Friday 28 October 2016

Malaysia: Honda Hunt 2016 Kuala Lumpur - Melaka

On Wednesday 19th Oct, I left home early to get to Kota Damansara, just on the outskirt of Kuala Lumpur, to join a road trip with Honda Malaysia to Melaka, a UNESCO World Heritage City. I wasn’t so sure of what to expect (apart from it’s going to be a test drive of some sort too) as it was my first time joining such an event. In fact, none of us participants knew which Honda model we’re going to do the test drive on.

Upon arrival at Sunway Nexis in Kota Damansara, I saw a few Hondas parked at the front entrance, which included Honda Jazz, Honda City and Honda HRV. I went for registration at the makeshift counter around the same time with Ahmad Fauzi of Dunia Patik and we ended up being paired together for the ride. It turned out that we’re assigned with a Honda Jazz for this trip.

A briefing session followed soon after we had breakfast at Rail Canteen, where Honda Malaysia’s PR and representatives gave us a rundown of the cars we’re going to use as well as what we’re going to do over the 2-day road trip to Melaka. It was then we found out that there’s going to be a scavenger hunt as well, where each car was assigned with a theme and things to pick up along the way.

The whole group was divided into two – Teams A & B - with 3 cars each to a group, and 2 persons to a car:
  • Honda Jazz – Sports;
  • Honda City – Home & kids; and
  • Honda HRV – Travel items.
We were given a list to look at for just 30 seconds on what to pick up for our respective car. There were 8 on the list for our Honda Jazz so Fauzi and I split between the 2 of us to memorise 4 sports items each, which we promptly noted down soon after the 30-second was up. Easy peasy, or so we thought, heh!

We left Sunway Nexis, excited to follow our lead car who gave instructions through a walkie talkie. Initially the traffic was a bit heavy but soon after it became smooth and more enjoyable. We didn’t take much photos of the Jazz along the way as we thought we’re going to have it for the 2 full days anyway.

After about 2 hours, we arrived at our first destination, a pit stop for a photo opportunity at Klebang Beach, a popular tourist spot in Melaka.

L-R: Honda Jazzz, Honda City & Honda HR-V

Our Honda Jazz

After a quick photo session with the cars and the whole group at Klebang Beach, we left for Seafarer Restaurant, which specialises in Peranakan cuisine, seafood and grilled fish and located just next to Klebang Beach in Watersports Village.

Right after lunch, the scavenger hunt started, and there was a surprise. We’re to change cars within the group so Fauzi and I ended up with a Honda City instead of the initial Honda Jazz, which meant our list of items have changed as well into “Home & Kids”, and of which we hadn’t got a clue at all and needed to ask the other team – the “original” Honda City team. Oh, great!

Our new car for the scavenger hunt

We travelled in groups, so our group, Team B, travelled to the next pit stop – Submarine Museum in Klebang Beach - to get our stuff for the scavenger hunt. Before long, our Honda City was filled with kiddie stuff like toys, baby car seat, stroller and many more, and we were driving around like a family looking for missing kids, heh!

The next stop was Taming Sari Tower, a revolving gyro tower, which is located in the city centre. Driving into and through the town, with its many one-way streets, was a bit tricky but it wasn’t that bad, what more with a pretty nifty car like a City. We parked at the car park of the tower and quickly identified which items belong to which car in the team.

Decisions... decisions...
Soon, all our cars were filled with stuff.

From the city centre, we drove to Masjid Selat Melaka, Straits of Melaka Mosque, and were given the opportunity to assess our items and rearrange them for better utilisation of space as we would be judged based on that as well, apart from having the correct items according to our respective car’s theme.

Masjid Selat Melaka, Straits of Melaka Mosque
While I don’t have a Honda City, I’m quite familiar with it as there are relatives and friends who own one – so I kind of recognise the fact that not only Honda City is reliable (like all other Honda models) but it is also suitable for both singles and those with young families, making it a nice option for a first car. And so it didn’t really surprise me with the things that we could put inside the boot and at the back on the back passenger seats.

What surprised me most however was the Jazz, which had the “Sports” theme. We managed to cramp in a folding bicycle, a golf bag, a yoga ball, skateboards, sports bags, a racquet and a few more stuff, and yet, there were still room for 3 passengers in the car!

What we packed into our Honda Jazz...
I was like, are they playing magic tricks on us or what?

It turned out that, despite its rather “compact” size when compared to other cars, Honda Jazz has something unique in that its back seat can not only be pulled down but also upwards as a result of their patented design where the fuel tank – which is usually located underneath the back seat – has been moved to underneath the front passenger seat. The idea seems to be pretty simple and made me wonder why no one has thought of that before. Consequently, the back seats can be moved upwards to allow for space, especially for more bulky and tall items when required. In my eyes, a rather sporty car has suddenly become sportier, with its versatility, functionality and affordability.

Honda Jazz is a game-changer indeed.

