Does the new motor and sporty styling manage to give the Passion Pro a new lease of life?
Words by Benjamin Gracias
Photography by Vikrant Date
Like the Splendor, the Hero Passion has had a long and highly successful career as a more premium alternative to its utilitarian sibling. Hero has made the Passion Pro BS6 ready for its second innings with the help of cosmetic and feature updates and more importantly, a larger fuel-injected heart. Are the changes enough to make the Hero Passion Pro an enticing choice for consumers as it enters a new decade of competition? We review the disc brake variant of the new Passion Pro to find the answers:
Sporty styling makes it attractive.
Gets a semi-digital instrument console.
Offers nimble handling in city traffic.
Inconsistent build quality is a letdown.
Soft seat is uncomfortable over longer distances.
Pricing is on the higher side.
Auto Sail tech prevents the motor from stalling at low speeds.
i3S start stop tech saves fuel.
Front disc brake offers strong bite.
As part of its BS6 updates, Hero has given the Passion Pro BS6 a new fresher look. It gets a new headlamp assembly, redesigned fuel tank and tank extensions and an updated tail lamp. Also new are the graphics and five 2-tone colours: Techno Blue, Heavy Grey Metallic, Moon Yellow, Sports Red and Glaze Black. These updates end up giving the 110cc motorcycle a fresh and premium look.
Also read: Hero Glamour 125 BS6: Road Test Review
While the Passion Pro BS6 scores highly on looks, it disappoints in terms of build quality. The body panels felt flimsy while the switchgear felt cheap to look at and had sharp edges as well. There were rust spots around the motorcycle despite it being brand new.
Dimension-wise the Passion Pro is now larger than its predecessor. The new fuel tank also holds 1.8-litres of extra fuel which should mean fewer trips to the petrol pump.
The Passion Pro continues to offer a commuter centric upright riding position. It’s 799mm seat is on the higher side and while my 5ft 8inch frame had no issues placing both feet on the ground while stationary in traffic, riders below 5ft 6inch will end up on tiptoes. The seat cushioning is on the softer side and while it offers plenty of support in city rides, spending a longer time on the saddle will be uncomfortable for your backside. The pillion rider will appreciate the longer and wider seat while the single piece grab rail is comfortable to hold on to. Overall, the Passion Pro offers good comfort for the rider and pillion within city limits but can feel uncomfortable for longer highway stints.
Technology & Features:
The Hero Passion Pro continues to use a halogen headlamp. This new headlamp assembly offers a good spread and throw and has enough intensity to light up dark alleyways. It gets a semi-digital instrument console that holds an analogue speedometer and a digital readout for the fuel level, odometer and trip meter. The start stop switch has been moved next to the instrument console from the right side switchgear. It is a good move since on the previous bike, you would often end up switching i3S off mistaking it for the engine on-off switch.
Besides i3S, the Passion Pro gets another nifty feature called Auto Sail technology. We will discuss both in the next segment.
Engine & Performance:
The new BS6 compliant motor has a higher displacement: 113cc compared to the previous 109.51cc; and in the process, gets fuel-injection. It sees a drop in power by 0.4PS but a 0.89Nm bump up in torque at the same engine revs. The increase in torque and the fact that the new motorcycle is lighter by 1kg than its BS4 predecessor. This means it feels a bit more peppy and reaches 80kmph with ease.
More importantly, the Passion Pro BS6 offers better in-gear roll-on times thanks to its strong mid range acceleration. The motor is high on tractability and you can accelerate cleanly from as low as 25kmph in 5th gear. The Auto Sail technology helps here. This tech is similar to TVS’s Glide Through Traffic (GTT). It bumps up revs at lower speeds and prevents the motor from stalling. The new setup isn't as smooth as the ones seen on the TVS bikes though and you can feel the choppiness while letting off the clutch and accelerating at lower speeds.
In the city, the torquey motor is assisted by Hero’s Start Stop tech. This feature switches off the motor after you are standing in traffic in neutral for more than 3 seconds. To start moving, simply pulling the clutch in brings the engine back to life. The feature helps the motor save fuel and increases overall city fuel efficiency which is on par with BS4 110cc motorcycles. The tall gearing helps the Passion Pro BS6 run unstressed at highway speeds of 60 to 70kmph and achieve a higher fuel efficiency. As you can see the difference between the highway and city mileage figures is marginal and in the fuel efficiency department, the new bike does impress. With a 10-litre fuel tank, you are looking at a theoretical range of 700km.
The motor isn't high on refinement and at speeds of around 55kmph, you feel vibrations through the fuel tank and footpegs. It subsides post that and then makes a reappearance at around 80kmph, close to the Passion Pro BS6’s top speed.
Ride & Handling:
The new Passion Pro BS6 gets a new diamond type frame and longer travel suspension. Thanks to the later, you get a ground clearance of 180mm which is 15mm higher than before. The improved clearance helps the Passion Pro BS6 clear even badly designed speed breakers with ease. With the new suspension setup, the motorcycle glides through road undulations and feels pliant except while negotiating sharp bumps and potholes where it feels a bit harsh.
The longer wheelbase helps the Passion Pro BS6 offer good stability at higher speeds. In city riding, the Hero commuter offers nimble handling and is easy to weave through gaps in traffic. The MRF tyres work well in dry road conditions but do not inspire confidence while riding in the wet.
While the braking numbers are on par with the competition, feedback from the brakes are commendable. During hard braking, the motorcycle feels stable and the front disc brake offers a strong and progressive bite.
The Hero Passion Pro is available in two variants: Drum and Disc. While the drum variant is priced at Rs 65,740; the disc brake variant costs Rs 67,940 (ex-showroom, Delhi). We feel that the extra premium for the disc brake variant is worth the added safety.
Price-wise, the Passion Pro BS6 sits in the middle of its competitors, the TVS Star City+ and Honda Livo. Additionally, it’s also the only bike compared to its rivals to get nifty features such as Auto Sail and i3S Start-Stop tech.
What will attract buyers towards the Passion Pro is its sporty styling that makes it look like a bike from a segment or two above the 110cc space. Apart from its eye-catching design, the commuter also impresses with its performance and fuel efficiency. However, it does disappoint on the quality front. Overall the Passion Pro BS6 works well in the city environment. And can be a worthy modern commuter, if you are able to neglect the quality issue and don't mind spending the slight premium for it.