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Sunday, November 24, 2013

[Updated] Skydiving -Tandem and Solo in Mysore, India

Updated- 27 Nov:
  • Skydiving slots are all sold out till 5th of December. Indicates the growing demand
  • One should be above 18 years, should weight less than 85 kg for tandem and 90 for static
  • One has to get a medical form signed by a doctor
  • Tandem jump is a 2 day activity, one has to report by 8AM on previous day
  • Camp is likely to be extended till March if there's good demand
Updated- 25 Nov:
1. The amount is inclusive of tax.
2. AFF has a per-qualification. One should have done minimum 2 static or one tandem jump before AFF and also need a group.
3. Prior permission will be required for people to enter the premise, hence advance communication will be required if you're taking guests. No walk in is possible

Original post
I usually do not publish press releases as a blog post, as they don't add much value to my readers. This is mainly because a press release filled with 'great features of a product' or 'what CEO said during the launch' or other marketing contents don't really qualify as a blog post. Also, without getting to experience the product or service, it won't be right for me to blindly advocate the same to my readers.
Above: My during my tandem jump free fall, above Mysore airport. View more photos and experience account here

Last week I got a mail on skydiving in India. It detailed of upcoming skydiving camp in Mysore, Karnataka, starting 28 Nov, till 31 Dec 2013. It included a media invite, which had nothing complementary. (It said your entry to the site is free, but you pay for everything else, including travel, ride etc etc and then give us free publicity on the blog). I would have typically ignored such press releases, but decided to make an exception for this one, as I felt this information could be of some use to enthusiastic public who have some spare money and a flair for adventure.

Skydiving involves jumping off from an aircraft and landing safely using a parachute. Mysore airport is a perfect place for that, since airport is now almost defunct. (Kingfisher and spicejet used to fly to and from Mysore and both have stopped their operations now- Read about Kingfisher Mysore-Bengaluru activation)

If you have some interest in adventure sports and if you have 20,000-40,000 INR to spare, read this post further.

Kakini Enterprises, one of the largest adventure sports companies in India, are organizing skydiving camp in Mysore, Karnataka (160kms from Bengaluru). If you fancy jumping off an aircraft, you can pick from below options

Option 1: Static Jump: Cheapest of all jumps and costs Rs 16500. This involves jumping off from a lower height, with parachute deployed instantly after the jump. Doesn't let you enjoy free fall, but is extremely easy and safe.

Option 2: Tandem Jump: Involves jumping off the aircraft with an instructor, who will be controlling your fall throughout, including deployment of parachute. This costs another 10k more at Rs 25500 (week days). Rs 27500 on weekends. This jump is done from a height of 10000 feet and free fall lasts for about 40 seconds.

Option 3 is AFF or accelerated free fall- This is the most thrilling dive, which involves free fall during the first part and parachute guided safe landing in the second part. Diver has to use his discretion on best time to deploy the parachute- deploy it too early and you'll miss the fun, deploy it too late and you could injure yourself during landing. This costs close to 30k for a dive.

If you want a video of your dive, add Rs 4000 to the cost (Rs 500 for static jump)


In essence, if you have 20-40k to spare and fancy few seconds of adventure, which is sure to be a lifetime memory, consider taking this up. If this excites you, check out http://www.skydivinginindia.com/ . But their reservation page didn't list AFF and had only static and tandem jump. Nor could I find their future camps.

I was trying to ascertain if the prices are cheaper than abroad or more. It looks like it is on the higher side. For instance, Miami Skydiving centre in US charges USD 249 for a weekend tandem fall and $ 209 during weekdays [Details] (close to 15k INR, about 10k cheaper than what's charged at Mysore camp.). But you can't go to Miami just for this, so unless you have some plans to go abroad, it makes sense to try it out here.

If only the sports had been more popular, the cost per ride would have come down. Organizers need to pay the airport, aircraft, trainers among other things, most of which are fixed expenses. If they get too less customers, they incur a loss. If they get lots of customers, they tend to gain and eventually be able to reduce per jump cost. But it is a catch 22 situation here unlike abroad.

More info also on their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SKYDIVE.KAKINI

I was tempted to give it a try, but high costs are turning me off. Let me see.

