2020 Hero Passion Pro BSVI road test review
Dal is one of the easiest Indian preparations and does not take much time to prepare. However, as simple as it can look, it is the right ingredients and their proportions that make a huge difference. The 100-110cc segment of commuter motorcycles is just like that. While it might appear the simplest form of a motorcycle, getting it right is a tough task, especially when you consider the huge volumes sold in the country.
The Passion Pro has always been one of the popular motorcycles in the 100-110cc commuter segment
Unrivalled for years, Hero MotoCorp has often found itself leading the two-wheeler market with its ever-growing sales, even in the present situation. A big reason for that is the company's robust commuter motorcycle portfolio. While other manufacturers are dabbling in newer segments, Hero MotoCorp has been bolstering its volume-selling range of motorcycles that has a wider reach in all the pockets of the country.
Hero MotoCorp has often found itself leading the two-wheeler market with its ever-growing sales
Earlier this year, Hero introduced the new-gen Passion Pro, one of Hero's highest-selling motorcycles in India. Positioned above the Splendor+, the Passion Pro promises to offer more and yet remain accessible. How different does the new-generation Passion Pro feel in real-world conditions? Here's our road test review
A lot has changed in the new-gen Passion Pro, especially when you compare it with the Passion that was launched two decades ago. While Hero has given periodic updates to the overall styling, the 2020 version does look impressive and in line with the latest trends.
The headlight design has been updated with a larger unit, making for aesthetic and functional improvement
The headlight unit features a larger design, which has not only improved the aesthetics but also offers better illumination. The tank design has been tweaked with more pronounced lines and large extensions. Also impressive is how the side and the tail panels have been neatly placed to give a single-unit appearance.
We love the new dual-shade on the 2020 Hero Passion Pro. Makes it more appealing than before
While the whole design has a positive feel, it is the horseshoe-shaped taillight that just sticks out in an odd manner. A bright shade of yellow has returned to the Passion Pro, which was earlier seen on the 2003 model. This shade brings in a sense of youthfulness and does feel distinct in the sea of black commuter motorcycles. However, if I had to pick a shade, it would definitely be the 'stealth glaze black', something that even Bruce Wayne would prefer when he wants to discreetly commute anywhere.
We liked almost every bit in terms of design, except the inverted horse-shoe shaped tail light.
Features and build quality
Not a lot has changed in terms of instrumentation design as the semi-digital layout has been carried from the previous iteration. What has been tweaked though is the info shown on the digital readout, which includes a trip meter, odometer, fuel, service reminder and Hero's i3s start/stop system, which can be activated with a touch of a button on the console.
The semi-digital console has been carried over from previous but gets tweaks in the information on display
It is evident from the switchgear quality that it's built at a cost. But on the positive side, the body panels, footpeg rubbers and other parts offer a sense of built to last for long, which has been a famous Hero trait for years now.
It is evident from the switchgear quality that it's built at a cost.
Hero MotoCorp has upped the displacement of the Passion Pro from 109cc to 113cc in the BSIV to BSVI transition. This is the same unit that does duty in the Splendour iSmart BSVI. The motor puts out marginally less power, 9.15PS at 7,500rpm, but generates higher torque of 9.9Nm at 5,000rpm when compared to before.
The engine on the 2020 Passion Pro is shared with that on the Splendour, making less power but more torque than before in the BSVI transition
The Passion Pro, comes with Hero's i3s idle stop-start system that shuts the ignition as soon as the sensor detects the engine is idling for more than 3 seconds and comes backs to life with the press of a clutch, resulting in lower fuel consumption. The i3s could take some time to get used to but works quite efficiently.
The smooth behaviour of the engine is evident at higher speeds of 50 to 60kmph as well, where it can run all day long.
Riding the motorcycle in a setting where it truly belongs, the city, you will realise that the BSVI motor feels nice and smooth. The improved torque is felt at crawling speeds, even at higher gears. To my liking is how nicely the engine builds momentum in stop-go situations, even with a pillion. The smooth behaviour of the engine is evident at higher speeds of 50 to 60kmph as well, where it can run all day long. At higher speeds of say 85kmph and beyond, there is a mild buzz that seeps into the handlebar and the pegs, wherein the engine feels stressed. While the engine offers enough push in a linear manner to reach those speeds, it will effortlessly cruise on highways at a smidge over 70kmph.
The area where the Passion Pro shines is fuel efficiency, thanks to the i3s tech
The area where the Passion Pro shines is fuel efficiency, which along with the i3s tech results in a real-world consumption of 75.8kmpl in the city and an even higher 87.4kmpl on the highway amounting a full tank range of 750-790km. We also like the smooth shifts offered by the 4-speed gearbox, which was effectively doing its bit in the city traffic with frequent shifts. Considering it would be often used in the city, the lack of fifth gear, as in the case of the Bajaj Platina, isn't a deal-breaker.
Ride and handling
The new-gen Passion Pro gets a diamond frame, an update from the twin-downtube frame from the previous model. This has increased the front and rear suspension travel, along with extending the wheelbase. While the difference might not be as evident in shorter commutes, but on comparatively open roads you will realise that the motorcycle feels more planted now.
The new diamond frame has increased the front and rear suspension travel, along with a longer wheelbase
Further, the ground clearance too has been increased, which along with more travel deals with all the speed breakers and broken roads in a neat manner. However, the setup feels tuned more towards the firmer side, which could lead to fatigue if you are on the saddle for a longer duration, even with its large and comfortable seating.
The 2020 Passion Pro gets comfortable seating for both rider and pillion. However, longer hours on the saddle could be discomforting
The 80/100R18 front and rear tyres offer decent grip on dry surfaces but could be a tad slippery on wet surfaces. The braking performance with the disc in the front and drum at the rear do an efficient job by commuter standards.
The braking performance of the 2020 Passion Pro is adequate for its segment. Gets combined braking system
The Passion Pro has been priced at Rs 80,765 for the drum brake variant, while the front disc variant is available at Rs 83,258 (on-road, Mumbai). These prices are close to Rs 7,500 more than the previous model. What we like about the 2020 Passion Pro is that Hero, in addition to making it BSVI compliant, has made it a better offering with all the updates in design, features and performance, all of which will be appreciated by its target audience. The Passion Pro is priced between the Honda Livo and the TVS Star City++. How does it feel against them? That's a story for another day.
Images: Anis Shaikh