Over the years, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) has gained a reputation of playing it safe with their products. While that approach has been working well for them, it fails to add excitement to the two-wheeler segment. 2016, though, brought with it the winds of change for Honda as they presented the Honda Navi to the world. Little did they know that this tiny little offering would end up being the showstopper at the Auto Expo. This quirky little thing gives the rather mundane affordable two-wheeler segment a new lease of life. So what exactly is the Navi? What do you call a vehicle that looks like a motorcycle but has the heart of a scooter? To us, it’s reminiscent of Honda’s Z100, or the monkey bike as they used to call it. You want to spend less than Rs. 50,000 and still turn a lot of heads? The Navi is surely what you’re looking for.
Styling aside, it lacks the practicality that a scooter would have on offer. The Navi doesn’t come with underseat storage, nor does it have a floorboard to keep your stuff on. Honda does offer accessories like a luggage box to increase its practicality, but it still doesn’t come close to a conventional scooter. Overall quality could have been better too.
While the Japanese bike maker has experimented with the aesthetics, underneath the skin it has the trusted Activa 110 engine. In the Navi too it makes 7.72bhp and 8.96Nm, and comes mated to a V-Matic transmission. At 101kgs, the Navi is 7kgs lighter than its scooter sibling – thanks to which it feels a lot peppier to ride and quicker off the line. But as you approach its 80km/h top speed, you do start to feel its vibrations. The Navi isn’t a track tool by any stretch, and it’s more than 4-minute lap time is testimony of the same – but it not only made all our running around at the track completely stress free, but also fun. It’s been crafted to make your routine city jaunts fun, and it does that extremely well as it zips through traffic.
Aside from quality, Honda seems to have got most things right with the Navi. It looks funky and sports a trusted engine that’s refined and efficient. And, most importantly, Honda’s managed to get the pricing absolutely spot-on! If only it made a bit more power and torque...