We had a short stint with the new Honda PCX when it was launched last year but riding it in a confined space was not enough to conclude its claimed dexterity. Only when Boon Siew Honda gave us more ‘personal time’ with their new baby did we realise that the PCX has more to offer than just a normal scooter.
Visually, I would say that the PCX stands out from all the other scooters or mopeds that Honda has in their stable. In fact, it is a far cry from other scooters in its class. Looking at the front end, the PCX sports what Honda calls an all-in-one Dual Grand Headlight, which looks like it is taken from the Honda VFR 1200. The headlight unit is peculiarly big in size, but still accords to the whole design without interrupting the head-tail balance. And at 1,917 mm long, 738 mm wide and 1,094 mm tall, the PCX is sized just right for an average Asian rider.
Another addition that would set this PCX apart from others is the naked handlebar finished in chrome, which I personally love. Not many scooters in this class offer naked handlebars and as far as I know, scooters with naked handlebars are usually the extremely low-slung, souped-up ones normally seen on the streets of Tokyo and Bangkok. So the PCX, even in its standard form gets a little bit of ‘street’ influence. Nice one, Honda.
Unlike certain mopeds or sport bikes, scooters and convenience go hand in hand. The 25-litre U-Box beneath the plush seat is relatively roomy and can store a full face helmet with some space left. I have a feeling that Honda is being very meticulous this time, paying utmost attention to every detail of the PCX. For instance, the Smart Controller Switch easily unlocks the seat and pops up the tank lid in a fashionable manner, so you don’t have to use the keys anymore. In addition, you can store personal items like wallet or sunglasses in a console box located below the left handlebar.
After some research, I stumbled upon an Indonesian site that states the meaning behind the ‘PCX’ moniker, which is ‘Personal Comfort Xaloon’ (I think it means ‘Saloon’). I can’t confirm if this fact is true or not but if it is, then the PCX manages to live up to its name. The PCX is a comfortable scooter that can be ridden on a daily basis. I had a comfortable riding position that did not put unnecessary stress on my back or shoulders, even after riding it for quite a distance. But then, taller riders may have to put their rear end on the pillion seat to ride the PCX comfortably and that would look comically funny.
So far, the PCX was really up to my expectations of how a scooter should be; a cool urban-inspired design with plenty of space to store my belongings. Little did I know that the cheeky runner had a few more tricks up its sleeves and one of it was the engine, which is a single-cylinder 153 cc liquid-cooled with enhanced Smart Power (eSP). Sounds mundane, right? I thought so too until I pressed the electric starter. The engine came to life very quietly. Of course I could still hear the engine rumbling but it was completely hushed. “As stealthy as a mouse trying to nick a slice of cheese”, I thought. Refusing to believe that this might be one of life’s little mysteries that can never be solved, I guess it has something to do with the ACG starter that eliminates the usual noise from the starter gear engagement.
The engine, which is mated to a V-Matic automatic transmission also features the Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI), a first for any Honda scooters. According to Honda, the system provides optimum air-fuel ratio that optimises burning velocity, in which I believe contributes greatly in the bike’s nature of smooth acceleration and power delivery. 13.41 hp and 13.8 Nm of torque is a puny figure but that is all the PCX needs because in the city, it runs cheekily with its naturally nimble and agile handling. On the highway, I was told that I could go more than 100 km/h and I did, but the PCX lacks wind protection.
Anyway, I heard that some local owners managed to get their hands on bigger windscreen and side cases from Thailand for their PCX. So if you have ever thought of converting your PCX into an elfin touring machine, you might want to pay a visit to your local motorcycle shop just in case they have those aftermarket parts.
As if the PCX’s quiet and smooth acceleration weren’t enthralling enough, the scooter struck me again with another trick fresh off its sleeves – the Idling Stop system. Very similar to the auto Start/Stop system normally found on hybrid cars, the system stops the engine from running after about three seconds of idling then immediately fires it up again once the throttle is twisted. Honda claims that the Idling Stop system gives the PCX a 7 percent fuel savings, based on ECE R40 mode test. This cutting-edge technology from the Japanese company again makes the PCX an ideal scooter for the stop-and-go traffic condition.
Boiled down, the Honda PCX is different from any other scooters in its class roaming around the Malaysian roads. It has the looks, the practicality and the efficiency. In my books, that is not a bad combination. For RM10,888 on-the-road, the PCX might have a steep price tag compared to other 150 cc scooters and you might think twice before buying it. But if you do have some ‘dough’ laying around in your bank account and are looking for a basic means of transportation with that little edge no other scooters in this class have, then get the PCX.
|Engine Type||Single-cylinder, Liquid cooled, SOHC 4-Stroke|
|Power||13.41 hp @ 8,500 rpm|
|Torque||13.8 Nm @ 5,250 rpm|
|Brakes||220mm Hydraulic Disc with Combined 3-piston Caliper (F), 130mm Combined Leading/Trailing drum (R)|
|Kerb Mass||124 kg|
|Seat Height||760 mm|
|Fuel Capacity||5.9 Litres|
|Tyres||90/90 14M/C (F), 100/90 14M/C (R)|