Mahindra Gusto Review: First Ride
First Impression – Mahindra Gusto might have born in India but it certainly doesn’t look that way. Gusto looks totally Italian (thats where it was designed), at the same time not very plain, curvy or girly; it is simply flamboyant. Silhouette of Mahindra Gusto will give the impression that it looks like any other scooter in India. But as you move the spotlight over, every piece of Gusto will intrigue you, and thats when you will begin to like its style.
Exteriors – Mahindra Gusto looks loaded with accents and body lines that make the scooter look muscular but not too bulky. Starting with embellishments, Gusto has a silver-esque band on the front end carrying the company badge, from which large attractive side indicators with eye-shadow like trims emerge. Closing the gap between centre tunnel and blinkers, prominent wing shaped front grilles are placed, that gathers frontal attention. Slight folds beneath turn signals on the front apron of Mahindra Gusto help keep chunkiness of the fascia in check.
Similar scenario plays at the side of Mahindra Gusto. Side body panels are airfoil shaped with chiselled tapers and body lines culminating smoothly at the tail lamp, masking the overall stoutness of Gusto. Sharp body graphics, chrome ‘GUSTO’ badging and the company branding surrounded by stylish indents complete the side profile of Mahindra’s new flagship scooter. Pillion grab handle in aluminium finish also plays a role in making Gusto look sporty.
Rear facade of Mahindra Gusto features large tail lamp assembly, but lights in it are cleverly crafted to look sleek. Centre of the housing has a motif in piano black finish, that manages add style. Light unit below has neat half-casing that saves the tail of Gusto from overhung appeal. Overall, mixed shapes on the body of Mahindra Gusto appear to compliment hefty as well as puny riders from varied angles.
Features – It can here-on be taken for granted that new Mahindra products will be known for its features. Mahindra Two Wheelers Limited created a stir in the market with the launch of Centuro commuter bike, which hosts a plethora of first time features that became its USP. We believe same is going to happen with Gusto. Best part is that Mahindra did not think out of the line to fit a new feature for bragging. They invented one that solves a prevailing problem among scooter users. Its a newly patented technology that allows seat height to be adjusted to accommodate riders of differing heights.
This is a first time ever facility that will enable tall and short persons in a family to use the scooter just as comfortably as the other. India being a market bearing extreme diversity in physique of people, such a feature would definitely turn heads, as we find many making decisions based on seat height and comfort. It is to be noted that Mahindra has tried about 27 iterations of seat mould to get the kind of wedge-y shape at front end, to give proper thigh support at both heights.
Mahindra’s next focus to influence prospective customers is utility factor. People commonly prefer scooters over commuter bikes for another reason that latter can easily accommodate everyday bags and equipment, and also make the weekend trip to farmers market a lot easier and safer. Not just attending to elderlies with multiple carry bag hooks and large under-seat box, Gusto’s quick storage compartment near speedo-cluster helps hold small carry items like wallets and sunglass pouches without having to open the seat and shove in and out every time. Mahindra Gusto also has a helmet hook under the seat which holds the strap tight as helmet is placed on the seat; this doesn’t mean under-seat storage cannot gobble a half face helmet.
Another important feature in Mahindra Gusto is the provision of kick starter closer to the front end of engine unit, that helps rider to kick start without having to get down from the seat.
Engine & performance – Mahindra Gusto is powered by all-new all-aluminium 109.6 cc air cooled engine that produces 8 bhp max. power and 8.5 Nm peak torque on paper. It is mated to conventional CVT (Continuously Varying Transmission). The numbers are not really impressive, it is very close to that of rivals. But that doesn’t mean it is going to behave the same way others do when you throttle up. Mahindra Gusto picks up from halt and during manoeuvres strongly, in such a way that you don’t loose confidence of the tactic you’re about to pull off. There is no extra blast of power compared to rest of scooters in the segment, but the power delivery is very linear and in control. Noise, vibration and harshness are all in appreciable levels (during first ride), and so is the rubber-band effect of CVT. Mahindra claims 63 kmpl mileage (as per ARAI tests).
Ride, Handling & Braking – Gusto’s telescopic front suspension and large 12 inch steel wheels provide commendable handling and ride quality. Well-tuned dampers and large tires help iron out innumerable glitches on roads. Shocks may feel a bit stiff for some, but considering this is a unisex product made for all age group, it should not be a problem. Overall, Mahindra Gusto is quite light to handle and it listens well to the rider’s rhythm. Braking performance of Mahindra Gusto is applaudable, which is direct result of large wheels and road hugging MRF tires. During high speeds and intense braking, Gusto maintains its composure with appreciable straight line stability.
Verdict – Considering Gusto is Mahindra’s first grounds-up scooter project, they have done a very good job. Essential factors of a scooter including dynamics, build quality and features are all up to the mark, given its introductory price of Rs. 43,000 (ex-showroom Mumbai). Mahindra Gusto has everything required to change the brand perception, which will pave way for success of future products as well, that intended to be built on the same platform.