It’s been 2 months and 19 days (80 days to be exact) since that fateful day (i.e., the day I got my Fabia delivered – pun intended). The going (apart from a few glitches mentioned earlier) has been pretty smooth. She has run 4500 + Kms and the engine is really getting into the groove now as is the clutch.

Engine & Clutch

The engine is on the way to its mellifluous best and in traffic signals, the engine noise is barely discernible. The clutch is getting smoother and I am also getting used to releasing it without touching the accelerator (this being my first car, one can understand my clumsiness on the clutch!).

Manoeuvrability

The acid test for any car is how easily navigable/manoeuvrable is the car when in traffic.

I would rate the Fabia in between 7 & 8 (on a scale of 10, 10 being the highest) in terms of manoeuvrability.

The rating is a trifle low because sometimes, the car doesn’t respond to throttle inputs as well as it should especially when overtaking. Of course, this is most probably because I change gears normally (i.e., at set speeds only: 20kmph – 3rd gear, 40 kmph – 4th gear, 60 kmph – 5th gear) and unlike others, do not accelerate say till 60 kmph in 3rd gear, which is typically done during overtaking (ನುಗ್ಗೋದು in local parlance – Kannada).

Mileage

Coming to the mileage part, I am again left disappointed since it has not gone beyond 12 kmpl in city driving conditions even after 4500+ Kms on the odometer. Of course, it is more during long drive, as is to be expected, but in the city traffic, it drinks petrol much more quickly than beer guzzlers their beer in Oktoberfest :(.

Do leave a comment to let me know if it is true of others too.

 

Advertisements

On Saturday last (I should perhaps say “last-to-last”), i.e., on 27-Jun-2009, I was out on my Skoda Fabia for my first full long trip.

We (my parents and I) planned on covering 3 places:

1. Hebbur (near Kunigal)

2. Goravanahalli (near Koratagere)

3. Devarayana Durga (near Goravanahalli)

 

The beginning

We left home around 7:15 AM and went straight to SLV (near Vidyapeetha circle) and had a sumptuous breakfast (mine consisting of 1 plate Idli vade and chowchow bath).

Left SLV at 7:45 AM and headed out straight to Mysore Road where we joined the NICE peripheral road to Tumkur Road. paid a toll fee of Rs 33. The NICE road is awesome, to say the least. One can easily do 120 kmph without any care/worries with no traffic to boot. Perhaps, that IS the reason why one can do 120 kmph!

Once I hit Tumkur Road, the road became quite narrow because of the construction of the 6 lane highway in progress and the speed was limited to 60-70 kmph.

Once at Nelamangala, Took a left towards Kunigal (or Hassan/Sakleshpura – NH 48), which is around 35 KM from Nelamangala. It is a single-lane highway, riddled with potholes, atleast in 2 stretches. So, the speed is limited to 60-70 kmph (only if you love your car. I’ve seen people doing 100 kmph on that road).

Upon reaching Kunigal, took a right towards Hebbur on SH 33 (which passes through Hebbur and continues till Tumkur). Travelled around 25 KM to reach Hebbur.

Note: Upon reaching Hebbur, take a right turn in to a small lane or ask for directions to the Hebbur kamakshi temple.

 

Hebbur

The temple at Hebbur is part of the Kodandaashrama. It is maintainted pretty well. The temple’s inner sanctum’s gopura (tower) is constructed in the shape of the Srichakra, the yantra of the tantrics. In fact, the poojari (priest) of the temple told us that devotees have had their wishes fulfilled by performing pooje (prayers) of the srichakra. So, believers of Srichakra can perform as the poojari says and reap its benifits.

Apart from the Srichakra pooje, one can perform a lot of sevas (services) including annadana (anna – cooked rice, dana – donation, in other words donating food to the needy) for a day, a month or an year.

Moreover, some of the family functions such as choula (first time hair removal of a baby boy) etc., can also be performed here. Will publish the phone number soon!

How to get there:

Bangalore –> Tumkur Road (NH 4) –> Nelamangala –> Kunigal (NH 48) –> Hebbur (SH 33)

 

Goravnahalli

At Hebbur, we stayed for around 20 minutes and then left Hebbur for Goravanahalli. To reach Goravanahalli from Hebbur, we have to continue from Hebbur on SH 33, reach Tumkur, take the Bypass road to Sira, then cross the NH 4 to reach SH 3 going towards Koratagere.

The SH 33 upto Tumkur is a good quality road with very huge and old banyan trees standing guard as one zooms past at 80 kmph. Because of the pretty nature of the road, we stopped on the way to take a few snaps.

Old Fellas standing guard
Old Fellas standing guard

After the brief interlude, we moved on and reached Tumkur whence we took a right at the first signal and then a left (at the next) to reach the Sira bypass road (which is in a pathetic state, by the way). Thence, we touched the NH 4 and cut right across it to reach SH 3 which leads to Koratagere.

