The last week of October took me to an area and location I hadn’t visited in quite a while. I was driving out early on Saturday morning to the Volkswagen Tiguan Experiential Drive being held at Mukesh Mills in Colaba. For anybody who’s grown up watching movies, music videos in the 90’s Mukesh Mills is immediately recognisable. Countless films and videos have been shot there. Every part of this defunct mill has been used in films to depict all sorts of locations and situations.

Experiencing the Tiguan in such an environment would be interesting!

After the usual registration process, we were briefed by Dr. Tejas Kothari a well-known off-roading expert of what we would experience on the course.

The first obstacle that was created was the terrapod. This would get us to gauge the Tiguan’s ability to handle different alterations in height. How it manages to stay stable and clear this obstacle successfully. I went about doing this activity with the usual sense of caution. Tejas who was the instructor, goaded me on, making corrections when I was veering off. Being on 2 wheels in a moving car is always exciting. This was no different!


The next obstacle we experienced was the axle breakers. Here one got to see first-hand, the ability of the Tiguan to transfer the requisite amount of torque between the wheels, while they were struggling to find traction. Tejas instructed me to go easy and slow on the throttle, that being the key to clearing this activity smoothly. I did just that.


Now we moved to the final activity of the drive.
The last activity was to test the ABS of the Tiguan. How it reacts during sudden braking at fast speeds, while attempting a lane change. Tejas told me to step hard on the throttle and slam the brakes the moment we reach the braking marker. The Tiguan managed this activity with ease, showcasing how well the ABS works in such situations.


At the end of this experiential drive one got a different appreciation of the Tiguan.

A SUV which I have spent lots of time driving in the recent past.


When the Skoda Octavia was launched in 2002 it changed the game for performance sedans in this country. Prior to that if an enthusiast was looking for something exciting he/she looked abroad, or modified the existing cars available then. The Octavia since then has gone on to develop a massive cult following. When Skoda announced their latest face lift of the Octavia last year it was met with lots of enthusiasm. Worldwide, Skoda has sold over 50 lakh units of the Octavia.COLLAGE 1.jpgThe Octavia has a split-headlamp cluster called the Quadra LED headlights. The reason for this name is because they are split into four compartments with the low and high beams being separated. LED daytime running lights and fog lamps on the bumper are part of the kit. There is a chrome strip running across the bumper which gives the car a premium finish. The grille is glossy black, with some creases across the hood which weren’t there in the earlier version. The front fenders are far more sculpted adding to the muscular look of the Octavia. The tail lamps at the rear are LED units with a rear bumper that has been revised too.COLLAGE 2.jpgOne of the new features the Octavia gets is the Park Pilot. Once you activate this, the car manoeuvres itself while parking. The driver still plays a role applying the brakes whenever necessary. There are proximity sensors all over the car with the customary reverse parking camera.

Step into the car and the first thing you notice is the new 9 inch infotainment scree with capacitive touch. The interface is very smooth and fast with a resolution ratio of 800×480. The Octavia comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirror Link to pair your phone with. Skoda has an app called “Boss Connect”. This app lets owners who usually sit in the rear seat control the infotainment system from there.COLLAGE 4.jpgThere’s ambient lighting with 10 colours on offer as well!  One can increase and decrease the brightness of the lights in the footwell and doors. A panoramic sunroof is also part of the package. Two USB ports for rear passengers below the rear AC vent are there as well. The interiors are extremely plush and classy with soft-touch plastics and a beige/black two-tone colour scheme.  Lots of leg room and space in the cabin make this a very comfortable space, where one can spend long hour driving or being driven around.COLLAGE 3.jpgThe Octavia comes with two engine variants, the 1.8-litre TSI and the 2.0-litre TDI.  I drove the diesel variant and boy or boy what an engine. All the Skoda cars I have driven in the past have been amongst the best driver cars in terms of performance. So much power is available through the power band.  This comes with the legendary 6 speed DSG gearbox. If there was a lifetime achievement award given to a gearbox, the DSG would win it hands down. That’s how good it is. The power and torque output is 140.8 bhp and 320 Nm. The claimed mileage is 19.3 kmpl.

Safety which is hallmark with all VW family cars sees the base trim of the Octavia get 4 airbags. The top trim gets 8 airbags with dual airbags upfront and at the sides. ABS, EBD and traction control are standard across the variants.

We drove with the Octavia to Kamshet. It’s located 120 kms from Mumbai along the Mumbai – Pune Expressway.  Driving the Octavia on empty roads early in the morning was the perfect demonstration of the handling prowess of the car. Acceleration is rapid, before you realise it, the Octavia is touching three digit speeds. To get to Kamshet one must take the 2nd Lonavala exit and get on to the Mumbai – Bangalore Highway.COLLAGE 5.jpgIt’s a picturesque hill station in the Western Ghats, which is renowned for paragliding and flying schools. Kamshet is regularly featured in the top 10 must visit destinations adventure junkies. Driving in these natural scenic surrounding on narrow roads was a refreshing break from the highway. In Kamshet one can enjoy the surroundings and have a closer look at the village life of India with muddy huts and village markets. The area is surrounded by paddy and sunflower fields and it provides an awesome view while you are enjoying the world class paragliding facilities here.

