First ride: The new Honda AirBlade 160 is as solid as ever

All the upgrades make the slightly bigger price tag worth it
by Leandre Grecia | Aug 30, 2022
Honda AirBlade 160 2023
PHOTO: Leandre Grecia
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What exactly are we looking at?

Honda AirBlade 160 2023

Say hello to the new Honda AirBlade 160. Honda Philippines (HPI) just launched this new scooter less than a month ago, and we were recently given the chance to take it out for a quick spin at the Honda Safety Driving Center in Parañaque.

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What’s new with it?

Honda AirBlade 160 2023

There are a few styling updates, particularly with the updated decals and the new 3D AirBlade badge on the fairings. There are new colorways, too. But for the most part, the scooter retains its original shape and physique. The real highlight here is the new engine.

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Very well, let’s talk about that engine.

Honda AirBlade 160 2023

Powering the new AirBlade 160 is a 157cc eSP+ gasoline engine that’s capable of 15.02hp at 8,000rpm and 14.6Nm of torque at 6,500rpm. That’s up by quite a bit from the old 149cc unit’s 12.9hp and 13.3Nm output.

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During the quick test ride event, HPI let us try out the old and new AirBlades back-to-back. So while I didn’t really have a lot of saddle time with the newscooter, I could already tell how significant the power boost from the new engine is. Right off the bat, you can easily feel the added torque you get with the AirBlade 160, as there’s less dragging from a standstill. I wasn’t able to time my runs, but I could feel that there’s also more oomph through straight-line acceleration.

Anything noticeably new with the ride?

Honda AirBlade 160 2023

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Apart from the added power, the new AirBlade still rides and handles a lot like its predecessor. It’s still light and easy to maneuver, and it can still lean through corners. The seat height does feel ever so slightly higher with the new AirBlade, but it’s not something you’ll find riders complaining about.

Any new tech here?

Honda AirBlade 160 2023

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One important thing to note is that the AirBlade still comes with ABS. As for the tech updates, Honda has simply tweaked the ignition mechanism so that you won’t need to press the push-to-start button to enable the keyless ignition switch. There’s also a new USB charging port under the seat, replacing the old 12V socket. No more adapters necessary.

Okay, cool. How about fuel efficiency?

Honda AirBlade 160 2023

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Like I said, we were only able to ride the AirBlade 160 for a few laps around the HSDC test track, so that’s not exactly enough to yield proper fuel-economy figures. Rest assured, once we’re able to take this bike out for a proper review, we’ll check if the claimed 47.5km/L figures will actually hold true.

How much is it?

The Honda AirBlade 160 is priced at P119,900, which is P10,000 more than its predecessor. After my quick go at it, I can easily say that the upgrades will make the added premium worth it.

This new price tag also pegs the new AirBlade equal to what is arguably its biggest competitor, the Yamaha Mio Aerox. The only difference between these two, however, is that the AirBlade comes with ABS and the standard Aerox doesn’t.

If you want your Aerox with ABS, you’d have to opt for the Aerox S priced at P140,400. That price difference alone should give you an idea of just how competitive the Honda AirBlade 160 can potentially be in the market.

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If you’re looking to read more about the new AirBlade 160’s specs and features, here’s everything you need to know about it. You can also watch our quick first impressions video of it below:

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PHOTO: Leandre Grecia
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