Race to the Taj Mahal: Gatimaan Express vs Volvo V90 Cross Country
The Volvo V90 Cross Country is an unconventional car. It has sedan-like handling characteristics, with a station-wagon body style, and the all-terrain capabilities of an SUV. It combines the best of all three. And being a Volvo, needless to say it is loaded with safety tech at a price – Rs 60 lakh (launch price) – that is relatively good value compared to other luxury cars.
The Gatimaan Express is India's fastest train. It covers a distance of 188 km between Nizamuddin in New Delhi and Agra Cantonment in just 100 minutes, with speeds exceeding 160 kmph at times on the trip.
There's also excellent road connectivity between the capital and Agra in the form of the Yamuna Expressway. The road distance between The Quint's office in Noida and the Taj Mahal is a little over 203 km. If you factor in the distance between The Quint's office and the Nizamuddin station and the distance from Agra Cantonment station to the Taj Mahal, the total distance is the same.
So it was only apt that we decided to see which would actually be a faster mode of transport. Keep in mind the challenges faced while travelling by road – traffic, speed limits and, of course, the dreaded winter fog. The train gets priority clearance and hence is rarely late. In fact, it apparently reaches early on most days!
The Volvo V90 Cross Country has a 2-litre diesel engine that puts out 235 PS of power and 480 Nm of torque with an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. It comes with features like adaptive cruise control and 'Pilot Assist', which even takes charge of the steering wheel for a few seconds, keeping the car within the lane and following a vehicle ahead.
The Gatimaan Express has a P5 electric locomotive that puts out over 5,400 horsepower! It has only 10 coaches in all, making it quite a compact train, with complete onboard hospitality services. It leaves at 8:10 am on all days except Friday from Delhi to Agra.
At 7:30 am on a late-December winter morning, we set off on this unique race. Watch to see how it turned out.
Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia
Camerapersons: Vivek Das, Abhishek Ranjan Chaudhary
Anchors: S Aadeetya, Roshun Povaiah