Top scooters to buy this festive season

Top scooters to buy this festive season

29th Oct 2020 7:00 am

Here's a list of Autocar’s favourite scooters on sale today.

The scooter segment is a huge part of the two-wheeler business in India and its popularity has been growing as the country’s economy slowly recovers from the lockdown. With people looking to avoid public transport, two-wheelers (scooters, in particular) offer the most affordable alternatives in terms of personal transport.

With that in mind, this is the list of our five favourite scooters on sale today. This selection is not based on any particular criteria, like price, performance or efficiency, but is instead a list based on the scooters we have enjoyed the most from all the testing we’ve done over time. The scooters selected meet different needs, and based on your criteria, the list should help you find the right one for you.

5. TVS Jupiter

The reason that the TVS Jupiter makes it to this list is because it’s our choice for all those who want a no-nonsense practical scooter. Why? Well, the Jupiter has always had a nice engine, but it has the edge over other models when it comes to suspension comfort. And the fact that it has 12-inch wheels on both ends makes it feel more stable than the competition as well. We haven’t yet had a chance to ride the new BS6 model, but there’s no reason for things to change massively.

However, before we go onto number four, there is one thing to consider – Honda has taken years to get the job done, but the new Activa 6G now finally offers some of the features that made the Jupiter so good, and that includes features like a telescopic fork, a 12-inch front wheel and an external fuel-filler cap. The moment the world gains some semblance of normalcy, we’re going to go find out whether the TVS Jupiter can hold onto its crown! But for now, let’s move to scooter number four.

Price: Rs 61,499-67,911

Engine: 109.7cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled FI

Power: 7.45hp at 7,000rpm

Torque: 8.4Nm at 5,500rm

4. Aprilia SR 160

It’s been four years since the Aprilia SR 150 came out, and we think it’s still the most stylish and sporty looking scooter out there. The SR also rides like no other scooter, and that’s thanks to its 14-inch wheels and its massive wheelbase, which is even longer than many commuter motorcycles. Throw in a stiff suspension setup, firm brakes and a peppy motor, and what you have is the sportiest scooter-riding experience India has to offer.

More recently, Aprilia has even given the SR a new 160cc engine to meet the BS6 regulations, and the scooter is now called the SR 160; the rest of the platform is unchanged. We’re waiting to ride the SR160, but its new fuel-injected motor is essentially the same carburetted 150, albeit with a slightly longer stroke. The resulting power and torque figures of 11.1hp and 11.6Nm, respectively, make it the most powerful scooter on sale in India today. 

So, why is the SR so far down our list? Simply put, it makes too many compromises in its quest to have fun, and it only really shines on super-smooth roads. The suspension is unforgiving, the seat is quite tall and uncomfortable, the 14-inch wheels eat into boot space, and the floorboard is cramped as well. The upcoming, brand-new Aprilia SXR 160 may solve those issues, but until then, the Aprilia is number 4.

Price: Rs 1.04-1.14 lakh

Engine: 160cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled FI

Power: 11hp at 7,600rpm

Torque: 11.6Nm at 6,000rpm

3. Suzuki Burgman

Suzuki India goes through the effort of making purpose-built models just for our market, and the Burgman Street is one of them. This is Suzuki’s idea of a maxi-scooter for the masses, and under that substantial-looking bodywork is an Access 125 platform. The result is a premium and expensive-looking scooter, and it's no surprise that it carries a full Rs 6,200 price hike over the top-spec Access. What you get for your extra money is a larger, smart-looking scooter with a more spacious seat.

However, what lets the Burgman Street down is that it isn’t really spacious enough for tall riders who will find that their knees meet the handlebar while taking tight turns. If you ask us, that sort of defeats the purpose of buying a maxi-scooter and that's why the Burgman ranks lower than the scooter that comes next.

Price: Rs 77,900

Engine: 124cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled FI

Power: 8.7hp at 6,750rpm

Torque: 10Nm at 5,500rpm

2. TVS Ntorq 125

Ask anyone in the Autocar office what scooter they’d like to own and you’re likely to hear the same answer. In fact, three of us actually do, and what sets the Ntorq apart is that it has one of the best suspension setups you will find on any scooters; one that balances comfort and sportiness really well.

Up until the BS6 update, the Ntorq was also the quickest 125cc scooter we’d tested. The BS6 transition has resulted in a drop in its performance and the scooter isn’t as peppy as it was before, but it is great fun to ride, nevertheless. The Ntorq brings so much more to the table in the form of its detailed LCD display and Bluetooth connectivity, which also enables turn-by-turn navigation. For BS6, it even gets fuel injection, while the new Ntorq Race Edition now packs a funky-looking, full-LED headlight. What seals the deal partly is that the Ntorq is very well priced, but mainly it is one of the few scooters in India that accommodates tall riders with enough space between their knees and handlebars. 

The BS6 update has also resulted in better fuel-efficiency, addressing one of the downsides on the previous iteration. This, in addition to the many things the Ntorq already had going for it, means that it remains a firm favourite for us here at Autocar.

Price: Rs 65,975-72,455

Engine: 124.8cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled FI

Power: 9.38hp at 7,000rpm

Torque: 10.5Nm at 5,500rpm

1. Suzuki Access 125

The Access 125 is the product that single-handedly changed Suzuki’s fortunes in India. It is, by far, Suzuki’s most popular product and it’s gone on to build quite a fan following over the years. Why? It all comes down to a simple, no-nonsense formula.

The Access 125 sports a straightforward design, has no unnecessary features, and it packs a very quick and enjoyable 125cc engine, one that outperforms all of its competition in this BS6 avatar. Now fuel-injected for BS6, the Access manages to be quite fuel-efficient as well, but the best part of the package is its very competitive price. If you want a quick, no-nonsense scooter, you simply cannot go wrong with the Access 125. 

Price: Rs 67,100-71,700

Engine: 124cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled FI

Power: 8.7hp at 6,750rpm

Torque: 10Nm at 5,500rpm

Special mentions:

That marks our top five list in the scooter category, and based on your priorities, one of these will surely meet your needs. However, before we end, we’ve got to give a shout-out to the fact that we now have three high-quality, made-in-India EVs – the Ather 450X, Bajaj Chetak and the TVS iQube. All three are genuinely impressive and vastly superior products compared to the hordes of low-cost Chinese EVs flooding our market. Unfortunately, you can only buy them in one or two cities at the moment, and that’s why they don’t make it to this list.

All prices, ex-showroom, Delhi.

Also see:

Top 5 bestselling motorcycles between Rs 1-1.5 lakh in FY2020

Bike launches expected post lockdown

India’s most fuel-efficient BS6 diesel cars

Most affordable BS6 scooters in India

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