Home News Honda Elevate CVT Shines in Hills; Drive to Discover 12

Honda Elevate CVT Shines in Hills; Drive to Discover 12

by caradmin
Honda Elevate CVT Shines in Hills; Drive to Discover 12

Honda Cars India’s annual event, ‘Drive to Discover,’ holds a special place in the hearts of all who have been part of this remarkable journey over the years. I consider myself fortunate to have participated in multiple editions of this event, where we not only explored different parts of the country behind the wheel but also immersed ourselves in the local cuisine and culture.

As an automobile journalist, our routines are often mundane, involving driving cars at picturesque locations without truly experiencing the local essence. ‘Drive to Discover,’ however, offers a more enriching experience. When I was invited to join the 12th edition, focusing on the Eastern and my beloved North Eastern regions of our country, I readily accepted the opportunity.

The 12th edition unfolded a distinctive opportunity to traverse the North East, unveiling a highly anticipated addition to the Honda lineup—the Honda Elevate. This compact SUV not only marked Honda’s foray into the fastest growing compact SUV space where almost every brand is present. Accompanying it on our journey were the Honda Amaze (manual and CVT) and the versatile Honda City (manual, CVT, and hybrid), covering nearly 600 kilometers across varied terrains of the North East. Read: All Details On Honda Elevate Electric SUV (ACE Project)

Day 1: Siliguri to Gangtok

Arriving at Bagdogra International Airport from Delhi around noon, I joined a group of journalists for this exciting adventure. After a quick lunch, we were introduced to the fleet of Honda cars, including the Elevate MT and CVT, Amaze MT and CVT, and City MT, CVT, and Hybrid. And luckily I got what I wanted – a Honda Elevate CVT – as I truly wanted to test especially on hilly sections.

Usually, CVTs are considered great for regular city and highway runs, but that was mostly the case earlier. Right now with the change in the technology, CVTs can be trusted as much as most other automatic gearbox technologies. And my trip through Siliguri’s uneven and rough terrains, made me love the CVT even more. It didn’t sweat even a bit, and worked flawlessly as we reached the end of day 1. The journey commenced under the early sun, with our arrival at the hotel unfolding late into the night.

Day 2: Gangtok to Nathu La pass

On the second day, our plan was to journey to Nathu La, situated at an elevation of 14,140 feet, making it one of the highest motorable passes globally, located at the Sikkim-China border. Anticipating the extreme cold and discomfort at such altitudes, we were aware of the challenges.

The air becomes denser and breathing can be difficult for many at such heights. This also affects the efficiency of our vehicles, which require clean, thin air to operate optimally. It’s a common phenomenon that vehicle power decreases as you ascend hills, resulting in less smooth power delivery compared to flat terrains. Hence, it’s essential to adjust your throttle accordingly to adapt to these conditions.

We were fortunate to have the Elevate CVT, although it did feel slightly underpowered at times, especially during steep inclines and hairpin bends. However, thanks to its remarkable 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine and well-tuned CVT, our experience was smoother than what many other vehicles might offer. While the CVT may be slightly noisier at higher altitudes, it performed admirably for us.

The journey typically takes around three hours from Gangtok to Nathu La, but here’s a pro tip: take it slow, and make sure to take frequent breaks to allow your body to acclimatize to the changing temperatures and altitudes. Neglecting breaks can lead to altitude sickness.

The pinnacle of our expedition was Nathu La pass, offering breathtaking views of the valley and snow-capped mountains, with the added intrigue of being in close proximity to the Chinese border. Our day included a memorable lunch at Tsomgo Lake and a visit to the country’s highest altitude passenger ropeway before we returned to the hotel.

Day 3: Gangtok to Pelling

After two days of driving the Honda Elevate CVT, I switched to the Honda City e:HEV (hybrid), which, in my opinion, stands as the premier sedan in the country currently. I maintain that nothing rivals the City Hybrid, not even its German competitors with powerful Turbocharged engines.

While it may come at a slightly higher cost due to our unique tax structure for strong hybrids, it offers substantial savings in daily fuel expenses with an impressive fuel efficiency of 25-26 kmpl in city conditions. The vehicle operates so quietly from idle to speeds of up to 50 kmph that one may second-guess if it’s even running, courtesy of its robust hybrid setup that keeps it in EV mode when throttle usage is conservative.

To my surprise, the e:HEV performed admirably well, matching if not surpassing the Elevate on rough patches. While the Elevate instills confidence on rugged terrains and rural roads, the City’s ride quality remains unmatched. It’s no wonder why the City continues to be a top seller in a segment that typically has a limited contribution to overall passenger vehicle sales.

On the third day, our itinerary involved a drive from Gangtok to Pelling, with the Honda City e:HEV as my companion behind the wheel. We made a pit stop for lunch and visited the Pelling Skywalk for a breathtaking glimpse of Kangchenjunga, adding a memorable touch to our day’s journey.

Day 4: Pelling to Kalimpong

On the fourth day, we started early with the Honda City e:HEV, smoothly maneuvering through sharp turns and bumpy roads on our way to Kalimpong. We took a break at Ging Tea House for lunch, where we also enjoyed a guided tour on tea processing. After that, we headed down to Darjeeling, where we made a collective effort to capture the iconic toy train, pausing for a memorable moment. As the sun set, we reached our hotel in Kalimpong, wrapping up the second-to-last day with shared experiences and a mix of emotions as we prepared to leave this captivating state.

Day 5: Kalimpong to Siliguri

The last day arrived, indicating the journey back home. Choosing the City hybrid, I expected a comfortable drive on what were said to be good roads. Looking back on our time in Sikkim while heading back, a mix of missing the mountains and cherishing memories came along, closing a remarkable chapter of adventure and learning.

I can’t conclude this write-up without reiterating that Honda’s 1.5-liter naturally aspirated engine continues to outshine many turbocharged engines available today. It brings joy, is sufficiently fast, and the exhilaration it provides when you hit that redline at 7000rpm is unparalleled. Honda’s CVT has evolved over the years, adapting to changing conditions and proving to be a reliable companion amidst the plethora of automatic transmissions available today. Thank you, Honda, for continuing to invest in naturally aspirated engines.

Honda Elevate CVT Shines in Hills; Drive to Discover 12

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