Updated: 23 Dec: I successfully completed by Tandem jump... If you feel sky diving is expensive, read this post. More details coming up

Circle of Three- Rohit Gore

After reading Rohit Gore's other book, The Guradian Angels, I had added his Circle of Three to my wishlist and bought it along with few other books recently.

Now that I am done reading it, this post shares what I felt about the book.

Circle of three revolves around three characters- a 13 year old rich but lonely boy, a 50+ year old once popular author who is now ignored by readers and a middle aged lady, a popular scriptwriter who had lost her husband and son recently and was unable to recover.

Interestingly all of them had their birthday on 13th October and a series of events bring these strangers together. The old man, Rathod's character was the most interesting to me, as he lives in his illusion of past glory and tries to regain his popularity using twitter, facebook and myspace. For those who have unrealistic expectations from social media, his character unveils bitter reality- you won't become popular just because you're there on social networks.

At the same time, the kid Aryan has his own challenges, like other rich kids with busy parents. With his father away and mother in hospital, he makes friends with Rathod and the third character, Ria. How these three cross each other's path, contradicting and complementing each other forms the core of the book, well narrated by Rohit Gore.

Summary
  • Title: Circle of Three
  • Author: Rohit Gore
  • Publishers: Grapevine
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Pages: 255
  • MRP:  Rs 100 (Rs 95 on flipkart)

I found one typo in page 51 ('she' was spelt as '9he'). Like the author's other book, Circle of Three is also priced attractively at Rs 100 and is a good one to add to your cart while shopping fiction books.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dandha-How Gujaratis do business- Shobha Bondre

Dandha is an interesting book which I bought recently from flipkart. This book talks about the life of few select Gujarathi businessmen, who had been very successful entrepreneurs. It is an inspiring book for wannable entrepreneurs. This book narrates real stories and not the gyan from some self promoted guru, hence it retains interest till the end.

Books MRP is Rs 199, but when I bought it was retailing at Rs 99 on flipkart, current price is about Rs 131.

It is well known that Gujarathi people have a flair for business and almost always succeed in what they take up. If you are interested in knowing how they began, how they dealt with various situations and eventually became successful, Dandha is the book to read.

Summary
  • Title: Dandha- How Gujaratis do business
  • Author: Shobha Bondre
  • Publishers: Random House India
  • Genre: Non-Fiction
  • ISBN 978-8-184-00312-3
  • Pages: 284
  • MRP:  Rs 199 (available for less online)
Reading this book also teaches you a lot about Hotel and Motel industry (I didn't know that most of the motels in US are owned by Gujarathis), Diamond industry and insurance sales. It also tells us how Gujaratis come together as family & friends, to help each other grow. Book also narrates perspectives from family members of the businessmen- wife, kids etc- about their thoughts, contributions and ups and downs they went through while supporting the business ventures.

Book is also available as eBook. I strongly suggest reading this for the hidden entrepreneur in you. 



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Madras light house at Marina is now open to public- view from the top

Madras light house at Marina is now open to public
 
The red and white banded light house, located at the beginning of Chennai’s popular Marina beach, was only a meeting point so far. After Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, this structure was closed for tourist visit. Just a week ago, it was made open to public again after a gap of 2 decades. We paid a quick visit and below is my findings. 


Tourist information:
Timings: Open from 10 AM to 1 PM and 3 PM to 5 PM
Monday- weekly holiday
Lunch break: 1PM to 3PM
Entry fee: Rs 10 per adult, Rs 5 for children below 12 years (Indian Nationals). For foreign nationals, entry fee is Rs 25 per person
Camera fee is Rs 25 and if you wish to see the museum, an additional Rs 10 per person.
Restrictions to carry: None. Nothing is banned as such. Baggage checking is done for safety
 
The crowd wasn’t much on Sunday afternoon, mainly because it was raining in the morning and not many would have planned to go out. Post 10AM sky was clear and decided to quickly pay a visit to light house. The waiting line wasn’t really long, we got in after 10-20 mins wait.
 
