Why is Honda the scooter market leader? Ask Grazia

Why is Honda the scooter market leader? Ask Grazia

It is rightly said that it was Honda which rescued the once going-out-of-fashion scooter in India. At a time when motorcycles overwhelmed the two-wheeler market by adding more power and promise to mediocre utilitarian machines, even the most marquee scooter-maker at that time, ceased being the latter altogether. When the scooter had only just begun losing its relevance, Honda raced to the market with its Activa a rage even in our times  and the quest for 'scooterisation' was kindled.

And, recently, as the scooter market had sort of stagnated in terms of themes and ideas of design and concept, this Japanese auto legend has upped the ante for itself and the market with grace Yes! Literally, the Grazia, or Grace in Italian, is Honda's latest surprise for the scooter market, which wows on almost every front.

No, it isn't a Dio!

The Grazia is an impressive machine in all terms. And the impression kick-starts the very moment one lays eyes on it. It may confuse an onlooker that it resembles popular sibling Dio, but barring few miniscule design cues, the Grazia parks itself in a world of its own it's different from any scooter from the Honda range, while at the same time, it carves a niche for itself even in the entire market.

So is it good-looking? It's mind-blowing; it's stunning! At first sight itself, the Grazia discloses its premium side. The scooter is a cut above the rest from the competition in terms of its premium appearance and feel. The blade-like edges that run around add a tinge of modernity. The Grazia seems well-chiselled and intricately crafted. Its dual-tone external paint job looks brilliant, just as the front-face grey mid-panel slides its way into a 'V', flanked by the other body coloured-panels on either side. Honda calls this a 'Contemporary Urbane Design'.

A few other design features are worth raving about. The large LED headlamp, which is placed on the body and not on the console, dominates the front. Coupled with position lamps, it makes a head-turning combination of two worlds sublime aesthetics and superb visibility. Then there are equally notable LED tail-lamps as well. It all ends up beautifully at the split sporty grabrail.

Advanced cockpit

Grazia The Grazia is a head-turner no doubt. And for the person riding it, it's no less exciting. It's a different kind of a scooter, and rides ahead of the competition if any. One of the first things that one notices while sitting on the Grazia is its fully digital meter, which provides a range of readings Apart from the speedometer, trip meter, odometer, fuel gauge, and clock, the instrumentation also gets a tachometer. A 3-step Eco Speed Indicator  is the first such innovation that shows realistic mileage information. Unlike standard eco meters, Honda's Eco Speed Indicator allows more flexibility to the rider to adjust the riding style accordingly. The Eco Speed Indicator display lights can be turned off at will.

The best part of this instrument cluster is seen during the nights, when the speedometer and the other readings get illuminated in different coloured lighting blue and orange respectively. The elegance is further enhanced, thanks to the silver garnish.

Features galore on the Grazia. The scooter provides a glove box in the front, just below the console on the left-hand side, which also offers a convenient mobile-charging USB socket, which becomes active only when the key is in the 'ON' position. The door to this glove box, however, feels a little flimsy in quality, like it would just come off after frequent use. Then, there is another market-first on offer – a 4-in-1 lock with a seat opening switch. The lock, which boasts of the safe magnetic anti-theft shutter system, has four modes – LOCK, OFF, SEAT and ON. When the key is in SEAT mode, the adjacent switch gets activated, and must be pushed for the seat to open, increasing safety, ease and comfort. A small issue here, however, is that in order to fuel up, the way to the tank, as always, is beneath the seat. One could wonder as to how difficult it would be for an ace scooter-maker to place the fuel hatch externally for absolute practical convenience, which would also result in minimised time spent at crowded filling stations. The under-seat space is quite good though for a medium-sized helmet.

Ride to remember

Grazia As said earlier, the Grazia feels different, especially on the road. At the heart of  the scooter ticks the trusted fan-cooled 4-stroke 124.9 cc Honda BS-IV HET (Honda Eco Technology) engine, which promises the perfect balance between mileage and power. The refined and compact engine delivers 6.35 kW of power and 10.54 Nm of torque. The engine promises improved combustion, reduced friction and better cooling to bring out the best performance. The company declares a mileage between 50 and 60 kmpl depending on ride, fuel quality and maintenance.

The sound of the engine is magical. It doesn't emit the usual scooter thrum, but rather composes a more soothing smoother note, and this is felt through the ride. As it is called to be, the Honda Grazia is one of the best urban scooters. It effortlessly peps its way forward through traffic, easily manoeuvrable, and can be responsibly controlled. Its light 107 kg kerb weight, complemented by a ground clearance of 155 mm and wheel base of 1,260 mm suit all adults in the family to take a spin.

Along with alloy wheels and tubeless tyres in tow, the scooter comes equipped with Honda's revolutionary Combi Brake System (CBS) with Equaliser. The unique equaliser distributes braking force proportionately between front and rear wheels simultaneously by pressing just the left lever, resulting in reduced braking distance and improved balance, compared with conventional braking. And all this, with the presence of a front disk brake.

Another important issue that Honda must have avoided is a wee bit lack in seat comfort. The cushion feels hard, and deters seating comfort to a slight extant after an hour of riding. This in turn impacts long road-trip plans. But this is a little issue. On the whole, the Grazia brings freshness to the scooter market, scoring in almost every category.

The Grazia comes in six attractive colours:  Matte Marvel Blue Metallic, Neo Orange Metallic, Pearl Amazing White, Pearl Night Star Black, Matte Axis Grey Metallic and Pearl Spartan Red, and is available in Standard, Standard Alloy and Deluxe variants. Priced from Rs 59,971 (ex-showroom Bengaluru), the Grazia is big, majestic, yet stylish. It redefines what a modern-day scooter ought to be, and also proves why Honda dominates the scooter market.

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