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      Honda Drive to Discover 11th Edition — Bengaluru to Kochi

      Gajanan Kashikar

      Gajanan Kashikar


      Honda organises the Drive to Discover in India every year. It offers an opportunity for automotive journalists to drive on some scenic routes in some of Honda’s latest cars. When Venkat told me I would be joining him for the drive, I got ecstatic and began searching about the route, the food, and, of course, the cars I would be driving.

      Honda All New City Front View

      For this 11th edition, Honda had planned a route from Bengaluru to Kochi via Madikeri and Wayanad. With the theme for this year being ‘Sedan & Stunning’, we drove three different Honda sedans during this three-day trip: the Amaze, City, and City e:HEV.

      Almost missed my flight…

      Even before I began my journey, it looked like my entire trip would get derailed. En route to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Mumbai Airport (Terminal 2) at 4:30 am, we got stuck in traffic for 20 minutes. Then, my cab driver decided to cross the divider and ended up wedging himself in the mud.

      Honda All New City Right Front Three Quarter

      We tried but could not move the cab. Amid increasing tension, I decided to get a new cab and started waving my arms at the passing traffic. A motorcyclist stopped by and dropped me off at the toll plaza. But even after 10 minutes, I could not find a cab. Finally, a traffic police officer pulled over an auto rickshaw, which took me to the airport. I reached the airport 30 minutes before the scheduled departure. I had never been so happy as I was then, after sprinting through the terminal and barely making it to the gate. I ultimately managed to catch my breath when the flight crew was giving the safety instructions. I felt a sense of triumph at making it finally!

      Day 1 - Bangalore to Madikeri

      We arrived in Bangalore, and Honda’s crew took us to the Taj hotel opposite the airport to join the other journalists who had arrived for the drive. Everyone received personalised bag tags and a t-shirt. Then, I quickly filled in a form and headed for breakfast. After stuffing our faces and attending the pre-drive briefing, we set off for our journey to Madikeri.

      Honda All New City Front View

      My colleague got behind the wheel of the Honda City petrol MT and we began the trip. Unsurprisingly, Google Maps took us through the infamous rush-hour traffic of Bangalore. We desperately wanted to avoid it but spent the next one and a half hours inching through the same.

      Honda All New City Rear View

      Once we reached NH75, I got an opportunity to drive the car. To begin with, it took me some time to get a hang of the City petrol MT — the seating position, infotainment system, and multi-information display were all new to me. Like an excited child, I wanted to use everything. At that exact moment, as I was getting used to it, the highway magically opened up with some smooth blacktop for relaxed driving. Much to my colleague’s amusement, I kept a really light foot and achieved a mileage of 19kmpl.

      Honda All New City Right Side View

      Our first stop was at Green Tree Family Restaurant in Channarayapatna, Karnataka. After having a traditional lunch, we geared up for a 172km drive to the Windflower Resort & Spa, Madikeri. On the way, we pulled over several times to capture some photos of the City before the sunset. Driving on a single-lane road in the dark slowed us down, which was compounded by herds of cattle and the narrow streets of the passing towns.

      We reached the resort at around 8:30 pm. But the way to the resort seemed like a trail through the forest at night.

      Day 2 - Madikeri to Wayanad

      Honda All New City Left Side View

      I got up early the next day morning and had a big, delicious breakfast at the resort before setting off.

      I was on cloud nine as we were to drive the City e:HEV hybrid from Madikeri to Wayanad. Not only I was dying to drive it on the scenic hairpin bends, but I was also curious to check out how different it is from the ICE version, especially with the ADAS.

      Honda All New City Right Side View

      We began our journey at 8:45 am to the first stop of the day — The Jubilee Restaurant in Sulthan Bathery. With 144km to cover, Google Maps showed an estimated arrival time of 1 pm. 

      Unlike the stretch of highway on the first day, we experienced unpaved, cracked, and crumbling tarmac of neglected countryside roads. But the route was scenic, enveloped by lush greenery. Finally, we entered the excellent roads in Kerala.

      Honda All New City Left Front Three Quarter

      We were one of the first teams to arrive at the restaurant around 1:45 pm, while others took a well-worth detour to picturesque coffee plantations. Post lunch, Honda had booked a safari at the Muthanga Wildlife sanctuary, which was 14.7km away.

      Despite being a single-lane road, it was wide with a smooth surface. So, we reached well in time and hence got hold of a hot cup of Boost and scrumptious Pazham Pori. We were divided into a group of five for half an hour spin of the sanctuary in rebuilt Mahindra Commander Jeep. Call it bad luck or just our jeep being extra noisy, but my group did not see any wild animals apart from a woodpecker, a peacock, and an enormous elephant bathing.

      Honda All New City Front View

      Later, we called it a day and slowly drove to our hotel stay for the night in Sulthan Bathery — Saptha Resort and Spa.

      Day 3 — Wayanad to Kochi

      On the last leg of the trip, Venkat and I planned to photograph the City and City hybrid at the dawn. We effortlessly shot them in the hotel premise, which was spacious with a lot of green. After checking out, we joined others for a group photograph with the lined-up cars.

      Honda All New City Front View

      We were ready to roll in our new companion for the day, the Amaze petrol CVT. It was about a 270km journey with an expected travel time of eight hours. We fuelled up and started the journey. The roads passing through towns were mostly single-lane and unpaved. However, the Wayanad ghats are indeed a paradise for travellers. Each hairpin bend offered majestic views of the valley and mighty mountains. We also stopped to buy some coffee, tea, and chips at a countryside shop.

      Honda All New City Left Front Three Quarter

      While some of us found a lighthouse and coastal route on the way to Kochi, Google Maps decided to show us the interior of the passing towns. A few journalists then shared their location.

      By the time we arrived at the beach, the sun was already sinking below the horizon. However, I managed to get a few photographs of the orange sky. Thanks to this, we reached JW Marriott Kochi very late; almost everyone was already at the hotel by then.

      Honda All New City Left Front Three Quarter


      The 11th Drive to Discover was indeed an experience to remember for life. We drove through a variety of terrains in three different cars. Not to mention, the City hybrid made driving effortless in towns with its electric assistance and electric parking brake with auto hold function. All in all, not only did I explore new places, drove amazing cars, and made new friends, but I also rediscovered my passion for photography. The Drive to Discover was my first experience at a media drive, and I enormously enjoyed it in every sense of the word.

      Honda All New City Front View
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