It is hard to tell who loves this Mercedes E200 Kompressor the most; the corporate lawyer father or his three-year-old daughter.
'It doesn't drive, it glides'
"Baba's car!" is the cry every time three-year-old Yashasvi sees a black Mercedes drive past, and the daughter of Rajeev Merkhedkar could barely be more in love with the car than her corporate lawyer father. A newcomer to the UAE from India, Rajeev was so excited about buying his dream car that he went straight to a Mercedes showroom after passing his driving test in Sept 2008 and handed over Dh152,000 for the E200 Kompressor model. Yashasvi and Rajeev are both smitten with the E200, which is laden with a number of comfort features, including thermo-electronic automatic climate control, very comfortable seats with adjustable headrests and safety belts, aero-wipers and multi-functional steering wheel.
"The Mercedes Benz E200 Kompressor comes with a highly sophisticated engine that has got four in-line cylinders and an advanced suspension system for a very comfortable ride. It sometimes feels that this car doesn't drive, but glides through town." "Like my daughter, I fell in love at first sight and my love has grown with time. It is so reliable that I have never even had a minor fault since purchase and I enjoy regular weekend excursions to Fujairah and occasional meetings in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah."
Many expatriate Indians, in particular, covet the Mercedes range, as prices in their home country can be more than twice as much as the same vehicles in other countries, such as the UAE. "It is really only the 'super rich' that drive new Mercedes in India, and it might not have been possible back home for the family of a young professional like me to enjoy such a car so early in life. Most Indian youngsters dream of owning luxurious cars. Living in the UAE helps make it possible to live the dream," he says. Rajeev then jokes, "My friends in India are green with envy, so I make sure to send home lots of pictures of the car and keep them up to date on our fun lifestyle out here."
Rajeev's daughter, Yashasvi, enjoys nothing more than fun family road trips with her parents. Her favourite drive is to Fujairah and loves to play on the beach, swimming and building sandcastles, so the Merkhedkar family likes to keep the car filled with beach toys and picnic goodies for the big day out. However, when asked whether he might have chosen a sportier, two-door Mercedes for Rajeev, had he been a single man, he chooses his words carefully and grins.
"My motto is 'fun together for the family'. "However - between you and me -I would have probably have bought a convertible Mercedes SLK had I been a bachelor in Dubai. It's important for single men to be seen, you know. "But then sometimes you need to reprioritise in life and I don't miss out on anything having this model except, maybe, a sliding hood." Merkhedkar feels his Mercedes E200 Kompressor complements his job, "this car perfectly blends space, safety and elegance, but still makes a bold statement.
"A very close friend and I went to the same showroom on the same day and bought our cars. "He took the white one and I took the black - of course. What could be better than a black Mercedes for a lawyer?" Rajeev says: "I would only ever consider selling my car if I left Dubai to return to India. Left hand drive cars are no use there. "However, as long as our fun family outings continue to be a success and we continue our wonderful lifestyle in this vibrant city - that will not be a decision I'll need to make for some time. Besides my daughter wouldn't let me sell it!"