Honda Cliq : First Ride Review
- Jun 24, 2017
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Remember the Bajaj M80? Launched in the 80’s, the M80 was a radical breakaway from the mopeds and scooters in the Indian market at that time. It enjoyed two decades of success due to its simple construction, low cost of running and large wheels that gave it the comfort and accessibility of motorcycles. A moped-like frame allowed better load carrying ability too. Honda’s latest scooter, the Cliq, reminds us of the M80 in many ways. While Honda has designed the Cliq as a more viable alternative to scooters to serve rural hinterlands, its quirky looks might find it buyers in cities as well. (also read Honda Cliq vs TVS XL100). It’s the most affordable 110cc scooter in the market right now, and it only commands a very slight premium compared the entry-level sub-110cc scooter segment. (Read Top 5 facts about the Honda Cliq) And it does bring a lot to the table at that price point. In a price conscious market, is the Cliq a good bet?
We have to give Honda brownie points for breaking away from conventional scooter designs in recent times, with the charge being led by the Navi launched in 2016. The Cliq is their follow-up effort this year. While it might still have the silhouette of a conventional scooter, it manages to look like nothing else on the market. For starters, it is quite compact, almost the size of the Navi. The headlamp is placed low on the front apron and in place of where the headlamp would normally be, it gets a small visor. The headlamp has a good spread though it could do with better intensity.
It gets a basic motorcycle-like handlebar with the starter button on the left and rest of the switchgear on the right. Quality is on par with the Activa and feels built to last. Now, the front apron sits ahead of the handlebar plane, so you have good knee room. Despite plenty of knee room though, floorboard space isn’t too much - certainly not enough for a gas cylinder. Another issue is that the handlebar is set low and touches your knees every time you want to make a sharp turn or a U-turn. The instrument cluster is situated on the front apron instead of the handlebar. It is similar to the one from the Navi, but thankfully gets a fuel gauge so you are not left guessing.
It has a long and wide seat which is comfortable for city rides, and can accommodate both rider and pillion easily. A key slot placed above the rear tail lamp to open the seat, under which you get 14-litres of storage space. It’s not enough to fit in too much cargo, or even a full face helmet, and so is best used holding a few knick knacks.
Honda has tried to spruce up the Cliq’s design with carbon fibre textured plastic panels in places like the front fender, mirrors, instrument console surround and rear panel. Plastics seem to be built to take a knock but finish could be better in terms of tactile feel. Paint finish too feels average at best, but for Rs 500 extra, you can opt for a sticker job to spruce up the overall aesthetics. Other storage accessories include a floorboard bin and a rear luggage rack. Overall, the Cliq looks quirky enough to stand from the crowd but feels pared down.
Powering the Cliq is the same 109.19cc air cooled single cylinder motor and CVT transmission combo which also features on the Navi and Honda’s bestseller, the Activa. It makes 8.03PS at 7000rpm and 8.94Nm of torque at 5500rpm. Refinement is among the best in the segment as is the fuel efficiency. In our regular testing cycles, the Cliq managed 58.4kmpl in the city while maintaining an average speed of 30-35kmph and 60.1kmpl under the highway cycle at 60kmph.
These are fantastic figures and should help boost the range from its tiny 3.5 litre fuel tank. Despite having a motor with the similar state of tune as the Activa, the Cliq feels faster owing to it being 6kg lighter with a kerb weight of 102kg. The 0-60kmph run is achieved in 9.82 seconds while the 20-80kmph dash took 20.20 seconds. Performance is peppy at city speeds of up to 60kmph owing to the torquey motor. Post 60kmph, performance tails off and the Cliq tops off at a true speed of 83kmph.
Ride and handling:
Unlike the Navi, which gets telescopic front forks, the Cliq comes with a bottom-link suspension to keep costs in check. At the rear, it gets a traditional scooter style single shock unit. Ride is tuned keeping the rider and pillion in mind and as such, with just a single rider, it does feel quite stiff. A low feet-forward scooter-esque riding position does not help either as the road shocks are directly transmitted straight up your back. Two-up, the ride gets surprisingly good and you can ride through a bad patch without much discomfort to either the rider or pillion.
Handling is nimble thanks to the compact dimensions and small wheels. A small turning radius allows you to squeeze through the smallest of gaps in traffic. Keeping in mind the rural scape, Honda has plonked block tread pattern Ceat tyres on the Cliq. They provide good grip as long as you do not plan to go corner carving. Off-road and sandy patches too are handled with aplomb. They’re pretty good in the braking department as well. Coupled with 130mm drum brakes all round, the scooter completed the 60-0kmph braking test in 2.6 seconds covering a distance of 20.66 metres. Good numbers indeed! To add to its safety quotient, Honda’s tried and tested Combi Braking System is standard on the Cliq.
Honda has had a clear directive for the Cliq. Intended for the rural landscape, the Cliq is designed every which way to fulfill those objectives, from the block tread pattern tyres to the stiff suspension tuned to handle large loads. At Rs 42,499 (ex-showroom Delhi), the Cliq significantly undercuts other 110cc scooters. This means, only the TVS Scooty Pep+ at Rs 39,990, is a more direct rival to the Cliq. If you have been thinking of a scooter, but are on a very tight budget, we really think the Cliq makes a lot of sense. It doesn’t compromise on performance, offers fantastic fuel efficiency, can handle bad roads well and has a low-set and comfortable seat.
To top it off, it also brings typical Honda refinement and reliability to the table and is surprisingly fun to ride as well. Of course, there are shortcomings too, such as the stiffer ride (when riding solo), smaller fuel tank and below average storage space. But if you can look past that and if your riding is within the confines of a city or town, the Cliq does make a very compelling case for itself.
Words by Benjamin Gracias
Photography by Vikrant Date
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