Top 5 scooters to buy this festive season

by Autocar India 01 Nov 2020

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, Autocar India, Autocar Professional's sister magazinehas listed its 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 tested by the best in the business. 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 a no-nonsense practical scooter. 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.

However, 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.
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, which is still the most stylish and sporty looking scooter in India, rolled out. 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. The SR160’s 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 fourth? 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 for the Indian 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

This snazzy scooter continues to be the talk of the town. What sets the NTorq apart is that it has one of the best suspension setups you will find on any scooter, one that balances comfort and sportiness really well. It was also the quickest 125cc scooter in the market. The shift to BS 6 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 BS 6 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 many.
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
While these scooters above constitute our top five, it’s worth giving a shout-out that India now have three high-quality, made-in-India EVs – the Ather 450XBajaj 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.

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