Note: This is my first ownership thread in TAI. Please condone any mistakes. (Giallo – Yellow in Italian) Context
For many years our Scooty Pep+ (2007 make) had been constant companion for my wife’s outing for daily chores like dropping/picking up our daughters in school, banking, shopping etc. The extensive use had not affected the overall body much which was reasonable to look at, but the suspensions were beginning to indicate the age. Even a small pot hole transmitted the shock to the shoulders. In early June we decided to look for a replacement. The Old Workhorse – Worth still for many more miles Selection Discussion
Way back when we bought Scooty Pep+, the options available were limited. Also as a first to city traffic, my wife was insistent on light weight, size, height and easy maneuverability as main criteria and so we settled for Scooty Pep+. Now accustomed to Chennai city traffic, my wife was willing to look at other options. Presently we had better options to choose from the market and our wish list was – good suspension, Tubeless tyres, good body construction and easy maneuverability.
Following were considered: TVS
Not considered as we wanted a change from TVS.Yamaha
Ray – Good attractive design. But baggage space was limited in front due to curved design and was rejected by my wifeHero
Alpha – Short listed for test drive
Pleasure – My wife has driven her sister’s scooter and was dead against itHonda
Maestro – Wife rejected it outright
Activa – largest selling scooter and my wife was impressed with it, especially the metal body. But when she heard from her friends that Activa suspension was not good and might result in back pain, she ruled it outChange in Decision
Activa i – The look was good and was light weight. But observed in number of running vehicles the fiber covers were either scratched or cracked. We had our doubt on longevity on the body construction and decided to go for metal body only
Aviator – Wife liked the neutral look and it also had telescopic suspension. Short listed for test drive.
Before we can start on out test drive process, we came across Activa 125 advertisement on paper and electronic media. We then decided to upgrade to 125 cc scooter instead of 110 cc, as we were convinced that 125 cc is the next happening in the scooter space and would make sense to upgrade directly to this segment. Also Activa 125 had a telescopic suspension which will take care of our suspension concern.
With this change of decision, we had different set of models on the table to consider:
- Honda Activa 125
- Suzuki Swish
- Vespa 125
My wife did not like the look of Swish and hence it was dropped. The price of Vespa was fairly on the higher side, hence we decided to try out Activa 125 Selection Process
We started visiting Honda showroom in the first week of July. JSP Honda, Anna Nagar
The experience in JSP Honda was not great. When we expressed our interest in Activa 125, the SA tried to dissuade us stating that presently booking has been stopped. Also they did not have any test drive vehicle. He took our contact numbers and informed that he will call us once the test vehicle is available, which is expected in 10 days’ time. We never got any call from them SVM Honda, Kilpauk
The experience was pleasant surprise for us in this dealership. Since SA person was not available, a person from account department attended us. He had good knowledge on the features and gave good comparison of Activa and Activa 125. There was display vehicle available but no test drive vehicle. He said the test drive vehicle will be available in 2weeks, but was ready to take booking. He quoted 2 months delivery period for ordinary version and 4 months for DLX version with Disc brake. The OTR approximately worked out to 64,000/- and 69,000/- respectively. We were firm on doing a test drive before booking and left to come back after 2 week.
