Honda Activa 5G: First Ride Review

31 July 2018, 04:26 PM Neil Nair

Introduction

Pros: Reliable, highly fuel-efficient, great brand value.

Cons: Dated design and suspension setup, lack of features.

The current generation of scooters boast of all kinds of gizmos and hoo-haas to appeal to the current lot of consumers i.e. tech savvy youngsters. While the Honda Activa could snicker at the young buds with its near three lakh a month sales figure, it also needed to be in par with the crowd. 

So here in its fifth generation is the Activa 5G. It looks no different than its previous counterpart, save the front end. After all, the nine year-old design has seemed to work perfectly for Honda. And as they say, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it! 

Quality

The Activa 5G gets a full-LED headlamp along with chrome strips on the front apron. While you might not notice the chrome, the bright LED headlamp sure is attention grabbing as much as it is useful. It offers good projection and visibility even when not on high beam. And that’s about it if you opt for the standard version. On the DLX variant, in addition to the analogue speedometer you get a small digital unit, similar to that on the Grazia. One of the highest selling points of the Activa is its metal body, the finish of which is top notch.

The plastic used on the steering unit and mirror is also superior however the black-finish is susceptible to fading, a concern even in the previous models. The switches feel tacky and require a wee bit of effort to operate. 

Comfort

The Activa offers a neutral riding position credit to its flat and large floorboard. And while the seat may not be long, it is well cushioned and wide enough even for the heftier riders. The scooter gets a metal footboard as standard for a side saddled pillion.

While the Activa is well behaved on good patches of road, the dated suspension setup cuts short the experience on the weathered parts. The scooter continues to use the trailing link suspension it started with 18 years ago! Although dated, the setup is indestructible, much like Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet. It will also amuse you with a swing movement when the front brakes are applied. 

And if you contest me about the pricing, the Aviator costs nearly the same and gets telescopic front forks! Rants apart, the Activa has decent utilitarian features like an 18-litre under seat storage accessed using the seat opening switch besides the four-in-one ignition lock in the front. It also gets a hook on the front apron and under the edge of the seat.

Performance

The Activa’s 109cc engine screams refinement like all other Hondas. The scooter seems undaunted even when threatened to go full-throttle, until it hits the 90kmph mark. That’s when you start to feel the grittiness of the otherwise butter-like smooth motor. The 8bhp and 9Nm producing engine is peppy too. The Activa was quick to pull away during our performance test even with a larger rider on board. 

With a kerb weight of 109kg, the Activa isn’t a light scooter, sitting under the TVS Ntorq 125 which weighs 116kg. Complement the weight with the peppy 109cc engine and the Activa feels sturdy and a pleasure to ride in heavy traffic conditions and on the highway. Honda offers the Activa with drum brakes even on the highest variant, although it does get a combined braking system (CBS) as standard. While the CBS has an excellent bite, it tends to fade after prolonged use. The scooter could surely do better with a front disc brake, but that will only happen after it gets telescopic front forks. 

Technology

The robotic-looking full-LED headlamp plays a huge role in the appeal of the Activa 5G. The scooter’s analogue speedometer gets a white backlit needle which looks neat. Whereas, the digital display has a clock, fuel gauge, single trip meter and odometer along with an ECO indicator that lights up in the 40-60kmph range. 

Fuel Efficiency

The Activa 5G benefits from the Honda Eco Technology (HET) which the company claims to boost efficiency. It returned an impressive 60kmpl on our test cycle. And with a 5.3-litre fuel tank, the Activa has a sufficient range of 318kms. 

Fitness of purpose

The Activa was always meant to be a reliable family scooter. With the 5G, Honda has modernized the scooter, making it appealing even to the younger audience. Even with lesser features and a price tag equivalent to its competitors, the Activa continues to be the highest selling 110cc scooter in India.

Our take

The Honda Activa 5G retains the legacy of its previous counterparts in terms of reliability and brand value. While the design sure is dated, it has a widely appealing no-nonsense character. The Activa however, could do with a better braking and suspension setup which turns out to be the only drawback in performance. All-in-all the Activa 5G upholds its reputation of being a rugged scooter. Additionally it would also attract more Indian consumers with its answer to ‘Kitna deti hain?’ 

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