Honda is credited with creating the automatic scooter market in India and it has a near-stranglehold on the market. More than a decade since it came out, the Activa continues to fly out of showrooms. The wait times are long, dealers openly hint at premiums to rush deliveries, and the new plant and production lines are only going to ease the rush over a period of time, not immediately.
However, compared to 10 years ago, the competition is much tougher. Every manufacturer has one or more scooters on offer. So, we were expecting Honda to create something dramatic to ensure their lead in the market stays, and what they have launched recently is this, the Activa i.
Design, finish and build
In terms of actual performance, the scooter is a hair slower than the Honda Activa despite the scooter being slightly lighter.
Honda bill the scooter as unisex but we disagree. The Activa i is a distinctly feminine looking product thanks to its slim styling and prim design. However, we don't think it is an especially good looking scooter specifically from the front. The proviso with styling is always that your aesthetic sensibilities may not align with ours, of course. What is exactly as expected is the build quality and the finish levels which are as good as we have come to expect from Honda. This doesn't mean it's amazing though. There is scope for improvement but if you use the Activa as a reference, the Activa i is nearly as good in the finish and build departments.
Engine, refinement and performance
The Activa i's underpinnings are the same as the Activa so it is a known, proven powertrain. In use, the Activa i starts up quiet and refined and performance is good in traffic. We were surprised to note that when ridden flat out (top speed is 75.2kmph) the engine doesn't like it. You can feel a sense of harshness coming through which is completely unexpected. We were also surprised to see that the top speed is nearly 10kmph less than the Activa so maybe our test unit had an issue. That said, most users will never actually see the top speed of the Activa i in normal use so it isn't a deal breaker.
In terms of actual performance, the scooter is a hair slower than the Honda Activa despite the scooter being slightly lighter. The Activa i also returns 56.3kmpl in the city cycle, which again is close enough in the ballpark (actually 1.2kmpl more than the Activa) to not matter in the decision matrix.
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