Hyundai\'s nationwide "i-Drive India" concludes with a 600 km dash from Delhi to Jammu

  • Apr 01, 2013

The journey that began on March 5th 2013, Hyundai Motor India's cross country "i-Drive India" finally arrived in New Delhi on 27 th March 2013. The highlight of the nationwide drive was the new special edition Hyundai iTech i10. Journalists from print, online and television media were invited to drive the cars across the length and breadth of the country along the famous 'Golden Quadrilateral' and covering 9000 kms in a period of 25 days. The cross country drive accentuated certain qualities of the new Hyundai i1o including comfort, mileage, performance and reliability.

The journey was flagged off from New Delhi at the beginning of the month and headed south towards, Jaipur, Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore and Kochi on the western shore. Then, the cavalcade moved north along the eastern flank of the country passing through the cities of Chennai, Vizag, Bhubaneshwar, Kolkata before turning west towards Varanasi and back to New Delhi. Team Gaadi was invited to drive the final leg of the journey from Delhi to Jammu. I hope you enjoy our first-hand account of the adventure spanning 600 odd kilometers and more than 12 hours behind the wheel.

Let me start off by introducing you to the cars we were driving. Out of the three Hyundais in the convoy, two were i10s and an i20 as a backup vehicle. The special edition i10 was powered by a 1.2 litre petrol engine with 80 PS of peak output and a 5-speed manual gearbox. So what's new about the "special edition"? On the outside, the car gets new decals, two-tone interior upholstery, parking camera. The steering-mounted bluetooth control is a standard accessory on this model.

The final leg was flagged off from Hyundai Motor Plaza, New Delhi at about 15 mins past 8 in the morning. Each car was fitted with a MapMyIndia GPS device which did come in handy, almost. Our plan was to head to Murthal for breakfast. Yes, that's like mandatory when traveling north on NH1. After a quick snack we were back on the road this time for a rather long session behind the wheel. We had intended to stop for lunch in the next 4 hours. Since, we were forced to maintain a steady pace of 90 kph as we drove towards Jalandhar, making up time to reach Jammu before sunset was nigh on impossible.

On the open highway, the Hyundai i10's 1.2 litre petrol motor feels refined. The 5-speed gearbox too is smooth shifting, however I found the overdrive ratio a bit too long, calling for a quick shift to 4th every time the speed dropped. The fuel tanks were brimmed with petrol just short of Murthal and by the time our convoy reached Jalandhar, we'd already consumed about half the tank. Even as the car was doing decently on the fuel economy front, us organisms behind the wheel did need a fill up and Mr. Mcdonald's came to our rescue, again.

The unexpected rain shower played havoc with our plans to take decent tracking shots which is why you won't find any in the gallery. All we could do is hope for the rain to subside just before the sun went down the horizon. And it did, eventually. About 200 odd kilometers from our destination we maneuvered the car into a field for a quick photoshoot. Not overly satisfied with the result, but at least we got some nice shots. After spending about 30 mins clicking pictures, it was time to get cracking once again. By now NH1 narrows down to just 4 lanes with the speed traps behind us we could make up some time.


By now, the fuel level had dropped below the half way mark and hence we decided to stop for petrol ahead of Pathankot. From there on wards, it was a non-stop drive to Jammu. The road into Pathankot twists and undulates hinting the arrival of the mountains. Soon we hit the famous gantry at Lakhanpur with a sign that reads, "Welcome to Jammu & Kashmir". We hit the state border at a few minutes past 8 pm with 80 kilometers to go. After driving through the checkpost at Lakhanpur we were hoping to reach our destination by 9.30 pm. Despite our GPS conking off multiple times due to bad road-induced vibrations we did make it to our hotel, but not before almost driving through an Army barracks and accidentally entering wrong side of Tawi bridge that spat us out on the Jammu flyover which meant we had to take the long way round to the Hotel.

To sum up, it was fun to drive the i10 over 600 kilometers in a single day accompanied by a very senior journalist. Still, it was a rather tiring journey and we didn't get much time to relish our short stay in the "city of temples". It was a privilege being a part of the "i-Drive India" cross country drive that began on March 5th and to complete the 9000 km adventure. Hyundai, thank you for inviting us.



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