The 150-cc scooter is not new to the Indian market, in fact, far from it, though it has been long since one frequented our roads. Piaggio with the Vespa re-venture into this category with the VXL and SXL variants of their iconic scooter. We swing a leg over them to find out if they are any good
Story: Aniruddha Mulgund
Photography: Crystelle Nunes
‘Market maturity’ has been a key term at the Piaggio office for the past few weeks and for a good reason too. Off-late, the scooter segment as a whole has matured over the years. This can be ascribed to the increasing traffic conditions in the urban jungles and the hassle-free nature of the automatic powertrain is finding much appreciation amongst buyers. While the competition scuffles for a larger share of the 100-cc to 125-cc scooter market, Piaggio have gone ahead and added the 150-cc Vespa to the scooter market. Piaggio have stood firmly by Vespa’s substantially high price point and positioned it as a lifestyle product. Driving on its excellent build quality and uber cool design, the Vespa has carved itself a niche in the segment. While it retains the utilitarian attributes of the scooter, it offers them with an unmatched style quotient. In addition to the 150-cc, the company will continue to sell the 125-cc Vespa as well. What is all new on both the offerings, is the option of two trim levels – the VXL and SXL.
Backing up the Vespa’s high price-point is a brass-knuckled punch which comes in the form of its retro yet funky looking design. When it comes to design, the Italians have it covered and phenomenally so. Combine this with their impeccable build quality, which has bettered over the years, and you have a genuinely good product. The higher-end SXL variant comes with more chrome treatment on the body parts, a perimeter and bumper guard, accessories like the helmet and a cool-looking windscreen as standard equipment. There are minor differences between the two trims. For example, the VXL offers a roundish headlamp while the SXL features a bold rectangular reflector unit. Towards the rear, the VXL features a sturdy and functional grab-handle while the SXL comes with a strip of fabric running across the middle of the seat for a pillion to hold on to. Hidden beneath the seats is a convenient 15-litre storage bin. Although alloy wheels are common to both the scooters, VXL gets chrome treatment whereas the SXL uses blackened out wheels. These are wrapped in 110 and 120 section, front and rear Maxxis tyres all the way from Vietnam. Footboard is common and is strongly reminiscent of old-school Vespas with parallel serrations running across the length. Although images on the company’s website show pillion foot-rests, the test scooters did not offer any. Both the scooters employ a 200-mm ventilated disc brake with a single-piston calliper at the front and 140-mm drum brake at the rear. Another common feature is the combination instrument cluster which offers analogue readout of the speedo and digital readout of the fuel-gauge, odo and trip meter.