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Honda Discover Amazing India : Rann of Kutch drive

  • Jan 22, 2015
  • 5942 Views

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Honda has been running its Discover Amazing India drive initiative for a while now. Under this banner, Honda hosts drives in different parts of the country to give participants a chance to visit some significant spots on the Indian map in their Amaze compact sedan.


This time around, when I heard that the Honda Discover Amazing India was headed to the Rann of Kutch, I jumped at the opportunity. The salt flats on the Rann of Kutch is holy grail for petrol heads for obvious reasons. This is one of those rare occasions when you lie awake on your bed the night before, in eagerness of the early morning flight that awaits.


Day 1


It was actually quite a pleasant feeling when we landed in Ahmedabad that morning, in fact there was a sign of relief on everyone’s face after stepping into the airport and getting away from the biting cold in Delhi NCR.


After grabbing a quick breakfast and briefing done, Honda handed us the keys to a fleet of new Option variants of the top-end Amaze VX. This model is fitted with a new touch screen infotainment system that comes with Bluetooth connectivity, DVD player and satellite navigation. If anything, the unit could be more responsive to touch inputs as you sometimes have to repeatedly tap at the screen to input a command. Another change aboard the car was the new blue lighting in the revised instrument binnacle instrument cluster, this has been lifted off the Mobilio.


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I have to say that with its Dolby sound system the unit does have good sound quality. And the sat-nav worked well too, having fed the destination of Bhuj into the system we could drive without a speck of bother even on a route that we had never been on before.


With the Honda Discover Amazing India drive was flagged off from the Taj Gateway hotel in Ahmedabad, we headed out on our 400 kilometer plus drive towards the Rann of Kutch. We were once again pleasantly surprised by the roads of Gujarat. The four-lane highway leading out of the city was very well paved, making the cruise a fairly easy affair.


Ofcourse, there were a few dips and crests on the tarmac, but the Amaze’s McPherson Strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension with coil springs all around absorbed road imperfections even at triple digit speeds in a splendid manner. The car was never unsettled at any point in time and passengers were always comfortable over uneven surfaces.


What the Amaze could do with is better seats. Sitting on these seats for prolonged periods of time can lead to discomfort as they need more cushioning and better back support.


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I happened to be behind the wheel of the petrol fueled Honda Amaze that is powered by a 1.2 litre, four cylinder, i-VTEC engine. The engine has an ARAI rated fuel efficiency figure of 18 km/l. Maximum power output is rated at 88PS @ 6,000rpm while peak torque output is rated at 109Nm @ 4,500rpm.


Due to its fuel efficiency oriented nature, the Amaze petrol is not the most eager car out there under acceleration and power kicks in only after the 3,000 rpm mark. That said, the accurate gearbox makes the going easy as the speedo needle climbs up the dial. The Honda Amaze petrol is happy cruising at triple digit speeds, although the engine could have been more free revving for better highway driving. Something that will not be much of a bother while driving under urban conditions in city traffic.


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The comfortable cruise on the four-lane highway cruise came to an end, a little way before the town of Bhuj, as we turned off the road and joined another double-lane highway. This road too was well paved and the last few kilometers were fairly easy to traverse through smaller towns with light traffic.


Having grabbed a quick snack in Bhuj, we then headed on wards to Dhordo Tent City at the Rann Utsav for our night halt. Again, the roads were in very good condition and getting there was a breeze with our favourite tunes playing off the new and rather nice infotainment system.


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When we got there, the Tent city was quite a sight at night. As you can see from the pictures here, the layout in all its lighting and glory looks splendid in the middle of the dessert. After dinner we went for a nice walk to the Great Rann. It was some experience to walk in the middle of nowhere, a pleasant wind blowing at us as we gazed into the starry sky with not a soul around us.


 


Standing there with a vast white expanse stretching out into the horizon, a clear sky above and the wind lending to the calm, you realize that at that point in time there is not a place you would rather be at and there is nothing that you need or would rather do. The Rann at night is a place where peace prevails and engulfs you in its unique charm!


 


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Day 2


The next day we headed out for a drive on the mighty Rann of Kutch itself. And what an experience it was. The dirt road comes to an end as the tyres of the Amaze rolled over the soft white salts. It feels quite different to drive over the salt flats. The surface feels softer and absolutely flat. So long as you watch out for soft marshy pits of water deeper in the Rann, you can pretty much driver however you want, in any direction on the Rann. A liberating experiencing from our congested urban environs.


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Since we were enjoying ourselves so much and getting our photo shoots done, the cars soon started running out of fuel. Indicating that playtime was over and that we needed to head back on to our next destination.


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Having grabbed a quick lunch at the tent city, we headed off towards Kalo Dungar. Kalo Dungar or Black Hill is the highest point in the Kutch region of Gujarat at 1,550 feet above sea level. You can see the mighty Rann from up above here and the sun sets are said to be mesmerizing. Unfortunately, this happened to be a cloudy day and our view was limited from the hill top. Nevertheless, it made for a good drive and with the India Pakistan border in sight on the map, it was quite interesting. By this time ofcourse we had become accustomed to the great road conditions in this part of the country.


 


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Day 3


Having called it an early night, the next morning I went out in search of scenic locations around the Rann. And as you can see from pictures here, this elevated tarmac stretch makes for quite a road to drive on with the Rann stretching out on all three sides.


I now had the keys to the diesel Honda Amaze. And I must say that I was very happy to find out that Honda has worked hard on containing NVH levels inside the cabin. It is now much quieter than the first models that rolled off the production lines. Honda India may be new to diesel powered cars, but the Amaze diesel now has a lighter clutch and smoother gearshifts, making for a comfortable drive. Honda has to be congratulated for addressing feedback of customers and motoring journalists alike, and improving the Amaze diesel.


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Thanks to its higher torque and power outputs (at 100PS max power @ 3,600 rpm and 200Nm @ 1,750 rpm) the Amaze diesel feels more spirited to drive than the petrol model. And with its ARAI claimed 25.8 km/l efficiency, the now improved Amaze diesel is more competitive than ever before. This combined with the VX (O) models and their infotainment systems, the Honda Amaze is now refreshed in the 2015 model year to take on its competitors in a refreshed avatar.


After lunch, we headed back to the town of Bhuj to grab our flight back home. And as we drove back, we were taking back quite an experience back with us to cherish of having driven on the might Rann itself. Something that is quite significant for us motoring enthusiasts.


 


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