Honda Cars India successfully completed the 10th edition of their Drive To Discover series
Most of us landed up spending the last year locked up in our homes and restricting travel for only super critical affairs. The lockdown created a strong craving for some good old school road trips for the Gallivanters inside each one of us. So, when the good folks at Honda invited us for the 10th edition of the Drive to Discover, we immediately blocked our dates.
Drive to Discover is an annual event in Honda’s calendar (2020 was an exception due to the pandemic) and over the years we have discovered multiple gems of the Indian sub-continent (from scenic monasteries of Bhutan to the Jungles of Central India) with them. This year’s drive was planned from Bangalore to Goa. However, we were not supposed to take the conventional 600 km-11 hour route. Instead, the team at Honda had curated a relaxed 800 km 3-day drive. The idea was to provide time for all of us to Drive More and Discover More!
Considering the pandemic, Honda wanted the trip to be a safe experience for all the participants, and hence, 2 days before our respective flights to Bangalore, we underwent our Covid-19 tests. I underwent my first-ever Covid-19 test only for the D2D10. I waited for the Covid-19 test reports and packed my luggage, only once the report came in negative.
The journey for me started with an early morning flight to Bangalore, which sadly got delayed due to some technical issues. Thankfully, Honda had chosen the Taj Bangalore as the Flag Off point, which is right in front of the B’lore Airport (and helps with negating the B’lore traffic).
By the time I reached the hotel, I could see a long line-up of Honda cars in the porch area with fellow auto-bloggers making their way to their respective rides for the day. Honda had paired auto-journos in pairs of 2 for the trip. Each day, we would get a different Honda car to drive and experience. I searched for my co-driver for the trip and settled into an Amaze Diesel MT, which was our ride for Day 1.
We were to start from the Bangalore Airport and drive all the way up to Chikmagalur. First thing I did after stepping inside the car was tuned the AC to full blast. The cooling capacity of the Amaze was good as it managed to bring down the temperature of the cabin to a pleasant level in absolutely no time. After the flag-off, we started towards our pit-stop for the day, which was a restaurant in a town named Hassan.
After clearing the city limits, the Diesel Amaze started to chug miles with a smile, as broad as its chrome grille at the front. Compliments to the Transport Ministry of Karnataka for maintaining the quality of tarmac too. Overall, it was a beautiful combination of fine tarmac, open highways, scenic views and a diesel motor which was happy to rev!
After our Pitstop at Hassan, we continued our drive towards Chikmagalur. We entered the town around late evening and we could see multiple signage welcoming us for some authentic Coffee. Chikmagalur is known for its coffee plantations, beautiful treks and famous temples in the district.
We, however were headed towards our night-stay towards a hill-top. After around a 60 minute up-hill climb, we finally managed to check-in into the lavish Trivik Resort, which was our abode for the night. During the up-hill climb, we did miss out on some low-end torque from Amaze’s motor as we had to really work the gears to ease out the climb. Overall, we clocked around 300 km in 6 hours.
The day started early for me as I didn’t want to miss out on beautiful early-morning views from the peak. The early morning view of the valley was possibly the best sunrise I had come across in the last 1 year or so, (majorly, thanks to the pandemic). A group of Auto Journos had left for a short photoshoot at the Mullyanagiri peak, which happens to be the highest peak in Karnataka, however I chose to go for a short trek to discover more of what the valley had to offer.
After a lazy breakfast, which had almost transitioned into brunch, the convoy was ready to depart for Kundapura. The overall distance was of around 245 km and we were to reach the destination by dinner. This meant that we had ample amount of time with us to plan on detours and Discover more on this trip, and that, is essentially what we decided to do!
For Day 2, we had the Honda Jazz Petrol-Manual, which is a nice, practical and reliable hatchback. While international markets have started to receive the next generation Jazz, Honda is still technically continuing with the 2014 iteration of the Jazz in India, though with some minor tweaks.
Even though the Jazz is a dated vehicle, it majorly doesn’t disappoint you. The amount of space it offers, its ride and handling, suspension quality, steering feedback – are still one of the best in the segment. One area which does need an upgrade would be its equipment levels, as the lack of some basics like, rear AC vents can become a deal-breaker for a hatchback which almost costs INR 10 lakhs.
The prescribed route as per plan would have taken us to Kundapura via Mangalore. However, we decided to rework our route and landed up covering 3 additional towns of Dharmsthala, Mudbidri and Udupi. Dharmsthala, as the name suggests, is a town famous for its numerous temples, however the most famous one is that of the Lord Shiva – also known as Lord Manjunath. The beauty about the temple is that despite being a Hindu temple, the administration is run by a Jain family, truly representing the multicultural Republic, India is.
Next up, we had a quick stop-over in Mudbidri, where we visited the Saavira Kambada Temple, known for its unique 1,000 pillar design. Later on the way to Kundapura, we also crossed the famous Udupi town, which has blessed the world with multiple Udupi hotels, known for their mouth watering South-Indian Breakfast items.
Despite taking multiple detours, we were one of the first few members of the convoy who had reached the hotel. Jazz’s practicality and seating comfort levels ensured that we didn’t feel too tired, despite a long 8-hour drive.
On the last day of the trip, we finally graduated to the current flagship offering from Honda, the Honda City. The task for the day was simple, drive down from Kundapura to the beautiful city of Goa. Coincidentally, exactly an year ago, i.e. just before the lockdown, Honda had planned for a Media Drive of the 2020 City in Goa. The event had to be called off last year, due to the pandemic. As luck would have it, I would be driving into Goa with the City this time, exactly around 1 year later than the original plan.
For our ~350 km trip, a Petrol CVT City was our partner. During the journey, we passed through some exotic locations of the west coast, including multiple beach towns and even discovered some National Monuments, which had been restored by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Till the time we were in Karnataka, the highway continued to be well paved out 4-lane roads, however the moment we entered into Goa State’s borders, it squeezed into a cozy double road. There were some twisties on the way too, which helped the City to showcase us its capabilities. I didn’t have anything to complain about the City, except a desire to have a AT/DCT instead of the CVT. We entered our resort in Goa around 6 PM and that essentially brought an end to our Drive.
Journey is the Destination
While we have been part of many convoy trips, one thing which usually stands out with Honda’s Drive to Discover Program is the freedom provided to Discover. The trip isn’t just about the commute from Point A to Point B. The famous quote, ‘Journey is the Destination’ appropriately summarizes the spirit of Honda’s Drive to Discover program. Also, it works out as a perfect platform to experience the latest offerings from Honda’s stable in depth, which a conventional time-bound Media Drive can never provide.