What is it?
A breath of fresh air – that’s what the Honda Navi is in a nutshell. Its unclassifiable nature only heightens its appeal as a mode of transport. No, it’s not a motorcycle, even though it resembles one, and it isn’t a scooter either, even though it operates like one. The Navi combines the more practical elements of both types of machines in one deliciously funky package. It’s got the same 110cc engine and the same transmission found in the Activa scooter, but that’s where the similarities end. The Navi is the most playful member of the HMSI (Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India) family, and a reminder that you don’t necessarily have to go big to have fun on two wheels.
What is it good for?
Absolutely everything. The Navi can be the most entertaining and useful playmate you have in a city. It’s incredibly light and tractable, more so than any scooter or commuter motorcycle in the market. This makes it pretty handy in even the most dense traffic. Its compact frame and tight turning radius make it so pliant that you could practically herd overlycaffeinated sheep with it. Weight distribution on the Navi is a bit different, so fortunately it doesn’t handle like a scooter — it’s lithe and infinitely flickable. The other big advantage it has over the Activa is that it’s 7 kg lighter and has higher ground clearance. This makes it quite sprightly on a road – any road.
What does it cost?
Surprisingly little. I immediately saw a look of surprise register on the multitude of faces which inquired about the Navi’s price, when they found out that it costs Rs 47,836 (On-road, Mumbai). Along with this, Honda gives you an accessories list containing a luggage bin, colour-matching crash guards and other storage units, all of which add up to Rs 6,000. Essentially, the Navi is about Rs 10,000 cheaper than an Activa and easily twice as much fun. What does it not do? It does not carry luggage and groceries the way a scooter does. It does not have a fuel gauge, and its fuel tank capacity is actually quite low (3.5 litres). The Navi could also have benefited from higher quality plastics, since bits on it (read: fuel lid) feel a bit flimsy.
Why should you get one?
Because it is the antithesis of every staid two-wheeler in the commuter segment. It’s the only scoot in its segment that dares to be unconventional. Since its purpose is so malleable, it fits in just about everywhere — in traffic, around narrow B-roads, even an empty parking lot. There just aren’t too many spots where you can’t have fun with the Navi.