In India, the Smart City Mission was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in 2015 with the aim of developing 100 smart cities across the country. The goal of the Smart City Mission is to promote sustainable and inclusive development in urban areas, improve the quality of life for citizens, and create a better living environment.
Under the Smart City Mission, cities are required to develop a comprehensive plan for their development, based on citizen feedback and input. Ahmedabad was selected among the first 20 Smart Cities in India under the Smart Cities Mission of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. In spite of being the 2nd largest city on the list, Ahmedabad stands at 6th in rank in the country for its Smart City Plan.
It is the first heritage city of India. As rich it is in art and culture; it is also tremendously growing in IT and business. Meanwhile, the historic city of Ahmedabad was inscribed as ‘World Heritage City’ by UNESCO. Since the tag the city has witnessed more footfalls and the tourism industry observed a major hike. In addition, the city is also known as the Manchester of East due to its ever-blooming textile hub. It came as a city that has a mix of modern developments and a rich heritage.
With smart solutions comes a better way of life. For this epic road-trip, I wanted to explore not just a smart-city but also a smart-village to understand how such initiatives have transformed the quality of life. For this, my companion was a smart solution for urban commuting. The all new Skoda Slavia. I drove from the Smart City of Ahmedabad to the smart village of Punsari and back.
Skoda has always been a hit amongst people with robust and powerful cars like the Octavia and Rapid in the past. The reason I picked up the Slavia is because it gives you the ultimate safe driving experience. Skoda has always been at the forefront of automotive safety, and the Slavia is no exception. Skoda has always been known for its commitment to automotive safety, and the Slavia is a testament to this commitment.
Skoda as a brand has revived with exciting cars like the Slavia which is a capable family sedan that offers a comfortable ride with tremendous amount of space for its occupants. Its sleek design and refined engineering make it an ideal car for both urban and rural areas.
As I started my journey from Ahmedabad, the Skoda Slavia's powerful and smooth transmission made it easy to navigate through the city's crowded streets of this smart city of Ahmedabad. The car's responsive handling and comfortable suspension made the ride enjoyable, even on bumpy roads.
It's not just cities which are getting smart. It's the cars we drive also which are getting smarter. And Skoda has been on the forefront of it and are making cars which are simply clever. The Skoda Slavia boasts of an impressive suite of safety features that have been designed to keep you and your passengers safe on the road. From the robust body structure to the advanced driver assistance systems, every aspect of the Skoda Slavia has been engineered to protect you.
But safety doesn't mean compromising on comfort. With its spacious interior, the Skoda Slavia provides a comfortable and luxurious ride for all passengers. The Slavia boasts of comfort and elegance with style, from its charismatic appearance to the sharp silhouette, it’s a head turner. It's 1.0-litre three-cylinder TSI petrol engine which produces 115 PS of power and 178 Nm of torque is phenomenal and is the perfect combination of performance and good mileage.
To showcase the legacy of the smart city, we started from the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad as I drove alongside the Sabarmati River, where Mahatma Gandhi began his journey towards India's freedom. The Skoda Slavia's luxurious interior and advanced features made the drive even more pleasurable just like the feeling of being in free spirit and without choking through in hurdles.
The car's spacious cabin and comfortable seats provided ample legroom and headroom for everyone, while its infotainment system and automatic climate control ensured that everyone remained comfortable and in leisure throughout the journey. The car's premium audio system adds up to the overall experience as it cocoons you with insulation levels so high that you hardly hear the outside world.
As I left the city and headed towards the smart village Punsari, the Skoda Slavia's advanced safety features became more apparent. The car's electronic stability control and traction control system kept me in control, even on slippery winding roads and ghat-sections. The car's anti-lock braking system provided excellent stopping power, giving me the confidence to drive safely in all conditions.
One of the most important features of the Skoda Slavia is its emphasis on child safety. The car comes equipped with a range of safety features, including child locks on the rear doors, ISOFIX child seat mounts, and an array of 6 airbags ensuring safety for all occupants. These features gave me peace of mind, knowing that my child was safe and secure during the journey.
