Honda Navi Review
Bike Tested: 2016 Honda Navi
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 51,757/-
The Honda Navi is a fun machine and is definitely going to sell well thanks to its price
Over the past decade, Honda has keenly studied and completely understood the Indian commuter market. The Activa being their most selling scooter, has made the Japanese automaker undefeated in this segment. Although the past few years have been rough for its 150cc motorcycle sales, Honda seems determined to add a twist to its smaller segment. It recently launched the Honda Navi at the 2016 Auto Expo held near Delhi. The Navi is a Grom 125 based machine that runs Honda’s 110cc CVT engine. We got an unexpected glimpse of the apparently pre-production model that Honda had brought to the final round of its One Make championship at the Madras Motor Race Track. Here is a first review of this little thing.
Styling – The Navi is obviously inspired by the Grom 125; although, there is much less to it than meets the eye. While it does resemble the Grom, the looks distinctively differ due to difference in functional hardware. For starters, the use of the CVT engine, makes for good space saving and usable area to carry goods. The square shaped headlamp is a little unconventional but seems to work well for the Navi. There aren’t a lot of body panels for it to style on, and has only a simplistic fuel tank and sufficient clothing under the seat. The rear is embedded with a tail lamp borrowed from the CB Stunner while the tail sports a number plate holder and coloured lens turn indicators. The overall looks of this pre-production model are kept simple with a monochromatic colour scheme and no stickers.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – Honda has yet a long way to go in this department. The instrument looks really old fashioned and we don’t mean it in a good way. The styling is a huge turn off while the switchgear will remind you that Honda is still stuck in the ’90s. We hope this is only confined to this particular mule. The cluster also lacks a fuel gauge, while the turn indicator signal, odometer and the high beam signal is conveniently incorporated into it. The switchgear is again borrowed from other Honda bikes and while we’re now in 2016, there is no point in stating the absence of the engine kill switch.
Ergonomics – Hop on to the Honda Navi, and you’ll find yourself in a different world. The seat feels really soft but feels a tad bit narrow (for bigger riders). The footpegs add to the comfort and provide a seating position similar to that of a motorcycle, yet as comfortable as a scooter. The handlebars are adequately tall and are not too wide. With its front-set footpegs and neutrally shaped fuel tank, the Navi can also accommodate slightly bigger riders as well. The same goes for the pillion as well, the seat is sufficiently soft and the footpegs are also comfortably placed towards the front. While the Navi is funnily tiny, riding two up within city limits shouldn’t be that much of an issue.
The punchy engine of the Honda Navi should be exciting to ride on the streets
Performance – While the official engine specs still remain undisclosed, the Navi seems to have a similar engine as that of Honda’s other 110cc scooters. The throttle has a punchy response probably due to the low overall weight of the vehicle. The engine has a crisp little sound and accelerates very well. The estimated top speed must be around 90 km/hr with a fuel efficiency of at least 55 km/l owing to its light weight. The Navi gets drum brakes, both front and rear; however lacks Honda’s CBS, probably due to budgetary reasons? Don’t let the telescopic forks fool you into believing they have a long travel. While we haven’t tested it on rough terrains yet, the suspension should work well in city conditions. The rear is equipped with a standard coil type shock absorber.
The scooter-motorcycle crossover is an interesting phenomenon, just waiting
to establish its roots in our country
Riding Dynamics – The first impression of this scooter-motorcycle cross is that of a superb handler; and you’re damn right, it is! The compact size, the larger wheels, all make up for a fun machine. With the dynamics of a motorcycle and the automatic transmission of a scooter, the Honda Navi makes for an excellent city ride. The handlebars are rightly positioned with just the right amount of width that facilitates for superb control and helps zip through traffic. With the light-weight diamond frame chassis, the Navi is easy to manoeuvre through streets and alleys and brakes decently even with drum brakes. Although short city rides with a pillion are doable, it would be certainly a bit of a hassle, if not impossible, to accommodate bigger passengers owing to its smaller size. The mono suspension feels average and is similar to that used on other scooters. While Honda has always had problems with the front suspension on the Activa and Dio, we hope the Navi does well in this department with its small telescopic forks. The Ceat tyres also serve their purpose well enough.
Verdict – The Honda Navi would be an interesting change for the Indian market. As much as intriguing as the Navi looks, Honda aims to bring about a revolution in commuting by introducing this pocket friendly mini Grom at an equally intriguing price of Rs. 39,500/- (ex-showroom Delhi). Although it lacks value added hardware like optional front disc or even CBS for that matter, the Honda Navi is not your regular scooter and definitely stands out in its segment, or will redefine it.
The Honda Navi is just waiting to get on the streets and captivate those who think out of the box. While it is nothing more than the ordinary, it has a certain amount of versatility that makes it unique.
* Engine is smooth and refined
* Punchy low-end makes it city friendly
* Motorcycle like riding dynamics make it effectively manoeuvrable for city conditions
* Under-tank storage for small sized goods
* Bigger 14-inch tyres provide additional stability in rough conditions compared to scooters
* Low price of Rs. 39,500/- (ex-showroom Delhi) attracting budget minded buyers
What’s Not So Cool
* Cheap quality of instrument cluster and switchgear
* Seat is too narrow to accommodate big riders
Alternatives – TVS Scooty Zest, Suzuki Let’s
Picture Editing – Sri Manikanta Achanta, Tanvi Ghate
Further Reading –