The idea of owning an automatic scooter is steadily manifesting itself among the Indian two wheeler buyers as evident from the breed’s recent surge in market share. So naturally, now is the time to come up with an automatic scooter but well established rivals mean anything less than a top-notch product would be treated with sheer indifference.
The Mahindra Gusto is the newest entrant in the bustling 110 cc automatic scooter segment and we went all the way to the Thar Desert to check how well it fairs.
The unisex scooter is full of edgy elements. The front apron is a busy place with a ‘Y’ shaped ridge, turn indicators, contrasting louvres and a silver insert that carries the badge. The kinks on the apron below the indicators and the V-shaped headlamp with integrated LED pilot lamps further accentuate the edginess of the design.
A long seat and pronounced creases on the engine cover define the scooter in profile. The silver theme is used for the fork, transmission case and rear foot rest. Mahindra’s engineers have located the kicker in a position that allows the rider to use it without having to get off the seat. A recess in the underbody that neatly houses the side stand is another nice touch.
The rear fascia has a unique appeal thanks to the prominent garland-like combination light which encloses a glossy black centre piece (irrespective of the color option) with the Mahindra badge. The wide seat calls for an even wider grab rail.
The rear suspension is completely hidden and the comparatively large 12-inch steel wheels, finished in silver, add to the stance apart from being very functional (we will come to that later). The silencer and its shield are finished in black.
In addition to the traditional storage hooks and under seat compartment, the Gusto also offers a small compartment behind the instrument console that can be used to store small items.
The overall design is a little quirky but easy on the eyes. It should to be mentioned that, for some, it takes a bit of getting used to.
Material and build qualities
The build and paint qualities are at par with the competition. The steering grips are of right size and feel, and the same can be said about the switchgear.
On the other hand, the silver housing for the instrument console and the surrounding hard plastic panel feel a bit tacky. A softer texture for the plastic on the inner side of the front apron would have helped too.
The Mahindra Gusto’s ergonomics deserves a special mention. The vehicle offers a first-in-class height adjustable seat which makes it a true unisex scooter. A rear-hinged seat with a patented locking mechanism has allowed the engineers to locate the height adjustor right below the rider.
All you need to do is open the seat, pull a knob and adjust the mount up and down. It’s to be noted that the seat mount can only be fixed at a fully low or high position, effectively varying the seat height between 735 mm to 770 mm.
The difference in the saddle height is pretty apparent and is a boon if the scooter is used by more than one person within the family which usually is the case.
Irrespective of the saddle height, the riding position is comfortably upright and the knee room is adequate for a tall rider. The wide seat with right amount of cushioning makes for a comfortable journey.
Engine, gearbox, performance and fuel economy
The 109.6 cc all-aluminium M-TEC engine is an all-new unit, says Mahindra. The 4-stroke air cooled motor which is mated to a CVT develops 8 bhp and 8.5 Nm of torque.
Though the motor induces a noticeable vibration at idling, the refinement levels are impressive once on the move. In fact, the Gusto accelerates all way up to is speedo indicated top speed of 92 km/h without any fuss.
Once past the inherent rubber band effect of the CVT, the acceleration is brisk enough to be called as peppy. What's more commendable is that, the scooter can continuously hold on to cruising speeds of 60 - 70 km/h quite effortlessly.
The scooter delivers a ARAI certified fuel economy of 63 km/l. However, we didn't get a chance to calculate the real world fuel economy during our road test.
Ride, handling and braking
The Mahindra Gusto is a dynamically sound scooter, thanks in no small measure to the 12-inch wheels which are larger than the competition (only the TVS Jupiter matches the size).
The telescopic front suspension and single-sided rear coil spring are tuned in such a way to iron out most of the road imperfections while retaining a good straight line stability even at high speeds. Around the corners, the new Mahindra feels stable and confidence inspiring.
The Gusto's composure under braking has to be the single largest benefit of using bigger wheels. Aided by a set of grippy 90/90-12 MRF Zapper tubeless tyres, the Gusto doesn't feel nervous like most of the scooters under heavy braking. The wheel lock-up and fish-tailing are kept under check and you come to a stand still within the desired distance.
As with the Centuro commuter, the Gusto's top-end variant comes packed with features such as the remote smart key, Find-Me and Guide-Me lamps. Simple yet clever touches like adjustable saddle height, rear-hinged seat with lock and front-mounted kicker make it easier to use.
The Mahindra Gusto is an accomplished package. It has got sound dynamics, a refined and zippy motor, numerous first-in-class features, and is high on practicality.
Mahindra’s brand presence in the two wheeler market is still at a nascent stage but the Gusto certainly has got what it takes to be a highly competitive product and the starting price tag of INR 43,000 (introductory pricing, ex-showroom Delhi) is indeed the icing on the cake.
Mahindra Gusto - Spec Sheet
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