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Old 9th October 2023, 17:41   #1
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Kufri - Maiden Voyage

Prologue

Ever since I got my hands on my Z8L on 31/05/2023, I had been itching to see how it performs outside of city traffic (name generation is still work-in-progress).

23/01/2024 Edit: The name has been established! Eclipse. Named after the class of 35km long super star destroyer, Eclipse:

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-60425519189337243fiypa.png

Now, a true test would involve going over all sorts of terrains at different speeds and conditions. Hence, I decided to throw a curveball and pick Kufri.

We got:
  • Fast highways with minimal chaos
  • Slow highways with traffic and people that should not be allowed to drive
  • Town crossings
  • Shimla
  • Water wading
  • Mild off-road trail
  • Winding b-roads with horrible tarmac

Seraph (Vento) has been an excellent companion but I would think twice before subjecting it to such a mix. Although this trip has far less content than I usually have, it more than makes up with the experience.
So basically, the idea was to go to hills for reassuring the capabilities of the new battleship and not much else.

Additionally, the photo duties were performed by the X-T100 with 25mm F1.8 instead of the D600 this time.

Forwards

We start somewhat early and manage to hit the Agra expressway by 7am:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6439.jpg

With just 690km on the odo and some silly speeds that I should not mention here, the result was a pleasing 15.3 kmpl. Very satisfied, if you ask me:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6444.jpg

Soon, the weather was rather interesting:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6448.jpg

Here are some pictures to please the eye:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6455.jpg

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6451.jpg

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6452.jpg

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6454.jpg

The farmers protest was rather dangerous (the way they drove could cause accidents - I wish we could protest against the NGT) and it forced us off the highway at Noida near BIC, since it was blocked. Hence some interesting roads:



This proved that I had picked the right steed.

Finally, after an onslaught of 733km and 11 hours (and 1.5hr break at Pahalwan Dhaba, Murthal), reached Best Western Country Woods by 5pm.
Hideous looking X7 next to the N. BMW really needs to fire it's designers. Can't believe how they have ruined my favorite brand:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6465.jpg

The route taken:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-gmap1.jpg

Took a nice nap, woke up and took a bee-line to the bar with dad.
Had some coffee-flavored sweet juice not meant for kids:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6485.jpg

Ended the day with some excellent paneer spring rolls and melt-in mouth fish tikka.
The vehicle was surprisingly comfortable for 700+ km done in 11 hours. Still fresh when I parked it at the hotel.
Let's gain some altitude tomorrow

Last edited by vredesbyrd : 13th May 2024 at 11:00.
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Old 9th October 2023, 19:27   #2
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Re: Kufri - Maiden Voyage

Upwards

"Make his fight on the hill in the early day
Constant chill deep inside
Shouting gun, on they run through the endless grey
On they fight, for they're right, yes, but who's to say
For a hill, men would kill, why? They do not know
Stiffened wounds test their pride
Men of five still alive through the raging glow
Gone insane from the pain that they surely know"
- James "Yeah!" Hetfield, Metallica

I have no idea how effectively applicable this is to most vehicles bearing an HP registration but hey, only stupid people follow the road rules and I surely am one

Woke up early to witness some fantastic 16K texture HDR skies:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6475.jpg

But then it did not take long for the weather to get ruined:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6499.jpg

On the road towards Panchkula:


What gmaps thought I would want:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-gmap2.jpg

What I actually did:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-gmap3.jpg

Reached Panchkula in a jiffy and the traffic was as terrible as expected:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6500.jpg

About time that I whipped out the X-T100:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3134edit.jpg

Temperature kept dropping as we gained altitude:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6503.jpg

Exactly where the Seraph was parked 13 months ago:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6507.jpg

The 4 lane Shimla highway was in tatters and made the progress painfully slower. On a hunch, took the right at Kandaghat and things got way worse before it got better:


Most people have zero respect for oncoming traffic and will overspeed in the wrong lane to the point of being suicidal (I have noticed this quite frequently in HP).
If you argue that there are none in the video, then let me tell you that I have removed the annoying bits so that only the good stuff remains

This is where my decision bears it's fruit and I realize that the N is good, terrifyingly good.
This video here is the highlight of this entire thread. Right after the U-Turn at Sadhuphul:


This is where I also realize a major shortcoming. 360 camera is sorely missed.

