This vehicle single-handedly revived the scooter segment in India, albeit automatic, and also emerged as the country’s largest-selling two-wheeler for continuous years
We are talking about the Honda Activa that was first launched back in the year 2001, and has journeyed over almost two decades as a top-selling product for Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI). The Activa’s latest generation, the all-new Honda Activa 6G, was recently launched with a BS 6 compliant engine. We were invited by the company to ride the new Honda Activa 6G in and around Navi Mumbai, and here’s our take on the scooter and how the company has tried to further improve this highly successful product.
The biggest change in the Honda Activa 6G is the new engine that is now BS 6-compliant. The unit powering the scooter is an all-new 109.51 cc, Honda Eco Technology (HET) fan-cooled, four stroke, SI petrol engine. This engine delivers a maximum power of 7.68 hp at 8,000 rpm, with a peak torque of 8.79 Nm at 5,250 rpm, and is mated to the same automatic transmission as before. The engine features Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-Fi), which is an advanced sensor-based system that monitors the throttle and constantly injects optimum fuel, resulting in efficient combustion. The power and torque figures of the scooter are slightly lower than the previous iteration; however, the PGM-Fi technology supplies the optimum fuel-air mixture, thereby resulting in consistent power output that maintains the peppiness of the scooter as before.
An additional feature that makes up for the reduction in power is the enhanced smart tumble flow technology, which increases the turbulence of air-fuel mixture, and helps achieve improved combustion. Honda explained that it has developed a world-first technology, where the tumble flow is produced by optimising the inlet port shape with the integrated die-casting and leveraging the reverse flow phenomenon in the inlet port without additional components. This not only enables improved combustion, but also enhances fuel efficiency. While we were not able to track the fuel economy delivered over our ride, the company claims that the new Active 6G offers a 10 % increase over the previous model.
The new Activa 6G also comes with an enhanced smart power (eSP) technology that helps in silent start of the scooter. The AC Generator (ACG) starter motor removes gear meshing and gear engagement noise, which provides the scooter a quiet start as the engine comes to life. The ACG motor also offers advantages of engine decompression and swing-back, which result in lower power requirement to start the scooter. This electric starter is combined into the engine kill switch, which has been featured on the scooter for the first time now. The engine kill switch now makes it easier for riders to turn-off their vehicle at a traffic signal, without requiring their hand to be taken away from the handle bar. This adds an essence of convenience in city riding that includes frequent halts at signal lights and traffic jams.
Compared to the previous generation product, the all-new Honda Activa 6G is now narrower by 13 mm and shorter by 2 mm. However, the leg space has been increased by 23 mm, while the wheel base has been extended by 22 mm to 1,260 mm. The ground clearance of the scooter has also been enhanced by 18 mm to 171 mm, which is now best-in-segment. All these changes in dimensions have, however, been made without changing the seat height of the scooter, which means the riding position and ergonomics remain unchanged for the most part. The ride quality in the Activa has been non-dramatic, which is a quality that works in its favour in addressing easy-riding requirements of various types of riders. This largely continues to remain the case, with regards to riding position and ergonomics.
The kerb weight of the Activa 6G is now 2 kg lower than before, weighing 107 kg, which has been achieved through a combination of the redesigned new engine as well as changes to the chassis. This is also another feature that has contributed to the claimed increase in fuel efficiency. However, one of the most notable changes on the Activa 6G is its entire front-end. It is now equipped with telescopic suspension for the front, combined with a larger 12-inch wheel and 90/90-12 54J size tubeless tyre, which have been transferred directly from the Honda Activa 125. The rear continues to feature a three-step adjustable spring loaded hydraulic suspension with 90/100-10 53J tubeless tyre.
The scooter is equipped with 130 mm drum brakes for both the front and rear wheels, which are assisted by Honda’s combi-brake system (CBS) for sure-footed braking. While the CBS does work well in the scooter, it lacks the bite one would expect even when braking very hard. This seems to be the only flaw that we found in the new Activa 6G scooter, which the company should work on. Meanwhile, the front telescopic suspension set-up combined with the larger diameter tyre, imparts an added sense of confidence while riding due to the highly-planted nature of the set-up.
Honda has upgraded the new Activa 6G with a number of enhancements, with a major one being the integrated dual function switch. The ignition unit includes the locking mechanism as well as a switch that incorporates the dual function of opening the under-seat storage and the external fuel lid. This acts as the single point of access of all opening mechanics for the scooter, thus enabling a higher level of security along with added convenience.
This brings us to another major redesign of the Activa – the double lid external fuel filler for which the open button has been integrated into the dual-function switch. The fuel filler has been moved from under the seat to the rear of the vehicle, located centrally below the rear grab handle. This is a double lid fuel filler just like the one offered in passenger cars, where the switch opens the top cap, which provides access to the fuel filler that needs to be opened manually, while refuelling. These features have been added by Honda following customer feedback, and has been neatly integrated into the design of the scooter, thus giving a sophisticated look and operation.
Another change in the Activa 6G is the presence of a fully mechanical instrument cluster, which in the deluxe version of the previous version was a digital-analogue combi meter. Honda told us that the reason for going back to a full-analogue meter was also based on customer feedback that this type of meter was adequate enough for the segment. The information read-out is simple and clear, and now comes with an engine malfunction indicator. Another convenience feature that has been added on to the Activa 6G is the headlight pass switch, which can be used to indicate to oncoming vehicles about the intent to overtake.
The exterior body panels of the new Honda Activa 6G continue to be made of metal, except for the headlight bezel and the front apron. In terms of design, the Activa 6G does not feature any heavy revisions. The front-end looks much like its elder sibling, the Activa 125, due to the telescopic suspension and large wheel, without much difference. The side profile of the scooter definitely carries over the design cues of the earlier model, with the subtle changes in dimensions not showing easily to the naked eye. However, the rear of the new Honda Activa 6G has undergone changes due to the brand-new tail lamp design as well as the exterior positioning of the fuel filler. The rear of the scooter also now shares design features that are closer in appearance to the Activa 125.
The new Honda Activa 6G automatic scooter is available at Rs 63,912 and Rs 65,412 for the STD and DLX variants, respectively (both prices ex-showroom Delhi). The only difference between the two variants is that the top-end DLX version will feature an LED headlamp, while the STD comes with a halogen lamp.
The Activa has been a top-selling product from the HMSI stable due to its simplicity merged with unmatched reliability. While one could speculate on how such a top-performer can be enhanced further to continue its reign over the two-wheeler segment, Honda has addressed these speculations with the all-new Activa 6G scooter. The marginal price increase of the scooter combined with a smoother engine, and a host of feature improvements will definitely enable the Activa 6G to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors as a runaway success in its segment.
TEXT: Naveen Arul
PHOTO: Bharat Bhushan Upadhyay