Honda has added more features to the top variant of the Amaze, NVH has improved
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” goes a famous saying. So when Honda sent us the invite for an experiential drive in Gujarat in the Honda Amaze, we were game for what lied ahead. Travel in a motoring journalist’s life has the same relation as a car has to fuel, you just can’t do without either. Various first drives are kept by manufacturers all over the country but the state of Gujarat has never been a favourite. The primary factor in this being the prohibition of alcohol. The fact goes that when everyone meets at an event, the celebration isn’t enough without the tingle of alcohol on the taste buds. But Honda had planned this rather well as we were about to find out.
The Honda Amaze has been a very successful model for the Japanese manufacturer. Recently, the Amaze made its way into the Guinness Book of World Records for doing the longest drive by a single car in a country. Having delivered more than 1.25 lakh cars to customers since its launch, Honda had organised a ‘Discover Amazing India’ drive in the Honda Amaze to celebrate this feat. After catching an early morning flight to Ahmedabad, we were ready to drive to one of the most unique places in India, the Rann of Kutch. At our disposal was the new VX(O) variant of the Amaze which now gets an all black dashboard, AVN (carried from the Mobilio) and new white illumination on the speedometer. Another add-on includes electronically folding mirrors. From now on, even the SX variant will get electronically folding mirrors and a rear defogger. We set up our GPS for Bhuj (our first waypoint) and set off.
The roads in Gujarat are probably the best in the country. Even small towns and villages enroute had perfectly surfaced tarmac and it was a pleasure to drive through these. Yes, some areas did have some patchy and irregular surfaces but the Amaze eagerly went on without a hassle. After a quick stop for lunch we reached Bhuj, which is the closed city to this side of the Rann. After fuelling up the cars, most of the journalists obtained alcohol permits, which was a supposedly a lengthy task (we are teetotallers) and headed towards Dhordo Tent City, where we would be put up. The satellite navigation worked well and we reached our destination without any hiccups. This is the best time to visit Kutch as the Rann Utsav gathers quite a crowd to the area.
The day was not over yet. After dinner, we went out to the Rann for a midnight walk. You may wonder what would one see in the dark night but this turned out to be quite an experience. The sky was clear and one could see the stars distinctly, something the pollution and smog deprives you of in the metro cities. The night sky was complemented by the moon which would really light up the night and the ground (covered with white salt deposits). The beauty of the sky was truly astonishing. The silence of the night was occasionally broken by an Air-Force fighter jet patrolling the area. Pakistan border was barely 60 kms away and the white desert extends all the way into Pakistan and is the largest salt desert in the world.
The next day we took the cars to the white desert. The barren land is covered with salt and is practically endless. Some areas were marshy and we had to tread with caution. The salt on the ground mimicked snow and the photographs amplified this fact further. Another place worth visiting in the area was Kala Dungar, which is the highest point in the region and gives a birds eye view of the Rann. By now, pure vegetarian and sweet food was getting to most. In all fairness, the traditional food was cooked well but it was just the taste buds which begged to differ.
We had covered almost 800 kms in the Honda Amaze in these two days. The newly added AVN adds quite a lot of value to the package. Besides, when it comes to visual appeal, the Amaze is clearly well proportioned and is the most pleasing car to look at in its class. Honda engineers continuously work on various ways to improve existing products and they have done well with the Amaze. The kink in the armour was the NVH in the diesel powered car with the i-DTEC being quite loud. However Honda engineers have improved on this front and NVH levels are much better now. We thoroughly enjoyed exploring Gujarat in the Amaze which went perfectly with the theme of ‘Discover Amazing India’ in the Honda Amaze.