Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) revived the Indian scooter segment with the Activa almost two decades ago and the brand continues to be a strong player with an established market leadership. The Honda Activa has pretty much dominated everything in the scooter market ever since and provided the base for Honda to expand its scooters. In recent years, HMSI has been experimenting with its offerings moving out of its comfort zone. There was the absolutely radical Navi in 2016 based on the Activa, while the Cliq arrived earlier this year as a scooter specifically for the rural market. Honda is now looking to please the urban audiences with something sporty, smart and fun. This is the Honda Grazia we are talking about, the company's seventh scooter in India that will be sold only in cities. So, as a city dweller myself, it was time to see if Grazia is the answer to a convenient urban commute? Read on to find out.
Design and Style
The new Honda Grazia shares its underpinnings with the Activa 125 but the scooter has received substantial upgrades in appearance. First and foremost, the all-metal body has been swapped for a plastic one. This has made way for a more stylish looking scooter while weighing about a kilo lighter at 107 kg. The Grazia gets angular lines and the front apron is likeable with the wide new headlamp. In fact, the headlamp design seems to have taken inspiration from the 2017 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade. There's a subtle hint and the unit gets a complete LED setup, a first for any scooter in India. The front nose is sharper and gets black and brushed silver plastic inserts to break the monotony. The Grazia is offered in six bright metallic colours that look trendy.
The side panels show off a sharp design with the upward lines offering a sporty appeal. The carbon-fibre-like plastic inserts add a nice touch without looking tacky. Another interesting addition is that of the Honda decal just below the footboard. That's a first for any Honda scooter in India and was in fact, added after being an increasingly common aftermarket accessory on its scooters. Also new are the black finished alloy wheels, which carry the same design as the Activa 125, but look so much better. You also know this Honda is premium thanks to the 3D finished Grazia moniker while the absence of a key slot for the seat lends a neat look to the scooter (more on that later).
The rear comes together well on the Grazia but unlike the headlamp; the taillights use conventional bulbs. Overall, the design is likeable and also manages to remain different from the rest of the offerings in this space. You could also call it an older sibling to the sporty looking Dio scooter from Honda's stable.
Instrumentation and Features
The Honda Grazia shares a tonne of components with the Activa 125; so don't be surprised to see the same foot pegs, switchgear, and even the rear view mirrors on either model. The fuel tank capacity is also the same at 5.3 litres. The digital instrument console though is the big change on the Grazia. The unit includes a digital tachometer; the only scooter to boast of the same in the country while a separate digital display packs the trip meter, clock, odometer and fuel gauge. While the unit is easy to read even during the day, it is not exactly in your field of vision. Another interesting addition is that of the new Eco Speed Indicator. This is an evolution of the eco-meter or eco-light that we are used to seeing on most commuter offerings. The unit has three green indicators that will light up in succession between speeds of 30 to 50 kmph. Honda says you need to ride the scooter for over 2.16 seconds at a constant speed for all lights to turn green, which is intended to help achieve higher fuel efficiency.
There's a new 4-in-1 ignition that includes the seat lock switch, which is why the key slot has been given a miss on the side panel. The switch can be accessed using the button near the ignition, which provides access to 18 litres of storage space. While the boot is big enough for groceries and a small bag, it can't fit a full sized helmet. Another addition is that of the smartphone storage space within the front apron that also includes a mobile charging socket. A thoughtful feature, the storage box is deep enough to accommodate the largest of phones, but we think it's a big miss that the charging socket itself is optional even on the range-topping variant.
Engine and Performance
The Honda Activa 125 always had a highly delectable engine and the unit continues to impress on the Grazia as well. The 124.9 cc single-cylinder motor is air-cooled and churns out the same 8.5 bhp at 6500 rpm, while producing 10.5 Nm of peak torque at 5000 rpm. The unit comes paired with a CVT system, common on most scooters to enable clutch-less shifts. Hit the electric start button on the Grazia and the extremely refined nature of the engine is immediately apparent. The motor is in its element for low to mid range power and is easily one of the quickest scooters off the line.
While being one kg lighter doesn't make a world of a difference, the Grazia does feel peppier too. Power delivery is smooth through the rev range and you can barely feel vibrations catching up even higher in the power band. You could cruise at 70 kmph at around 6500 rpm all day with enough juice for more, and the engine just won't break sweat. The company claims a top speed of 85 kmph, which is 1 kmph higher than the Activa 125, and you can easily hit 80 kmph with only a strong hummm from the engine. While Honda has positioned the Grazia as an urban scooter, it is capable of handling highway runs with ease. Honda scooters are known to be fuel efficient and while we weren't able to test Grazia's fuel efficiency in our short ride, it is expected to offer a healthy mileage at an average of 50 kmpl.
Handling and Braking
The ergonomics are on point too on the Honda Grazia. With a seat height of 766 mm, the scooter is just about accessible for all without getting too uncomfortable for tall riders. The floorboard is flat and wide, and the handlebar conveniently falls into your arms way. The seat is well cushioned while remaining long and wide enough to accommodate the rider and pillion with ease. The Grazia uses telescopic front forks that offer up to 80 mm of travel and a single shock absorber at the rear. The suspension setup is fantastic and negotiates bad roads with ease while offering a plush ride quality. The ride isn't bouncy either, which is a big plus.
The top-end Honda Grazia gets a front disc brake as standard. It's a Nissin sourced unit with a 190 mm single front disc and a 130 mm drum brake at the rear. The lower variants get 130 mm drum brakes at both ends. Braking performance is simply brilliant on the Grazia and the disc brake certainly makes for superlative stopping power. The front unit has a sense of urgency and a strong bite, while Honda's Combi Braking System (CBS) uses both brakes seamlessly to offer effective control. Also helping the cause are the 12-inch (front) and 10-inch (rear) tubeless tyres from MRF that are confidence inspiring.
Should You Buy?
The 125 cc scooter segment is a niche in itself and contributes only nine per cent to the total Indian scooter space. The Honda Grazia then is an interesting addition to a segment with limited options. The Honda scooter locks horns against Activa 125, Suzuki Access 125 and the Vespa 125. While the Access and Vespa are more retro-styled offerings and the Activa a tad bit conservative, the Grazia manages to stand out as a sporty alternative. That said, the scooter also commands a premium in terms of pricing and is marginally more expensive than the Activa and Access, and is priced between ₹ 57,897 and ₹ 62,269 (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the Deluxe version. As an offering for city commuters, the scooter ticks all the right boxes with respect to convenience including a smartphone slot, digital display and sporty looks. The company will be commencing sales with 35 cities across the country and while it may not be the next Activa in terms of sales, it has the goods to make it big on its own. If you are looking for a compelling 125 cc scooter and can live without a metal body, the Honda Grazia is a lucrative buy in the segment.
Photography: Pawan Dagia