We test drove the Renault Lodgy at Goa over the previous weekend courtesy BlogAdda and Renault India. A little about the car first.

  1. The car is available in 6 colors, Royal Orchid, Absolute Steel, Planet Grey, Pearl White, Moonlight Silver, and Indigo Breeze.
  2. The car is available in 2 engine variants, 5 Speed Gearbox mated with a 85 PS engine and 6 speed gearbox mated with a 110 PS engine.
  3. The car is available as 7 and 8 seater versions with the base model being priced at INR 8,32,000 ex showroom Bangalore and the top end model being priced at INR 11,92,000 ex showroom Bangalore.
  4. The car comes with ErgoDrive that ensures that the drive is ergonomic as well as powerful.

We test drove both the 110 PS as well as 85 PS versions and found that the car definitely has some meat to it.

The car comes with ample legroom and space for all kinds of knick knacks. The car also features a nifty feature where the standard boot space of 207 liters can be expanded to be up to 1861 liters by removing the 3rd Row completely as well a folding the second row flat against the front row seats. The other nifty set of features that the car comes with are:

  1. Premium Leather/Fabric seat upholstery.
  2. Cruise Control and Speed Limiter.
  3. 12 Volt Charging Socket for all the 3 rows.
  4. Intuitive Audio and Phone Controls
  5. 8 way adjustable Driver seats with Armrest.
  6. Medianav system with Rear view camera display
  7. Dual AC with roof mounted vents for the 2nd and 3rd Rows.
  8. Dual Front Airbags with ABS and EBD with Brake Assist.

The car performed extremely well in various conditions including Rain and Sand and managed to handle the corners very well at high speeds with reduced body roll.

All in all this offering from Renault is meant as a complete package for the upper middle class Urban user who would manage to sneak in a trip or two to the countryside every now and then.

Image Courtesy Renault India.

I was a part of the #Livelodgycal experience with BlogAdda in association with Renault India.

We were at The Leela Kempinsky over the last weekend to experience the newly launched Renault Lodgy, an MPV from their stables. We arrived at Goa from Bangalore in the relatively young airline, Air Asia’s flight on Friday afternoon. The weather was amazing right from Bangalore and the light rains kept it at an even more romantic level. When we landed at Goa, it was a different story altogether. The rains were incessantly on and there was a light nip in the air. This also meant that the visibility was also fairly reduced making it a risky drive. An hour and half later, we were at The Leela. Post a warm welcome and freshening up, we were back for a round of debriefing about the car itself and its features which fast ended with a scrumptious dinner and being back to bed. Day 1 was just about it!

Day 2 started fairly early at about 6AM. A quick look outside brought in further fears about the kind of drive that we were going to have. The rains hadn’t stopped over night and it continued to pour even at this early an hour. An hour later, we as a team discussed our strategy and who would drive. Our team, consisting of Aditi, Ragini, Prateek (yes, my brother) and me, had only two drivers, Aditi and me. Of the other two, Ragini was totally a non Driver and Prateek had very less experience leaving the baton on our able shoulders. We finally hit the road at about 9AM with the Sun still playing hide and seek while the rains played the havoc. We had a planned route of 71.6 KM to cover, 35.8 KM each side. Our initial plan had been that Aditi would drive on our way back and I would drive on our way up towards The Lalit Ashok at the other end of Goa. In order to make our drive fun, each team (a total of 10 teams participated, we being the 10th) was given a set of 10 tasks alike that had to be completed before we reached The Lalit Ashok. We had great fun accomplishing those tasks and even managed to film a video of threatening BlogAdda team into giving all of us a Renault Lodgy each. We started back from The Lalit Ashok to a relatively breezy Goa and nearly no rains thankfully. At this point of time, we could finally keep the windows open and take in some fresh breeze. We drove in a very casual and relaxed manner on the way back leading to us almost forgetting our way back. Thankfully, we had the BlogAdda team coming right behind us. Post the drive, we relaxed for a while before being back for an amazing experience of a Live Band and Dance. Neha managed to hijack the band and had the dance floor crooning to her voice. I must say, she is one hell of an amazingly talented lady! The night was really long on Day 2 and found it difficult to let go of us. We managed to finally catch up with some much needed rest only by around 3AM in the morning.