Light house tower has both stairs and a lift. Stairs are closed to tourists. Smell of fresh paint was evident everywhere. Tourists are taken to 9th floor by lift. The small lift wasn’t designed for tourists and will be crowded. From 9th floor one has to climb a few stairs to access a small observation area. Below are the views from the observation deck.
Above; View of Marina beach, right- a newly installed vending machine is catching people's fancy
Below- Slum dwellings on the other side of Marina



Once below, we stopped by a museum. More about that in a separate post.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Velotaxi-Cycle rickshaws at Berlin

If you thought cycle rickshaws are out of fashion or are meant for developing countries only, you're mistaken.

We saw many cycle rickshaws in Berlin town, ferrying tourists from one spot to another, giving tough competition to taxis.


The cycle rickshaws in Berlin are manned by young and healthy men (we saw a women cycle rickshaw driver too, refer image below), in contrary to the scene in India, where cycle rickshaws are often driven by old aged men.

Each cycle rickshaw can seat 2 peope apart from the rider and has some basic frame to provide protection from heat and rain. Wheels have disc brakes and cycles are well equipped with mirrors and other accessories to make the ride as safe and comfortable as possible.
Many of them had lined up in front of Berlin TV Tower. if you notice below, few rickshaws are also equipped with books and maps to keep the participants engaged.



Most of these cycle rickshaws are operated under the branding of Velotaxi, who help individuals earn some money by ferrying tourists around. Money is also earned from advertising. More details here: http://www.velotaxi.de/en

The Velo taxi's cycle rickshaw concept is gaining popularity all over the world. Don't be surprised if it comes to India in a fashionable way soon.

Before I end, below is a photo of me trying to ride a cycle rickshaw in Pondichery few years ago... It took some time for me to understand its braking system and I barely escaped hitting another vehicle.

Other Berlin posts (coming up soon):

  • Holocaust Memorial
  • Berlin TV Tower
  • Berlin Canal Tour
  • Berlin Wall (whatever is left of it)
Updated, April 2015:
I am told there're similar ones in Delhi as well (http://www.erick.co.in/what.php) . I've not spotted them yet, but will keep an eye for them during my next Delhi visit.

Also check: Namma cycle initiative in Bangalore * New design valves * ICICI Bank cycle ads *
Other posts on Germany visit 

Travelling on work- smart way to pack

This post shares my thoughts on smart ways of packing while travelling on work.

Travelling on work has its own merits and de-merits. Younger executives, who've entered corporate world recently eagerly wait for an opportunity to travel at company's expense- often onsite trips are offered to them as an appeasement strategy to keep them happy. But a decade later, the same executive who now has enough experience but also has a family and other commitments, looks for excuses to avoid official travel. His/her priorities in life would have changed and his/her managers will have to request him/her if he/she can travel on work.

What about you? Would you jump in at every travel opportunity that comes your way or are you picky?

That apart, how do you pack smartly for business travel?
One of the primary difference between business travel and leisure travel being the financing. With most of the expenses taken care by the company, focus will not be on choosing cheapest airline or hotel, but on traveling with comfort and convenience, so that more work can be done in less time and business traveler gets enough rest.

Following considerations go in while packing for official travel:
  • Company's travel policy
  • Client you're dealing with
  • Duration of the trip
  • Destination city (cities)
  • Season at destination city (winter/summer)
  • Facilities available at the hotel
  • Personal objectives to be accomplished, if any
Let us look into few of them in detail

Company's travel policy: This plays a key role in helping you decide what to do and what not to do. Some companies reimburse every expense, while others will have a policy on what kind of expenses are reimbursable and what are not. Few examples:

1) Cost of laundering a vest or brief at a start hotel could be more than the cost of dress itself. If these expenses are not reimbursable, it might make sense to carry more of those and dispose off old ones.
2) Making a phone call from hotel room is likely to cost you a bomb. Buy a local SIM card or carry one from home country, from operators like Matrix. (Holiday Inn hotels in US and Canada are an exception, as they offer free local calls)
3) Similarly, with airlines charging extra for excess baggage, knowing your company policy on the same will help you decide if you should carry some extra stuff or buy them at the destination.

Knowing the list of approved vendors, hotels and operators can save lots of trouble later.

Patronizing your client: This is a fundamental requirement. if your client is an airline, try to fly on their airline, even if it is not the most convenient flight to you. Similarly, where possible use their products and services. Do not walk into a meeting with nokia flashing your iphone or samsung.

