With Honda Activa’s domination in the 110 cc scooter segment nowhere close to a threat, manufacturers are targeting the 125 cc space of the Indian two-wheeler market. The Suzuki Access 125 that, for the first time, became India’s second best selling scooter in January 2019 dominates the 125 cc segment. Hero MotoCorp has set its sight on the 125 cc scooter market, and to grab a chunk of the space, has launched the Destini 125. The aim is to offer a value-for-money package by introducing the Destini 125 as the most affordable 125 cc scooter in the segment.
Does the Hero Destini 125 have what it takes to be a threat to the likes of Suzuki Access 125 and the Honda Activa 125 among others? We test rode the scooter in various conditions – ranging from bumper-to-bumper traffic, over uneven tarmac and on the highway to find out.
A first look at the Hero MotoCorp Destini 125 would remind you of the Honda Activa 125 but comparing both models side-by-side reveals how that isn’t the case. The Destini 125 is available in two variants – LX (base) and VX (premium). The base version comes with steel wheels and misses chrome garnishing over various panels. The VX variant that came to our garage for the weekend, on the other hand, was equipped with alloy wheels, chrome-treated ornamentation on the apron and on the sides, and the under seat USB charger.
The fascia features a dual-tone finish for the panel around the headlight. The part above the light gets a black finish while the rest gets body colour. The apron gets faux air-scoops under the front number plate mount. The front chrome embellishment adds a premium touch to the visuals, and the design merges neatly into the apron-mounted blinkers, making the elements appear as if they were a single piece. The front also reveals body coloured housing for the rear-view mirrors.
A semi-digital instrument console occupies the cockpit. The setup features analogue speedometer while the fuel gauge, trip meter, odometer and service reminder are integrated into the digital display. There is no function to toggle between the settings and the button on the right side of the console can only be used to reset the trip meter. An Ideal-Start-Stop System (i3S) indicator is placed below the speedometer to inform the rider when is the fuel-saving tech is in action. The telltale signs are neatly spread around the instrumentation to offer an uncluttered view to the information. Addition of a side-stand indicator is a nifty feature. The speedometer also has markings that indicate speed levels for a better economy.
The switchgear comes with an i3S controller on the right side of the handlebar and can be used to keep the fuel-saving tech active or off. The left side of the handlebar includes a high- and low beam switch with an integrated pass light controller. Besides the two, the rest of the setup is standard. The rear of the apron features a multi-purpose keyhole that can be used to switch on and off the vehicle, to open the fuel lid and access the under-seat storage.
The body panels get chrome adornment along with a 3D Destini 125 logo that adds a premium look to the package. The VX variant also gets a dual-tone design for the saddle. The honeycomb pattern on the sides and the rear give the seat a very appealing look. The silver coloured pillion grab rail adds a contrast to the looks while offering a decent amount of space for the passenger to hold the scooter. A similar shade of silver is used for the exhaust heat shield. The pillion footrest, when closed, runs flush with the footboard, giving a cleaner look to the Destini 125.
The rear is finished with an external fuel filler cap, followed by conventional tail light and blinkers. The blinker covers feature a similar pattern as the front units. The tail light design, too, looks stylish and appealing. The 19-litre under-seat storage on the VX model comes with an illuminator that helps find luggage in dark spaces. The VX variant also gets a USB charger to juice up your electronic devices on the go. The under-seat storage cannot hold a full-face helmet, but an open-face lid can easily be stowed away. Other luggage solutions include a hook behind the apron and under the rider seat.
Overall, the build quality is commendable, to say the least. The fit and finish of the product feel sturdy, and we did not hear any rattling or squeaky sounds from the Destini 125 over the weekend that we rode it in and around the city. The Destini 125 has been pitched as a family scooter, and thus the vehicle features subtle and conventional styling. Hero MotoCorp would soon introduce a more stylish and feature rich 125 cc scooter, the Maestro 125 that would be targeted to young buyers.
The full-metallic body adds a premium feel to the scooter, but it also adds to the weight. The kerb weight of the Destin 125 is 111.5 kg, which is higher than the Suzuki Access 125 (101 kg) and Honda Activa 125 (108 kg). The scooter can be purchased in the following colour options:
- Nobel Red
- Chestnut Brown
- Pearl Silver White
- Panther Black
On the downside, the Destini 125 misses on LED headlight – a feature that is seen on the 110 Honda Activa. The Suzuki Access 125, too, misses LED headlight but that scooter has been around for some time, and it could receive the LED upgrade with the next-generation model update. That said, the aim was to keep the cost as low as possible to offer the scooter at competitive prices, and Hero has successfully managed to do that.