Day 3 started off really late and it was soon time to check out. Our flight to Bangalore got delayed by around 2 hours which meant we were almost the last ones to leave the hotel. A turbulent one hour long flight later we were finally back in Bangalore. The drive back home felt even longer because I missed the girls badly over the last 3 days!

I was a part of the #Livelodgycal experience with BlogAdda in association with Renault India.

Route Map

Ambi Pur Air EffectsI recently received another parcel from Blogadda that had nothing to do with body odor but all kinds of odors in general. It was Ambi Pur Air Effects’ Blossom and Breeze fragrance of room freshener. While Ambi Pur is no new name in the crowded market of room fresheners or car deodorants, it is certainly a niche product.
I tried this on my daughter who had just come back from school. There is a corner of the house that we stay in which smells of humidity from the wall. Now every body is aware about how much a humid wall smells and causes the house to smell. I had sprayed some Ambi Pur blossom and breeze in the room just before she came back from school. Like me, she has a very sensitive nose and can identify offensive smells from a mile away. I covered her eyes and carried her into the humid room and asked her what she smelt. She just loved the fragrance and never once realized that she was in the room with the humid corner.
In another instance, I had a friend who had visited me when my wife was not at home. A little about my wife needs to be told here. While she is ok with my drinking or socializing, she really hates the smell of cigarettes in the house; it’s another thing to tell that I don’t smoke but several of my friends do. Now this friend happens to be a really close one and was visiting me after long. He tends to have the habit of lighting up a ciggie every few minutes and tends to feel very uneasy when he can’t get a smoke. I did not have the heart to stop him from smoking in the house since there was a lot to talk and catch up between us. He must have been at home for quite a few hours and during that duration he had smoked up at least half a packet. Now, we are all aware of how a house would smell when one would smoke just one cigeratte. Here, we had had at least five to six being smoked. My wife, as usual, gave me a call enquiring if the dear friend of mine had left and that she would be getting home in probably half an hour’s time. This time, I had to request him to stop from lighting up so that I continue to stay in the house. A few minutes before the dear wife of mine arrived, I sprayed Ambi Pur Blossom and Breeze in every corner of the house just to be doubly sure. Not only was the smell very well gotten rid of, I was not thrown out of the house either!
Now, both my wife and daughters have become so very fond of the fragrance that they now want to spray it all around the house and don’t like it when it fades away. BTW, the fragrance lasts a good half an hour before eventually being taken over due to the constant air circulation. If it were to be left in a window less room, it would have definitely lasted a lot more longer. So that’s the Ambi Pur room freshener from the latest range of Ambi Pur products.

I am blogging for #SmellyToSmiley at BlogAdda in association with Ambi Pur.

I’m using my investigative skills to uncover the mystery of #SniffSniff at BlogAdda. The fourth parcel arrived today at my house. After making me run around half the city like a detective, the mystery has finally revealed itself. It is a new deo. A scintillating new deodorizer from Nivea. This was launched by Arjun Rampal recently in Mumbai and has become an instant hit. Finally a respite to the odor that all us men sport no matter how we travel; bus, train car with the AC in full blast mode or a bike. The new deo comes in a new and advanced avatar that makes sure that the body odors that we suffer from are bid a good bye to.
While the debate of gas wala cans and no gas deodorants continues to rage like a forest fire which shows no signs of dying down; the new deo from Nivea comes in the gasless avatar making sure it lasts many sprays and does not harm the environment either. The deo features a non alcoholic base making it absolutely safe for the skin and does not cause irritations in case of sensitive skin. I tried it on myself and it sure seemed to have appealed to my audience, my daughters.
The deo comes in two cool masculine variants – Ice Cool and Energy. Use it to #BanBodyOdour right away.

I recently received 3 mysterious parcels that spoke of nothing but smells. Some good, some offensive; mostly offensive. the first was a card. It showcased a picture of a man on both the sides with a poem in it.

Clothes Clips are for the clothes line, not your nose, as for body odor, tweet/blog about how you control it using #SniffSniff in your prose!

