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Honda Cliq: Does it have what it takes to dethrone the ‘Hero’

Honda’s latest is a stylish, rugged, and affordable commuter scooter. Here’s a seat-of-the-pants report.

business Updated: Jun 24, 2017 17:47 IST
The Honda Cliq uses the same tried and tested 109.19cc engine as the Activa which makes 8.04hp of peak power and 8.94Nm of peak torque. The company claims a top speed of 83kph.
The Honda Cliq uses the same tried and tested 109.19cc engine as the Activa which makes 8.04hp of peak power and 8.94Nm of peak torque. The company claims a top speed of 83kph.(Autocar)

After the quirky little Navi, two-wheeler expert, Honda, is out with another derivative of its hot-selling Activa scooter, the Cliq. It’s supposed to be inexpensive, rugged, practical, and has a hip and unique styling. With this commuter scooter, Honda is eyeing a slice of the rural India pie that is currently dominated by Hero motorcycles.

The Cliq has a fresh design and stands out with its chunky looks. Up front, a large apron rises high and sports a boxy headlight. Above that sits a forward-jutting contour that shields the instrument cluster. The wide and legible console houses a large analogue speedometer, a trip meter, and a fuel gauge. The handlebar sitting just behind it features switches and mirrors borrowed from the Navi, and they feel quite basic. There’s a nice, flat floorboard with a satisfactory amount of knee space; an extra storage box is available as an accessory that fits along the Cliq’s central spine.

The seat is large and wide and is 743mm high, which should be ideal for even shorter riders as well. Underseat storage is reasonably good, and it even gets a USB charging point as standard fitment. Behind the seat is a simple but robust, tubular metal grab handle that has four points for hooking stuff. Additionally, a carrier can be installed as an optional accessory. Overall, though, the plastics used on Cliq don’t seem to be of the best quality.

The Cliq is shorter and narrower than the Activa, and at 102kg, it’s quite a light scooter; it’s 6kg lighter than the Activa. Interestingly, the fuel tank capacity is just 3.5 litres, which is substantially lesser than the Activa’s 5.3-litre tank. So expect the Cliq’s travel range to be quite limited.

Considering that the Cliq is targeting at riders in rural markets, Honda is pushing it as a rugged product and offering it with new block-pattern tyres from Ceat. These are tubeless tyres which offer good levels of grip on the road as well as off it. The test ride involved some amount of riding on shallow sand and the tyres performed rather well, only losing traction after getting some decent amount of leaning around bends. Even this is quite manageable as the Cliq’s light weight means it’s easy to kick upright again.

The Cliq uses the same tried and tested 109.19cc engine as the Activa which makes 8.04hp of peak power and 8.94Nm of peak torque. The company claims a top speed of 83kph.

Like in the Activa, the wheel size too remains 10 inches at both ends. The Cliq’s ride quality feels better than the Activa’s; the rear feels a bit more pliant over bumps. Braking is handled by a pair of 130mm drums with Honda’s CBS combined-braking system as standard. These offer reasonably good amounts of stopping power, and the CBS system would work well to keep emergency braking situations or wet braking manageable.

The Cliq is manufactured at Honda’s second plant in Tapukara, Rajasthan. Sales will begin in Rajasthan and will then spread to tier 2 and 3 cities subsequently. The scooter is available in Standard and Delux variants, priced at Rs 42,499 and Rs 42,999 (ex-showroom, Delhi).

Now, what we have in the Cliq is the Activa’s bullet-proof formula and tons of practicality coupled with a rather distinct styling. But can this combo work in a market that isn’t exactly receptive to change? Honda is the first automaker to introduce a scooter focussed on rural markets, and it’s just a matter of time before we’ll understand what this customer really wants. If it clicks, the Cliq could even lead to more products from Honda with similar models making their way to India.