Features

Honda Drive to Uncover 11: Sedan hopping from Bengaluru to Kochi | Autocar India

Written by Raghav

Easy highways, winding mountain roads, and even slender streets. We take the Honda Metropolis, Metropolis Hybrid and Amaze on a memorable journey by way of southern India.

Printed On Sep 30, 2022 09:00:00 AM

Once I was first requested if I want to attend Honda’s annual drive occasion, I answered with an enthusiastic sure. It was my first time attending the Honda Drive to Uncover tour – now in its 11th version, this time a highway journey from Bengaluru to Kochi – and goes with out saying, I used to be excited.   

Day 1: Journey to Madikeri within the Metropolis

All of it started with me being courteously picked up by the event-arranged driver for the fairly early 7.35am flight. Issues appeared bleak at first – the rains in Mumbai bought more and more worse, making me nervous for the very first time, whereas ready for the airplane to take off. However as soon as we soared above the darkish, foreboding clouds, the clear skies calmed my nerves down, lastly permitting me to atone for some much-needed shut-eye till the flight touched down at Bengaluru airport.

 The explanation behind the drive being named ‘Sedan and Beautiful’.

The journey’s designated place to begin was the Taj Lodge close to the airport; all members had assembled there, together with all the line-up of Honda sedans (Metropolis, Amaze and Metropolis Hybrid). Publish a fast breakfast, an in depth presentation launched us to the drive’s theme – Sedan and Beautiful – in addition to the whole itinerary and timeline.

As soon as paired with my driving companion, a Metropolis petrol handbook was assigned to us for Day 1. With the drive now formally underway, all of us got the freedom to discover our personal routes to achieve the designated location, the Inexperienced Tree Restaurant, which was three hours away. I took the wheel, traversing by way of Bengaluru’s inside roads and heading in the direction of NH75, and seen one thing acquainted concerning the Metropolis handbook. Just like the 2006 Metropolis ZX that I owned, this Gen 5 Metropolis too showcased the power to serve up energy in any gear, decreasing the necessity for frequent gear modifications. 

Easy highways out of Bengaluru allowed for some much-needed, relaxed cruising.

After a number of detours that concerned average visitors and unpaved roads, we lastly reached the NH75 freeway. That is the place the Metropolis turned an distinctive cruiser after being slotted into sixth gear, permitting my co-driver and me to bond over Method One and a bag of snacks offered by the workforce. This jogged my memory of the numerous road-tripping exhibits I grew up watching the place the hosts did virtually the identical factor.

After three hours, we lastly turned off the sleek four-lane freeway and reached our first cease within the city of Channarayapatna, the place we had lunch and switched drivers for the following leg of our journey. It was mid-afternoon after we hit the highway once more, and in line with Google Maps, it will take us three hours to achieve our final cease, the Windflower Resort at Madikeri. Because the roads narrowed down to simply single lanes and the solar slowly started to set, we got here throughout gorgeous surroundings that we couldn’t assist however make a fast cease to seize.

The highway in the direction of Madikeri supplied fairly spectacular views.

Following the sundown was a sudden bathe, which made driving on the dimly lit roads a bit difficult. Reckless drivers and oncoming visitors with excessive beams weren’t serving to our case both. The fairly off-road-esque path examined the Metropolis’s floor clearance to its limits earlier than we lastly made it to the attractive Windflower Resort at 8pm. 

Day 2: Howdy hybrid, Muthunga Sanctuary and Sulthan Bathery

Having woken up good and early, my co-driver and I met for breakfast, enthusiastic about the truth that we have been getting behind the wheel of the Metropolis Hybrid. By no means having pushed the hybrid earlier than, I seemed ahead to this chance to know how totally different it’s when in comparison with the petrol-only Metropolis and take a look at its effectivity.

The Metropolis hybrid felt proper at house in Windflower Resort’s inexperienced environment.    

An abrupt gas cease with the convoy, nevertheless, delayed us by an hour or so, and this primarily pressured me to desert my plan to check the Metropolis eHEV’s gas effectivity. We had 215km to cowl and make it to our lunch cease by 2.30pm, and make it to our 3pm slot for the Muthunga Sanctuary go to. All through the drive, I used to be captivated by the gorgeous single-lane roads of Karnataka. After driving for 144km, surrounded by lush surroundings and blue open skies, my co-driver and I switched seats.

There was seemingly no finish to the gorgeous environment of Karnataka’s roads.