After spending a day of taking in the sights it was time to head back. This was a day well spent driving one of my favourite car to a location that is still untouched by development.lastPricing for the Skoda Octavia starts at 18.91 Lakhs for the 1.4 TSI Ambition Petrol Manual and 21.79 Lakhs for the 2.0 TDI CR Ambition Diesel Manual. Prices are on road Price (inclusive of GST), Mumbai.



This weekend turned out to be the kind of dream, where one doesn’t want to wake up. I got the opportunity to drive one of Audi’s most stylish cars. The A5 Sportback. A car that stands for style and performance in every breadth!

audi im 1 copyThe A5 Sportback arrived 10 minutes before 8 on Saturday morning. Attractive looking whichever side or angle you view it from. The sweeping lines and curves work very well from a design perspective. The body style has a coupe roofline that flows into defined haunches. Prominent sharply cut taillights and headlights give the A5 a sleek and sporty stance.

The A5 Sportback blends hatchback versatility, the spaciousness of a sedan and the styling lines of a coupe. The A5 Sportback is a design masterstroke by Audi, the way different features of their model range have been combined so well here.


Step into the car and you greeted with a cabin that exudes class and chic. The cabin is spacious enough for a six-footer to sit comfortably. Audi has worked on giving more cabin space.  It’s longer, narrower and lower than the car it replaces, but somehow more spacious. Headroom is adequate as well, unless you are very tall in which case you may find it a little tight… A sunroof which is standard for most luxury cars these days is available in the A5 Sportback as well.

The dashboard looks super and is based on the MLB Evo platform. The A5 Sportback comes with three-zone climate control, while the infotainment is a large eight-inch unit. It comes with 755W Bang and Olufsen audio system Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The virtual cockpit which a delight to use completes the package. Audi makes probably the best digital instrument cluster that’s out there presently. It comes with active and passive safety features as well. The on-board satellite navigation is very accurate, the few occasions I used it.

collage 1.jpgcollage 2.jpgThe Audi A5 Sportback is based on VW’s famous MLB platform with the engine feeding power to the front wheels mated to a seven-speed gearbox, which is as smooth, refined and as quick as they come. Under the hood is a 2.0l four-cylinder turbo-diesel which puts out 190PS @ 3,800-4,200 rpm and 400Nm @ 1,750-3,000 rpm. This engine is one of the best, not just because of the above-mentioned figures, but also of the high standard of refinement levels on offer. Start the car, press the accelerator and the power builds up quickly, with the torque hitting you around the 2,500 rpm mark. The revving is so rapid on this car, testimony to the superior TDI engines that the Audis come equipped with. The Audi A5 Sportback diesel claims to go from standstill to 100 in 7.9s.

collage 4.jpgI was lucky to drive it on relatively empty roads early Saturday morning. On the Bandra –  Worli Sea link, the A5 Sportback came into its own. Fast and quick on the go, the Sportback showed me the qualities which make it a top-class car in its segment. Braking was sharp, cornering was easily tackled without breaking into a sweat. The moment we got into traffic the A5 changed character and was equally at home there. Not once did I feel any stress even when we were moving at speeds of 40 km and less.

I spent a day driving the A5 Sportback. My impressions in this short period were extremely satisfying with everything the car has on offer in terms of luxury, performance and sports car sensibilities This is a car that’s as much at home in the city as on a race track. A car that’s on the must buy list for most auto enthusiasts worldwide…collage 5.jpgThe A5 Sportback is priced at 55.40 lakhs ex-showroom Mumbai.


Dimensions & Weight
Length 4733 mm
Width 1843 mm
Height 1386 mm
Wheelbase 2824 mm
Kerb Weight 1670 kg
Doors 4 Doors
Seating Capacity 5 Person
No of Seating Rows 2 Rows
Fuel Tank Capacity 54 litres
Engine & Transmission
Displacement 1968 cc
Fuel Type Diesel
Engine Type 4-cylinder in-line diesel engine with common rail injection system and turbocharging
Max Power (bhp@rpm) 190 bhp @ 3800 rpm
Max Torque (Nm@rpm) 400 Nm @ 1750 rpm
Mileage (ARAI) 19.2 kmpl
Turbocharger/Supercharger Turbocharged
Turbocharger Type Variable Geometry
No of gears 7 Gears
Transmission Type Automatic
Drivetrain FWD
Dual Clutch No
Sport Mode Yes
Manual Shifting for Automatic Conventional Shift
Driving Modes Electronic Presets
Engine Start-Stop Function Yes
Alternate Fuel Not Applicable
Cylinders 4, Inline
Valve/Cylinder (Configuration) 4, DOHC
Suspensions, Brakes & Steering
Front Brake Type Disc
Rear Brake Type Disc
Steering Type Power assisted (Electric)
Wheels Alloy Wheels
Front Tyres 245 / 40 R18
Rear Tyres 225 / 40 R18