Daytrip with Volvo S60 from Royal Brothers & Driven

There is no way I can afford to spend 40 lakhs buying a Volvo car. Thankfully there's another easier, affordable way to experience these premium cars- Companies like Royal Brothers in association with Driven are offering these luxury cars on self drive rental, for a price slightly cheaper than competition. I got an opportunity to Drive the Volvo S60 sedan thanks to RB and Driven. Once my date with Swedish beauty Volvo S60 from Royal Brothers and Driven was confirmed, I had to plan how to spend a day with it. I have explored most of the places around Bengaluru, so while scanning for destinations to visit, I figured out that there’re few places in Dodballapur & Chikballapur area- Gudibande caught my attention. Gudibande is a fort some 100kms from Bengaluru. While studying route for Gudibande found that I can try to visit Ghati Subramanya temple and few smaller lakes/dams enroute. Thus decided to include those, as well as Avala Betta, where I planned to take some good photos of the car on top of the hill. I booked an overnight bus to Bengaluru from Chennai. Arrived in city at 6 AM but had to wait till 9.30 AM as Royal Brother delivery centers open only by 9.30 and we can’t book for earlier time. This is a disadvantage for weekend trips- If I can leave city by 6 AM I can get out within 30 minutes taking advantage of no traffic and explore more during the day. If I have to wait till 9.30 AM, it will take an hour or two to get out of the city due to peak hour traffic, effectively losing half  a day. Same for return. If I have to return the car before 8.30 PM then I have to return early from outstation trip. If RB can introduce one or two centres with 24 hours operation or at least 5 AM to 11 PM operation, at least on weekends it will give lots more flexibility to customers.

I went to Driven Café in Residency road at 9.15 AM as per advise. The Volvo S60 was right there, along with the Maserati Ghibli and Volvo V40 R Design.
I was taken to the Koramangala branch, from where I was brought back to Residency road, due to some internal miscommunication between Royal Brothers staff. Instead of 9.30 I could leave only at 11 AM. Had planned a photo-shoot in Cubbon park but had to cut it and head straight to my first destination of the day- Taj West End. Evolve Back (formerly Orange County) had organized a wildlife photo exhibition there. Spent some time observing the photographs exhibited there- about 2 dozen amazing wildlife photos were selected from a shortlisted pool of 150+ pics- included few from Amoghavarsha and other prominent wildlife photographers. Each photograph was also accompanied with a brief write up. A few sample photos below for your reference.
Was great meeting Vikram Nanjappa who represented Evolve Back. After appreciating the wildlife photo exhibition we were ready to head out. I had company of few relatives and Ashwini Neetan of Hopping Miles, who joined for the road trip in their personal car. With 90 minute delay I realized I might have to skip one or two places.

We left from Taj West End . Drove straight to Ghati Subramanya temple, some 60 kms/90 minutes away. Took a few photos around, munched on some cucumber, sev etc and left from there. Crowd was huge to spend more time on Puja or Darshan. We should have had proper lunch before leaving Bengaluru city limits- there were no proper restaurants anywhere till we hit the highway in the evening.

Above: Entrance to Ghat Subramanya temple
Below: Few photos of the Volvo S60 clicked enroute to temple


From Ghati Subramanya we headed to Manchenahalli lake, 20 kms away. Spent a few minutes around the lake. The forecast had predicted rains but thankfully it didn’t rain during our entire trip. But unfortunately the skies were cloudy, because of which photos wouldn’t be as good as they would have been, if it were to be a sunny clear day.


From the lake we drove another 5 kms to the Dandiganahalli dam. This was the dam I had visited last year in a Honda City. S60 handles bad roads with comfort.
I am not designed to climb mountains, but that doesn't prevent me from trying to climb smaller hills- forward or backward- I am Volvo S60


It was about 4 PM when we started from Dandiganahalli dam. We debated a bit whether to go to Gudibande (40kms) or Avalabetta (20kms). We had an hour and a half before it got dark. Initial plan was to go to Gudibande, but online check revealed 500 steps so decision was changed to visit Avala Betta, which was closer and I hoped to drive till top. Unfortunately authorities have now blocked vehicle entry to Avala Betta- one has to park at the base and walk 1.5-2kms to the top. Having seen it earlier I had no motive to go to top if I can’t take the car there. Others were also not keen to walk so much, so we diverted back to Bengaluru. Had to comply with a speed limit of 100 kmph so couldn’t experience the car fully.

Experienced heavy traffic in Hebbal and also near KR Circle and Corporation circle (Many diversions were done due to some muslim festival celebrations, causing gridlock at many key signals)
This trip logged around 200 kms and helped me get good feel of the Volvo S60. My passengers appreciated the comfort they had in the car.

Day 2 I was scheduled to return the car at 9.30 (and pickup the Maserati Ghibli). To make the most of morning hour, drove to NICE Road, hoping for some sunrise pictures. Unfortunately cloudy skies still prevailed, didn’t get any spectacular sunrise pictures. Clicked a few pictures, enjoyed a ride and came back to city. Visited a blogger friend and reached Driven Café to return the S60, marking end of the trip. 24 hours well spent in company of friends/relatives and of course a very capable Volvo S60 from Royal Brothers and Driven.




Above: Saw some mangled remains of cars that met accident on NICE Road- reminded us to drive carefully.

You can rent the Volvo S60 I drove or other Volvo/non Volvo cars from Royal Brothers/Driven. Below is the approximate rent for the Volvo range. Be aware that there’ll be kms usage limit (around 300 kms per day), top speed limit (100 kmph) and an accident liability which could go as high as 25% or car’s value in worst case scenario. Be prepared for these while you rent.
#
Model
Weekday Rental/Day INR, with GST
Weekend Rental/Day, INR, with GST
Accident risk liability (worst case)
Remarks
1
Volvo S60
7000
8500
10 lakhs

2
Volvo V40
5000
5500
7.5 lakhs

3
Volvo V40 R Design
5500
6000
8 lakhs
Most stylish of the 3






Indicative only. Please refer official site for latest availability and prices. 1.4x peak surcharge may apply on select days.

While above post describes how my day went with the Volvo S60, a very detailed review of Volvo S60 will be posted soon.

Disclosure: For the Volvo S60 I rented, the rental was complementary from Driven (Company that owns these cars) & Royal Brothers (who rent it out and manage operations) while everything else was my responsibility- fuel, toll and accident damage.

Similar: BMW 3 series experience * Audi Q3 Experience * Merc GLA

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