2017 Honda Cliq review, test ride
21st Jun 2017 3:38 pm
Rugged, low cost and hip, the new Cliq is the sixth scooter from Honda in India. We get astride the Cliq for a seat-of-the-pants report.
India is quite set in its ways when it comes to anything two-wheeled – find a formula that works and squeeze every ounce out of it. Of course, Honda's immensely successful formula that is the Activa has spawned yet another derivative. It's supposed to be rugged, low cost and allow for heaps of practicality. The bonus here is that it is fresh, hip and comes with unique styling, a move that Honda has pulled off before with the Navi. While the Navi isn't as resounding a success story as the Activa, its quirky styling has won quite a few hearts. The Cliq, a quirky derivative of the Activa, is targeted at rural markets dominated by Hero commuter motorcycles. Honda is eyeing a slice of the rural India pie and intends to use the Cliq for just that.
The Cliq has a fresh-looking design and embodies some elements from the Navi. It's quite chunky with a large front apron that rises high and sports a boxy headlight. Above that sits a forward-jutting contour that shields the speedometer. The wide speedo console houses a large analogue speedometer, a trip meter and a fuel gauge. The handlebar sits just behind that and has a large plastic case that shrouds the bolt-on to the forks. The handlebar switches and mirrors, again borrowed from the Navi, 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 would be ideal for shorter riders as well. Underseat storage is reasonably good, with a USB charging point that comes as standard fitment. There's also the Navi-inspired circular theme which runs along the side. Behind the seat is a simple but tough-looking 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's design bears a stark resemblance to the larger Maxi scooter genre that hasn't made it to India yet. The Cliq is shorter and narrower than the Activa or Activa i. Honda points out that the scooter is quite light at 102kg, which makes it 6kg lighter than the standard Activa and almost on par with the 101kg Navi. Interestingly, the fuel tank capacity is just 3.5 litres, which is smaller than the Navi's 3.8 litres and substantially less than the Activa's 5.3-litre tank. As such, we 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. Our test ride involved some amount of riding on shallow sand and the tyres performed rather well, only losing traction after getting some decent lean angles. 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 from Honda's 110cc range in the same state of tune as the Activa. Although the engine doesn't feel as peppy as it does on the Navi, it produces 8.04hp of peak power and 8.94Nm of peak torque. The company claims a top speed of 83kmph.
The chassis is a similar underbone-type unit with a 3mm longer wheelbase than the Activa. The wheel size remains 10 inches at both ends. The Cliq's ride quality feels better than the Activa's; the rear feels a bit more pliant and willing to soak in the bumps. Braking is handled by a pair of 130mm drums with Honda's CBS combined-braking system as standard. The brakes are reasonably good, 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 in a phased manner. Four colours will be available – Patriotic Red with White, Black, Moroccan Blue with White, and Orcus Grey. The scooter is available for sale in Standard and Delux (with graphics) variants, priced at Rs 42,499 and Rs 42,999 (prices are ex-showroom, Delhi).
Scooters are gathering steady pace in India as practical runabouts. The Cliq has the potential to be successful. It's got the Activa's bullet-proof formula, the practicality of a scooter, and the ability to create a strong identity for itself. The only question is: can a deviation from the traditional scooter image work in a market that isn't exactly receptive to change? Honda is the first automaker to introduce a scooter focussed on rural markets. We'll soon find out if this is what the customer really wants. If it clicks, the Cliq could even lead to more products from Honda with similar models making their way to India.