They came, they saw and they conquered; that more or less sums up Japanese two-wheeler giant Honda’s Indian scooter innings. Entering our market in 2001 with the Activa, Honda risked launching a scooter at a time when they were undoubtedly on the brink of extinction. Honda obviously knew something everyone else had missed, for this move paid off, and how!
Sales have taken off, and ‘Activa’ is today a household name here. Honda’s brand, plus the Activa’s bullet-proof reliability and rock solid build quality has ensured the company today sits firmly perched atop Indian scooter sales charts. This is not to say that the Activa’s reign was never challenged. Over the years, there have been valiant rival attempts to end Honda’s party, but none that could really usurp the throne. TVS Motor Company thinks it has the right product now, to fix matters with its latest Wego. Can the Wego deliver? Or is Honda sitting back, breathing easy? Continued...
Stop, look, go
Both the Honda Activa and TVS Wego are designed for family use. Yet, the two differ substantially in terms of design. The Activa is unmistakably an evolution of its predecessor. Its lines are smoother, the front apron is more rounded and there’s a chunky air about the scooter. Its instruments are neatly laid-out and feature a speedometer and fuel-gauge. While styling is pleasing and easy on the eye, don’t expect this Honda to get more than a passing glance at traffic signals.
In Honda’s defense, they do sell the funky Dio and stylish Aviator for those asking for more glitz.
So, if the Activa appeals to the family, you can bet on younger license holders taking kindly to the Wego’s sharper styling. Larger looking than TVS stable mate, the Scooty, the Wego wears a trendy, but grown-up look. Its big 12-inch alloy wheels help, and look better than the Activa’s simpler pressed-steel rims.
TVS has clearly gone all out on the Wego, as is evident in its intricately crafted apron and meaty silencer. Instrumentation includes a speedometer and fuel-gauge that could do with using a slightly larger font. Attention-to-detail is nice, with touches like white stitching across the saddle and an easy to operate centre-stand adding to the Wego’s appeal.
Although we know which way ‘We’d go’ here, beauty does still lie in the eyes of the scooter beholder. Continued..
Both scooters feature variator-driven, four-stroke, single-cylinder and air-cooled motors, with the Activa engine displacing 109cc and the Wego, 109.7cc. Both produce an identical 8bhp of peak power at 7500rpm. The Activa’s max torque of 0.9kgm is 0.1kgm more than the Wego’s, both available at 5500rpm. Engine performance is more or less at par, the Activa taking 10.16 seconds to pass 60kph, compared to the Wego’s 9.86sec.
Do these two scooter engines also feel similar?
Yes, to some extent, they do. And that says a lot for the Wego, because the Activa engine sets a high standard to follow, with excellent refinement. The Wego likewise is smooth and vibe-free whether ambling through city traffic or with its throttle whacked open on a faster run. Performance is zippy and power adequate even when riding two-up. The Wego does however lose points here, due to its slightly hoarser exhaust note.
Where the Wego feels smooth, the Activa is still a touch smoother. There are absolutely no vibrations and at speeds above 50kph the gentle hum from its exhaust fades into the whistle of the wind. The Activa it is then, that remains the refinement benchmark.
Coming to fuel economy, once again these two scooters are very evenly matched, though it is the Honda that proves slightly more frugal. In the city, the Activa is good for 44.1kpl, while the Wego returned us 42.9kpl. A highway ride saw the Activa stretch each litre 47.6km, compared to the Wego’s 46.3kpl.
Ride and prejudice
It goes without saying these scooters will spend a lot of time as vehicles of choice for grocery shopping, school pick-up and mundane office-to-home commutes. This means they have to be comfortable for riders and pillions alike, and it is here that the Activa trails the Wego. Riding on 10-inch rims, the Activa uses an obsolete linked suspension up front and a stressed engine with a single shock absorber at rear. Ride quality is barely average, and you can feel bumps in the road, big and small. In fact, riding longer distances can make you wonder whether your spine is part of the suspension.
No such problems for the Wego, which uses superior telescopic forks front and a stressed engine, with gas-charged rear shock absorber. This TVS soaks up bumps so much better, thanks to its larger 12-inch alloy wheels. The ride can get bouncy when pushing, as one isn’t supposed to on a scooter, but the Wego is still never uncomfortable. Both riding saddles are well padded and spacious enough. Taller riders will however find the Wego riding position slightly cramped, due to a lower and narrow handlebar.
Handling on both scooters is nimble and city friendly, with the larger wheelbase Wego feeling composed at higher than average speeds. Braking feels adequate for normal riding. Continued..
Money for nothing
The Activa remains an excellent, proven scooter, with a supremely refined and reliable engine, good economy and time tested quality. The Activa is and continues to remain a scooter you can’t go wrong astride. But when compared to the more feature-packed Wego, you end up feeling a little shortchanged.
The Wego comes with alloy wheels, telescopic forks, ample storage, an external fuel-filler and LED brake warning lamp, which are absent on the similarly priced Activa. This shifts the balance in favour of the Wego, where other benefits include its plush ride and smart handling manners. Overall quality is some notches below the Honda, but you still get a whole lot more scooter for your money.
The TVS Wego it is then, for offering slightly more in this day and age, allowing it to clinch this bout by a slender margin. Detailed Specifications>>>
Please note; the Activa tested here isn’t the latest HET engine equipped model, but its predecessor, that outputs virtually identical power, torque and performance figures.