. The route for Lo Manthang is well known for its extreme off-road conditions. Suwal got his C5 Aircross some nine months ago. On the lookout for a new car, he knew that the car would need to meet his requirements of travelling a lot, especially on off-road, track and long journeys as he would be retiring from work soon. “The moment I saw the car, it was love at first sight. The shape, the interiors, and the colour white, it fitted all my requirements,” he shares.
Back in his youth, Citroen was quite popular amongst Nepalis. According to him, many of his friends used to own a Citroen. “As far as I know the best part was the suspension. It was so good that even on the bumpy roads of Kathmandu then, we used to enjoy our rides,” shares Suwal. Since, Citroen is a French brand, Suwal was assured of its quality. After the test-ride, he was completely convinced to buy the Citroen C5 Aircross.
Suwal found that the new Citroen C5 Aircross met his budget and was perfectly suitable for his lifestyle and the terrain of Nepal. However, the car missed out on the 4WD system. Initially, his plan was to take his wife to Muktinath in his new car. So, they drove to Muktinath where they met a motorbiking couple who suggested not to miss the Korola Pass Border. And thus, his trip to Muktinath stretched to Korola Lo Manthang.
The comparatively higher ground clearance of 230 mm on the C5 Aircross gave him the confidence to take on this adventure to Upper Mustang. The second thing that added to his confidence is the terrain control system which took care of rough roads to some extent. As Upper Mustang has terrain interspersed with heavy off-road, slippery roads and near vertical uphills, he says that he missed the 4WD system at two locations but due to the terrain control system in the Citroen, he was able to continue his journey to Korola border without any major hassle.
About the quality of the ride, Suwal says that the very unique suspension of Citroen which is called the Hydropneumatic Suspension made the journey comfortable. “People say it’s equivalent to a flying carpet. When you drive a Citroen, it has a very acoustic system inside. You hardly hear any noise or disturbance. The suspension is very good. It’s almost equivalent to flying a carpet. You’ll have a comfortable journey even on rough terrain or an adventurous route,” he shares. He also likes that the backseat can fold individually which is very convenient on a long drive.
Talking about the car’s performance, he says, “I’d rather say A+ not A++. If it was a 4-wheel drive, I would have rated it A+++. But it’s still a perfect fit for our terrain and those who love adventurous outings. From the luggage compartment, clearance, height, weather sunroof, moonroof, sound system, everything perfectly matches my requirement.” The other aspect that Suwal misses in the C5 Aircross is the woofer in the sound system as he loves to listen to music while driving and sound quality is high on priority for him. Apart from that, he thinks the car is total value for money.
Suwal shares, “You’ll feel proud when you look at your car. That’s very important when you own a car. Every morning when you look at your car, you should be proud that you own it. That satisfaction is very important.”
He concludes his testimony with, “You won’t regret it. In the end, if you look at the financial prospect, I think the total cost of ownership will be much less compared to other cars because it’s a French brand and there should be no problems from the quality perspective.”