EXCLUSIVE: 2021 Yamaha Fascino 125 Hybrid: Road Test Review
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Does the micro-hybrid system actually help better the Fascino’s value proposition or is it just a gimmick?
Yamaha India was done playing the mass market game, or so it said last year, when it stepped up its scooter range from 110cc to 125cc. For 2021, the stylish and practical of the two scooters -- the Fascino 125 -- has just received a handful of upgrades. The main talking point of the new version is the micro-hybrid system that Yamaha claims has improved its performance without compromising on fuel efficiency. Is that actually the case?
- It is still the lightest scooter in its class.
- Added boost does make for peppy performance.
- The LED headlight adds an extra layer of premiumness to the already stylish looks.
- Ride quality is borderline harsh.
- New LCD console is quite boring and isn’t comprehensive.
- The Smart Motor Generator provides a bit more boost to the 125cc mill, making it India’s first micro-hybrid scooter.
- Diamond-esque LED headlight looks quite appealing.
- The Fascino had undergone a major cosmetic makeover when it stepped up to the 125cc class. For 2021, Yamaha has thrown in an LED headlight, LED tail light and a couple of bright and striking colours.
- The photographed Matte Black shade happens to be one of our favourites from the nine colour options that the Fascino arrives in. The matte black and gold combo works brilliantly.
- Yamaha has also given this particular colour edition a golden 3D logo and a dark brown/black dual-tone seat cover.
- Fit and finish levels on the new Fascino are certainly a couple of notches higher than what we’ve seen on Yamaha products in the past couple of years.
- There are no changes to the rider’s triangle or the kerb weight of the Fascino 125.
- It continues to remain the lightest scooter in the 125cc segment, tipping the scales at 99kg wet.
- The new LED headlight provides adequate illumination and decent spread. Again, it is an improvement over the likes of the FZ Fi and R15 v3, but in its class, the likes of the Suzuki Access 125 and TVS NTorq 125 Race Edition have far better headlamps.
TECHNOLOGY & FEATURES
- The Fascino 125 now gets a full digital LCD dash, quite similar to the one seen on the RayZR 125. Information on offer is pretty basic: an odometer, a trip meter, a bar-type fuel gauge, a speedometer, and, quite weirdly for a scooter, a tachometer.
- While the layout is legible, we would’ve liked a snazzier dash, just like the scooter’s design. Even if that wasn’t the case, a bit more data like average fuel efficiency or a distance to empty indicator would’ve come in really handy.
- The top-of-the-line disc variant also gets the option to connect your smartphone to the scooter. This unlocks features like answer back, ride history, last parked location, hazard lights, and parking records.
- As for the new LED headlight, it offers good spread and throw but isn’t as bright as the unit on the Access.
- Unfortunately, unlike most 125cc scooters these days, the Fascino doesn’t offer a USB charger as standard. It instead comes as an optional extra.
ENGINE & PERFORMANCE
- There have been plenty of examples of a micro-hybrid system on Indian cars but the Fascino 125 is the first Indian scooter to get this tech. How it functions here is that Yamaha has tuned the Smart Motor Generator, the motor that silently fires up the 125cc mill, to provide some extra boost, 0.6Nm to be precise.
- Yamaha claims that this extra performance will help it get off the line quicker, which is sort of true.
- In our VBox acceleration tests, the 2021 model was quicker to 80kmph by almost a second. However, the 0-40kmph and 0-60kmph runs are a tenth of a second slower. While that is negligible in the real world, where this added boost does come in handy is while commuting.
- Now, the engine feels eager and likes to be ridden a bit sportily. The punch may not be present at lower revs but it more than makes up for it by a healthy mid-range torque bump.
- This directly results in better roll-on acceleration timings. And that means, you can easily get through slow moving traffic with a simple twist of the throttle. In fact, it is now on par with the likes of the 2020 TVS NTorq 125 and the Suzuki Burgman Street 125.
- A chunkier mid-range has also managed to improve the Fascino’s city fuel efficiency. It was already the most fuel efficient 125cc scooter that we had tested in BS6 times, and this one improves upon that further.
RIDE & HANDLING
- One of our complaints with the new Fascino has to be its ride quality. The previous edition had a pretty supple ride, gliding over the largest of speed humps. The new one feels quite rigid and firm -- borderline harsh.
- One can feel every single ripple and rumblestrip on the road. The monoshock’s quick rebound tosses you off the seat if you don’t proceed over bumps and potholes with caution.
- The Fascino 125 was a pretty nimble scooter to begin with. Now with the extra spring in its step, and no added weight, it prances through traffic like a gazelle.
- The brakes on the particular unit of the Fascino weren’t up to the mark. Since we got this from our dealer friend at the earliest, it wasn’t properly bled and had a bit of sponginess in the system. Hence, we will wait for the media unit to arrive to comment on whether the braking performance has been alerted or not.
The Yamaha Fascino 125 Hybrid is available in two variants: front drum and front disc, prices for which now start at Rs 72,000 and Rs Rs 77,530. Certain colour editions warrant a bit more money, like the Matte Black Fascino S shown here, which costs Rs 2000 more than the regular disc variant. Aside from the difference in braking hardware, the disc trim also gets Yamaha’s smartphone connectivity module as standard.
We were pleased with the Fascino 125 when it came out last year, but felt like it was a bit too simple. Thankfully, the updates for 2021 have made the stylish Yamaha scooter quite an appealing package. It remains light and thanks to the added boost, makes commuting a treat. Plus, the new modern features were a much needed addition to this beautiful scooter. Yes, we were disheartened by the change in suspension tune but it is something that shouldn’t bother you too much. Ultimately, the biggest gain is in its fuel efficiency, which makes the new Fascino 125 Hybrid a very compelling package in this cut-throat 125cc segment.