Honda Activa 125 BSVI Road Test Review
The Activa 125 was Honda's attempt at upping the premium quotient for automatic scooters, while also offering buyers a bigger, more powerful Activa, the name that pretty much revived automatic scooters in the country. And with BSVI emission norms looming large, Honda has given the Activa 125 yet another makeover. So while it is certainly more enticing courtesy the design changes and additional features, the updates to the engine to make it BSVI compliant have resulted in the Activa 125's price going further up. We spent a couple of days riding it in the city, its typical domain, to find out if the 2020 Activa 125 is still as well-packaged or the balance has been skewed.
Cosmetic changes include a new fascia which somewhat resembles the design language seen on Honda's cars currently, courtesy the fat chrome strip upfront. Honda has also used a mix of several colours on various body panels, but none of the shades stand out or overshadow the others and blend into the design in a complimenting manner.
The moment I hopped on, the handlebar felt low and narrow. This was confirmed when the handle end made contact with my knee while making a full U-turn and this can be a concern for taller riders. But on the positive side, the Activa 125 feels slim and that's an advantage if you tend to ride a lot in traffic jams as that aids maneuverability. The scooter also gets a small glovebox, a thoughtful approach, but the plastic used for its cover feels flimsy and thicker plastic would be a better idea I think.
The Activa 125 now gets a redesigned instrument cluster which is a combination of analogue and digital readouts and is fairly easy to read. The seat accommodates two with ease and offers adequate space to move, though when riding as pillion I realised the footpegs were positioned too far ahead to offer support.
Coming to the powertrain, the scooter is now powered by a heavily redesigned 125cc engine that meets the more stringent BSVI norms while using the same CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) to send power to the rear wheel. More importantly, the Activa 125 now uses electronic fuel injection that has replaced the older version's carburettor.
Fuelling is precise and overall refinement levels are higher now. The engine revs smoothly and builds power in a linear manner but feels a little stressed and acceleration weakens significantly as you close in on the 80kmph mark. Effectively, the Activa 125 is unable to close in on the 100kmph, but admittedly, that's not something the scooter is intended to do.
Suspension at both ends - telescopic forks at the front and the monoshock at the rear are set up a little firm for my liking but offer a planted ride. Unless ridden over battered roads, the suspension does absorb most of the shocks and jolts. The Activa 125 also gets a combined braking system that works fine and the bias is evenly distributed.
The Activa 125 will set you back Rs 91,700 on-road Mumbai for the disc-brake equipped version, which is steep despite the class-leading refinement. The Activa also does not get stuff like the smartphone connectivity on the TVS Ntorq 125. What you do get for the price is a refined engine and the impeccable build quality that we have come to associate a manufacturer like Honda with and not to forget, its well-rooted sales and service network.
You also get the option of extending warranty up to six years (a three year extension), so Honda effectively covers a lot of your ownership tenure. So the BSVI compliant Activa 125 is definitely pricey, but at the same time a very secure investment in our books.
Photography - Gaurav Chandrashekar
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