2013 Honda Activa-i Test Ride Review
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Honda Activa-i Review

Bike Tested: 2013 Honda Activa-i

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 52,150/-

The Honda Activa-i is a Dio under the skin, targeted at the mass market.

This is the first review of Honda’s latest scooter, the Activa-i. Honda’s onslaught continues with the launch of new products every quarter. The mania started with HET scooters in February and now after five products, it has come to a temporary stop with the recently launched Activa-i. Scooters, as we know are very important for Honda’s success in the Indian market. Therefore, after re-designing every existing product, how could the scooter be given a miss? The Honda Activa-i is an all new scooter on the outside while on the inside, it is the same as other scooters which exist in Honda’s stable. The major reason behind the making of the Honda Activa-i is the scooter market is undoubtedly growing and people looking for a cheaper option runaway to competitors like TVS, Mahindra and in some cases Suzuki too. So is it a cheap scooter or is it truly an entry-level scooter for masses by Honda? (Dio appeals to the youth) We take spin on the Honda Activa-i to find out ‘what lies beneath’.

Honda Activa-i Test RideHonda Activa-i Review

Styling – The design is fresh and from almost all angles, it looks different. Swoopy side panels with vents and creases are flowing upwards rather than bulging out sideways, which gives it a character of a unisex scooter. The front is undoubtedly inspired from the Aviator. The panel that houses the indicators and the parking lights is taken from the Aviator, which has been put on a diet and looks less bulgy. The front mudguard, exhaust and the blunt steel wheels are borrowed from the 2012 Dio. The rear stop lamp resembles the Dio’s with minor tweaks. Both have been given subtle changes to distinguish the scooters. Overall, it is very similar to the Dio with the rear hunched up and the front carrying a contemporary sleek design.

Instrument Cluster and Switch Gear – The instrument cluster is all-new with purple background and white fonts. The cluster has a typical set of function lights. The solitary indicator and high beam are there and so is the old fashion odometer and fuel gauge. Switchgear is also the same found on other scooters with average quality, which gives the built to last feel.

Ergonomics – The riding position is upright and resembles the Dio’s. While the Dio feels roomy, this feels a bit cramped, blame the narrow width, which also hampers the floorboard’s capacity of carrying items. The mirrors give an excellent, wide view of what is behind. The Dio is not friendly for pillions without the all around guard that comes with built foot pegs, but the Honda Activa-i is. The pillion sits upright and comfortably, a genuine problem solved by Honda which we reported in our long term Dio report. The seat is quite long and cushioning is excellent for supporting short or long rides.

Performance and Gearbox – The engine which powers the Honda Activa-i is the HET motor, which we see on all other Honda scooters today. The engine produces 8 BHP of power and 8.74 Nm of torque. The engine is typical Honda, smooth and very refined all the way to the very end of the powerband. The motor has good drivability in the city and overtaking is a hassle free job. The overall engine character of pulling from low speeds to the top-end is the same like the Honda Dio because the Activa-i is just one kilogram lighter then the lightest scooter in Honda’s stable (Dio), thanks to the use of a fibre body. All this translates to very quick off the line acceleration and the Activa-i reaches 55 km/hr easily after which, on an open road it will strongly pull up to 85 km/hr. The speedo indicated top speed is 90 km/hr and one can expect a mileage of 45-48 km/l, although Honda claims 60 km/l.

2013 Honda Activa-i Road Test

Riding Dynamics – The Activa-i is armed with under bone chassis and link suspension at the front and hydraulic single sided suspension at the rear. Dynamics are good, the scooter turns into corners quickly, has ample grip and thanks to the low kerb weight and short wheelbase, it is a very flick able and agile scooter in the corners. The Activa-i has point and shoot characteristics in traffic. The ride and handling is similar to the Dio but the suspension on the Activa-i feels much more subtle. So the stiff ride quality of the Dio has gone and the plush ride quality is back? No! Comfort levels do not match the last generation Activa in any single way but when it comes to dynamics, the old Activa doesn’t come close either.

Overall, it is a good balance of ride and handling and thanks to the tweaked suspension, a mid corner bump won’t completely unsettle the scooter. Not much excitement when it comes to dynamics and it is nowhere near to class leaders such as the TVS Wego or Yamaha Ray. Braking as always is excellent on Honda scooters thanks to the trump card which Honda holds with Combined Braking System (CBS). High speeds are shed quickly and without any fuss.

Miscellaneous – The two vents in the swooping side panels are also seen on the Activa. Honda has tried its best to convince customers it is an Activa. The hunched up look at the rear exposes many parts to dirt, slush and water which are visible with just one glance. The left side panel is busy with two badges and a key hole, looks a bit fussy at first. We think the key hole should have been given a different position and HET sticker should have been carried on the right side as well. The new grab rail reduces force by 15% while putting the scooter on the main stand, something which can be felt by those using the regular Activa. Yes, you are still paying for number plates and side stand separately. We hope this scooter does not carry long waiting periods or else it will be end up standing still, although due to the time lapse between launch and delivery, the Activa-i is not available off the shelf yet.

Verdict – What lies beneath? The answer is the Honda Dio and it is a good thing because the Dio is the most fun to ride scooter in Honda’s stable despite the shortcomings such as lack of modern suspension (no telescopic front forks yet!). The Honda Activa-i may not be the ‘i’ generation out there because it’s not a sporty scooter. However the Activa-i is significantly cheaper than the regular Activa with the only thing you lose being the metal body. This in turn makes the Activa-i value for money (the regular Activa costs Rs. 5500/- more) for those who are looking for a cheaper/entry level scooter with a Honda badge.

The Honda Activa-i makes for an excellent entry level scooter although the ‘Ready to Fly’ tagline doesn’t gel well with the scooter.

What’s Cool

* Peppy performance
* Fresh design

What’s Not So Cool

* Missing telescopic suspension
* Waiting period

Honda Activa-i Specifications

* Engine: 109.2cc, 4-stroke, air-cooled, single-cylinder
* Power: 8 BHP @ 7500 RPM
* Torque: 8.74 Nm @ 5500 RPM
* Transmission: V-matic
* Top Speed: 90 km/hr
* 0-60 km/hr: 10 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 47 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Suspension: Spring Loaded Hydraulic Type
* Tires: 90/100-10 53J
* Brakes: 130 mm Drums (with CBS)

Honda Activa-i Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 1795 mm x 705 mm x 1115 mm
* Wheelbase: 1238 mm
* Ground clearance: 165 mm
* Seat Height: 765 mm
* Under-seat Storage Volume: 18-litres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 5.3-litres
* Kerb Weight: 103 kgs