The CR-V, City, Jazz did well amid rugged conditions in Honda’s latest Drive to Discover
Barely before the dust had settled as we moved into the new year, Honda was ready with the first event of 2016. The ‘Honda Drive To Discover’, now into its 6th season, is all about exploring the country while experiencing Honda cars. We have been regular in attending this franchise and this gives us an opportunity to take a break from urban life and take the road less traveled. Unlike last year, where we only had the Honda Mobilio do do the duties, this year Honda had got the City, Jazz and CR-V. Each of the cars was equipped with Honda Connect, a unique initiative which not only helps to locate your car, it also reveals service related and analytic information. This time we were in the princely state of Rajasthan and we began our quest to discover from the city of Jodhpur.
Making our way through city traffic was a daunting task. There are innumerable two-wheelers popping out from nowhere, there is little traffic sense and you have to be extremely careful moving around. However, the CR-V was a blessing for us. Moving through the crowded city, the automatic transmission kept the fatigue away and the comfort levels in the cabin made the entire experience stress free. Things got a lot easier as we got to the highway. Highways in Rajasthan are well surfaced and smooth, barring an odd patch here and there, it was a smooth ride. We stopped for lunch to enjoy some local culinary delights, the most famous being laal maas, a spicy mutton curry.
We reached Jaisalmer by late evening and retired for the day. The next day we took over the Honda City CVT and moved out to explore the local area. One of the must visit places is the War Museum. Situated at the entry of Jaisalmer, the War Museum tells you about the Indian Army and their stories of courage and sacrifice. They also have some extreme military vehicles on display including captured enemy tanks and armoured vehicles. This place makes your chest swell with pride with the stories of brave soldiers who laid their lives in the line of duty.
The main attraction of Jaisalmer lies in the heart of the city. Built in year 1156, the Jaisalmer Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Rajasthan is one such state in India where history resonates through its various monuments, the forts being one of them. Surrounded by a boundary wall all around, the fort has 2 internal boundary walls on the inside too. It was made at a height so that the guards had a good view from their posts. Also, the yellow colour of the stone used would camouflage the fort against the desert from a distance.
With so much history around the place, there are bound to be some stories which are intriguing. One such story is about the haunted village of Kuldhara and there is no better time to visit it than just after sunset. This village has been barren since the last 200 years and it’s said that the villagers just left everything overnight. Apparently, the Maharaja wanted to marry a local girl from the village and the villagers being Brahmins, do not get married in Rajputs. There was friction between the two and the villagers just abandoned their home and left. Since then the village has been lying barren and is under the Archeological Survey Of India. There are reports of paranormal activities but honestly we didn’t feel a thing. However, there was definitely something eerie about the place.
Honda’s i-DTEC motor delivers good performance and is quite frugal too
There is no point to do a desert trip if you don’t do some dune bashing. Jaisalmer offers one of the best sand dune experience in Rajasthan. Situated 30 kms from the city of Jaisalmer are the Sam Sand Dunes. Unfortunately our Honda cars, including the CR-V are soft roaders and are not suitable to get into the dunes. Best option was to take a local guide with a 4×4 and into the Thar we went. The dune experience was amazing but can leave you with a sore bottom as you bounce inexplicably in your seat throughout the joy ride.
We returned to Jodhpur through the city of Barmer, which is a small border town. The CR-V and City had done well over the past three days. We had taken both these cars through some harsh terrain, smooth highways, villages with no roads and extreme temperatures but both of them served us without a hassle. The CR-V, being a petrol powered SUV, did make a few extra stops for fuel, while those driving the City and Jazz diesel barely made any stops at the fuel station. Coincidentally both the cars we drove had an automatic transmission, CVT in case of the City. It really makes life very comfortable through the entire journey, but robs away the fun that a manual transmission offers.
We also got to experience Honda Connect first hand. We had installed the Honda Connect app on our smartphone before setting out. The app is available for both iOS and Android. There is a variety of information available through Honda Connect. You can monitor the health of the engine and battery, locate the car on the map, analyse your trip including points of hard braking, hard acceleration, high speed and idle time. Another very useful feature is ‘Impact Alert’, which activates emergency assistance through Honda’s 121 call centres. In fact, one of the cars on the drive had some bumper damage and was being towed. Interestingly, the Honda Connect app showed that the car is being towed. Currently Honda Connect is available for the Jazz, City and CR-V. It will soon be available for the Brio and Amaze. The desert experience was quite good, we now look forward to the next iteration of ‘Honda Drive To Discover’, bring it on Honda.
The ‘Honda Drive To Discover 6’ led us through some fascinating locations in Rajasthan with the local cuisine tingling our taste buds. We put the Honda cars through some tough times and each of them truly showcased Honda’s durability and reliability. Honda Connect proved to be very useful over the entire journey and is a very important tool for tracking as well as monitoring data from the car.