If I were to talk about it, I have actually been through these problems myself. Back when I was in college I used to end up on the other side of the fence often just because of the body odor. It was so bad that when my washed clothes would be ironed, instead of the smell of the detergent or even the perfumes that I doused myself with, they would smell of my sweat. This was followed by several suggestions by several people. One asked me to apply kattha (One applied to Paan) in my underarms. Another asked me to soak Beetle Leaves over night in warm water and drink that water the first thing in the morning. The third was even more outrageous. It asked me to drink my own first, early morning urine. Finally a visit to an Ayruvedic Doctor helped me get relieved of the problem. One week of treatment and some churans later, I was cured, albeit temporarily. I was asked to repeat this treatment every year else I would be back to square one. It’s another story that I did not go back for it. Once was more than enough.

The second parcel was even more interesting. A pouch of coffee beans. Amazing smell if I must say. Nothing more with it. If I have to draw parallels, I have always smelt coffee beans when I have tried perfumes on testing papers. It has left me wondering what is really going on.

The third parcel was even more interesting. It was a mask. This was getting on my nerves now really, While on one side, the parcels stumped me, on the other, it made me feel like Detective Byomkesh Bakshy who had to investigate and uncover the secret behind these mysterious parcels at any cost. I’m using my investigative skills to uncover the mystery of #SniffSniff at BlogAdda. Let us now wait and watch what this ends up with. While I am sure it has to do something with the olfactory senses, I am really excited now.

Quikr has been running an online campaign that goes by the tag line, “Buyer aur seller ka perfect matchmaker, Quikr!” Something similar happened with me. I was looking for a bicycle for myself since several days now. I have put on to much of weight and the walk that I was going for was simply not enough. Also, travel to office was a very short distance relative to the other work places that I had worked at. Office commute was my second reason to look out for a bicycle. After performing enough research for nearly 2-3 weeks, I finally felt I was ready to take a plunge and get myself a bicycle. I had zeroed in on a Hero Sprint and a Btwin Rockrider 5.1. Purchasing the cycle meant going down to the stores and local shops in addition to checking out websites to find out the price of the cycle that I wanted and to try it out to see if my feet felt right when I sat on the cycle. New cycles or old, used cycle was a thing that I had to consider. While at one end, I was keen on having something that gave me an assured service guarantee as well as pocket friendly. I had found the Hero’s Sprint to have almost every feature that I desired. The new one was priced at Rs. 7.5K at every store I visited. BTwin’s Rockrider 5.1 was priced at Rs. 15K at Decathlon as well as every online store that sold Btwin cycles.

The logical next choice was to look for a second handed cycle. Budget being a major constraint, it was the apt choice. I looked out in a few of the free ad magazines available at a newspaper stall. It now appeared like people had stopped posting ads there. Next stop, online ad websites. I checked a few of them but finally settled on Quikr. I was a registered member since quite some time and had attempted to sell several items there earlier. I was never sure about how the person on the other side of the screen would be. Nonetheless, I settled in for a Rockrider worth 12.5K. The ad was posted sometime in August and was skeptical about the availability of the cycle. The main reason to choose this particular cycle was because the seller was located close by to my home.


The weekend when I was supposed to meet the seller, I happened to check the Quikr ads again. A new ad had appeared which spoke about a brand new Hero Sprint. The seller, presumably a lady, had not given her right phone number but had put up her mail address for communication. she must have been afraid about her privacy I assume. Her reason to sell, according to the ad was that it was bought as a gift but it wasn’t liked. I dropped her a response on Quikr, called the other seller and told him to hold on until a few days since I was out of town.


Replies to the responses were not immediately forthcoming. Understandable since people lead busy lives and may not check every mail or notification immediately. A few days later, a response sat in my mail box. The lady had bought the cycle for her husband as an anniversary gift. There was absolutely no problem with the cycle and it was less than a week old. She couldn’t share the photographs of the bicycle but invited us over to look at it and buy it if we liked. Another program was set for another weekend.

