Honda Activa 5G: Road Test Review
- Jun 6, 2018
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While Honda is renowned for its scooter sales and is the undisputed king of the Indian scooter segment, another Japanese two-wheeler manufacturer has followed its footsteps. Suzuki Motorcycle India’s highest selling product is the Access 125 scooter. What made the Suzuki Access 125 click among the masses is the fact that it had a higher displacement 125cc motor as opposed to the 110cc unit on its rivals. Other positives were refinement, reliability and ease of maintenance being a product from the land of the rising sun.
The Suzuki Access maintained its position as among the highest selling 125cc scooter in India but has faced stiff competition since the Honda Activa 125 made its debut which is also our pick as the best 125cc scooter on sale in India. The Suzuki Access was showing its age cosmetically and mechanically while new products also sported better features. Taking note of this situation, the Japanese two-wheeler giant recently launched the new Suzuki Access 125.
Design & Features: 4/5
The bland styling was among the biggest drawbacks of the Access 125 and it wasn’t the most appealing scooters on sale. Gladly, Suzuki designers have taken stock of the situation and given the new Access 125 a fresh lease of life with respect to its appearance. The new Suzuki Access 125 gets more angular lines while the handlebar mounted large headlamp with chrome housing and apron mounted turn indicators give the new scooter a dominating face. In profile, the new Access 125 looks like any other run of the mill scooter but the exhaust muffler looks out of place.
Given the fact that the rear panel is swept back, the horizontal exhaust looks weird but the chrome heat shield will be appreciated by most Indian buyers. The large tail lamp unit with a panel of chrome above it looks unique and so do the optional alloy wheels. The Suzuki Access 125 isn’t a scooter that will garner the eyeballs similar to a Vespa but the overall styling is more appealing than its predecessor.
The new Suzuki Access 125 gets a semi-digital unit with a digital display for fuel gauge, odometer, service indicator and two trip meters. The seat can be unlocked conveniently through the ignition keyhole which is a good addition. Also the shutter key has a one push central lock system. There’s also a cubby hole next to the choke knob which is deep enough to hold a 1-litre water bottle. Mobile charger is an optional extra and is located next to the cubby hole unlike the under seat option as in rival scooters.
This means that one can place the phone in the cubby hole for charging and see notifications at red lights but we must warn that the phone can “pop out” while going over potholes or large speed breakers. The lack of an external fuel filler cap on the new scooter is a letdown as many 110cc scooters offer the same. Under seat storage is generous and among the best in segment. To make the scooter lighter, metal has been ditched for fibre body panels at the rear while the front apron and mudguard is metal. Switch gear quality is average while overall fit and finish along with build quality is good.
Engine & Performance: 4.5/5
Powering the new Access 125 is an air-cooled motor developing 8.7PS of power and 10.2Nm of torque. While in terms of number, there isn’t much of a difference between the new scooter and its predecessor but Suzuki engineers have focussed their attention to make the scooter more refined and efficient. Acceleration of the scooter is brisk and the new Access 125 darts off the line rather eagerly. Mid-range acceleration is good which is a crucial factor for overtaking and has a strong pull from 40kmph to 70kmph.
Apart from the performance, a factor that really impressed me was the refinement of the scooter. The Suzuki Access 125’s powerplant is among the smoothest in the segment. Despite riding the scooter at speeds close to 90kmph there wasn’t any vibes from the handlebar or footboard which speaks of its excellent engineering. Suzuki has applied the SEP (Suzuki Eco Performance) tech on the new scooter. SEP basically reduces friction between the mating parts of the engine thereby increasing thermal and fuel efficiency. The Japanese two-wheeler giant claims a mileage figure of 63kmpl which. On our test run, the new Suzuki Access 125 retuned us an overall mileage of 50-53kmpl which is among the highest for a 125cc scooter.
Ride, Handling & Braking: 4.5/5
In terms of riding ergonomics, the new Suzuki Access 125 is similar to any other scooter. But what sets it apart is the fact that it has a taller handlebar that makes riding posture a bit more comfortable for tall riders. Also this means that the handlebar doesn’t get locked with the rider’s thigh while negotiating U-turn which is the case with most other scooters. The long seat means that the pillion rider also isn’t cramped for space. Suzuki engineers have also reworked the telescopic front forks and the result is clearly apparent.
The new Suzuki Access 125 has excellent ride quality as it ironed out bumps and undulations with an authority of a third world dictator. This excellent damping endows the new scooter with the best ride quality in the segment. Our test scooter was equipped with the optional front disc brake which hasn’t been launched yet. They do a good job of shedding speeds with nice bite and progression though the rear tyre has the tendency to lock up under heavy braking. The new Suzuki Access 125 is also will swift on its toes and this can be credited to the 103kg kerb weight which makes it the lightest 125cc scooter on sale in India. The weight savings and the 12-inch dia front wheel make it an enthusiastic scooter to ride through the corners and the agile nature is fun as you squeeze your way past the traffic.
The scooter that we tested was the top-end variant Access 125 with disc brake and alloy wheels that hasn’t been launched in the Indian market yet. The base version of the new Suzuki Access 125 with steel wheels and drum brake has been priced at Rs 53,887 ex-showroom Delhi which makes it almost Rs 2,000 cheaper than the base Activa 125. As a product the new scooter ticks all the right boxes and is a marked improvement over its predecessor along with good mileage.
The square headlight and overall new design makes it unique and stand out in a crowd. Engine refinement and performance is the best in segment while lively handling and new list of features adds to its appeal. There are certain drawbacks like the plastic body and Suzuki’s restricted dealership network. But if you’re able to live with the above shortcomings and in the hunt for a powerful, comfortable and fun to ride scooter, the Suzuki Access 125 should be your pick.
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