The Honda Drive To Discover 6 was about discovering the flats and sands of Rajasthan, especially between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, on three of the brand's models: the Jazz, City and the CR-V.
Starting off with the Honda Jazz with the flag-off at Jodhpur, we had a short drive through the not-so-densely populated city before hitting NH114. The short drive prepared us for the long distance ahead through one of the driest regions in the country.
Just before the flag-off, we were given a short briefing about the Honda Connect feature and smartphone App, which was launched for these models in December 2015. To run through quickly, the Honda Connect App can be used to not only track the health status and geolocation of the car, but also monitor its usage and get live updates about how the car is being driven.
Back to the Jazz, the model was a good start to experiencing a Honda on the highway, chiefly with co-passengers, light luggage, music and snacks throughout the trip. The car has a good number of pockets/cubby holes to store our cups, shades, cables, phones and cameras, and the music system was very good too.
On the NH114, we experienced flat, albeit, narrow roads, surrounded by sand and sunlight throughout. We crossed some wind mills and camels on the route, pretty much the entire trip, but it sure did feel like the population of cows outgrew the camels by an incredible margin; a lot of which inadvertently tried to cut short our trip by parking themselves blissfully on the middle of the road.
One such indecent happened to us in the third part of the trip, on the Honda CR-V, at night when there was no light other than the car's. Thankfully the CR-V's were some of the best OEM lights we have seen, which showed us an Ox posing sideways on our lane that was almost as gigantic as our car. That was when we truly admired the SUV for its composure, as the swift manoeuvre around the Ox that we made shearing into the right lane didn't cause the body to roll even a bit out of control, and our passenger who was sleeping on the back seat was not waken up by the shake. It was almost like we mitigated a small rock on the road and not a huge animal that occupied the entire width of our lane. The car felt as planted and luxurious to drive as a Honda is usually known to be.
Coming back to the Jazz, we did around 400 km on it, and took till late evening to reach our roof for the night. After checking in, we couldn't resist leaving the car to rest, so we took her across the city of Jaisalmer through the maze-like gullies which can hardly accommodate anything larger than our ride. After getting lost in the streets, hitting repeat dead-ends and taking a dozen U-turns in the tightly built mesh of colonies, no thanks to the cavalry of cows dominating the pathways, the Jazz did take us safely back to the resting place especially without making us drop on the beds with no energy to spare. We partied till late night and managed to get up early next morning for the journey to continue.
We're not sure, but there is a good chance that our friends at Honda were having a good laugh seeing our car going back and forth on the same roads, on the Honda Connect App when we were stuck in the city. Yeah, the App let them keep that much of a track on us.
We realised the potential of the App in the later half of the second day, when we accidentally hit a speed bump at quite a high speed, three of them actually, that were lined up within a foot from each other, and in the next minute we received a call from 100 km away asking if we were alright! Then we started truly exploring the options and pages within the App, which showed us that it maintains a log of our entire drive range and colour codes the pathway into bits and pieces that indicates where we were gentle, where we sped up, where we braked hard and what not! When we had run over the speed bumps, the car detected the jerk as a possible crash and had sent an instant notification to the smartphone of the user who had added our car to the monitor list on his Honda Connect App. This is something you might want to have enabled when you have a chauffeur-driven Honda.
So, the second day started a bit sunnier, again on the Jazz. We went all the way to as close as anyone can get to our neighbouring country on that route, to meet our gallant soldiers by the border at Longewala. The place is filled with history and some cool foreign battle tanks inside which we took some selfies before we bolted towards a temple in Tanot and headed back to Jaisalmer on the Honda City.
Did we go straight back to the hotel that early in the evening? Not by a long shot. We took a detour to the haunted village we kept hearing about from the local people, Kuldhara, which has been abandoned for over 200 years, save for tourists and film makers.
The next day was our return from Jaisalmer back to Jodhpur. We took the Honda Jazz CVT and spent a few hundred kilometres on it till we stopped for lunch. It was not a calculated choice, but the third day of the trip by when we started to miss our homes and were less eager to explore, the automatic variant came in quite handy and helped us avoid the task of shifting gears. Though it is comfortable to drive, responsive enough and relieves a leg from duty, we soon started to miss the manual variant. So we tried to paddle shift through the rest of the drive, and it returned our joy, for a while.
Post lunch, again not a thought-out plan, but we fortunately ended up with the Honda CR-V. It was like a beautiful pastry after seven course meal, and the manual gearbox was nothing but icing on the cake. You can quote us, 'you haven't experienced a Honda until you've driven the CR-V,' at least in India. I would exchange three Honda Citys for a CR-V if that is its price.
The way it feels, the way it delivers power, the way it maintains its manners on road and especially the way it shifts and accelerates; that's the dream, within its budget of course. The best thing about what we discovered about the CR-V is that it has no type. It is sporty when your spidey senses are tingling, it is luxurious when your better half takes it to pick up the kids, and it is pleasant when you take it on a tour with your family. In short, it is the way you want it to be at the moment.
On that note, we safely reached our resting place at night in Jodhpur, thanking the SUV for saving the Ox on the road and us from it. The whole Honda Drive To Discover 6 ended up indeed being about discovering the Hondas more than what we knew about them already. The next edition would most likely feature the updated version of the entire family, and some new members of course like the Honda Amaze facelift and the Honda BR-V for starters. Until then, drive safe!