If you have been a regular Exhibit magazine reader, you would have read our Delhi-Mumbai travelogue last year. Now, since it’s time for me to head back to the base, I decided to take the long road back home.
Mumbai- Surat- Vadodara- Udaipur-Ajmer-Jaipur-Gurgaon-Delhi
The Car- Skoda Laura 2.0-litre Diesel MT
Leg one- Mumbai to Udaipur
Distance- 752 Kms
Expected Time- 12 Hours
We started off from Bandra in Bombay at 6 AM in the morning with a tank full of fuel and brand new Bridgestone Ecopia EP150 tyres. The advantage of leaving around dawn was that we were able to beat the Morning hour Mumbai rush and were out on the NH 48 Mumbai-Gujarat highway after crossing Vasai Creek by around 7 30 AM.
The roads are well paved and it is a 4 lane highway. The roads are well paved on this section and one can comfortably do triple digit speeds constantly. If you might have read our Delhi- Mumbai Travelogue which we did last year, you must be aware that the Skoda Laura was fitted with Race Dynamics Diesel Tronic dual-channel tuner box which manipulates the boost pressure and the fuel supply to the engine in accordance to the mode selected. We were mostly cruising in P1 mode- which gives the best of both worlds(power and efficiency). Our first proper stop after 4 hours of continuous driving was at Vadodara. I calculated the fuel efficiency manually at our first stop and believe it or not- 24.7kmpl ! Yes, you read that right. A constant speed of around 90-100kmph, a tall fight gear and most importantly- the Ecopia EP150’s played a big part in this. The EP150’s have a better rolling resistance than normal tyres by approximately 7 percent and this claim was put to test during this run. If not exactly seven percent- the extra five percent fuel efficiency can be credited because of the Ecopia EP150.
As I had experienced during my last trip from Delhi to Mumbai, the road network is very impressive with great tarmac throughout. Out of the total 1417 kms, one can easily compare it with international standards, especially the Vadodara- Gujarat network.
Another factor worth consideration over here is Laura’s really tall fifth gear. The car feels very comfortable at triple digit speeds as at around 2000 rpm in 5th gear, you are doing almost 110 kmph, which is commendable. With the revs restrained to under 2000 rpm, 20+ kmpl throughout with the air conditioner always on, two adults onboard and a loaded boot was achievable.
The roads become quite scenic once you approximately 50-60 kms from Udaipur. There are some nice curvy bends and twists which got me all pumped up. Throwing the car around in the corners, the Ecopia EP150 showed impressive grip levels and were able to handle all the torque (approx 350NM) with ease.
With grip at par with the pace, we reached Udaipur earlier than expected and explored the local markets with light being on our side. Post that, we ate some authentic Udaipur bhole misthan which had an everlasting aftertaste.
Leg 2- Udaipur to Delhi
Distance- 665 Kms
Expected time- 11 Hours 30 Mins
After staying overnight in Udaipur, we started at 7 AM in the morning. Now one thing that I had noticed while coming from Delhi to Udaipur was the fact that it the roads towards the entrance of the city are very narrow and it’s best to avoid the early morning hustle bustle and leave early. This gave us a headstart and we were out on the highway in a jiffy. After some samosas and chai at a roadside dhaba, our aim was to stop at Jaipur next and so that we could watch the India-Pakistan cricket game in the Champions trophy.
After some spirited driving and a couple of wrong turns, we made it in time and after watching the match, we continued our journey back to Delhi. It was late in the night and the roads were all silent. This is when I realised that the Ecopia EP150 have almost zero road noise and there was no tyre noise creeping into the cabin. A quick fuel stop, chai to keep us awake and a tyre pressure check was the last stop we took at Manesar. The huff and puff of the capital was at a calm amidst the night and I was eager than ever to just crash into my bed after a long journey.
During the entire journey, the Bridgestone Ecopia EP150 performed decently well, muted all the road and tyre noise and even considerably increased the overall fuel efficiency, thanks to their low rolling resistance.
Next month, we plan to do a hill climb somewhere in the magnificent Himalayas. Don’t forget to grab our next month’s copy as well! Until then, here are some important travel tips that you might want to read if you are planning to hit the road this summer!
- Keep a car phone charger and a spare battery pack for emergency purposes.
- Use Google Maps for directions, it’s simple and has most of the updated map data.
- Tyre pressure check- always maintain the right tyre pressure as constant runs on the highway tends to strain the tyres the most which result into tyre bursts and accidents.
- Make sure that your car is serviced(oil change, tyres aligned, the basic stuff) and has a clean/fresh air filter.
- Try and take a break after every 5-6 hours. This way, you won’t even break your momentum/average speed and you won’t put a lot of strain on yourself.
- Carry music-loads of it, long drives can feel boring at times if you don’t have the right tracks playing.
- Carry a lot of change for Toll plazas.