Honda Activa 5G: Road Test Review
- Jun 6, 2018
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The largest two wheeler company in the world – that’s the reputation Hero MotoCorp has, selling close to 500,000 units every month. Most of those numbers are raked in by motorcycle sales, led by the Hero Splendor, the largest selling two wheeler in the country. The entry level two wheeler market though is going through some changes. Over the past five years or so, the automatic scooter segment has seen tremendous progress in India, led by Hero’s former partner Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India.
And Honda’s Activa is the undisputed king in the scooter market, even toppling the Hero Splendor on a couple of occasions recently as the single largest selling two wheeler in the country. And the scooter market is one Hero is keen on tapping and expanding on, because up until now, Hero has had only two scooter models – the Maestro and the Pleasure. And together these two models average about 60,000 units a month with a market share of 13 per cent in the segment.
With the need for a diverse scooter portfolio, the engineers at Hero R&D have developed a completely new scooter platform, introducing two new models – the Hero Duet and the Hero Maestro Edge, both with the same engine but different features and market positioning. We take a brief ride on the Hero Maestro Edge to get a sense of what Hero’s latest scooter has to offer.
Design & Features:
The Maestro Edge is targeted primarily at male customers, and the design reflects that. Side by side, it’s evident that the Maestro Edge is a bulkier, muscular scooter than the Hero Duet, even though they share the same platform, including the chassis and engine. It’s a handsome scooter and for consumers who prefer a little bulk and road presence, the Maestro Edge will certainly appeal.
Overall, the Maestro Edge doesn’t seem radically different from the Maestro, but it’s not got some premium bits to add some more spunk to its design. The body is all-plastic, unlike the Duet’s all-metal body, and that also means less weight and better claimed fuel consumption figures. Fit and finish are pretty good and the overall design, even if not outright unique, is certainly distinguished and slightly different from other scooters in this segment.
A large clear headlight with the twin parking lights on the front apron gives the Maestro Edge a friendly face. The switchgear is of high quality and there’s also a handy ‘pass’ light switch. A LED taillight lends a premium touch to the tail section. The exhaust muffler gets a new cover, finished in matte paint which Hero calls the ‘titanium finish’ and it adds to the ‘premium-ness’ of the scooter.
Then there are the other ‘unique’ features on the Maestro Edge. Dual tone rear view mirrors, part-analog, part digital speedometer console which even has service reminder and side stand indicator are nice touches.
The ignition key is microchipped and multi-function, so it acts as a steering lock, ignition, remote seat release and even remote fuel lid release, which, by the way is placed externally. So, there’s no hassle of getting off the scooter and flipping the seat open to refuel. And the fuel filler cap is cleverly hidden under the taillight body section.
The footboard is nice and wide and there’s plenty of storage in the underseat compartment – a segment leading 22 litres at that! And there’s a boot light there too, as well as a mobile charging socket.
Engine & Performance:
The Hero Maestro Edge is powered by a new 110cc air-cooled, four-stroke, single-cylinder engine which produces 8.4PS of maximum power at 8000rpm and peak torque of 8.3Nm at 6500rpm. The engine has been developed in-house too, and the output figures are comparable to other scooters in this segment.
Thumb the starter and the Maestro Edge purrs into life, and the engine is a smooth, refined unit, so there are no complaints on that front. Open the throttle and the scooter moves forward with refined smoothness, and it retains that smoothness across the power band.
We managed to hit a little over 80kmph top speed on our brief test ride, and at any speed, the Maestro Edge’s engine retains its characteristic smoothness.
The downside though, is the lethargic feel of the same engine, particularly up to speeds of 40-45kmph. From then on, till about 65-70kmph, the Maestro Edge performs to satisfaction.
And this is noticeable even more when you have a pillion on board. This nature is possibly due to the tuning levels of the engine, engineered to deliver better fuel economy, which Hero claims is at 65.8kmpl.
Overall, performance is satisfactory, if not outright quick, and for the target customer base, the Maestro Edge will be welcome, unless you desire a bit more punch, particularly in initial acceleration.
Ride, Handling and Braking:
The Maestro Edge comes with a 12-inch front wheel, tubeless tyres mounted on alloys, a 10-inch one at the rear. The front telescopic suspension, gives the scooter good handling and ride quality.
So, broken patches and road undulations are dismissed with a sense of stability and comfortable ride quality. Overall, the scooter feels well-planted and nice, and the flat, wide seat is comfortable, for both rider and pillion.
The new chassis designed by Hero R&D also works quite well, and though not designed to take fast corners, the Maestro Edge has a quiet, confident way about tackling corners at speed, without letting the rider feel unsettled.
Braking is taken care of by drums at both ends, but the integrated braking system works well, with commendable stopping power. So, no complaints there and the scooter retains its composure even under hard braking.
The Maestro Edge comes with a sticker price of Rs 49,500 (ex-showroom Delhi) for the LX version and Rs 50,700 (ex-showroom Delhi) for the VX variant. It’s been positioned as Hero’s most premium offering in the scooter segment and it has a lot of things going for it – design, features, fuel economy, ride, handling and more importantly, price. And lest you forget, Hero also has the largest service network in the country, backed by a reputation for providing good after sales service.
So, will the Maestro Edge help Hero MotoCorp in creating a few sales records in the scooter segment? Difficult to say, but it’s a good product overall and will appeal to a lot of buyers looking for a scooter which looks more robust and has better road presence than any of the other scooter models available on sale now. It will definitely offer a premium option for a prospective scooter buyer walking into a Hero MotoCorp showroom.
Will it be able to outsell the Honda Activa? Not likely anytime soon, but the Maestro Edge is a well-rounded, well featured and well priced product. The gloves are out, and Hero will take the fight straight to Honda with its new scooters – led by the Maestro Edge, as well as the Duet.
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