x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

My Car: It's plain sailing in the Nissan Armada 4x4

Avid adventure traveller, busy mother and leadership professional - her Nissan SUV allows Triptta Neb to maximise her life with its space and resourcefulness.

Triptta Neb says her Nissan Armada has got her out of sticky situations, including when driving up a mountain path. Part of the path caved in and a wheel dropped down. Charles Crowell for The National
Triptta Neb says her Nissan Armada has got her out of sticky situations, including when driving up a mountain path. Part of the path caved in and a wheel dropped down. Charles Crowell for The National

For more than 10 years, leadership trainer and highly motivated mother-of-two Triptta Neb has helped some of the most influential people in the UAE's top organisations become better leaders, but she puts all her faith into her 2008 Nissan Armada to help her achieve her weekend goals.

Neb is an avid trekker, who has climbed 5,895m Kilimanjaro twice and has even led her 14-year-old son, Nirvana, up the formidable mountain. She plans to climb the highest peaks of all seven continents over the coming years.

Between hiking the various mountains surrounding the UAE and Oman in training for her next two conquests - the 6,962m Aconcagua, in Argentina, and the 5,642m Mount Elbrus, in Russia, Neb has built up a waiting list of her sons' friends who she leads on camping and hiking weekends.

This is where the spacious and reliable Nissan Armada serves her purpose perfectly. "I love this car - it's ideal for our needs, as the boys jump in with all our equipment and off we go for two or three days to have a great time and an adventure in the Armada," she says.

Neb bought the 4x4 new from Al Rostamani showroom in Dubai in 2008 as it seemed to offer her the comfort, size and reliability to handle her family's outdoor activities, and the beast of burden has performed admirably.

"The vehicle has proven to have an impressive amount of stability, despite the fact it has very high clearance, so it doesn't float around corners on regular roads like other 4x4s," Neb says.

"It's really comfortable, which is crucial, as my youngest son, Yoshaan, dislikes camping. This means we have to make the whole experience as pleasing as possible for him and the Armada has enough space for three iceboxes full of food and drinks, to ensure the little fella travels in style."

When pressed for something that would prove she doesn't hold shares in Nissan, Neb thinks for a while before clicking her fingers as a downside comes to her. "It's a mean gas guzzler, giving about 500km to a tank and it costs about Dh180 to fill, which is a lot. When I'm using it to do short runs and general city driving, this can fall to about 400km, which is way too much," she complains.

Neb doesn't just drive along easy trails and trek up the UAE's well-trodden paths. She takes the kids and the car up steep inclines, showing them techniques, such as three-point contact climbing, and they have got themselves into a few sticky situations, one of which the Armada got them out of. "The Al Hajar mountains are incredibly old - you can touch a seemingly solid rock face and it will come apart in your hand. We decided to take the Armada up a steep climb towards a telecommunications tower on the way back from Fujairah when the path suddenly caved in and the left tyre dropped down," she explains.

It was at this point I made the mistake of asking whether they were scared and Neb smiled at me as if I was a little pathetic. "Of course not. We just had to use a spade to get going before backing it up for four or five hundred metres so we could turn.

"The rearview camera really helped, as the path was barely wide enough to take the car itself, so we could have been stuck there for a long time, but had faith in our car to get us out - it's never let us down," she says with pride. According to Neb, the Nissan Armada has one more crucial attribute - it doubles as a mobile bed for a car full of tired children after another adventure weekend away.