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Review: Honda Cliq

Driven June 2017

Review: Honda Cliq

Honda already is the No. 1 scooter manufacturer in India with the Activa. And for good reason too. The Activa's tried and tested reliability and low maintenance cost are renowned amongst many a metropolis across the nation. But apparently, the big H was unhappy with a certain matter - a matter regarding scooter sales numbers in rural districts. And the new Cliq is here to combat just that. At least that's what we were told at the brief, at the launch.

Priced at Rs 42,000 (ex-Delhi) the Cliq, it is HMSI's latest, most affordable 110cc scooter option to hit the market. Not only is this new scooter pretty much on par with the Navi on price, but the two are both based on the best-selling Activa platform, with some minor mods, as well.

With the bestselling scooter in India on their side, the big H has taken it upon themselves to experiment with this particular segment. Case in point the Navi. And now this, the Cliq.

In terms of design, Honda has taken yet another unconventional approach to the new Cliq. The scoot comes across as a bit of an odd-ball when compared to other sleeker looking scooters in its segment - like the Activa and Dio. Though it may appear to be chunky, it actually is very light, at 102kg in kerb, thanks the plastic panels it's covered in.

Hop onto the saddle and things don't feel overly wholesome as on other scoots. There's no panels around the naked handlebar, and seeing the small instrument panel that's mounted on the front apron gives the impression that some custom builder's been hacking away at this scooter in an effort to keep weight down. The quality of the plastic panels is not boast-worthy either. But heck, that's what keeps the price in check, so no real complaint there.

The engine is the best thing about this scooter. The Cliq draws its power from the same 109.19cc single-pot mill from the Activa, with power and torque figures remaining the same at 8bhp and 8.9Nm. On our short stint astride the Cliq out in Jaipur the Cliq really felt just as sprightly as the Navi with peppy acceleration, and when up to cruising through some nearby villages at 40-50kph, the Cliq's suspension absorbed bumps well enough for you to feel as comfortable as you would on an Activa. Thanks to its light weight, it remains very agile and makes weaving past obstacles a breeze. Those standard button treads even function quite well off paved surfaces, and managed well on the sandy stretches of road. Out on the highway, the Cliq is good for an indicated 80kph, with the engine not sounding overly stressed and vibrations kept to a minimum. Once you are hit by some cross winds, its light weight makes sticking to a straight line a bit tricky. So you'll definitely have to reduce speed to keep things safe.

Now Honda claim that this scooter is meant to tackle the slump in rural district scooter sales, with the Cliq offering more storage and load capacity than the other CVTs in the market. But this all seems very unlikely seeing the storage bay under the seat, that won't hold anything apart from a half helmet. There is the option if putting an additional carrier rack behind the seat, just like in the good ol' days, and also mounting a little storage box that fits on the floorboard, but this will simply accommodate something the size of a smartphone. And we're not too sure that its the right place for that.

We appreciated the fact that the scooter did come fitted with a mobile charging socket under the seat though.

The Cliq has a couple of things working in its favour like its overall agility, grippy tyres, CBS, a long , broad seat, all with a sound motor at the helm with that attractive price tag of Rs. 42,500. But factors like its awkward looks, flimsy feel plastics, a small fuel tank (3.5l) may not appeal to the tastes of rural or even some urban markets.

Specs
110cc, single-cyl, CVT, 8bhp, 9Nm, 102kg, fuel tank: 3.5 litres

The verdict
A lightweight scooter that chooses functionality over aesthetics. Overall, very cost effective.



Christopher Chaves

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