Shootout – Ray vs Wego vs Let’s vs Activa vs Maestro
Competition in the entry-level 110cc scooter segment of India is as intense as ever
Scooters are everywhere and have become a fashion statement but they are also a necessity. Plain simple, scooters are now in. They don’t offer performance or economy as their motorcycle counterparts which is the need of the market but still they sell just because they are smaller in capacity and size. They look, feel and ride like a premium entity which is one of the core reasons as to why scooters have massively taken over in an age where money does not matter. Comfort and safety is top most priority. Riding a motorcycle of the same price and capacity makes you feel like you have not achieved much in life, but riding the same with a dated automatic gearbox and less efficient motor has become the rage in your locality, isn’t it?. All of this is easily gauged the moment you step out of your house and you see a dozen of scooters parked in your building/colony. We have picked up all the scooters in the entry level 110cc segment to tell you which is the best, after all, you can’t help it, you need one!
Styling – In terms of design all these scooters look very compact and are entry level scooters of the companies which they represent. The Suzuki Let’s, TVS Wego and Yamaha Ray Z are freshly baked scooters and look great. The Honda Activa-i looks the most conservative of the lot, meanwhile the Hero Maestro has gained a lot of success because of the extremely bold and muscular look which is promoted by a person who is the total opposite of it. Coming back to the important trio. The Let’s is very slim in profile and stands out in between all of them very easily due to its distinctive lines and different looking side and front profile. The rear profile of the Let’s looks disappointing to our eyes at least. The Yamaha Ray Z makes its case better over the Suzuki with the boy racer graphics that are glued on it and the design itself is quite youthful. The Wego here in 2014 avatar, looks bold, conservative and yet athletic when viewed from several angles. Subtle graphics and a distinctive rear with black alloy wheels and underbody makes it win this round by a good margin.
Practicality – Ergonomics is where all scooters excel very well. All of them have upright riding position with good seats. All of these scooters offer the lowest seat height possible to the customer in which the Ray scores highest marks for having the lowest riding position and rest of them following the same except the Maestro, which comes last. The Wego’s seat is on the softer side as it comes from the Jupiter. Meanwhile, the rest of the group have well cushioned seats to suit both short and long journeys. In terms of practicality, the Wego strikes again with the most useable under seat storage (16-litres). The Ray Z has always lacked in this area but the Suzuki Let’s with the same concept has more useable space on paper and in real life as well. Both the Honda and Hero scooters score the highest here with enormous amount of under seat storage. The Maestro is the biggest of the lot, it also has the largest floorboard area. However, in terms of the trio, the roomiest scooter is the Let’s. Despite it having the smallest dimensions, it is the number one after which comes arch rival TVS (in terms of floorboard length and breadth). The second last is the Activa-i and last comes the Ray Z. Shutter lock seems to be a standard fitment, but it’s only the Ray Z and Wego which do not have this feature.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – Let’s be honest with the Let’s here. Suzuki has tried real hard to hide their weakness but it has turned up on the Let’s as well. The Let’s has the worst designed cluster of the lot. It looks soothing at first but then the hatred grows after you ride other scooters back to back. The second worst of the lot is of the Activa-i. Outdated fonts and feminine colour background is a total no-no. The cluster on the Ray Z is a relief as it has sporty touches such as carbon surrounds and has well chosen fonts with Lego inspired needle for both pods.
The Hero Maestro has one of the good looking clusters with a small digital pod for odometer, clock and other oddities. The winner in this segment is the new refreshed Wego. Full digital meter with RPM look-alike speedometer and necessary oddities with features such as Power and Eco modes are here from the Jupiter. All this makes it the best cluster with the most well done switches as well.
