Honda Activa-i Road Test Review: The Younger Activa for Youngsters
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The pros: Lightweight and compact, good 18-liter underseat storage, good ergonomics, refined engine, CBS effective braking and easy to maneuver.
The cons: Mainly concern particular sex group, front suspension fails to absorbs potholes properly.
The crux: The Activa-i might not impress the enthusiasts, but this scooter is not for them, it has been targeted towards the youngsters, especially girls and it fits the bill here.
The market of automatic scooters in India is largely dominated by Honda and the manufacturer can also be credited to bringing back the culture of riding scooters in India. However, its erstwhile partner Hero MotoCorp seems to be doing well in this segment with both its offerings Pleasure and Maestro which are generating good numbers for the manufacturer. Both the scooters are targeted toward different sexes, while with Pleasure the company says “Why should boys have all the fun”, on the other hand they sell “Such a boy thing” Maestro.
Honda scooters also have a good acceptance among boys, but there was nothing targeted towards girls, although all of their scooters are unisex. The reason was the unavailability of any Personal Compact Scooter in their stable. This segment targets the college going girls and young professionals, where the Pleasure and TVS Scooty are in dominating position. But recently Honda launched a new scooter in the segment called Honda Activa-i, a direct competition to the Pleasure.
With the Activa-i, Honda is currently selling four scooters in India, having same the chassis and engine, then the question rises why four different scooters? The reason is the increasing demand created by multiple sub segments within the specific price bracket. For example, the Activa is a family scooter, while on the other hand Dio is a moto scooter.
So to target the young professionals specially girls Honda has launched the Activa-i. It is based on the Activa, but its fresh design and styling make it a different product. We recently rode this scooter to interpret its actual potential?
The Activa-i is a lighter and more compact scooter in comparison to other Honda scooters. The scooter uses the same rigid underbone chassis that of the Activa and uses fiber panels, which helps it to be light. It shares parts and styling with other Honda scooters, but on the whole it looks new and fresh. Starting from the front fascia, its angular headlight with a bikini fairing looks good, while the Aviator like front apron with turn indicators appear sleek and adds to its compactness. The front mudguard is taken straight from the 2012 Honda Dio.
The wing shape side panels look good and again add to its compactness. The exhaust and wheels are similar to the one's on Dio. However, the rear tail lamp cluster from a distance might seem a bit similar to the one on the Dio, but when taken a closer look its subtle tweaks provide it a unique identity. Overall, the scooter has a feminine appeal due to its compactness and sleek front end, which is a good thing. The fit and finish is good, and we liked the paint quality too, however the use of some graphics might make it look better.
Switch Gear and Ergonomics:
The Activa-i uses the similar switch gear that of the Activa, comprising of a light and ignition switch on right and horn, high/ low beam and indicator switch on the left. The switch gear is basic and easy to use. The big vibrant dual tone instrument cluster comprises of a speedometer, odometer and fuel gauge, which are fairly easy to read.
The upright set riding position is good for daily commuting, and its low and wide seat makes rides even more comfortable. The space at front is good, even taller riders find a ample of space for themselves.
Activa-i comes with a good 18-liter underseat storage, which can fit-in a full space helmet. We liked the new grab rail, which is ergonomically designed and provides a good grip.
Engine and Performance:
The Activa-i uses the same HET, 109.2cc, four-stroke, forced-air cooled engine, which does duty to the other Honda scooter as well. The engine belts out a maximum power out put of 8bhp @ 7500rpm. The term 'HET' is Honda's latest technology, which stands for Honda Eco Technology. HET aims to reduce fuel consumption, lowering friction and the weight of engine components.
I have always been a fan of this 109cc motor as it feels refined and responsive. But, as the scooter weighs only 103kgs, the motor feels more strong on the Activa-i and it starts to pull quite early. The strong low and mid ranges make it an ideal ride in traffic and overtaking is a virtue with the Activa-i. The scooter hits 60kmph mark in no time, and it goes cleanly till 85kmph.
We rode this scooter in busy Delhi traffic, where its light weight and powerful engine helped us handle jams and heavy traffic with utter ease. Despite of heavy and continuous stop and go traffic Activa-i returned a fuel economy of 54kmpl. On the highway (DND flyway in this case), it returned an economy figure of 62 kmpl on a combination of high and low gears.
Ride and Handling:
Honda Activa-i's low weight makes it easy to maneuver and handle in traffic, which make it an ideal choice for girls. The scooter uses the same under bone chassis and link suspension at the front and hydraulic single sided suspension at the rear that of the Activa. However, the dynamics of this scooter are better than the Activa. Infact it doesn't ride like Activa and rides more like Dio, but the ride quality is more subtle as the suspension on a softer side and it misses the Dio's sporty nature.
But we liked the way it rides, however telescopic suspension at front would have made it absorb pot holes better. The scooter uses 10-inch steel wheels with 90/100-10 53J MRF tubeless tyres and 130mm drum brakes at both front and rear. Braking is good with Honda's CBS (Combined braking system), which allows you to apply both the brakes at the same time by pressing the rear brake and the independent front is also there.
The Activa-i might not impress the enthusiasts, but this scooter is not for them, it has been targeted towards the youngsters, specially girls and it fits the bill here. The peppy scooter is light and compact and it sails through the traffic without any hassle, which is the need of the hour.
As a student or a young professional, you don't wish to spend much to buy your ride and then on the fuel, so the Activa-i fits perfectly as the scooter that costs Rs. 44,200 (Ex-showroom, Delhi) and it returns a mileage of 54kmpl in city. So, if you are looking for your first ride for daily commuting we will suggest you to go with the Activa-i.