Duration of the trip: This factor governs the amount of dress and other materials to carry. A business trip could range from few days to few month or sometime get extended in the middle.

Destination city and season: What to pack is also governed by the destination city and climate/weather there. If it is winter then weight of your baggage can go up significantly. If you have a heavy jacket, it might make sense to put in on you than packing it in and wasting baggage space and weight.

Facilities available at the hotel: This also helps in smart packing.
1)If the hotel can give you a travel adapter, then you won't have to carry one.
2)If the hotel provides a bathroom chappal, then you needn't pack extra footwear and one pair of shoe might be enough.
3)If the hotel offers wi-fi, then you may not need a data card
4)If the hotel offers express laundry service at reasonable cost, you can carry a few pairs less clothing
5) If the city airport is too far from city centre or where your work will be, selecting a hotel which offers airport pickup-drop can save money.
6) Food: After few days away from home, most of us start craving for home food. Knowing that your hotel can serve something close to your taste would save time and effort going out and searching for a restaurant.

This is where hotels like Holiday in Express prove to be effective. With their express laundry service, free breakfast and wifi and extensive care, smart stay is much easier. Express brand from Holiday Inn offers relatively cheaper rates, without compromise on service or quality. With over 2100 properties around the globe, you're unlikely not to find one in the city you're heading to. Do check their site for details.

Personal objectives:
1) If you enjoy sightseeing and photography, you might wish to pack a camera. But big cameras like DSLR are not always convenient on business trip, as they command a bag for themselves and make it inconvenient to carry around. A good mobile phone with camera or a small digicam comes handy to click quick snaps. Hotels located closer to a metro or one which is closer to city can help save on travel time.
2) Some travelers take time out to meet their friends and relatives in destination city. You might wish to pack some gifts or home made food items for them.
3) If you don't want to skip your fitness regime or have strict dietary demands, choosing a hotel with good gym would help.
4) If you're expecting to have lots of meetings all through the day, a hotel with conference room helps save on travel time.

With most of business trips getting confirmed only in the last minute, it is very easy to miss packing important things and then regretting it. Because of this, having a pre-defined travel checklist always helps. One of my erstwhile managers was very proud that he could leave for US in 20 minutes notice. Few other people I know of also maintain checklist by country, by duration of travel etc. Such checklists, when cross verified with colleagues who've already completed similar travel, will be extremely helpful.

Happy Journey!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Star Flyer ride at Tivoli Garden, Copenhagen

Resuming Europe posts after a break

Star flyer is an exiting ride in Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, located at the heart of Copenhage, right next to Copenhagen Central.

Star flyer is one of the many attractions in Tivoli and goes to a height of 80 meters and given a beautiful view of Copenhagen city.

On my day 1 at Copenhagen, I'd seen this from a distance. On my last day at Copenhagen, I went for a ride in this. Due to safety reason, cameras, spectacles or any other items are not allowed during the ride. This means we can't capture the beautiful top view of Copenhagen city, which can be seen during the ride.

Ride starts at about 11.30 AM in the day and goes on till midnight on most days. Each ride hardly lasts 10 minutes. Costs 75 DKK for single ride or one can opt fo 199 DKK unlimited rides.

Children must be 140cm tall.
Above: me getting ready for the ride at star flyer and climbing up
Below: Few closeup photos of the ride

If only I had more time, I would have tried this ride multiple times.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thirtharameshwara temple, Honnali, Karnataka

How many Brahma temples have you visited? As such there're very few and I happened to visit one recently, near Shivamogga, Karnataka.


Sri Thirtharameshwara temple is located near Honnali, Karnataka (Davanagere district). We stopped by this temple for sometime.
Main attraction at this temple is the source of water, shown below. The water is pure and tasty, claimed to cure lot of illness and believed not to get spoiled over weeks when stored. The water is claimed to be coming from Kashi in Uttarpradesh and keeps flowing through out the year. Believing the source and divine powers is left to you, but quality of water is not questionable.
Brahma idol in Shri Theertharameshwara temple. A glass mirror is provided, so that deities can see the fourth face of lord Brahma

Above: temple exteriors. Thirtharameshwara temple is located on a light hill and in the middle lots of greenery

You may not wish to travel all the way from say Bengaluru to this place, but if you are visiting Honnali/Shivamogga and have some time to spare, you might wish to visit this temple.
 

