Gusto adds intel to the humble scooter

Gusto adds intel to the humble scooter

Gusto adds intel to the humble scooter

In a closely contested ‘road war’ between two-wheeler manufacturers, few have prevailed with match-winning offerings. The pitched battle between scooter-makers has been dominated by very popular machines from the Indian and Japanese stables.

Scooters dot every thoroughfare, with the dependable vehicle regarded as a friend to families and steed for students.

The journey of Mahindra 2 Wheelers has crossed another milestone with the arrival of a smart, chic scooter from its stable — something they have accomplished with ‘Gusto’.

Gusto is the latest offering from the major, whose forte is the fast-growing Indian utility vehicle space, where it is king. Mahindra has been constantly rolling out two-wheelers, be it motorcycles and scooters, hoping to gain market share. But till now it has been unable to secure a larger piece of the pie.

After many launches, the company finally seems to have got its act right. The Mahindra Gusto is an impressive machine, with loads of features and a complete package that caters to all kinds of riders, including those who are low on height. Testing the Gusto springs out many surprises, especially in terms of the extent to which innovation and ingenuity in scooter design can be stretched.

A jazzy Italian

The Mahindra Gusto is a beauty! Its appearance takes off from the European styling adopted in Italy. The scooter’s snazzy styling is complemented well by its elegant and refined design.

At the front, the upwardly slanting indicator lights add character, going along with the simplistic headlight, spinning out a fine balance. A few touches of chrome-like finishes add that extra detail to the scooter which is a head-turner.

The proud stance carries on even to the side, with the Mahindra logo and the name Gusto standing out. The rear of the scooter feels like it has a touch of crystal, with the red-ruby tail lamp ready to take you out safely on a night ride.

The Gusto has a lot more to offer beyond its looks. I tested it in Bengaluru’s infamous traffic to see how the scooter takes on the city’s roads for which it has been specifically designed.

As I take my seat on the Gusto, I have in my hand a very unique type of key, something seen on only high-end cars. The remote flip key allows you to push one of its buttons and lo! The key reveals itself like a switchblade.

The key also comes with very relevant frills such as an LED panel light to illuminate the keyhole at night and also two buttons for (Find Me) LED light and sound indicators to help the rider locate the scooter in a crowded parking lot or in the dark, respectively.

The Gusto starts with a mild push of the start button. During cold mornings, don’t forget to use the conveniently-placed Front Kick while seated, just like a motorcycle.

We are away! The road chosen is the busy Bellary Road in Bengaluru and that too during the morning rush hour. The distance that the Gusto will take to impress me is 10 km. The scooter begins its run with a fine musical tune emerging from its engine.

The Gusto’s engine emits very less noise for a scooter. From the very first accel itself, the Gusto shows its good side. The ride is smooth and takes us ahead in tandem with the traffic.

The handling seems a little heavy in the beginning, but in chock-a-block road situations, it does just fine. The smooth power that pulls the Gusto forward is a 109.6 cc, 4-stroke, air-cooled M-TEC engine, dishing out a maximum power of 6 kW (8.0 bhp) @ 7,500 rpm at a maximum torque of 9 Nm @ 5,500 rpm.

This is apparent when you realise the Gusto just charges, and before you know it, the scooter is overtaking most of the traffic on the road. To provide additional driving comfort, the telescopic, hydraulic-type front suspension does the trick.

The traffic is unusually dense and all the two-wheeler traffic is being diverted to a muddy patch of road to get ahead of bottlenecks.

I take the scooter through  the patch and am pleasantly surprised to know how comfortable and jerk-free the ride is. The 165 mm of ground clearance, wheelbase of 1,275 mm and wide 12-inch tubeless tyres turn the supposed rough ride into a cake walk for the Gusto.

The scooter can reach a top-speed of 100 kmph, but this is where its one disappointing feature appears.

The brakes almost don’t react if you were to stop abruptly on encountering a sudden obstruction on the road.

This is something that designers at Mahindra should have noticed and taken cues from competitors which have introduced technologies such as combi-brakes and disc brakes to make riding safer.

Despite these niggles, I find multiple reasons to adore the Gusto. The height-adjustable seat is a thoughtful addition to its slew of features, allowing for setting seating positions depending on the riders’ height.

Pull up the seat, which will stand on its own thanks to a unique locking system. And there you will find a lever mechanism to adjust seat height. In front of me is a quick storage pocket under the neat display panel that allows for quick and easy access to required items (mobile, wallet, shades, etc.) on the ride.

The bright halogen headlamp with LED lighting and guide lamp for night riders to walk safely homewards after reaching their residence and parking the scooter, attach more and more value to the intelligent scooter.

The Gusto claims to dish out a mileage of 63 kmpl (ARAI Certified), but I’m assured of it being above 50 kmpl.

With a six-litre tank, the scooter offers unlimited range. With six magnificent colours to choose from, the Gusto VX retails at Rs 50,400 (ex-showroom Bengaluru). An adventurous 10 km later, I reluctantly parted ways with the stylish Gusto.

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