Honda makes the world`s best engines. Period. Be it for land, sea or air (Yes, it makes airplane engines too). From lawn mowers and generators to rally cars and motorsports, it is the one thing which defines them. It isn`t a surprise then that the Honda Activa, which has a butter smooth 110cc Honda single sells like hot cakes.
Yamaha is also not left far behind as they are known for their performance machines throughout the world, be it water ski-jet machines or their powerful motorcycles. The performance DNA of Yamaha can clearly felt in their scooters as well. Let's find out how the best seller model of Honda fairs against the new style icon from the makers of YZF-R1.
Styling Coming to the styling, the Honda Activa 3G is a mild update rather than a radical one, though it looks stunning in this shade of blue, I must admit. By now people have gotten so used to it`s styling that they just don`t notice it anymore. It`s been in the Indian market for more than a decade now after all.
The instrument cluster, front headlamps and front body panels all almost remain the same, while the rear tail lamp is reminiscent of the Activa 125`s and the rear panels are slightly bigger. The Activa 3G buyer wants practicality, supreme reliability and everyday riding comfort, which the scooter happily conforms to. The Yamaha Fascino, on the other hand offers the best of both worlds. The scooter`s got style as well as performance. It has a smooth, flowing design. Although at first, I mistook it for a geared scooter, all credits to the retro headlamp upfront and a little upright handlebar position. The headlamp gels well with the overall classy styling of the Fascino, it adds to it`s presence. The mirrors are a welcome change from the all black finish mirrors we see so commonly on scooters these days. The black and chrome combination coupled with chrome mirror stems looks handsome. Coming to the rear, the flowing tail peace makes the scooter look sleeker. The rear body panels offer a generous view of the Variomatic transmission case (naked scooters, anyone?). Also, there is a nice splashing of chrome on the side body panels, which adds to the beauty of its design.
All said and done, styling is always a matter of individual taste. What may appeal to one may/may not appeal to the other.
Instrument cluster & switchgear There is virtually no change to the switchgears or instrument cluster of the Activa 3G. The switchgear quality is as good as ever. The Yamaha Fascino`s cluster will appeal to anyone who likes retro styling like the Vespa.
The speedo unit and fuel gauge are all analogue. The silver surround looks good. The switchgear quality is top notch and offers a premium feel. There is a cubbyhole near the ignition key, which is a very thoughtful addition.
Ride & Handling The Activa 3G has the same unchanged trailing link setup upfront while the Fascino gets Telescopic forks. At the rear both get a single shock absorber.
The Fascino, at 103 kgs is the lighter of the two, which makes it more flickable than the Activa. The Telescopic fork setup lends it better braking and swerving abilities. The front end feels more planted under panic braking situations. The Fascino offers a comfortable ride over bumps and potholes. The Fascino, given it`s well sculpted seat, is more comfortable of the two.
The Activa, at 110 kgs, is the heavier scooter. The trailing link setup does not inspire as much confidence under heavy braking as Fascino`s telescopic setup but it eliminates brake dive to a great extent. It has the familiar wide and comfortable seat which provides no complaints to the rider and pillion in terms of ride quality, albeit it is slightly on the firmer side compared to the Fascino.
Performance The Fascino is powered by a 113cc air-cooled engine, with Blue Core technology Maximum power stands at 7.1 [email protected] rpm and torque is 8.1 [email protected] rpm. It is claimed to be the most fuel efficient scooter in its league. The fuel capacity is 5.2 l and Yamaha claims a fuel efficiency of 66 kpl which, given the performance is quite impressive, 60 kmph comes up nice and easy. Thereafter, it takes some time to get to 80 kmph. All the while feeling very stable and offering precise handling.
The Activa 3G has the tried and tested 110cc single, now with Honda Eco Technology (HET) that produces 7.9 [email protected] rpm and a minute increase of 8.83 Nm of torque at 5500 rpm. The engine is it`s biggest USP. It`s got a little more power, but it also is the heavier one. It feels less stressed than the previous Activa, which is a good thing. It has enough power to pull good speeds freely in traffic and city riding conditions. Honda has claimed a fuel efficiency of 60 kpl with the aid of its HET.
Ergonomics Ergonomically, the Yamaha Fascino will suit shorter riders better than the Activa, given its low overall height of 1120 mm while the Activa 3G stands at 1149 mm. The seating position is upright and comfortable. The rider gets some space for his/her legs to move around as the leg room has enough space to fit in both short and tall riders. Under seat storage is 21 litres and it is enough to keep full face helmet and still have some room left. Both the Activa 3G and the Fascino are even Stevens in this department. Verdict
To sum it up, both scooters offer decent performance as well as fuel efficiency. Though the Fascino may appeal more to the fairer sex given it`s light weight, nippy performance and convenience features such as a cubbyhole upfront and a large under-seat storage area. And of course it`s looks. For the buyer who wants class, performance as well as a good price, then look no further than the Fascino. The Activa buyer wants his/her scooter to offer a reliable, no frills experience while still looking decent on the go and offering great performance. It ticks all the right boxes. It`s pricing remains more or less the same. Also, there is the option of a few new colours, which makes it a good proposition. Take your pick !
By: Vikram Malhotra