How to go to Theertharameshwara temple near Honnali?
From Honnali, 22kms, via Belagutti

View Larger Map

From Shivamogga: Savalanga-Nyamathi (39kms)

View Larger Map

Nearby: Windmills * Karadikallu * Shivappa Nayak's palace

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Traveling around during Deepavali holidays

This Deepavali, we had lots of relatives at home and instead of whiling away time at home, we chose to hit nearby places- Pondy & Mahabs on Day 1 and Talakona, Horsley Hills on Day 2. To our delight, it was a nice experience, as roads were empty. With most of the people relaxing at home and everyone in holiday mood, driving around was fun.

  • Toll booths were largely empty. At times the toll attendant was even lazy to scan the receipt and verify if it is genuine. He would open the gate as we flash the receipt.
  • RTO Booths where tourist vehicles need to take permit- was also almost empty. In fact on Chennai-Tirupati sector, they were almost non existent.
  • At Talakona, under staffing was evident. On a normal day, a guard would perform detailed scan of the vehicle, count no of water bottles and demand a deposit against these bottles, which most of the tourists forget to collect back. This time, there was no checks. Only 1 guard was at duty.
  • Highway hotels were not crowded. Waiting time was very less.
  • T Nagar's Ranganathan street was almost deserted as if a curfew has been imposed. It is very difficult to see that street so empty on any given evening.
  • Parking attendants were late to arrive. Those who went early got free parking.
  • Waterfalls and other tourist places weren't as crowded as they used to be.
  • Tiruvanmiyur local train ticket booth, which would have long queue on most of the day, was by and large deserted. Getting a ticket was quick & easy.
  • Sholinganallur to Koyambedu took just about 20-25 mins in car, instead of 90+ on a normal evening
This is just FYI.

Honda Amaze Diesel- Quick review

A friend of mine was keen on buying Honda amaze and sought my opinion. I hadn't driven this car earlier and based on his behest went to Honda showroom to take a quick test drive. A 2 km test drive is not good enough to judge a car, hence this post only shares a few information and observations.

Once I entered the Honda showroom, first thing that impressed me was the way they measure customer feedback. Anything less than 9 out of 10 is Poor for them, while others would think something in the lines of '0-3 is poor, 4-6 is average, 7-8 is good, 9-10 is great.

That apart, after few minutes of awkward waiting, one of the guys walked to us and asked what are we looking for. Once I specified Amaze, I was given a brochure and a sheet with pricing details [Full brochure downloadable here]

Amaze diesel on road price starts at 7.4 lakhs and goes all the way upto 9.2 lakhs in Chennai. At this price point, Tata Manza, Swift Dzire and Toyota Etios are key competition to Amaze. Even Ecosport pricing largely overlaps Amaze price band and can be worth considering. With Swift Dzire is considered primary rival, rest of the review is largely focused on comparing the two.

I asked sales guy what is the realistic mileage one can expect from Amaze. He said existing customers are getting 18-20 kmpl (against a claimed 25 kmpl). Most of Amaze's rivals are capable of returning similar mileage in real conditions, hence fuel bill savings from Amaze is not going to be substantial.

In an earlier post I had advised against buying newly launched models immediately. However, for Amaze it seems safe, there's not been any critical complaints so far. But Amaze has a relatively new diesel engine while Dzire uses tried and tested diesel power plant from Fiat.

Below is the information on Amaze diesel variants and feature comparison.


Inside Amaze, the read rests are fixed and not adjustable, both for front row and second. While in Dzire, this is adjustable. Swift gets a dashboard mounted clock,  missing in Amaze. But that apart, I couldn't find any negatives in Amaze compared to Swift. In diesel, all variants get ABD, but in Dzire only higher variant ZDi get it.

Console looks fine, but extra cladding to the central one somewhat prevents view of other two smaller displays.
While most cars let you plug the USB in the dashboard, Amaze gets an hanging USB port below the AC controls. One has to stick the USB here. Looks clearly like an afterthought.
No parking sensors offered. Need to be bought separately.