As I arrived in Punsari, the Skoda Slavia's spacious cabin and comfortable seating made the journey feel effortless. The car's fuel-efficient engine and aerodynamic design also helped me save on fuel costs, making it an economical choice for families looking for a reliable and safe car.
Though while charting through some rough patches on the way, the incredible 179mm ground clearance and superb suspensions soaked in all the bumps.
The humongous 521 liters of boot space is big enough to accommodate a complete family’s luggage. And that's why it is one of the smartest practical family sedans.
With the Slavia ensuring my peace of mind, I drove non-stop before we finally entered the Smart Village. Punsari Gram Panchayat was established in 1955. However, it is mainly in the last five years that the Panchayat’s work received significant attention and acclaim.
Here in Punsari, whether it is the schools or the Anganwadi centers, both have new facilities and are kept up to date. There is no litter on the roadways. Every area has a speaker built to broadcast notifications & information to the general public. Also, the village has a transportation system that residents utilize to get around the community and occasionally to other adjacent communities. The residents' standard of living has increased since all fundamental needs are met.
Punsari’s Panchayat has planned and implemented multiple projects for the complete transformation of the village, just like in any city Punsari too has good roads, clean water, electricity, CCTV, RO water plant, waste collection, Arogya Kendra, Kaushalya Vardhan Kendra & digital schools. Facilities like bus stands and sound systems at every intersection are present in this village, which has 6000 residents, can compete with any town in the nation and has all the amenities. Effective functioning of these projects collectively has made Punsari a success story and a role model for others to follow. The village administration has been bestowed with several awards in recognition of its exemplary achievements.
My drive to exploring the smart city to smart village was definitely an epic expedition, encountering roads full of bumps and even those prolonged highways. When traversing you need a car which is not just comfortable and high on safety, but also feature loaded. The Slavia’s amazing inbuilt navigation system kept us hassled free even when we had to search the rout maps of the smart village of Punsari. Slavia comes in with a choice of two advanced infotainment system. Which allow smartphones to be paired via SmartLink technology and provide access to mobile online services and all its features, which I personally enjoyed while driving around and listening to my playlist. This infotainment system also allows for hands-free phone calls via a Bluetooth connection and a built-in microphone. MySkoda Connect offers a Vehicle Health Report on the smartphone and remote vehicle access, allowing owners to retrieve vehicle information and driving data, including parking location. The MySkoda Connect app also provides tips for a more efficient driving style, retrieves over-the-air vehicle software updates, and notifies the owner if the SLAVIA is speeding or travelling outside a specified area. ŠKODA Play Apps can be downloaded from the app store. For connecting and charging mobile devices via cable, there are two USB-C sockets in the centre console and another two in the rear from the Ambition trim level upwards; the SLAVIA Style comes with a wireless charging Phone Box in the front which is pretty accessible.
Rapid pace of urbanization has put the rural areas across the globe in a state of active transition. Sustainability of the rural transformation involves challenges of policy support for complex social- ecological systems and governance of rural changes.
Infrastructure has always been considered as one of the pillars of economic transformation. Indeed, development of rural infrastructure has contributed substantially to inclusive rural development.
I made an excellent choice by taking the Slavia for the smart urban & smart rural expedition. Though, even as a family’s looking for a comfortable and safe sedan that can handle both urban and rural driving. Its advanced safety features, spacious airy cabin, and fuel-efficient engine make it an ideal car for long journeys, and I pulled a superb 15kmpl millage while cursing through the highways. Whether you're driving through the smart city of Ahmedabad or the smart village of Punsari, the Skoda Slavia is a reliable and safe family car that won't disappoint you in any way.
My journey from the smart city to smart village came to an end & after visiting both these places, it can be said that India is moving towards a better future. With cities and villages getting smarter, and more advanced, the quality of lifestyle has definitely improved. So, to keep pace with the advancing world, Skoda is leaving no stone unturned to provide smarter cars like the Slavia.