Hero Destini 125 Review
Hero is late to the 125cc scooter party, but has it brought the best wine to offer?
Pros: Comfortable seat, linear throttle response, very flickable, gets i3S technology
Cons: Lower-end vibes, lacks features, low-quality components.
The 110cc scooter segment in India has reached its saturation point which has pushed the 125cc scooter segment to be in vogue lately. So quite evidently, all big players want to be a part of this newly-formed elite club. And Hero Motocorp has chosen to play its card with the Destini 125. Making its debut with a different name at the 2018 Auto Expo in February, the Destini 125 finally arrived in the market nine months later in October.
So, Hero is late to the party, but has it got the best wine to offer?
On the face of it, Hero seems to have peeked into their rival's *coughActiva125cough* drawing board while designing the Destini 125. But the Destini has a flair of its own and gets a pronounced amount of chrome under the twin indicators on the front end and strips of the shiny metal on either side of the muscular side panels. Positioned as a family scooter, the styling is conventional but not to the point of monotony.
Now, the quality of plastics on the Destini 125 is passable but the scooter scores low on fit and finish. We found quite a few panel gaps all over the bodywork of our test scooter and the rubber components on the mirrors and foot pegs doesn’t exactly scream quality. The switchgear too feels tacky, dissolving the premium feel of the Destini 125. However, the quality of paint is top-notch and adds to the flair we mentioned earlier.
The suspension setup on the Destini is stiff and seems happy on smoother roads and minor undulations. Ride over big bumps or potholes and the scooter seems to forget about its damping duties quite a bit. Tingling vibrations can be felt on the footboard at the 40-50kmph mark which then creeps up to the handlebar and seat as speeds increase. These vibrations then reduce once the Destini hits the 80kmph mark.
The Destini has a wide and comfy seat. More importantly, it felt the same even after a few hours on the saddle. The floorboard has enough space to stretch out your legs and keep grocery bags if called for. And as is the standard in the segment, it gets two hooks in the front and 19-litres of underseat storage which is, good enough to store a half-face helmet and still have room for a few other knick-knacks.
The Hero Destini 125's 8.7bhp and 10.2Nm figures aren't going to give you mini-backlashes each time you wring the throttle. Rather it feels more like sipping a glass of wine on a starry night; gradually dawning upon you, perfectly suiting its family scooter persona. It doesn’t let down when needed either, especially whilst overtaking, the scooter moves forward with conviction. Complement that with its effortless flickability and the Destini 125 is a breeze through the narrowest gaps in traffic. Now, a really smart feature on the scooter is the i3S technology which helps in reducing consumption of fuel. It cuts power to the engine when left idle after six seconds. The scooter can then be turned on just by touching the brake and a slight twist of the throttle.
The braking setup on the Destini 125 consists of drum brakes at both ends. While the front end has bite, it lacks progression. The rear brake is the complete opposite, with good feedback, it lacks initial bite. It does get a CBS unit which Hero calls the IBS or 'Integrated Braking System'. Well potato-potato aside, the system feels unobtrusive amidst the slightly uninspiring feel of the brakes. As much as we liked the maneuverability and feel of the engine, we wished for a better braking setup. A disc brake at the front at least as an option, even.
Hero seems to have forgotten the rest of the features at the store and left only with the i3S technology. In the day and age of LED-lighting and jazzy-instrument clusters the Destini is prehistoric. What you get is a conventional headlamp, tail lamp and turn signals and the instrument cluster is a boringly haphazard fitment.
The unit has an analogue speedometer with an orange-backlit digital display which shows odometer, trip meter and fuel gauge. Something like a white or blue backlit unit that also displays a clock along with a brighter coloured analogue unit would be much more refreshing to look at. There also is a USB-charging port and boot lamp, although these are offered as an option.
The Destini 125 returned an average of 54.3kmpl in our efficiency test. Combined with a fuel tank capacity of 5.5litres, the Destini should cover a distance of roughly 298km, which is not the best in the segment but is decent in comparison to its rivals.
Fitness Of Purpose
The Destini 125 comes with a price tag of Rs 57,500 and it lays in between the base variants of its biggest competitors, the Suzuki Access 125 and Honda Activa 125. The Destini 125 is positioned as a family scooter targeted specifically at male riders from tier 2 towns where Hero has a strong dealership network. It gets a masculine design and the ability to carry a family with ease and in that sense, it justifies its purpose well.
The scooter gets a plush seat, excellent low-speed stability along with decent performance and storage space. Nevertheless, it could do better with a slightly more advanced braking setup, retuned suspension and more features apart from the i3S and bits of chrome. The manufacturer might have held back on the Destini's feature list to offer all the goodies on the soon-to-be-launched Maestro 125.
So, Hero is late to the 125cc party and not fashionably so and the Destini 125 is certainly not the best wine they can offer.
Photography by Kapil Angane
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