The SH 3 is nothing to write home about but we can easily maintain around 70-80 kmph (I guess that makes it a beautiful road, by Indian standards :)).

Proceeded to Koratagere wherein we took the road to Goravanahalli from the centre of the town. This is not the ideal route to take and the road was one of the worst I’ve driven in my two months of driving. After a tortorous 2-3 km, wherein the speed was slower (around 20 kmph) than a bullock cart and the cycles on which school kids were going back home, the road eased out (only a bit) with newly laid tar (asphalt, for the uninitiated). After driving around 6 km of that road, we reached the actual road (as described below) where we should have come originally.

Note: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD AS IT IS IN A DILAPIDATED CONDITION. Upon reaching Koratagere, take a right turn at the first circle and proceed towards the outer periphery of Koratagere. Upon driving for 2-3 kms, you would reach a place called colony whence you should take a left turn towards Goravanahalli.

It was almost 1 PM by the time we reched Goravanahalli.  Once there, paid obeisance to Godess Mahalakshmi and prayed that our life be full of Lakshmi :).

How to Get there:

From Hebbur

Hebbur (SH 33) –> Tumkur –> Sira Bypass –> Koratagere (SH 3) –> Colony –> Goravanhalli

From Bangalore

Bangalore –> Nelamangala –> Dobbspet (take a right after Dobbspet towards Koratagere – SH 3) –>  Colony (SH 3) –> Goravanahalli

 

Devarayana Durga (DR Durga)

Left Goravanahalli around 1:25 PM to proceed towards Devarayana Durga. From Goravanahalli way to Bangalore (from Goravanahalli) which leads to Devarayana Durga. Proceed along The first 2-3 kms are mud roads with huge potholes and layers of mud standing up to scrape the underside of your car. It was pretty tough to negotiate this stretch. After 2-3 KM, sighted the first signs of tar (asphalted) road which was good for driving at around 60-70 kmph. Then reached a dead-end and wherein taking a left led us straight to DR Durga.

We first decided to visit the Yoga Narasimha temple at the top of the hill. Paid Rs. 10 for entry to Yoga Narasimha temple. We can climb upto 2-3 KMs up wherein we are supposed to park our vehicles and proceed on foot to climb up around 300 steps (that is the number of steps as told by the shopkeers when enquired) to reach the Yoga Narasimha temple. The climb to the temple itself is quite exhilarating and the view it offers of the countryside is breath taking.

My parents decided to return from the temple whilst I decided to scale the hill to reach the Mantapa at the top. The climb to the top of the hill is steep and one has to climb up the rocks at some places but when you finally reach the top, you’d think it is worth it!

I have missed mentioning about the weather. The weather was beautiful throughtout our journey and once I started the climb to the hilltop, the heavens opened up for a light shower. The hill was fully covered in fog and I couldn’t see where I was going. Luckily, I was at the top of the hill when it happened! Below are some of the pics that were taken during the time. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

Foggy_DevarayanaDurga

Foggy_DevarayanaDurga

 

Myself @ the Mantapa (DR Durga Hill top)

Myself @ the Mantapa (DR Durga Hill top)

 

View_From_DRDurga_Hilltop

View_From_DRDurga_Hilltop

 

Yoga Narasimhaswamy Temple From Hilltop

Yoga Narasimhaswamy Temple From Hilltop

 

Moreover, below is the kind of terrain that one has to negotiate while climbing to the hill top.

Crouching_Tiger!

Crouching_Tiger!

DSC04167-1

 

After spending around 30 minutes at the top, I decided it was time to head back to rejoin my parents whose jangling nerves I had to soothe (becuase I had told them that I would be back in around 15 minutes while it took me more than an hour to return).

Once I returned, we had some good churmuri. southekayi (cucumber) with green chilli paste and a maavinakaayi (raw mango) with a mixture of salt and red chilli powder.

It was hearty enough to skip lunch and anyhow, it was already around 4 PM. So, we climbed down the hill and drove straight to the Bhoga Narasimha swamy temple which lies at the base of the hill.

After the darshana when I came out, I saw, much to my delight,  a person selling burnt muskina jola (corn). I had one with lots of khara (grren paste made of green chillies and coriander leaves) to suit the weather.

From DR Durga, Namada Chilume is only 4 KM and it is a beautiful location. It is atcually located at the base of a hill and the silence and the sheer beauty of the place takes your breath away. We stayed there for around half an hour and enjoyed its beauty.

Note: There is a Guest House at Namada Chilume wherein once can stay. Of course, one needs to book in advance at the Forest Office (either in Tumkur or in Bangalore). The only catch being that one would need to bring one’s own groceries and even stove to cook as nothing is available there and no eataries around too (unless you would want to dine @ Tumkur – around 12 KM from Namada Chilume).

