The moment you hear the brand name Vespa what comes to mind is a good looking scooter that oozes class. In its short presence in India the Italian 2—wheeler marquee has made a mark for itself in the premium scooter category. Scooters from Vespa look like a perfect mix of retro and modern. The company already has a wide range of 125 cc scooters in the market. Now along with looks and style also comes a powerful 150 cc engine. The Vespa 150 is the newbie that promises a superior performance that will make the Vespa an even more fun ride. There are 2 variants on offer here, SXL 150 and VXL 150 and we recently sampled the SXL 150 to find out if they’re good enough to revive a segment that is popular internationally but is yet to find a strong footing in India.
The Vespa SXL is a premium scooter therefore it gets loaded with features. The Italian beauty gets equipped with semi—digital clocks along with digital display for fuel gauge, odometer along with a reserve indicator. There are multi—spoke black alloy wheels and restyled seats with contrast piping. Also as part of accessories, consumers can opt for chrome bumpers, perimeter kit and impact resistant front visors. The aim to offer these accessories according to the company further adds to the scooters retro appeal. The palm grips are comfortable to hold while the handlebar position will be comfortable for most riders. Just below the handlebar there are some useful storage options and the under seat storage is also impressive. There’s no grab bar at the rear which may work to your advantage in case the girlfriend is sitting behind you or vice versa. Finally chrome on the exhaust and a well designed tail lamp make for a pretty picture when the scooter is looked at from the rear.
It isn’t surprising that the engine is the biggest talking point around the Vespa SXL. With this scooter, Vespa is aiming to revive the over 150cc scooter segment that has been dead for many years as manufacturers are stuck between 110cc and 125cc offerings. Powering the Vespa SXL is a 150cc, 3—Valve motor churning out 11.6 PS of maximum power and 11.5 Nm of peak torque at 5,500rpm. These numbers make it the most powerful scooter on sale in India. Power is transmitted via a CVT gearbox which makes it a smooth jerk free ride. The pickup is easily the best in a scooter in India and the performance reminds you of the 165 cc Kinetic Blaze which used to be a great fun to ride scooter until it ceased to exist.
The engine on the SXL 150 features an aluminium cylinder head to reduce weight and overhead cam along with roller rocker arm. This ensures a good fuel efficiency of around 45 kmpl. That for a 150cc scooter is a very impressive figure. The Vespa SXL is also the only scooter in India to employ full monocoque steel body construction. Other interesting bits include the single side arm front suspension unit with anti—dive characteristics that ensures a good ride even on bad roads. The use of new Maxxis sourced tyres results in better grip more so at higher speeds. The thread pattern on these new tyres also looks sturdy and the fact that they are tubeless further enhances their appeal. They’re also broader than conventional scooter tyres which to be precise are 110 mm on the front and 120 mm on the rear. The front wheel is 11—inch in size while the rear has smaller 10—inch wheel.
Yes the Vespa range has always commanded a premium when compared to other scooters in the country. But it’s the price Vespa wants you to pay for strong engine, premium features and the renowned Italian flair. What the Vespa SXL does is that it gives other manufacturers the thrust to ride in higher displacement scooters. Indian is seeing a boom in super bikes so why not now for the scooters. With the steadily rising popularity, there is definitely a scope for higher displacement and aspirational scooters that would hold the sway in the 150cc segment. Many consumers appreciate the versatility of automatic scooters but still don’t make the shift to scooters as they don’t find them masculine enough. This Vespa that comes with a price tag of Rs. 88,000 (ex—showroom, Delhi) surely has the potential to the initiate the change.