Amaze's bootspace is bigger than Dzire (400 vs 316 litres), but amaze's fuel tank is smaller than Dzire (35 litre vs 42 litres).

I couldn't test the top speed/pickup etc in my short drive. If Honda's limited service network is not a bother, then Amaze is a good buy overall. For few colours and variants are readily available while others command a waiting period of up to 6 weeks. I asked the guy if we can take delivery in 2014, to gain advantage of 2014 resale value, I was told that is possible only if we pay the full amount now. Otherwise, prices are likely to be revised upwards in 2014, which will offset the difference in resale value, I am told.

As I walked out, no attempt was made to take my contact details- may be they have decided that I am not likely to buy or they were confident that real buyers will come back on their own, without having to do any follow up or cajoling. In contrary, on Maruti Suzuki's website, even to download dzire brochure, one has to enter half dozen details...

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Bankerupt by Ravi Subramanian- Book Review

Bankerupt is the latest financial fiction by Ravi Subramanian, author of other popular banking fictions- Devils in Pinstripes, The Incredible Banker, Bankster, if God was a banker etc.

Ravi continues to use real life incidents in his novels-Bankerupt features EMU farming, which was a lucrative business in south India that went burst recently, rendering thousands of investors at loss and lots of EMU birds getting abandoned. Ravi has used this concept well and also seem to have adopted a version of Reebok-Adidas saga. Reebok India top management was alleged to be involved in fraudulent activities and adopted a minimum guaranteed payment model for franchisees, which helped in rapid expansion of network and eventually buyout by Adidas  [Read this and this report]. This incident has been used to a large extent in Bankerupt.


Bankerupt is a story with multiple tracks- EMU farming on one side, shoe company on the other, MIT research on the other, all connected by the lead character, Adi, an investment banker and his friends/family members. Book explains a bit about money laundering and also how industry lobbies can influence academic research. Most of the story takes place in Boston, Mumbai and Coimbatore. The same GB2 name has been used.

As usual the story is very gripping and keeps the readers hooked. There's no adult content sneaked in. All dots get connected in the end to give full picture and put a logical end to the story. No loopholes, no unnecessary dragging of the story. No way to loose interest or get distracted in between. Recommended to read this book, if banking fictions excite you.

Couple of times I got confused between Lucier and Louisa. Slightly different names could have been kept to avoid confusion.

Summary
  • Title: Bankerupt
  • Author: Ravi Subramanian
  • Publishers: Penguin (Author's earlier books were published by Rupa)
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Pages: 319
  • MRP:  Rs 299
Bankerupt is priced higher than Ravi's earlier novels. Bankerupt has an MRP of Rs 299 (Rs 149 on flipkart as of now, buy it before the discount dwindles). This is probably a sign of author's popularity and publisher's desire to charge a premium. (or is it because Penguin is expensive than Rupa?)

Friday, November 08, 2013

Skywatch Friday- Malpe Harbor

A simple photo for this week's skywatch- Fishing harbor at Malpe, near Udupi, Karnataka

Malpe fishing harbor is close to the location where tourists board the boat to go to St Mary's island. On any given point of the day, harbor would be abuzz with wide range of activities, such as loading ice into the storage area of the boat, filling diesel, unloading captured fishes etc.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Chevrolet Enjoy LTZ diesel review

I spent 4 days with a 4 month old Chevrolet Enjoy LTZ and I am not really impressed by the vehicle during my 1230kms drive. This post is my review of the vehicle.

I hadn't driven many Chevys- a little of Spark and Tavera is all I've driven, so I was looking forward to Enjoy experience. Cost cutting initiatives are obvious all around the car and direct impact is on the quality of materials used and craftsmanship. Over the course of my usage, I observed multiple failures and this turned me off instantly.

Some of the things that weren't right:
1) Fuel tank cap wouldn't close properly, leaving the vehicle susceptible to fuel theft and danger from firecrackers during deepavali
2) Central AC Console flap wouldn't open properly. The two flaps are supposed to open simultaneously, but because the link between them was broken, each need to be opened separately.