 

How to get there:

From Goravanahalli

Goravanhalli –> Colony (near Koratagere) –> Proceed towards Bangalore –> Devarayana Durga

From Bangalore

Bangalore –> Nelamangala –> Dobbspet –> Kyathsandra (take a right there towards Siddganga) –> Siddganga Matha –> Deverayana Durga

 

The Endgame

From Namada Chilume we left at around 4:30 PM and continued towards Tumkur Via Siddganga Matha and join NH 4 at Kyathsandra. The road in this stretch is beautiful and scenic. Enjoyed the drive and the weather!

From NH 4, it was back to Nelamangala via Dobbspet and from thence to Mysore Road Via the Nice Road and back home @ 6:45 PM in the evening.

 

Few Tips

1. Carry your own food since there are no eataries on the way or in the places visited.

2. Carry some first aid especially while climbing the hill top at DR Durga.

3. Wear rubber soled shoes (and not slippers that I wore) while climbing the hill top since the rocks are quite slippery when wet.

4. When the DR Durga hilltop is covered in fog, DO NOT VENTURE any where near the edges of the rocks since the visibility is quite poor (in fact, one can’t quite see the edges and hence the caution).

5. Avoid the Koratagere –> Goravanahalli route and always take the Koratagere –> Colony (towards Madhugiri)–> Goravanahalli.

 

Before I sign off, I am happy to note that my Skoda Fabia took all kinds of roads in its stride and mileage wise, it was up to the mark giving me 13.3 kmpl (this mileage calculation also includes city driving and hence, the low figure).

Hope you have enjoyed this lenghty (and perhaps boring) travelogue as much as I enjoyed writing it.

It’s been almost 2 months (well, 1 month and 23 days to be precise) since I bought my Fabia and it’s doing wonderfully well.

What worries me though is the mileage part of it :(. I’ve done more than 3000 KM on it till now and whenever I measure the mileage (which, to be candid, has been quite infrequent) it never seems to go beyond 12 kmpl. Mind you, that I have NOT measure the mileage whenever I have taken it out for long drives (an unpardonable sin for the mileage obssessed, but there you go – mea culpa).

I have promised myself that I would watch the trip meter like a hawk, the next time I go on a long drive.

Apart from the mileage front, everything looks spick and span (I hope it stays that way too)!

My new Skoda Fabia is about 1 month and 9 days old (I got it delivered on the 2nd of May 2009) and I’m loving it.

Some specs before I proceed further to review the car (based on its performance in the past 1 month):

Model ==> Skoda Fabia Classic

Engine Type ==> 1.2 L MPI (Petrol)

Dealer ==> TAFE Access Ltd., Bangalore

My beaut Fabia!

My beaut Fabia!

Apart from a few glitches here and there, I’ve had a good ride so far. I’ll come to the glitches soon but would like to highlight the good bits first, just so that I sound a positive note!

Here are the pros:

1. The clutch – damn powerful! Only caveat is that you’ve got to practice the release quite well else, there is a danger of stalling.

2. The design and the space inside give it a feel of a sedan rather than a hatchback.

3. The pedals were pretty smooth for a new car even during the initial few days (I presume the same would be true for any high end hatchback like Swift).

4. The Boot Space – it can easily fit a BIG suitcase along with some 2-3 small airbags!

The boot space and the leg space were precisely the reason that I went for the Fabia in the first place.

Now to the cons (glitches):

1. NEVER EVER PRESS THE CLUTCH AND THE ACCELERATOR AT THE SAME TIME.

I’ve mentioned this in BOLD letters coz I did it (as one would normally do for a Santro/Indica in an steep incline) and burnt the rubber/asbestos lining on the clutch plate! 😦

Per the service centre – “Fabia is unlike other cars in that the clutch itself is powerful enough to pull the vehicle even in steep inclines and we need not use the accelerator along with the clutch in those situations.”

As I said earlier, the clutch is pretty powerful and I now can easily understand the service centre’s viewpoint (of course, only after burning my clutch plate lining).

2. The pickup when the A/c is on was not too good. I got this corrected with a visit to the service centre resulting in cleaning of the air filter, which got the pickup problem resolved.

3. After reading a lot of negative reviews on Skoda after sales service (also called ASS :)), I was quite apprehensive about it. The first visit also did not help mitigate my apprehension – they took 3 days to tell me that there is nothing wrong with my clutch plate (after I burnt the rubber/asbestos lining).

My second visit for checking the pickup when the a/c is switched on, though, was quite positive. They took only 1 day to get the pickup fixed (by cleaning the air filter). They also checked with me a couple of days later if I’d had any problems with their service.

So, all in all, I’d wait for some more time before judging the after sales service.