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Exploring the forests over a weekend

S Ronendra Singh | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on April 09, 2015

Wild side: Driving up the hills and along the plains, the Mobilio behaves like asedan and an SUV. - S RONENDRA SINGH

We drive the Honda Mobilio on a road trip across Tamil Nadu and Karnataka

The charm of a road trip lies in its flexibility. Imagine just taking your vehicle and confidently exploring parts of India that have not been frequented by many stuck in the quagmire of their routines in the city. It is a special feeling – that thanks to India’s diversity, beautiful people, great landscapes and new cuisine can all be experienced within a few 100 kilometres radius from your home.

If it involves getting behind the wheel of your favourite vehicle, the joy of exploring is doubled. And, that is what we did last weekend, when we took the Honda Mobilio to drive around parts of South India. Part of the Honda ‘Drive to Discover’ edition-5, we were setting out to drive from the Manchester of South India to the Garden City.

Off the beaten path

Though the distance between Coimbatore and Bengaluru is not that far and can be covered in a few hours by road, we took three days to reach. Before you jump to any conclusions, allow us to clarify that it was a pre-planned trip, and the idea was make sure to take the remotest of the routes between Coimbatore and Bangalore, taking breaks and staying over night to enjoy the weather of each town along the way.

We started from Coimbatore on an afternoon and going through some really kutcha rural roads, we ended the first day at Bandipur National Park. Reaching Bandipur via the tea gardens of Ooty was an exciting driving challenge, especially with blind curves and hairpin bends along the route. At one point in time there was a stretch of 36 hairpin bends one after the other within a few kilometres. But, the Mobilio’s light steering handled the bends well and manoeuvrability was not a problem even while tackling the tightest U-turns.

Must say, the seven-seater, multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) gave us the feeling of being both a sedan and a SUV as and when required with its capabilities -- weather on straight one-lane roads or windy, inclined roads of the hills between the two states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. We exchanged the vehicles en route -- between diesel (1.5-litre) and petrol (1.5-litre) -- the diesel engine maintained a mileage average of 15kmpl and the petrol engine delivered approximately 12kmpl.

The Mobilio is designed to have a small footprint, but still offer a fair amount of space for 7 passengers in three rows of seats. The vehicle has been selling around 3,000 units a month on an average since its launch last August.

With stopovers and people curious to know more about Mobilio each time, we reached Bandipur National Park at twilight. The next morning, we started for Coorg, and it was another memory to be cherished. After, leaving Bandipur National Park, we passed through another one -- Nagarhole National Park -- a stretch through which we can reach Madikeri town. Don’t be surprised if you see some wild tuskers on this route. Animals like ‘Cheetal’ or spotted deer are easier to spot along the entire stretch.

Madikeri is also known as the capital of Coorg in Karnataka and the Scotland of India. Located between Mangalore and Mysore, the hilly part is also famous for its coffee plantations and spice gardens.

After spending a day exploring the estates, it was time for the last leg of the drive, a distance of around 240 kilometres to reach Bangalore. Hitting the road again through the coffee and spices plantations, we reached the plains and hit National Highway 48, which is a four-lane toll highway and also connects Mangalore and Bangalore (West to East) of Karnataka state. Quite serene with coconut trees on both the sides of the highway, we entered Bengaluru via Tumkur Road which is National Highway 4.

Published on April 09, 2015
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