Bangalore to Ooty in my Honda Elevate: Observations after 4th road trip

ACC is very useful but only on an empty highway. For example: Mysore Expressway at 6am on a weekday.

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Relaxed Road Trip to Ooty

This is the fourth road trip with the Honda Elevate. Got done with the second servicing last month.

Started off from Bangalore at 4.30 am on 11th May (Saturday). Starting before other travelers was crucial because the Tamil Nadu ePass system was recently enforced, and there have been reports of long queues at the ePass checkpoint.

I wish Bangalore roads were generally as empty as I found it at 4.30 am. The approach to NICE road was quick and soon enough we were cruising on Mysore Expressway, well before sunrise. I have extensively used LKAS (lane keep assist system) on the Mysore expressway but only during the daytime. It was good to see that it works equally well at night. Driving on the Mysore expressway is bliss, especially when it is devoid of traffic.

Our first stop was for breakfast at about 7.30 am at Ashirvaad Grand just after Mysore Airport. Food was served quick and hot. It was quite tasty. They have sufficient parking too.

We were charged 20rs at the Bandipur forest entrance, followed by 30rs at the Mudumalai entrance. We got printed receipts for both. Further down the road, our ePass was checked. The forest roads were full of deer sightings. They had come out to chew on the fresh new plant growth caused by the onset of monsoons. It's that time of the year when the forests of the Deccan plateau transform from brown to lush green. This is the best time to travel in South India.

We took the route via Masinagudi and Kalhatty. This route is very scenic. But it's a single lane for almost half the way. You are allowed to ascend to Ooty by this route, but you cannot descend. Only the vehicles registered in The Nilgiris (TN43) district are allowed to come down this road. This includes public buses. Moreover, this route saves about an hour when compared to the Gudalur route.There are some hairpin bends on this route, so you mut be extra cautious.

We reached our stay by 11.30 am and we spent the rest of the day lazing around, enjoying the cool weather. Meals were included with our stay which meant that we could relax all day long. This was our second trip to Ooty and we had already visited the tourist spots in our previous visit. Our agenda for this trip was absolutely blank. We had decided to not visit anywhere and do WFH instead. It's a joy to work in the mountains and laze around. Monsoon had just set in, and the weather forecast showed continuous rains for the whole week in Ooty. The chills had set in. The warm clothes that we had packed were coming to use. The temperature hovered at around 19 degrees all day long.

Some car photographs during our stay:

Our return was scheduled for 15th May (Wednesday). We decided to start at sunrise with an early breakfast. We were unsure of good breakfast options along the way and A2B on Commerical Road opens up early. After a sumptuous breakfast, we began our journey. Lucky for us, there was no rain at this time.

To our surprise, the Gudalur route is quite scenic as well. Huge forest canopies cover the road. We encountered heavy fog at some places but thankfully it disappeared quickly. The cold morning mountain air felt fresh, and we drove with the AC turned off and windows slightly rolled down. We stopped briefly for some photographs. Gudalur is a big town and the roads have enough traffic to slow down progress.

Somewhere along the Gudalur route:

We decided to have lunch at Sapa Bakery in Mysore. This cafe serves some mouthwatering food and bakery items - highly recommended. We reach here by about 12.30 pm. The rest of the journey back to Bangalore was uneventful.

The trip computer reported a mileage of 15.1 kmpl for the entire road trip to the Nilgiris. Odometer at the end of the trip:

Notes and observations about the car:

  • The headlights: headlight performance is impressive. They illuminate dark roads quite well. On top of that, the Auto High Beam Assist works really well thereby enhancing the overall experience.
  • Lane keep assist system: LKAS works well, but I felt it does not keep the car at the absolute center of the lane markings. This makes driving on the right-most lane with LKAS a bit unnerving. The car goes a bit too close to the divider for my liking.
  • Adaptive cruise control: ACC is very useful but only on an empty highway. For example Mysore Expressway at 6 am on a weekday. ACC accelerates a bit too quickly to regain speed, thereby taking a mileage hit.
  • The suspension setup is impressive, to say the least. I don't need to slow down for small potholes, which would be required for our previous car (Tata Tiago).
  • The engine is quite powerful. Its definitely sufficient for hilly regions and for overtakes. It's noisy though - but you can hear engine noise only when revving hard, say above 3500 RPM. However, we like and enjoy the engine sound.
  • The cabin sound insulation is downright bad. At 100kmph, I can hear wind noise from the forward corner of the driver-side window. The road noise levels are on the higher side.
  • Mileage: I felt that the mileage on the Elevate can be quite dynamic. It's tightly related to the throttle input. You can extract a highway mileage of 21kmpl with a super light foot. But with a heavy foot and quick acceleration, you'll get around 16kmpl.
  • I have stopped using wireless Android Auto for good. Wireless Android Auto is buggy and unstable, and it heats up the phone both from wireless Android Auto and wireless charging. The wired solution is much better - it's rock stable and slow-charges the phone without heating it up.
  • I used wireless charging exactly once to test that it works. I think I will never use this feature.

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