Packed with my wife and daughters, I set off to her house. This one brought back several memories since she stayed very very close to my Alma Mater, my school where I studied. She wasn’t exactly in one of those posh apartments but in the MIG colony flats. the cycle was safely tucked in inside her house I assumed since it was no where to be seen outside at least. I knocked at her door and a fairly old lady opened the door. She must have been in her late 50’s. A quick chat with her and her husband revealed that the cycle was bought by her for him because she thought that he would like being like the young guys around just like he was young at heart. It was meant to have been a surprise. However, things hadn’t quite gone as planned. Uncle found it really difficult to sit on the bicycle. It was high for him and he was really uncomfortable.

It was at such a time that they had seen the ad of Quikr on TV and decided that there was no point keeping the cycle at home if he could not ride it. The husband and wife decided to ask their son was in the US to post the ad for them. They were not very comfortable doing it themselves. They were not that very internet savvy and hardly understood the world of internet. Now I understood why the response to my queries had been delayed.

Anyways, I requested aunty to check the cycle out and found it to be exactly the same that I had wanted to buy if I ever bought a Hero Sprint. They had bought it for the same price that I had enquired, 7.5K. A little negotiation later we settled for Rs. 5.5K and the cycle was mine. After a cup of tea and about an hour chatting up with the uncle and aunty, we left the place, the cycle safely tucked into the car’s back side.

The cycle is now at my house. However, luck hasn’t been favorable. I fell ill with a bad case of viral and have not been able to take the cycle out for a spin ever since. Hopefully, this week, now that I am much better, I shall start building my endurance and then take it to work as well! Wish me luck guys, I need loads of it!

I found the Quikr ad here.

Thank you Blogadda for initiating me to Quikr I wouldn’t have found such a great deal otherwise.

A few pics of the bicycle which has become an integral toy to my daughters. I am only hoping that this would be the case until I manage to take it down on the road. BTW, I managed to buy quite a few accessories for the cycle at a great price as well. More about it sometime later!

Day 2 of the Tata Motors and Blogadda collaborated Tata Zest experience was no less fun. While Day 1 was full of takeaways in terms of learnings and master classes, Day 2 had us actually driving the car around, around Goa and in Goa. Scenic winding roads, green cover, the sun and the rain. All playing a perfect hide and seek. It only made the experience all the more thrilling.
Driving the nail straight home, I will directly dive into the review of the car without any further ado. First Up is a little about the car itself followed by F-Tronic powered AMT (Automatic-Manual Transmission) Diesel engine and then the Revotron powered Petrol engine. Drove both around, but then I would leave deciding which one is to your liking back to you.
About the Tata Zest:
Tata Zest has been a product of 3 years of back breaking research, innovation and commitment. A commitment to the people of the Indian Democratic that we can produce cars no less than the Japanese, Koreans, Europeans or the Americans if not better. Tata here, however, has delivered a death knell to most of these manufactures. Featuring 29 segment firsts, Tata has definitely got it right with the car in all the sweet spots! I am sure, with this onslaught, the others must be running for cover! A common platform across the two variants differing only in the fuel, the car takes care of not just the bling in terms of gadgets but also in safety. ABS, SRS are standard, but Tata has gone further ahead and used ABS9 and Dual SRS bags deploy ability.
The car is fully future proof and can be upgraded like any other car with a plain straight firmware upgrade. The car also features an advanced level of Noise Level Insulation that prevents any kind of noise from filtering in. It is all kept out and you are good to have all the favorite gossip you want without being bothered about the sound from out on the road. While the gossip is on, the powerful as Jaguar AC manages to keep the temperature and the climate n control and comfortable! I would be ready to give up just about anything if you broke out into a sweat! Well, not if you got scared while driving! The car having a longer wheel base than the others in the segment is utterly stable and has excellent cornering ability. On a N bend, I had no difficulty in getting the car through without losing out on my speed or experience! The car also comes with best in class interiors and space that none other can offer. After all, it’s a Tata Car!
F-Tronic powered AMT Diesel engine:
Tata has always been known for its diesel engines and has always got them right. This time though, Tata has reinvented the wheel, put in loads of innovation and loads of research. This has not gone in vain and given the Indians and the world one Diesel Automatic-Manual Transmission engine. The engine coupled with an intelligent ECU not only ensures that the gear changes happen at the right time, but in case of Manual, it takes over in case you forget to change the gear and automatically shifts it up or down! The car comes with an ultra-light steering wheel that provides you feedback just when you need it. The rest of the time, the unnecessary jerks and twitches are kept out.
Revotron powered Petrol engine:
Tata’s Revotron powered petrol engine is where the experts have put their brains to most work. While earlier petrol engines from Tata were not really as powerful, the recent iteration manage to shake off all that grime from itself and comes across as a sporty, peppy and Zestful engine! The one that we had driven was a manual transmission and was a real fun drive. The petrol engine comes with 3 modes, Eco, City and Sport; with Eco being for cruising speed on a highway, City for obvious sedate city driving conditions and Sport for when you want a maximum thrust and feel of power! I definitely feel that Sport mode should have been a default with Eco and City as selectable options rather than Eco and Sport as selectable options. I am really sure most of the buyers are going to end up driving in the Sports mode only.
Pros of the car:

