Honda Activa vs Hero Splendor
Hero Splendor iSmart vs Honda Activa 3G – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Shootout: Hero Splendor iSmart vs Honda Activa 3G

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 62,580/- (Hero Splendor iSmart), Rs. 62,860/- (Honda Activa 3G)

The Splendor & Activa are both commuters, the most preferred segment for Indian buyers

The Hero Splendor and Honda Activa have both been in the Indian market for a really long time. Both have had their updates and as time has passed, they have had new features being added to them. It’s about more than a decade or two, both of these are still the choice of a regular commuter who is in need for a hassle free, mileage king which is also practical enough for daily commute. Now both these 2-wheelers aren’t in the same category but what brings them together today is the constant fight on the sales chart, the Hero Splendor being the leader in sales every month, has been challenged quite a few times by the Honda Activa. So we bought them together in a comparison to see how they measure up against each other.

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Same old design features but both have some tweaks here and there

Styling – Talking about the styling, both the Splendor and Activa have had the same design features from quite some time now. The Hero Splendor being a motorcycle and in the market for a longer duration than the Honda Activa, has been through much more cosmetic changes. The Honda Activa on the other hand has had only a few cosmetic yet noticeable changes in its duration. The Splendor has come from a round headlamp to the square one, and now with a more aerodynamic design on the Splendor iSmart, it also gets eye catchy graphics. In case of the Honda Activa 3G, the new metallic colours, sharper design cues and the clear wide tail lamp grab attention. Deciding between them on the design alone is a tough ask but if we had to choose one, it would be the Splendor for it does look quite good in iSmart trim.

Hero Splendor iSmart console Honda Activa 3G console

Clear consoles provide easy to read information, both still stuck with an all analog display

Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – Both the bikes have total analog instrument cluster and the same old switchgear. Yet the quality of both have been made much better, the on-off switch on the Splendor works very well indeed, while the Activa gets a pilot lamp in its third iteration. Both the instrument clusters are clear and and have an easy to read display. The odometer reading with the speedo having its economy range marked between 30-50 km/hr features on both the bikes. Over here, the Splendor gets a side stand indicator and also a trip meter, the Activa doesn’t.

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Comfortable ergos provide an up-right and practical riding stance

Ergonomics – For the ergos, both the bikes feel just alike, narrow handle bars help in quick manoeuvring in tight gaps. The tank of the Splendor is thin while the seat is wide and very much comfortable, having a good cushioned feel. Except for the tank, the seating features are similar for the Honda Activa, while legroom space is quite a lot for easy movement of legs. The pillion comfort is great in both the bikes. The footpegs being on the uncomfortable side for the scooter as they happen to be much wide, while the same for the Splendor are much more comfortably placed. The Activa also benefits from under-seat storage which is completely absent on the Splendor.

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The power figures may be small but are enough whenever needed, at least for the city

The Hero Splendor being a geared bike is more fun to ride than the Activa 3G

Performance – Both the bikes aren’t superb performers but are serious economy freaks, the mileage figures do count a lot here! Still covering the power figures, the 100cc mill of the Hero Splendor iSmart puts in 8.36 PS of power and 8.05 Nm of torque which is mated to a 4-speed gearbox, while the 110cc CVT motor of the Honda Activa proves to be powerful on paper, giving out 8 BHP and 8.34 Nm. Both of these weigh almost the same and max out below the ton figure, the Activa being at 85 km/hr and the Splendor at 90 km/hr, the difference is just because of the weight distribution and gearing. Both the engines are butter smooth and have very less NVH levels, though Splendor being a geared motorcycle proves to be much more smoother and efficient. The Activa returned almost 50 km/l while the Splendor went for a bit more and recorded a stellar 65 km/l. The iSmart’s i3S helps in boosting mileage numbers by a couple of kms for every litre. Having better mileage and a much larger tank, the motorcycle (Splendor’s tank is 8.7-litres big against the Activa’s 5.3-litre tank) has a much bigger range.

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Even after being light in weight, they are not prone to much windblast

Riding Dynamics – Riding both the bikes in good city traffic or even taking them out on open highways, is always a happy moment. Riding comfort and ease to move around on both of these is excellent. Taking sharp turns and covering corners with leaned postures doesn’t require much effort. The only place where the Splendor loses out is braking performance, the Activa with the amazing combi-brakes stops so well that even in immediate and surprise braking, the scooter comes to a halt quickly. The Splendor on the other hand doesn’t stop that quickly if at a higher speed. But to compensate with the loss, the iSmart technology take the Hero Splendor to a new level by reducing engine stress while riding in traffic or stop-and-go conditions (automatically stops and starts the engine). Pillion comfort is good for both but the shocks of the Activa happen to be a bit bouncy while the Splendor glides well, taking all the bumps in its stride with ease.

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Once tanked up, both can be ridden for long distance, the Splendor more so

Verdict – Even though from a totally different category, both the bikes compete with each other in the Indian market. Dominating the commuter segment, the Activa has taken the lead with practicality and the Splendor with performance and efficiency. Both the vehicles cost almost the same, and hence it becomes a choice for the customers to select a product according to their need. Factoring customers’ requirements, the Activa provides hassle free riding for all kinds of people. But considering the fact that Hero’s improvement and features provided in the Splendor iSmart have come a long way, while the Activa runs with the same old list of features, the iSmart wins the debate today. Being a bike, the Splendor’s efficiency and Hero’s back bone of superb sales and after-sales service, makes the Splendor iSmart just edge ahead of the Honda Activa.

While this isn’t an orange to orange comparison, the battle between Hero and Honda is going to get more intense in the future. The Activa’s USP is that anyone can ride it while the Splendor excels on the fuel efficiency front, making it truly a fill-it-shut-it-forget-it machine and also our choice among these commuters.

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The Splendor iSmart wins the shootout with quite some edge over the Honda Activa

Further Reading –

Honda Activa 3G Test Ride Review
Hero Splendor iSmart Test Ride Review
Hero Splendor iSmart vs Bajaj Platina 100 ES