Until not very long, scooters were considered to be the meeker brothers of the motorcycles. Then arrived the Activa which revolutionized the industry. Scooters soon became the weapon of choice for urban commuters as they embraced the convenience that the automatic transmissions, superb efficiency and comfortable riding positions that they brought with them. It was the re-birth of the scooters and the family has since then grown into a large range on offer today. We help you find your street cruiser with our list of the 5 best budget scooters available in the market today.
Honda Activa 4G (INR 50,846)
The king of the pack, undoubtedly has to be the big daddy of them all, the Honda Activa. This is the best-selling two-wheeler in India and outsells every other model on the list by a mile. It follows the textbook definition of a scooter to the ‘t’ but it is the superb execution that makes it so special. It carries the typical Honda traits of superb reliability and refinement. The cushy ride complements the broad well-cushioned seat and can comfortably hold two passengers over long distances.
The primary reason for its success, however, is the HET (Honda Eco Technology) equipped 109cc engine which is good for a claimed mileage of 60 km/l. Even with spirited driving during our road test, we managed to achieve a commendable 55 km/l figure, which suggests the claimed mark can easily be achieved by more moderated riding. The engine also offers strong performance all the way up to its 94 km/h top speed.
TVS Jupiter (INR 49,766)
Even though the Wego had been on sale for a long time, it was the Jupiter that really took the fight to the best-selling Honda Activa’s stronghold. The scooter banks on its strong TVS DNA and carries forward the brilliant balance and handling, just like the Wego. When we reviewed it, we were particularly impressed by the suspension that soaked up almost everything that the treacherous roads of Mumbai could throw at it.
The Jupiter is powered by a punchy 110cc engine good for 8 Nm of peak torque that pulls strongly right up to its red-line. What was even more impressive was the solid build on offer that even outclasses its Japanese rivals. Convenient features including an external fuel filling cap and a pass key make it a very well rounded package.
Our Review: TVS Jupiter road test review: In a higher orbit?
TVS Scooty Zest (INR 46,738)
One look at the Scooty Zest and you know that this one guns for the fairer sex. Even though the styling has evolved when compared to the Scooty Pep+, the overall look is still fairly feline. The proportions are perfectly designed for the average Indian woman in mind with a low seat height and a feather-light kerb weight of just 97 kgs which makes it incredibly flickable through corners. The ride is smooth and remains unsettled even at speeds above 60 km/h.
It carries the sorted motor from the Jupiter and the lighter weight helps make it feel even peppier off the mark. Other convenient features like the EaZy centre stand and the auto choke functionality makes this a no-brainer, especially for the ladies looking to change their ride.
Our Review: New TVS Scooty Zest 110 Review: Value Redefined
Honda Dio (INR 49,239)
The Dio has always held a youthful charm that makes it stand out in the crowded two-wheeler segment. The sharp headlamps and body panels make for a very distinct dynamic stance. This coupled with other Honda traits of the refined ride and friendly ergonomics makes it an excellent scooter to zip through town.
The Dio also features the super-refined 109cc Honda HET engine that we saw on the Activa. When mated to the smaller body, it allows you to push the scooter even harder and the dynamics are so sorted that you can actually have a lot of fun with it. We managed to touch up to 96 km/h on our road test and it held on to the high speed with ease – a testimony to just how rider friendly it really is.
Our Review: Honda Dio HET Review: Funky gets frugal
Hero Duet (INR 47,945)
Post its break-up from Honda, Hero has been working hard at getting its own R&D system battle-ready and the Duet is a living example of the hard work that has gone in. Even though the front looks suspiciously like that of the Activa (nostrils included), Hero maintains that the Duet is new from the ground up. Convenient features such as the deep under-seat storage and the nifty charging port make it a sensible scooter to live with.
Powered by Hero’s indigenously developed 111cc motor that also finds use in the Maestro, the scooter is quick and smooth off the blocks. The engine manages to hold its own even when accelerated hard and doesn’t pass on any vibrations to the rider except when it approaches the red-line. The suspension really shines with a nice balance between a smooth ride and good high speed stability.
Our Review: Hero MotoCorp Duet review : Charming Melody
Honda Navi (INR 41,181)
Oddball, weird, tiny yet extremely loveable. Another Honda on the list, the Navi is an absolutely fresh take on what a scooter can be as it takes the traditional scooter traits of excellent driveability and merges them with the superior dynamics of a motorcycle, all while maintaining a footprint equivalent to an Activa!
The motorcycle like stance and the tank between your feet give you confidence to punish the scooter in a way that rivals can only dream of and yet, it will reward you with smiles and giggles. The Navi is also powered by the 109cc Honda engine which feels extra peppy in this little machine due to the minimal weight. While we may still be confused as to what to call it, it definitely wins our hearts over for being oh-so fun and at the same time, unabashedly breaking free from the stereotypical scooter.
Our Review: New Honda Navi Review: Quirky Fizz
Honda Cliq (INR 41,784)
The new kid on the block, the Cliq aims to address an entirely different market altogether. With scooters increasingly becoming the much-abused workhorses of choice for many, the Cliq is designed just for these users. The scooter gets innovative new storage areas with an optional box along the central spine of the foot-well and a special carrier at the rear end.
The bigger tread block tyres and the solid build ensure that the scooter can survive heavy use even in rural areas while the ride is said to be softer than even the Activa. Honda’s effective CBS system is part of the standard kit and helps aid safety on the scooter. If it is a scooter that you can endlessly abuse that you are after, do give the Cliq a dekko.
Note: All prices quoted in this article are for the base variants, ex-showroom Delhi apart from the Cliq which is ex-Jaipur.