  • Everything is a touch or voice command away
  • Super comfortable and spacious interiors
  • Excellent stability and maneuverability.
  • Programmable features like follow me home head lamps, Call reject SMSes etc.
  • Excellent looks

Cons of the car:

  • The Gear definitely felt a bit flimsy on the petrol engine. It transmitted an occasional jerk and often vibrated when on the highway.

Final Verdict:
In all, Tata’s Zest is a wonderful car and great product from the Tata stables. It is more like the stallion that was awaiting in patience to be unleashed in the last. The car performs wonderfully under all conditions and exhibits an aura of premium feel and presence. The projector headlamps and all day running lamps are definitely a segment first and are generally featured in much more expensive cars. With this product, Tata has fulfilled all its promises that it has ever made to us Indians. Truly an Indian car, but it’s not Indica. It’s Zest!
Pics after the break.

Blogadda in association with Tata Motors had hosted us to experience the Zest life at The Zuri Hotels in Goa on the 26th and 27th of July. While we were not really sure of what to expect given that this was supposed to be about the car, we were pleasantly surprised the way the entire event was handled. Right from the word Go, everything was very well taken care of and well-coordinated and well-orchestrated; much like a principal would do in an orchestra.
The first day, we were taken through the process of what it is like to make a car. It really was an exhilarating experience. Sandeep Karyakarte explained the nitty-gritties and the philosophy of choosing the Connect Next concepts as well as a brief introduction of the team that actually designed the car. While he was crisp in his presentation, he was also very clear on the reason Tata Zest was made The Tata Zest. An utterly dynamic and magnetic persona. He was followed by Anand Kulkarni who happens to be the chief engineer on the project and he spoke about how Tata through innovations has come up with so many industry and segment firsts. 29 segment firsts to be precise. Some of the concepts like the voice recognition on the infotainment system made so much of sense in this day and age where everything has become smart.
The infotainment system designed in collaboration with Harman Kardron was very responsive and reacted in an apt manner for any events that occurred; be it changing the source of music or calling somebody up or even rejecting a call. Every use case has been thoroughly thought of, designed and implemented. It did not just stop there. We were told that HK had a major hand in designing the acoustics and the hardware. The speakers were HK as well.
A quick talk with the design team revealed how very complex it was to design a car. It took them so many years to get it from the drawing board to a clay model and finally a prototype. Yet, at such a time, the car still has several miles to go before it can be released to public for final usage. The kind of tests that were described were gruesome from the point of the car. It would be forced to crash into a wall at high speeds (Crash Tests) and then it was subjected to endless simulated pot holes on a real road just to see how well the car felt and withstood the stress. However, if I look at this from a user stand point, I think they are doing an excellent job.
The design team also had women on the rolls who were really very elemental and pivotal at deciding what the interiors of the car looked and felt like. To quote Sandeep, “The women were a lot better than men when it came to deciding the actual materials that finally made it into the car.” After all, when anybody steps into the car, it is the interiors that they look at but going a step further, they also feel how it looks like. We spend so many hours of the day behind the wheel almost every day, what fun would it be if it did not feel posh from the inside but only from the outside?