Taking a break at the edge:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6511.jpg

We finally managed to reach Kufri Greens Homestay:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3138edit.jpg

Here starts the real vacation

Last edited by vredesbyrd : 13th May 2024 at 12:24.
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Old 9th October 2023, 21:10   #3
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Re: Kufri - Maiden Voyage

Baseline

Had a nice nap and woke up to mixed pakoras and sweet chai (don't get sweet tea at home because diabetes, lolz). The weather had cleared up a bit:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3140edit.jpg

Homestay view marred by construction:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6530.jpg

Made a soft and squishy friend:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6541.jpg

In F1.8:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3158.jpg

Took a look around. Simple but pretty scenery:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3146edit.jpg

Radisson glowing in the sunset:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3148edit.jpg

Going downstairs for a walk. Saw this nervous boy:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3159.jpg

Nothing much to see down there except this:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3161.jpg

This:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3165.jpg

And this:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3167.jpg

On to the next day, where we bounce and head to a poorly managed ITC property
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Old 23rd January 2024, 15:07   #4
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Re: Kufri - Maiden Voyage

ITC Fortune Park

We decided to leave and move to a "supposedly" 4 star property as the current stay was not very comfortable. Plus the kitchen was unhygienic and it took them 2 hours to make breakfast.
Little did we know that our choice of property was going to be worse.

The Good:
  • The property itself is nice
  • The view from the room is really nice
  • Room service menu is very expansive (and expensive)
  • Heat insulation was really good compared to the previous property

The Bad:
  • The receptionists have no idea about what they are doing. Couldn't even print a bill
  • Head cook was on leave and the sous-chef couldn't hit a truck with a hammer at melee distance, let alone cook. This meant that 80-90% items on that "expansive" menu were not available
  • The chicken kebab was so raw that I could hear it clucking
  • Most of the staff was not very accommodating (except the cleaning staff and the driver with the pickup truck, they were nice)
  • While the property was nice, clearly it was not being maintained

Okay, I think I've ranted enough. Rest of the trip was pretty much spent locked up in the hotel rooms except one day, when we decided to get refueled at Narkanda

Getting away from the hotel meant this:


We were overtook by a Telangana-registered Thar with a Navy sticker. It was doing triple digits speeds and nearly ran every other vehicle off the road.
Of course, I did not let my intrusive thoughts win and ended up letting him get away instead of, oh well, just got attacked by a member for speaking against evil people. Won't put my thoughts here

Continued till Narkanda:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3280.jpg

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3282.jpg

Dirty from use:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3289.jpg

Narkanda:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6626.jpg

Refueled and headed back:


Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3292.jpg

More on scenery in the next post

Last edited by vredesbyrd : 28th February 2024 at 21:08.
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Old 23rd January 2024, 15:57   #5
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Re: Kufri - Maiden Voyage

Scenery

While the hotel was horrible, the scenery was rather pleasant:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3180edit.jpg

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3181edit.jpg

Golden:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3265edit.jpg

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3277edit.jpg

Fogrise:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3201.jpg

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3207.jpg

Afternoon lull:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3213.jpg

Sunshine:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6599.jpg

As night draws in:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3220.jpg

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3224.jpg

Silence:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6613.jpg

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3238.jpg

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3244.jpg

Since I put very little effort into this thread, I shall close it with the next post
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Old 13th May 2024, 11:00   #6
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Re: Kufri - Maiden Voyage

Backwards/Epilogue

With the trip reaching the end, it was curtains for Kufri. It was a relaxing week but to be brutally honest, I'd rather put in my back (and my diesel) to just hop all the way to Narkanda, Much more to see there.

The return was uneventful at best. Not much to talk about, really.

Here are some parting shots:

10.5 kmpl on hills. Of couse, Seraph would give 15+ but this is pretty good for a ladder frame automatic 4WD:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6617.jpg

Green stuff:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6622.jpg

Stunning views on the hotel trail:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6648.jpg

Funny little toasted sunflower:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6567.jpg

Somewhere along the road:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-_dsf3283.jpg

A+ weather on the way back:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6687.jpg

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6673.jpg

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-img_6679.jpg

Wow, I took 10 months to gather courage and finally finish this.