Engine Performance and Braking
The Hero Destini 125 packs marginally higher power than its rivals. The 124.6 cc air-cooled engine delivers 8.7 bhp of max power at 6,750 rpm and 10.2 Nm of peak torque at 5,000 revs. In comparison, the Access makes 8.6 bhp, and Activa 125 generates 8.5 bhp. However, as mentioned above, the Destini has a heavier kerb weight than its rivals.
The acceleration from a standstill to 60 kph feels peppy, and at par with the competition. The speedometer continues to climb efficiently until 80 kph mark, after which the acceleration mellows down. We could see speeds of up to 90 kph on the highway. The scooter can cruise on speeds of 70 kph with minimum efforts and feels comfortable around that mark. The refinement levels are neat until 60 kph, post which some vibrations become evident from the footboard.
The Destini 125 also benefits from Hero MotoCorp’s proprietary i3S tech – a first in the brand’s scooter portfolio. The fuel economy enhancing system turns off the engine if the scooter has come to a standstill for more than five seconds. To restart, the rider has to press the brake lever and twist the throttle. The Destini 125 has an ARAI certified fuel economy of 51.5 kmpl. In real life, rough calculations revealed a combined (city and highway) economy of around 44-46 kpl.
Braking department is satisfactory, but the lack of disc brake (even as an option) was disappointing. In contrast, the Access 125 and Activa 125 come with the choice of a disc brake. The feedback from the drum units, combined with the Integrated Braking System – Hero MotoCorp’s nomenclature for Combi-Braking System – was satisfactory but nothing to write home about.
Ride and Handling
Hydraulic telescopic front forks and single spring at the rear handle the shock absorbing tasks on the Hero Destini 125. The setup that offers a decent amount of comfort. However, while the ride quality is comfortable, we wouldn’t call it plush, and you would feel the pronounced undulations on the go. That said, the minor wrinkles on the tarmac are efficiently filtered out. The comfort department is improved by the well-padded seat that makes up for the slightly stiff rear suspension. Surprisingly, the scooter scraped its underbody over a couple of normal-sized speed bumps even without a pillion.
In terms of handling, the scooter feels agile to filter through city traffic. It also feels planted on highway cruising speeds and scores more points in the department.
There is sufficient legroom too, and even with a pillion on board, there was enough space to rest my legs without hitting the keyhole with the knee. For reference, I am 5 feet 9-inches tall and I had no complaints in the legroom department. The saddle is large and well padded to accommodate two adults comfortably. The pillion footrest, as said in the design part of the review, runs flush with the footboard when closed, and offers a clean look to the visuals.
The Hero Destini 125 has an uphill task to compete against the segment leader, the Suzuki Access 125 and the absence of a disc brake, heavier kerb weight and a relatively smaller under seat storage does not help its case. What does work for the scooter though are the price tag and the features that it offers for the money. The vehicle is also backed by Hero MotoCorp’s extensive sales and service network that’s spread across the metro cities along with tier-II and tier-III towns. Check out how the scooter fares against its rivals in terms of specifications and prices in the table below.
|Model||Hero Destini 125||Suzuki Access 125||Honda Activa 125|
|Kerb Weight (kg)||111.5||101||108|
|Under Seat Space (litre)||19||21.8||NA|
Price (Ex-showroom Delhi)
Hero Destini 125
- Drum Brake Sheet Metal Wheel – LX: INR 54,650
- Drum Brake Alloy Wheel – VX: INR 57,500
Suzuki Access 125
- Drum Brake Variant: INR 55,977
- Disc Brake Variant: INR 58,350
- Disc Brake Variant with CBS: INR 59,636
Suzuki Access 125 SE
- All Colour Variant Disc Brake: INR 60,046
- All Colour Variant Disc Brake with CBS: INR 61,235
Honda Activa 125
- Drum Brake Steel Wheels: INR 59,921
- Drum Brake Alloy Wheels: INR 61,858
- Disc Brake Alloy Wheels: INR 64,307
Overall, the Hero Destini 125 is a good start for the two-wheeler brand that has ventured into the 125 cc scooter segment for the first time. The Destini 125 would be soon joined by the Maestro 125 that would take the battle against the likes of TVS Ntorq, Suzuki Burgman and the Honda Grazia and target young buyers.