NIGHT TO REMEMBER
The Honda Amaze gives us company as we find ourselves on a calming drive through the city of dreams
A fortuitous meeting with a long lost friend and a train to catch from the historic CST station takes Afzal in the diesel CVT-equipped Honda Amaze on an effortless nighttime drive criss-crossing the city of Mumbai
T EVO INDIA, WE OFTEN FIND OURSELVES on adventures to far-off destinations. Traversing a wide variety of terrain and weather conditions, our longer drives are often challenging, even to us journos who spend most of our time on the road. And, sometimes, after lengthy periods spent away from home, we crave the quiet and the solitude that only a night drive through the city can provide. Thankfully, one such night, as I was about to retire after a long day of driving in Mumbai, I got a call from a long lost friend who was in the city only for the night, with a train to catch in the wee hours of the morning. The stars aligned. I had the Honda Amaze with me and with plenty of space in the boot for his luggage, I could pick him up and drop him to the station and in the process have a peaceful drive through the city.
I started from a hotel in the suburbs, drove to Bandra and subsequently found myself on the Bandra Worli Sea Link. Those from Mumbai tell me that at night, it is
sometimes quicker to just avoid it and drive through the city. But, it is hard not to take it. Going over the brilliant surface of the bridge, the suspension cables lit up in all their glory, you are treated to what is possibly the best view of the Mumbai skyline. It is indeed tempting to roll down the windows and take in the cool sea breeze. The Honda Amaze with the 1.5-litre diesel puts out a shade under 80 horses and paired with a CVT, gave the drive a calm, languid quality that was perfect for the evening.
At the other end, in Worli, my friend was waiting at one of the many hotels overlooking the sea. Pulling up into the parking lot – a tight one mind you, south Mumbai is infamous for its parking woes – the great all round visibility and rear parking sensors came in handy. The 420-litre boot was unlocked with a button on the key fob and despite being a heavy packer, my friend’s luggage could fit easily into the boot with loads of space to spare.
We pulled on to the ‘Queen’s necklace’ – Marine Drive for the uninitiated – and found ourselves in a traffic jam. It was the weekend after all and turns out the idea of a night drive wasn’t exactly novel or original. The CVT and the light steering were our saviours and we could trundle along easily. The traffic cleared out and we drove along Marine Drive before deciding to make our way to the station. The incandescent lamps bathed the narrow lanes of south Mumbai in their yellow glow and we couldn’t help but take in everything with a hearty dose of nostalgia. Growing up, we often found ourselves driving around these very streets at night. It was time to bid adieu though and CST had put on a show. In shades of red and yellow, the centuries old building stood out in the dark of the night. But, as my friend embarked on a journey and I got back into the Amaze, it was clear that the car was the real star of the night. ⌧
THE CVT AND THE LIGHT STEERING WERE OUR SAVIOURS WHILE DRIVING THROUGH TRAFFIC
Facing page: Driving by the resplendent CST. Right, top to bottom: Cruising on the Sea Link; parked on Marine Drive as we spent some time taking in the sea; the Amaze was effortless to drive in the city. Below: The 420-litre had space for everything