Mahindra made a smart move as it entered the scooter segment with the acquisition of Kinetic – SVM and its initial models, the Rodeo and the Duro have been a direct result of it. But for how long could Mahindra compete with the ever so evolving market and the ferocious competition from its peers, so the boffins at Mahindra rolled up their sleeves and got to serious work. And after years of development and customer feedbacks, the Gusto came to life. The Mahindra Gusto may not be a UFO amongst scooters, but it surely does stand out.
Let’s talk about the way it looks. The styling on the Gusto is surely original but it’s obvious it is derived from a couple of inspirations. A bunch of trusted senior management in Mahindra must have been summoned upon for an urgent meeting, to give suggestions as to how Mahindra’s next scooter must look and the obvious answer was, it should look like their first most successful product, the tractor. Hence the styling of the front end is like their tractors. So next time you see a weird pair of headlights that resemble a tractor don’t be afraid, it might just be a Gusto, unless obviously it’s actually a tractor. The rear end of the scooter was designed while listening to Justin Timberlake singing ‘What goes around comes around’ cause the lights seem to be trapped in an endless limbo of circular patterns. The side panels are very simple luckily no story there, I just wish though the fit was a little better. The paint on the bike is great and looks far better than its rivals. The interesting bit though is the small LED DRL’s to let people know its a Gusto.
The seating is comfortable, but gets even more comfortable cause of the addition of a height adjustment mechanism, that lets you increase or decrease the seat height as per your convenience, a feature that other bike makers should make a note of and the mobile holder on the handle is a thoughtful addition for times when you are in pajamas and you wish your scooter to carry your phone, a feature that the ladies will love. But just as you have started to think the bike is more for female riders you will notice the storage area under the seat is enough only to fit a small helmet and maybe a phone, but don’t expect a makeup box or anything as such to fit in.
The engine is an all aluminum all new 110cc mill that is punchy and feels like a real hoot to ride, it returns decent figures as well, company claims 63km/l but in real world conditions its should drop to about 42 – 45 km/l, which are still decent figures and can hold fort against the biggies in its segment.
The ride quality on the Gusto is pretty good, but pray you’re not on the heavier side, if so the Gusto will punish you for every extra kilo that you have put on that is above the maximum weight the Gusto can take, the reason for the same being the suspension setup is very much on the softer side hence light to medium weight riders can easily glide over potholes but heavy individuals will feel a jolt of electricity up their spine every time the road starts to act funny. And things only get worse if you have a pillion. The Gusto feels very light and lean and inspires you to push it harder in a straight line but stability is a bit of an issue with a pillion as you always are finding that sweet spot of balance to maneuver the scooter around in Mumbai’s cut to cut traffic without keeping your foot down a lot. The Gusto feels too light for what it is and inexperienced riders will require some getting used to before they can exploit it its handling prowess to the fullest.
The Gusto has a decent set of brakes as well, even though they do not give you that initial bite they are progressive. The company claims, it will get better with future variants that shall be launched with disc brakes. The Gusto comes with a few flashy features that try to make it stand out, such as a car like remote control key that will activate the lights, sound a warning and do a few other tricks for you when you wish to amuse yourself and your friends when they start questioning your decision on purchasing the bike.
To sum things up at Rs.47,000 (ex-showroom), the Gusto is a good deal, as a matter of fact it’s one of those value for money propositions, where even though it may not have the finesse of an Activa or the practicality and handling of a Wego, it still holds its own and tries to stand out rather than trying to fit in.