The travelogue has concluded at this point. But here's the thing, it takes effort to shut up and I am lazy.
Final post is a micro review of the mean green machine.
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Old 13th May 2024, 12:19   #7
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Re: Kufri - Maiden Voyage

Bonus - Micro Review

At the time of writing this last post, the Eclipse has completed 10000 km and will be exactly a year old in 18 days.
I believe that now I can condense it into pros and cons so that I do not waste the time of both readers and myself. Here it goes.

Yay:
  • Power: 175 PS and 400 NM is pretty good. But, they could have placed the XUV700 tune here (185 PS/450 NM) if not 200PS and 500NM.
    This platform can handle a lot more power than it has been given. I guess a remap will happen. What the hell is taking Code6 so damn long?
  • Handling: It is impressive. Steering remains pinky-light at parking speeds and weighs up nice and proper beyond 60 kph.
    Besides, I can feel road imperfections and appreciate the feedback. Numb wheels do not tickle the rally driver in me.
  • Suspension: May not be Endeavour good but it is pretty damn good. Even though RWD variants have a softer suspension, I am pretty happy.
    My parents are pretty happy too. Wouldn't say the same for my dearest friend, McFritter. He screams in the back like he's getting violated when we are barely doing 50 kph on broken roads.
    But he loves the vehicle.
  • Front Camera: Yes good, very good. If I had a dollar for every time the front camera has saved me from disaster, I'd have a W212 E350 CDI parked downstairs as a weekend car.
  • Audio: The audio is very clear and crisp. Can really push the volumes without any sort of distortion (but usually never exceed 9 or 10).
    The only issue was the lack of bass (factory subwoofer is weak). Fixed it by getting a second sub (Sony XS-AW8). Now it is perfect and I don't think I will ever need an upgrade.
  • Presence: Yes, vehicle do give way and stop. Unless it's a Creta or another Scorpio-N.
  • Off-Road: Really good hardware and software. Put it in a slush pit, engage 4WL and it will climb right out, without fuss.
    Will easily pull itself up a muddy incline. Good grip in snow/ice if you know how to drive in such terrain.
    Only downsides are approach/departure angles and ground clearance. I can live with that.

Nay:
  • No 360 camera: Seriously, Mahindra? 2 cameras wouldn't kill your profit margin. Hell, offer it as an accessory. You can have money for it too.
    As a matter of fact, the N needs 360 more than the 700 due to it's size and the off-road factor.
  • Software issues: Constant niggles and they are mostly with the infotainment system. Sometimes the instrument cluster does not turn on. Sometimes the sunroof won't close.
    All these updates aren't really fixing anything. Too much software is bad.
    Adrenox never works when you need it. Useless piece of garbage.
  • Gearbox tuning: It is really smooth throughout and the tuning is fantastic except for 5th and 6th ratios. They need way too much speed to get engaged.
    Toyota's 6 speed TC is way better in terms of overdrive gears. No wonder I was getting 13+ kmpl from the Hilux.
  • Low beam levelling: Technicians at the ASC messed up my low beam adjustment during the 10000 km service. I always adjust the low beam myself on all my cars and they have ruined it.
    Lucky for me, I have a new toolbox.
  • Stock tyres: They were average and looked too skinny. Got them swapped within a month with 265/60R18 Geolandars. They are fantastic but they do not let me slide around like the stock tyres would, even with traction control off.

The car hunt was all over the place. I have booked a used Crysta, a used Fortuner, a used 3.2 Endeavour. Hell, was willing to get myself a 530d too but NGT is still out of prison. I suppose this was the best choice and I am content with my decision

Photo/Video dump of the Eclipse:











Just another crappy Lucknow mall:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-dscf3071.jpg

Near Pillbit:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-dsc_0211.jpg

Against the stars:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-dsc_0240-1.jpg

Sethan:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-dsc_0797.jpg

Atal Tunnel:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-dsc_0827.jpg

Near Darcha:
Kufri - Maiden Voyage-2.jpg

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-copy.jpg

Not sure how valid this argument is but this vehicle has changed my life. I have discovered travelling.
I have been to places I would have probably not decided to go or could have reached. I wouldn't have been to road trips with some of my oldest friends if it were not for this mean green machine.

