Back in 2001, when Honda launched the Dio in the Indian market, everybody stood up and took notice. With its low slung unique design, fixed headlamp and catchy graphic schemes, it turned heads, wherever it went. The sufficient 102cc engine kept the commuters happy and the Dio was an instant hit with the young brigade. The fibre body and trusty Activa engine helped it in becoming one of the leading scooters in India.
But recently, with the entry of newer scotterettes in the market, for example the TVS Wego, Honda Motorcycles and Scooter India (HMSI) did feel the need to re-vamp the ever popular Dio. Also, the other two scooters from their stable, the Activa and Aviator, were benefitting from their upgrades. So after many speculations, HMSI launched the all new Dio at the 2012 Auto Expo in January.
The earlier Honda Dio was a no compromise scooterette in the design department and the new one simply improves on this parameter. HMSI has well understood that the Dio has a major audience in the youth, so they have kept the design as trendy as possible without overdoing it. The cuts, creases and sharp edges are spot on. As I saw the 'Sports Red' Dio being cleaned at the dealership for me, I couldn't help but notice how eye-catchy it looked. The headlight is now elongated and is larger than the one found in the previous generation Dio. The body panels underwent a slight design upgrade and the taillight is also all new. The bright red colour makes the Dio stand out from the usual crowd and the white option should go down well with the users too. It isn't hard to understand why the Dio is a hit amongst college going students. The Dio now comes in 5 bright, loud colours viz., Sports Red, Matt Axis Grey Mettalic, Pearl Sunbeam White, Candy Palm Green and Veblon Violet Mettalic and continues to ride on wide 90/100 tyres on 10inch wheels for that mini moto-scooter look!
Although the Dio is strictly a commuter scoter, it did lag in the performance segment somewhat. But thankfully, HMSI decided to do away with the 102cc engine and plonked in the bigger 109cc motor that also powers the Activa and Aviator. The maximum power output is now 8bhp (@ 7500rpm), which means a 10% increase from the previous gen. Maximum torque is also up and is now 9Nm (@5500rpm). I found the Dio to be completely apt for city riding. It pulled effortlessly till about 75kmph after which it took some time to climb any more speed until it hit a speedometer indicated whack of 95km/h with my weight. The power felt a bit less when I had a pillion behind me, but it was still convincing enough to put a smile on my face. The Dio performed flawlessly in bumper-to-bumper traffic and didn't feel strained when I pulled it in the empty stretches of the road either. The low end and bottom range (power delivery at low engine speeds) is satisfactory and the scooter pulls happily. The engine is quite refined and silent which is a common trait for Honda.
Honda claims a fuel economy of approximately 55kmpl and we got around 50kmpl with some high spirited riding. The 6litre fuel tank should be more than enough to satisfy the commuter's demands.
According to HMSI, the legroom and knee-room has grown from the previous gen Dio. They also claim to have widened the seat. After riding the Dio for a good hour in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I didn't really feel fatigued. The seat is wide and comfortable and doesn’t give a sore bottom after spending a long time on the Dio.
At just over 110kgs, the Dio is extremely light and flickable – now this is a boon for the commuters who need to travel in small lanes and on crowded streets. The short turning radius means that U-turns are not a problem. The ride quality is confidence inspiring and the Dio is extremely stable at average speeds.
One of the most impressive feature in the Dio is the 'Combi-Brake' that is found in the Activa and the Aviator. If the left brake is pressed, the right one is also pressed automatically distributing the braking across both the wheels. This is a very useful feature in times when one is travelling on a not-so-good road.
The Dio is the first scooter to get tubeless tyres in its class. A maintenance free battery and a viscous air filter come as value added features for the interested buyers.
Commenting on the launch of the newly styled Honda Dio, Mr. N.K. Rattan, Vice President, Sales, Marketing & Corporate Affairs, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd said, “The New Dio has 110cc powerful engine and offers 15% more fuel economy. It has tubeless tyres - First in category and Combi-Brakes - Exclusively in Honda scooters.”
The Dio is one of those vehicles, which could sell in high numbers even without having any major upgrade. But HMSI has gone in the right direction by providing the upgrades and narrowing down the competition. Following its 'Moto-scooter' legacy, the Dio is still one of the best scooters available in the market today.
The new Honda Dio is being sold across all Honda Exclusive Authorized Dealerships (HEADs) and is priced at Rs. 42,362 (Ex-Showroom, Delhi), making it shattering value for money!