3) A small box in the central dashboard, with a metal door, came off completely after me opening and closing it just twice.
4) Passenger airbag-badly positioned. if there's an airbag, bashboard is expected to have an incline, which discourages people from storing stuff on it. In Enjoy's design, the bashboard is flat and Indian passengers tend to keep their bags etc on it. Placing any heavy object may prevent airbag from opening, defeating its purpose.
 5) Cheap LEDs are used for light. Two third of the LEDs were not working on the front lamp.
6) I feel seat controls are badly positioned for driver's seat. Where I was expecting a recline adjustment lever, I got a height adjustment one. But this is not really a complaint, people can get used to it.
7) 2nd row seats won't fold completely, like in Xylo or Innova. We can't tilt the seats to create more space to enter and exit 3rd row. Hence getting in and out of 3rd row will be a challenge, more so in an 8 seater. In a 7 seater, it makes more sense to go to centre of second row, use the gap between 2 bucket seats to get into 3rd row
8) Second row bucket seats get an arm rest, but it is fairly impractical. it is so thin, our arms can't rest on it steadily. After sometime, people would fold the arm rest away.
7) Door pocket can't even hold a half litre bottle
8) Trip and Odometer: Black digits on blue background was not easy on the eye. Also trip meter supports only 3 digits. If you're going on longer trips of few thousand kms, you'll have to remember the thousand separately
The features of Chevy Enjoy LTZ
The top of the line LTZ variant gets 2 airbags, alloy wheels, power windows, fake wood inserts, bucket seats with armrests (useless ones), fog lamp, second row AC vent, reverse parking sensors, drive height adjustment, steering tilt adjustment and 3rd row charging point. No turn indicators on the rear view mirrors, no steering mounted controls, no climate control, no telescopic adjustment. Cheaper variants will be missing on some of these features.

What is good wth Chevrolet Enjoy?
Central locking has a proximity sensor. If I go too far from the vehicle without locking it, it makes a noise and alerts me.

The drive:
Chevy Enjoy diesel LTZ gets a de-tuned 77PS multiget Engine from fiat, same one that does duty in Ertiga, Swift, Manza and a host of other cars. An MPV of this size could have been offered with at least 90 PS power. 77PS feels slightly underpowered. It gives a top speed of 145 kmph, which is less compared to its peers, who easily touch 160kmph. Beyond 120kmph engine starts protesting, by offering wide range of resistances, expressing its unwillingness to speed up and begging you to slow down. Even the pickup is not at par with its peers. All these de-tuning was expected to return high fuel economy, in the range of 20kmpl. However, during my 1230 kms drive, I got about 14kmpl average, +/- 5%. This is partly because we used AC most of the times and drove at a higher speed of 100kmph most of the time, with a load of 4-5 people.  Driving slower, with less load and without AC would have got few more kms per litre, but what purpose would that serve? Practical mileage is what counts. This 14kmpl is still better than Xylo or Tavera, so taxi operators can consider Enjoy without too much hesitation, given the 2-3 lakh savings Enjoy offers, compared to Xylo or Tavera.

There were instances where I felt sudden drop in power. I felt as if I am in 4th gear instead of second or 3rd instead of first. I double checked that I am in right gear and engine not giving any pull was disturbing. had to slow down and cajole the car a bit to get it behave properly. This kind of behavior can be deadly during overtaking.
Even the brakes seem to have been designed to operate at lower speeds. High speed braking or tight cornering tends to de-stabilize the vehicle with brakes making scary noise. So Enjoy is not for the driving enthusiast in you. It is better off with a yellow number plate.

How Chevrolet Enjoy fares w.r.t competition?

Enjoy Vs Ertiga
Ertiga is more powerful and has better build quality. Ertiga commands better resale value and price difference between Ertiga and Enjoy is minimal. Ertiga makes a better buy in all aspects, except that Enjoy is more spacious
Enjoy vs Xylo
Xylo is more powerful and comes with lots of features not offered in Enjoy. But then Xylo is expensive and gives less fuel economy. Hence Enjoy might be preferable for short trips.


Read Xylo E4 review

Enjoy’s rival, Nissan Evalia got a facelift recently, with an inch bigger tyres and a host of other minor improvements. GM should do same for Enjoy-
My wishlist for Enjoy facelift is as below
-Provide 90 PS power & improved braking
-Door pocket should be able to hold 1 litre bottle
-Better build quality