There was never any doubt that a Honda HRV could pack in more with its spacious room but looking at how our team members packed their “Travel” items into the car, I was rather impressed too. A huge box, a picnic box, a few chairs and a few luggage too, and there is still some space to go. Like, are you kidding me? Thanks to its Multi-Utility Cargo Space feature (similar to Honda Jazz and where you can choose various versatile seat configurations from Utility Mode, Tall Mode to Long Mode), you can not only go travel and have a picnic somewhere, you probably can move into another house without having to rent a lorry. ;)

We (Team B) left the mosque for our hotel feeling quite confident that we have just won the scavenger hunt, beating Team A, after 2 of our cars were commended for the way we packed things up and how we utilised the space. However, we had to wait for the announcement that was to take place after breakfast on the second day of Honda Hunt 2016.

Hotel for the night was at 1825 Gallery Hotel, right in the city centre and on the bank of River Melaka.

1825 Gallery Hotel

View of River Melaka, just outside 1825 Gallery Hotel

The hotel is a small boutique hotel that’s well designed and proved to be instantly popular among us bloggers as there are plenty of “Instagram-able” areas inside. What got most of us gushing about our room however was the Jacuzzi bath tub inside our bathroom.

It was free and easy until dinner time and most of us chose to stay in the room utilising the Jacuzzi after the long drive from Kuala Lumpur.

For dinner, we were given the choice of either chicken rice balls or Asam Pedas Kota Laksamana, two popular dishes to try in Melaka. The majority of us voted for the former as we had had asam pedas at the Seafarer earlier during lunch. So off we went to Ee Ji Ban Chicken Rice Ball Restaurant, which serves halal chicken rice balls. After dinner, some of us went to Hard Rock Café just to enjoy some music and after-dinner drinks.

Chicken rice balls!
Our second day started not as early as the first day. Breakfast was at the hotel café, which has quite a nice setting overlooking River Melaka. 

Soon after breakfast, we gathered again in the café area for the winner's announcement and prize giving ceremony.

As expected – coughs – Team B won the scavenger hunt and each of us got an exclusive Honda cabin trolley bag; while the losing team, Team A, each got a hipster-ish Honda backpack. The cabin bag is a nice addition to my luggage collection, especially for a short trip when I need to pack more than just a small backpack but less than a full size cabin bag.

After that, we checked out of the hotel. Fauzi and I hopped into our 3rd Honda model in 2 days, a Honda HRV, and drove to Hotel Equatorial, Melaka, for our lunch.

Our third Honda in 2 days, a Honda HR-V

Lunch was another round of Peranakan cuisine and we finished it off with a bowl of cold cendol, something that Melaka is popular for, and definitely a must-try when one is in town.

After lunch, there was a walkabout just outside of the hotel where we were shown how Honda City compares to its closest competitor, in terms of space. The two cars were parked side by side and the Honda City’s boot was packed to the brim with items and stuff. We were asked to take them out one by one, and then were challenged to arrange those same items into the competitor’s car boot. Unfortunately, we failed somewhat miserably, and had to leave a few items out of the competitor’s car boot. I guess the Honda Team had just proved their point why Honda City is the best not just in terms of safety features (it’s awarded the 5-Star rating and named the Overall Winner for Adult Occupant Protection in the ASEAN NCAP Grand Prix 2015) but also in terms of space and why it is suitable for the smart young executives and modern family.

Being under the sun during the walkabout made most of us thirsty (okay, I guess this was just an excuse, heh!) so it was only fitting that we stopped by the popular Klebang Original Coconut Shake food stall to try out their coconut shake before we left Melaka for Kuala Lumpur. We were told that nasi lemak there is pretty nice too so yes, of course, I needed to try their nasi lemak too, despite having just had lunch at Hotel Equatorial.

Afterwards, it was a straight drive back to Kuala Lumpur in our Honda HRV. The drive along North-South Expressway allowed Fauzi and I to test the power and speed of the HRV. Both of us were quite impressed with the sturdiness and smoothness of the ride even at high speed (which shall not be highlighted here lest it becomes an incriminating evidence, heh! ;)) Despite the speed, we were reassured by the 5-Star ASEAN NCAP rating that the HRV has received – all the Honda HRV variants has this, not just the top variant that we were driving. It is no wonder that Honda HRV is one of the most popular Honda models and is in the lead position in the compact SUV segment in Malaysia.

We arrived safely back at Sunway Nexis in Kota Damansara at around 5 in the afternoon, now thoroughly confused with which Honda model has become our favourite as each one of them has their own plus points, haha! Perhaps a trip to the nearest Honda showroom is in order. ;) 

For more information:
Fauzi and I travelled in the following cars throughout #HondaHunt2016:
  • Honda Jazz 1.5L S in Carnival Red (RM73,800 on the road (OTR))
  • Honda City Grade V in Dark Ruby Red Pearl (RM92,000 on the road)
  • Honda HRV 1.8L V in Dark Ruby Red Pearl (RM122,200 on the road)
Click on the links above to find out more about the specifications, colours and price of each variant. Also do check out http://www.honda.com.my where they might have some ongoing promotions from time to time.

Going to Melaka, Malaysia? Do check out 1825 Gallery Hotel or any of these Melaka hotels for your accommodation requirements there.

For other blog entries on Malaysia, click here.


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