No monkey business here – this is an all-serious shoot-out. Taking into consideration the requirements of our four prospective scooter buyers, we’re going to evaluate these machines on the counts of coolness, efficiency, handling and ride quality, performance and, er, a surprise element that is, I assure you, of much relevance to this test. Here we go...
A ROUND OF INTRODUCTION, PLEASE?
To the extreme left is the Honda Dio – the newest scoot from Honda and it has a name to live up to. The now-defunct Dio was a favourite for its sporty styling and strong performance. This one looks all grown up but is it for the better? A little to the right is the Mahindra Duro 125 DZ. It’s definitely the least stylish of the lot but then it was never aiming to be a hot-shot cover girl anyway. To the absolute left is the Suzuki Swish. It’s a younger iteration of the rather likeable Access 125 and we were quite impressed with it when we reviewed it in the May 2012 issue of BSM. Does it hold much water when pitted against the rest of the competition, though? Let’s answer all of these questions.
The Duro. Okay, kidding. This bit of the story could be written even before we saw the vehicles (it actually was... – Srini) in the flesh, let alone ride them. Let’s start with the least coolest – the Duro. It won’t make you look good in college, and calling it stylish is like telling your friends you’ll turn up at the coffee shop in a Lamborghini and turning up, instead, in a tractor. When Kinetic first launched the original number, the Nova, it looked different but not radical. The bulbous LED tail-lamp was a striking feature and you know an automobile is a no-good on the design front when the first thing you describe about it is the tail-lamp. Re-badged and re-stickered, the Duro looks decent but not quite dated, not just yet. It is the least attractive of the lot, and I bet you’ll agree. The prize for the best effort definitely goes to the Suzuki Swish. Suzuki has taken a scooter of a seemingly irreversible age and actually made it appealing. The Swish looks the liveliest, has an electric air about it and while it’s not the best styled, it will be a source of great design flair for the average commuter. The coolest, funkiest (not to be read as the youngest) design of them all is the Dio. It’s a stylish looker, a bit European (or is it Japanese?), and has a universal appeal to it that would make any one of our prospective buyers look good while astride it. Signs of bodywork layering look classy, and bring about an immediate association to the bigger, fully-faired motorcycles in the Honda family (a brownie point from the girl, then?). Overall, the Dio looks chunky and is well finished but it’s lost the edgy sportiness of the original number.
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