Its TVS Jupiter versus seasoned rivals like the Honda Activa and Hero Maestro. Together these make up the best there is in our scooter orbit. But, can there be a clear winner?
Gearless scooter as a segment has been witnessing fantastic growth. It grew 17 per cent in the first half of this fiscal year compared to just one per cent registered by motorcycles. Not surprisingly then, every major two-wheeler manufacturer in the country (excluding Bajaj, of course) is giving this category their full attention. TVS, is no different, and it would be hoping riding the scooter sales wave might actually help it grow overall. And its latest in this class is the Jupiter. So, let's find out how the new Jupiter fares against well establish competition - the Honda’s Activa and the Hero Maestro.
With so many options flooding the scooter segment, design has started playing an important role in the decision making process and the Piaggio Vespa is indeed an endorsement of the same. Keeping the aforementioned in mind, the Maestro with the sharp lines on the front fascia as well as on the side panels is, without doubt, the best looking scooter here. The digital console, body coloured grabrail and the 3-D logo on the side panel further adds to its visual appeal.
The TVS Jupiter looks fresh as well and has sharp edges in all the right places to give it a chiseled and lean look. We also like its five spoke 12 inch alloy wheels and the fact that it comes with an Econometer to help the rider achieve better fuel efficiency. The reserve fuel light, pass-switch, and LED tail lamps are handy additions too. The TVS Jupiter has its fuel filler cap on the outside but having to use the key on the side panel to open it takes away from the convenience bit somewhat.
The Honda Activa is as traditional a scooter as you can get today. It has simple but easy to read analog clocks, no real rider aids and a design that is safe and palatable across all age groups. So, even though you can't go wrong with the Activa, it lacks the flair of the other two scooters here. Overall, if we had to pick a scooter based on style and modernity, it would have to be the Maestro, though the Jupiter runs it close.
When it comes to engines, Hero and Honda share exactly the same 110cc mill, while the Jupiter shares its heart with its sibling the Wego but it still displaces similar cubic capacity. There is hardly any difference between the trio in terms of specifications as the air-cooled, 4-stroke, single cylinder powerplant of the Activa and Maestro push out 8.2PS compared to the 8PS of the Jupiter. In terms of torque rating, again, there's hardly any difference. CVT is common to all as well and finally on the road, one will be hard pressed to tell the difference in the real world.
What we can tell you is all three scooters feel reasonably peppy up to about 60kmph and then top out before hitting 90kmph. The engines are smooth, the CVT operation on all three is almost unobtrusive and even the fuel economy figures in the real world aren't far apart. Drivetrain is one aspect where it is impossible to choose a winner in this test; all three do quite well.