The hybrid was now being pushed even additional to chop down on time, sharply dropping the common gas financial system determine from 21.5kpl to 16.5kpl. Regardless of some unpaved roads alongside the best way and potholes the dimensions of craters, we have been seemingly on observe to achieve our lunch cease on time. Nonetheless, that is when Google Maps determined to have a thoughts of its personal, directing us on one other route, ultimately making us cease to ask an area for instructions. Fortunately, after being despatched on the suitable path, we swiftly approached Jubilee Restaurant at 2.15pm, the place we had a fast lunch earlier than setting off on a 20-minute drive to the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary.

An low season arrival meant that there have been only a few animals to be noticed.

We have been pushed into the sanctuary by forest officers of their previous Jeeps. Nonetheless, the low season tour meant that we barely bought to see a lot wildlife, aside from a herd of deer and some elephants. Publish the fairly uneventful sanctuary journey, it was time to swap seats and start a convoy drive in the direction of our closing cease for the day.

An total effectivity of 18.6kpl regardless of a harsh driving fashion is actually spectacular.

Because of a set tempo of 40kph, the hybrid went about its normal enterprise of working in EV mode as a lot because it might. Because the night daylight filtered by way of the foliage, we had formally entered Kerala and arrived on the attractive Saptha Resort and Spa close to the city of Sulthan Bathery. That is the place the Metropolis Hybrid indicated a mean gas financial system of 18.6kpl after a complete distance of 215km. A very wonderful feat, contemplating the pedal-to-the-metal driving, and the AC being saved on max for almost all of the drive.

Day 3: Taking part in catch-up with the Amaze to Kochi

After breakfast at Saptha the following day, we have been assigned the Amaze petrol handbook for the ultimate leg of our journey. Despite the fact that the 90hp, 1.2-litre Amaze was seemingly underrated when in comparison with the others, I had a sense that there was much more to the automotive. As we started our 278km journey in the direction of Kochi, it was determined that post-lunch, we might drive alongside the marginally longer coastal highway route to soak up some scenic views.

The underrated Amaze was essentially the most stunning of the lot because of its peppy engine. 

The primary 144km noticed me take the wheel of the peppy Amaze. A good selection in hindsight, because the twisty roads of the Kozhikode-Mysore-Kollegal freeway supplied spectacular views of the mountains. That is additionally the place the going bought more and more more durable, because the sheer recklessness of native drivers saved us on edge, particularly after seeing a scooter rider randomly shift into our lane from the oncoming aspect. The uphill roads indicated the strategy of a ghat, the place the already spectacular surroundings round us went up by one other stage.

‘Lakkidi View Level’ took the highest spot for essentially the most spectacular sight seen all through the drive.

The saying that ‘Kerala is God’s personal nation’ made plenty of sense to me as we reached the highest of the Thamarassery ghat and I laid my eyes on the picturesque mountains, open blue skies and the ribbon of tarmac nestled in between them. We had reached ‘Lakkidi View Level’, the place it was determined that everybody would drive in a convoy till the eventual coastal highway route. Taking place the ghat was simply essentially the most memorable a part of the drive, courtesy of the spectacular views and the Amaze’s spectacular journey and dealing with.

The downhill journey down the Thamarassery ghats was positively essentially the most enjoyable a part of the journey.

As soon as we have been accomplished with the ghats, Google Maps took us by way of a number of totally different bylanes and avenue roads through small quaint cities. The Amaze’s compact dimensions got here in fairly useful on the overtly slender roads. After what appeared like hours, we lastly hit the NH766 freeway, the place it was easy crusing all the best way till the lunch cease.

After my co-driver and I swapped seats for the ultimate time, we have been on our option to the fabled coastal highway, which promised to supply a tremendous view. Nonetheless, the shock roadworks and a number of detours threw a wrench in our proceedings, and we needed to abandon the coastal route thought. Our saving grace, nevertheless, was the picturesque lake the place we stopped to seize some refreshments.

Stopping for some much-needed refreshments through the lenghty closing stretch.  

It was now 5.30pm and in line with Google Maps, there was nonetheless three and a half hours’ value of driving to be accomplished to achieve the Marriott Lodge. The subsequent 134km have been essentially the most tiring and long-winded a part of the journey, as we got here throughout native drivers who wished to do something however allow us to go, and oncoming autos that had excessive beams on. We remained calm although, reminiscing about our journey thus far and enjoying music by way of the fairly wonderful audio system. At round 9 pm, we reached our vacation spot, lastly ending our journey with a heavy coronary heart.

The lengthy and arduous, 7-hour journey of Day Three got here to a detailed on the Marriot Lodge, Kochi. 

Despite the fact that it was a bit exhausting, the journey was actually an exquisite expertise, with the well-paved highways, the lodging and the attractive countryside views of southern India. The true heroes for me, nevertheless, have been the sedans, every with their strengths that have been highlighted in spades all through the three-day drive.

About the author

Raghav