Hero Destini 125 is the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer’s answer to the Activa 125 and Suzuki Access 125 that belong to a segment that will see 1 million unit sales annually very soon. This clearly shows the growing interest of the customer in such scooters and now the Destini has marked the entry of Hero MotoCorp into the same segment. As the history of Destini’s two prime rivals in India dates back to over a decade, it would be tough indeed for Hero’s flagship scooter to turn the tables around and prove its worth. We were recently invited to test out the all-new Hero Destini 125 on the day of its launch and we rode the scooter amid real city and traffic conditions which are a natural habitat for such two-wheelers. After spending an entire day with the Destini 125, here is what we think about it and if it is a case of too little too late?
Hero Destini 125 Design and Appearance
The new Hero Destini 125 bears heavy resemblances with the Duet 110 and in fact, the scooter was initially badged as the Duet 125 when it was put on display for the first time in India at the Auto Expo 2018. The front end of the scooter gets a thick chrome section that aims to make it look more upmarket. The headlamp looks appealing with a curvy design but the overall front fascia might remind you of Honda Activa 125. The side body panels too, get some chrome for a premium touch and seems to work well. The Hero Destini 125 gets body coloured rear view mirrors and the scooter looks appealing especially in the darker shades.
The new Destini 125 gets an all-black theme due to which the scooter look sportier than its 110cc siblings. The rear end of the scooter gets a large tail lamp that looks a lot better and different than what most of the scooters in the market have to offer at present. The scooter also gets a dual-textured seat and we think it would have been better if the company had offered a dual tone seating as the looks like a monotone seat at first, until if you take a closer look. Overall, the new Hero Destini 125 looks a good looking scooter and does not fall short of character by any standards.
Hero Destini 125 Engine and Performance
Powering the Hero Destini 125 is a 124.6cc, single cylinder engine that is good for developing a maximum power output of 8.2 bhp while the peak torque is rated at 10.2 Nm. Hero MotoCorp claims that this engine offers 9 percent more power and 17 percent more torque compared to the Duet 110. The increase in power and torque figures can be felt right from when you pick the scooter from the standstill. All thanks to the increased torque, the Destini 125 offers a slightly better pick up than the Duet 110 and feels a bit in more urgency. The Destini 125 uses the company’s indigenously developed engine which feels refined during city commutes. However, once you push the scooter to its limits, the vibrations start creeping in a bit earlier than expected when compared to its rivals. During our brief test ride, we managed to achieve 85 kmph due to the restrictions of the predefined route but there was still some juice left.
The Destini 125 is the company’s first ever scooter to feature i3s technology. Under this, the engine of the scooter shuts down automatically when the engine is in idle for over 5 seconds. The motor comes to life again when you press the brake lever and twist open the throttle. The mechanism can prove really beneficial and convenient in fuel saving at instances like, say when you are standing at a traffic signal and works seamlessly. For any reason, if you don't wish to let technology shut down the engine again and again and annoy you, you can switch off the system as well.
Hero Destini 125 Ride and Handling
Hero Destini 125 gets conventional telescopic forks up front along with single coil spring hydraulic unit at the rear and the set up works fine when it comes to absorbing uneasiness of the Indian roads. Braking on the Hero Destini 125 is done with the help of drum brakes at both ends. These further come linked to Integrated Braking System (IBS) that offer added safety and minimises chances of skidding as both brakes get applied automatically when you apply the rear brake lever. The braking performance was decent and the scooter came to a halt as and when required without putting any extra effort. However, we wish that there would have been an optional front disc brake on offer but the company says that it has not offered it keeping cost calculations in mind.
The Hero Destini 125 gets 90/100 section tyres at both ends along with 10-inch rims. This can be seen as a slight downside as the competition like the Honda Activa 125 and Suzuki Access 125 offer a 12-inch wheel up front and the addition of a bigger wheel could have contributed to a more stable ride. The grip from the tyres is decent and there were no complaints even at high speeds at corners.
Hero Destini 125 Features
The new Hero Destini 125 gets a comprehensive feature list and this is one area where the scooter beats many of its rivals. First and foremost, the scooter gets the company’s i3s technology for fuel saving and is currently the only scooter in India to offer the said tech. The Destini 125 also gets a digital-analog instrument cluster with a side stand indicator and service reminder. The scooter also has a mobile charging facility and boot light that step up your convenience while other features like external fuel fill, a pass by switch and a combination lock that enables operating all functions of the vehicle through a single key-hole act like a cherry on top. The Hero Destini also gets a buzzer alarm that starts ringing when the external fuel lid is left open, which can come prove helpful when you miss closing the lid at the fuel station in a hurry.
Hero Destini 125 Price in India and Verdict
All said and done, the new Hero Destini 125 no doubt stands high on value for money and offers some really interesting and usable features at a super competitive price point. Available in two variants, the price of the LX variant in India is Rs 54,650 while the more premium VX trim will cost you Rs 57,500. Both prices being, ex-showroom, Delhi. The new Destini 125 offers a lot in that money and can be a good option for your daily commutes and will not disappoint you in almost any aspect. However, in the favour of cost-cutting, the Hero Destini 125 lacks some features which the competition offers and hence if you can stretch your budget by Rs 5,000, you can get the more feature loaded Honda Activa 125 that gets a better engine too. At almost the same price point, you can also opt for the TVS Ntorq 125 that is currently the best pick in this segment in our opinion.
So, is the Hero Destini 125 really a case of too little too late? Well, maybe as it majorly offers almost everything that the competition has very much under its sleeve for some time now. However, the large service network along with the reliability and trust of Hero MotoCorp that has remained unbroken for decades might translate into an interesting equation, making a case for strong volumes.