Though 2 weeks passed, no test vehicle was available in Chennai in all Honda showrooms. We decided to visit Vespa showroom just to have look at the vehicle Orange Motors, Anna Nagar
Nothing worth mentioning experience in this showroom. The SA girl who attended us was knowledgeable to explain the construction, variants, color, option etc. We were impressed by the build and quality of the vehicle. My wife took LX version for test drive and drove it for 3-4 km along with me. The ride was good, vehicle was planted, handling was smooth and maneuverability was excellent. Earlier my wife was apprehensive of the weight but in actual she did not feel any issue in handling the scooter. The scooter looked compact compared to its rivals, may be because of its monocoque body construction. We left the showroom after collecting price details. No discount was offered as Vespa had strict no-discount policy. Surprising was that the SA did not even bother to take my contact number Pillai Motors, Greams Road
We then visited Pillai Motors in Greams Road. The person who attended us explained the features and offered test drive. My wife test drove the VX version for about 3 km. Then I drove the vehicle for 4-5 km and tested the stability, braking ability, pot hole handling at speed (there were many pot holes of various grades in the road aiding me in the test). The vehicle responded smoothly for the rough run and braking was good with Disc in operation. Decision Making
We decided on Vespa VX model. The cost was about 10000 – 12000 higher than Honda Activa DLX with disc brake. We believed that Vespa’s built to last construction, high quality parts, sleek design and decent performance was justified for higher cost.
We again visited Orange Motors to check on OTR and discounts. A new SA was there, but they firmly told that no discount or free accessory to be provided. Again the SA did not take my contact number and we left for good the showroom.
On model front we decided on VX, the square shaped light in S model was not preferred by my wife. Having decided on the model, the next difficult decision was the color to choose. With Vespa, we were spoilt with good looking colors and was difficult to arrive at a consensus. Finally after lot of deliberations we decided on Yellow – logic behind the decision was that good looking scooters in red and black color are available in different models but light yellow is available only in Vespa and was also gorgeous to look at. Other manufacturers had a slightly darker yellow shade only.
On 10-Aug, we booked VX model Vespa with Pillai Motors by paying Rs.5000/- as advance. As we have decided to register the vehicle only on 11-Sep, it was agreed to pay 60% amount by month end and remaining amount 2 days prior to registration.
Comparing both the dealership, my comments are:
- Pillai Motor Sales experience was far better than Orange Motors. Eagerness to sell was evident in Pillai Motors SA (Santosh) approach.
- The approach and attitude to customer was excellent in Pillai Motors. My personal feeling was even when they refused discount it was more in apologetic tone, rather experience with Orange Motors was like take it or leave it.
- Follow up with customer was good with Pillai Motors. SA followed up regularly on the booking and delivery. Hope this good experience continues with service also
The total cost break is given below:
- Ex-Showroom Price : Rs.72492.00
- Life Time Tax + Registration : Rs. 7845.00
- Comprehensive Insurance : Rs. 1899.00
- OTR Price : Rs.82236.00
The accessories list that was finalized:
- Vespa Floor Mat : Rs. 524.00
- Number Plate : Rs. 160.00
- Front Bumper : Rs. 368.00
- Rear Bumper : Rs.2550.00
- Seat Cover – Joy : Rs. 550.00
- Buzzer : Rs. 80.00
- Saddle Handle Cushion : Rs. 500.00
Extended warranty (Rs.550/-) for two years was provided by the dealer. The total cost worked out to be Rs.86968/-
On 11-Sep, the vehicle was registered. The SA has asked us to take delivery at 6:30 pm, so that scoter can be delivered with number plate. The scooter was ready when we went to take delivery. A service person explained us on the available functionality and service intervals. Then I drove the vehicle to the nearest petrol bunk to top up the fuel. Then the beauty was driven by my wife to our residence Initial Observations: Pros:
- Attractive look. Head turner
- Quality and sturdy build. Appears to last life time
- Nice Alloy wheels
- Paint quality is very good
- Breaking was good and nippy with the disc brake
- Headlight was focused and powerful
- Suspension was smooth. Driving was pleasure with gliding sensation
- Speedo meter was functional and attractive
- Seating position was comfortable
- Glove compartment – very small
- Initial pick up was slightly sluggish – hope it picks up after 1 or 2 services
The initial drive (~ 200 km) has been satisfactory. The suspension is really very good and handles pot holes with aplomb. Cornering was good and gives confidence with planted ride. Not yet looked at the FE figures. Not had any issues with cold start. Photogenic Vespa
Thanks for reading. Will post more review as Vespa grows on us