This is just the beginning...

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-dsc_0781.jpg

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-dsc_0673.jpg

Kufri - Maiden Voyage-dsc_0730.jpg
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Old 13th May 2024, 12:23   #8
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Re: Kufri - Maiden Voyage

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 13th May 2024, 13:14   #9
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Re: Kufri - Maiden Voyage

Great travelogue, awesome pictures! Using it as you should, going places and putting that 4x4 torque monster through its paces.
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Old 13th May 2024, 14:14   #10
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Re: Kufri - Maiden Voyage

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHelix0202 View Post
Great travelogue, awesome pictures! Using it as you should, going places and putting that 4x4 torque monster through its paces.
You're coming with us on the next one. That or I send Ritter to your house
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Old 13th May 2024, 20:53   #11
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Re: Kufri - Maiden Voyage

This was a good read. It is evident from the write-up, on how you guys enjoyed this trip to the core.

The last post on the ScorpioN's performance was the icing on the cake.
I still feel the ScorpioN is among one the most VFM SUVs one can buy at this point of time. Even the bare-bone Z4 version make a lot of sense.
I wish Mahindra had a petrol ScorpioN with 4x4 in their lineup! If they really had that option, I would have picked one, instead of the Jimny!

Last edited by Samba : 13th May 2024 at 21:04.
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Old 14th May 2024, 10:32   #12
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Re: Kufri - Maiden Voyage

Loved the way you wrote this travelogue man, especially with the decision to cut out the BS and pen down (almost) everything and anything. I can certainly understand what you were feeling in the parts where you decided to cut down out of respect for the rules of this platform

Great to see you taking the beast to places where it was meant to go, truly putting the Xplor in 4xplor. The Scoripo(N) is really a great SUV for the price, I think much better than the current Fortuner in terms of what you get - both the go-anywhere capability and the number of features.
Awesome pics too btw.

Also, I'm planning a roadtrip from Gurgaon in a few weeks, do you think Kufri will be viable for a day of driving? Don't want to halt at night. How long do you think the drive from Delhi to Kufri would actually take? And any other recommendations?
Cheers mate.

Last edited by sh3lby : 14th May 2024 at 10:33.
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Old 14th May 2024, 11:18   #13
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Re: Kufri - Maiden Voyage

Quote:
Originally Posted by vredesbyrd View Post
Bonus - Micro Review

At the time of writing this last post, the Eclipse has completed 10000 km and will be exactly a year old in 18 days.
I believe that now I can condense it into pros and cons so that I do not waste the time of both readers and myself. Here it goes.
Your thread is tempting me to go for the Scorpio N.
But I am waiting for the next beast, small brother of Scorpio N - The Thar 5 door

Last edited by KarthikK : 14th May 2024 at 11:19. Reason: Please quote ONLY the relevant bits of a post. Quoting a full, long post inconveniences our mobile readers.
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Old 14th May 2024, 11:33   #14
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Re: Kufri - Maiden Voyage

Quote:
[*]Audio: The audio is very clear and crisp. Can really push the volumes without any sort of distortion (but usually never exceed 9 or 10).
The only issue was the lack of bass (factory subwoofer is weak). Fixed it by getting a second sub (Sony XS-AW8). Now it is perfect and I don't think I will ever need an upgrade.
Nice Travelogue! Can you please guide, how the Sony Sub was connected to the existing OEM System; whether lot of fiddling was required or was it a simple plug and play?
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Old 14th May 2024, 13:03   #15
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Re: Kufri - Maiden Voyage

An enjoyable travelogue indeed.

I noticed that you mentioned 'X-T100' in your post.
Am I right in assuming that it is a Fujifilm X-T100, 24.2 Megapixels Mirrorless Interchangeable-lens Camera?
If it is, I would love to know which lens you are using with it? Are all the photos and videos you have attached taken from the camera?
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