Honda Dio vs Mahindra duro DZ

15 April 2012, 05:58 PMVikrant Singh


If you want to play it safe, buy the Honda Activa. So what if your father or grandfather rides one, or your local grocer and milk man for that matter. At least you are getting something that has a proven track record much like the homely girl your army of relatives would choose for an arranged marriage. However, if you think you are more adventurous, there is always the Activa's smarter and younger but a tad less conventional sibling, the Dio to consider. And lately, it has gotten a new wardrobe, better shoes and a shot of adrenaline as well.

There's yet another option, and this one has Kareena Kapoor playing match maker for it. It’s called the Mahindra Duro, and like the Dio, it too has only recently been upgraded. It still has the same old set of clothes, but underneath, it’s quite different and it has a new tag line too – Romba Solid.

In the visual sense, the Dio is certainly more attractive. It doesn't have the best face in the business, but look at it in profile or from behind, and you are bound to stumble over something. It not only looks younger compared to the middle aged looking Duro, but sexier as well; it’s got that club-going vibe to it that's missing on the Duro.

In close contact, the Dio impresses even more; it's like it spends more time at the beauty parlour then the Mahindra. So, its surfaces, be it the black plastics or the painted ones, glow more and are smoother to touch; in short, the quality levels as well as the fit and finish is better on the Honda.

It also has better looking instrumentation and the switchgear is crisper to operate. We also prefer Dio's seating position; with the lower set handlebar, it feels sportier and the seat is more accommodating too. It’s also easier to mount, in case you were wondering.


The Duro feels more like the scooters of yore in comparison. For the updated version the handlebar height has been increased on the Mahindra so that it does not foul with the knees while turning (which was an issue with the earlier version) resulting in a more upright seating position. It's not uncomfortable; in fact it is less demanding than that of the Dio, but it doesn't urge you on; it's like the plan here was to please the uncles.

As far as practicality goes, both have decent underseat storage which can hold a full face helmet. Floorboard usability is similar too though one can’t carry taller objects on the Dio courtesy its edgy apron design.

But the more time we spent with the scooters, the more attracted we grew towards the Dio. It is quite an excitable scooter now with a new, more powerful engine. It gets a 109cc, 8bhp engine in its new avatar. The engine though was first introduced in the Activa way back in 2010.


The Duro doesn’t feel slow either, and it shouldn't, it does get a 125cc engine after all. However the power rating is similar to the Dio's and the torque isn't much higher either. Plus, the Honda has a lighter, more progressive throttle response and a more refined engine, which makes it feel quicker. Moreover, the engine shows no signs of resistance in piling on speed and before you know it ends up sitting at its top speed of 80kmph. It’s also relaxed sitting there for as long as you like.

The Mahindra’s engine in comparison feels restricted. Even though in outright performance registered by our test equipment it is quicker, it just doesn't feel as willing to be pushed hard and the shudder from the variomatic ‘box is more pronounced on the Duro as well. Being a non-metal scooter and with it lighter in weight - like the Dio - the Duro too handles very well in the city. It is easy to flick around in city traffic and makes gaps effortlessly. We also like the fact that it comes with telescopic front suspension unlike the age-old trailing link setup on the Dio. Not only does this help cut the vibrations in the handlebar over bad roads, it also gives the Duro better feel under braking, and with it, more confidence to the rider. However, in terms of grip, weight distribution and going fast around bends or even roundabouts, the Dio comes across as better endowed.

Scorecard & Verdict


Design: The Honda Dio with its futuristic styling and better quality and operability, is the more desirable of the two scooters here, no question. That it offers a higher level of rider comfort over a variety of riding conditions, is an added bonus. A low saddle height also helps. For the pillion though, both scooters return equal amount of comfort.

Performance: The Dio and the Duro make the same horsepower though the engine capacities differ. The latter however makes more torque but then the Dio is lighter. However at the end the Duro has an advantage both in terms of acceleration and ride-ability.

Ride: The Mahindra scores higher under the Ride head. Yes, the Dio has a better throttle response, but then the Duro thanks to its telescopic front forks returns better feel and takes lesser distance to stop as well. It also has a slightly better ride quality.

Dynamics: The Duro might have scored higher in terms of ride comfort, but when it comes to dynamics, the Honda is races ahead. Besides better handling, the Dio communicates better too via its steering and feels calmer through quick direction changes. Otherwise these are very close.

Cost: Design and cost are two areas where the Dio manages to carve out a huge lead over the Duro. Under the Cost head, it scores more for being cheaper to buy and though both the scooters score equally for fuel economy, the Dio does return 5kmpl more in the real world. Moreover, being a Honda it has much better resale and it also comes with better warranty.


There’s no real difference in pricing of the scooters with the Dio costing a tad less. The Duro though is quicker and rides a bit better. But, otherwise, the Dio is better looking, better built and finished, more fuel efficient and gets tubeless tyres without costing more. Also in terms of seating comfort and practicality, it is at par with the Duro if not better. Clearly, if you are looking for an everyday runabout, we’d say pick the Dio; it is the better partner.



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