Performance – Without a doubt in our mind the performance award goes to the Suzuki Let’s. Suzuki has proven it again they make the most enjoyable and now, the most powerful engines in its class when it comes to scooters. A 112cc scooter producing 8.7 BHP of power and 9 Nm of torque against the scooters who produce no more than 8 BHP and weigh a lot more than the Let’s and are down on torque as well, it’s a clear sign that the Let’s leads the pack. The nearest competitor which comes to the Let’s in terms of output numbers is the Maestro which still lacks .5 BHP, has same amount of torque but has 10 more kgs to lug around. After which comes the Activa-i with 8 BHP and 8.75 Nm of torque and is lugging around 5 kgs more than the Let’s. Then comes Mr. Sensible with 8 BHP and 8 Nm which is the TVS Wego which now shares its engine with the Jupiter. The Wego hauls around 6 kgs more than the Let’s. The Ray Z comes last with 7 BHP and 8 Nm with 104 kgs of weight. Numbers as we know are not the real deal. Most of these scooters were with us for a long term test and we have ridden them extensively to tell you what’s what. However, we rode them back to again to see which is the best.
All these scooters have smooth and refined engines. The Suzuki sounds distinct of the lot, the Wego sounds throaty while the Yamaha and Honda have pretty similar vocals. The Ray had the best city drivability but the Let’s with its engine/gearbox tune (similar to the Ray) has more power and torque with less kerb weight, throwing the Yamaha out of contest. The Let’s has the most punch in the low and mid-end, the way it reaches from 0-60 km/hr is unreachable for others. The Ray stays behind for sometime after which it’s the Wego in terms of best city drivability. The Activa-i and Maestro have mid and top-end focused motors but still fair decently in city commutes but are not as punchy and exciting as the trio. Mind you, the Let’s has a decent top-end thanks to the lowest kerb weight and so it uses all that horsepower very well. Surely, it is not as punchy on the top-end as its elder siblings, the Swish and Access. Speaking of top-end power, the Let’s has a true top speed of 89 km/hr while rest top out at 85-87 km/hr with the Ray being the last at 77 km/hr.
Fuel economy king is the Wego with the Let’s, Activa, Ray and Maestro finishing behind it
In terms of fuel economy, the Ray had the highest fuel economy on the highway but the Let’s which offers more performance also offers similar economy as the Ray. 55.5 km/l for the Ray and 56 km/l for the Let’s. The Wego and Activa-i return 54 km/l and the Maestro gave us 53.5 km/l. On the fuel economy front, everybody falls in the same category. Ride it a little fast or slow and you can extract your favourite number out of the lot which were mentioned above. City numbers is where the Activa scores high with 48 km/l and so does the Wego once again matching that figure (TVS is right up there with Honda on every single aspect). The Ray Z returns 44.5 km/l and the Let’s comes at 47 km/l. Expect the Maestro to give a sane 45 km/l.
Riding Dynamics – Yet again we know who wins this part of the test. The Ray with the Yamaha DNA is enough to shake the competition but not anymore. The Let’s with even more stiffer ride than the Ray and similar chassis balance also offers sporty credentials when the going gets twisty. With more punch on tap and less body weight to carry around, the Let’s is just a hoot to ride. This is what the Ray should have been in the first place. Suzuki has done their homework really well and targeted the Ray where one arrow shoots everybody. The Ray solely in terms of dynamics, comes neck and neck with the new Suzuki Let’s. The next best thing as we know is the TVS Wego with 12-inch wheels and same old stiff suspension (stiffer than the Jupiter), it makes the Wego stay right behind the Japanese contenders on a twisty road. The tyres are the best on the Ray, Activa-i and Maestro with Suzuki and TVS sharing the same fate in terms of tyres as they are not that good.
The Honda Activa-i and Hero Maestro are good at handling but the lack of front telescopic suspension robs them the crown of coming close to this trio. Pre-determined turn-ins with the age old suspension and the lack of leverage in mid-corner correction with no feedback coupled to a harsh ride quality on the Activa-i specially, makes the case even worst. It is best that we stop here about the Honda motor equipped twins. The Wego is the only scooter which comes with an optional disc at the front for an additional Rs. 2800/-. Rest all have drums but in between them, it is the Honda Activa-i that comes with Combi-Braking System (CBS) which is the best braking system here. The Ray has the best brakes of the lot with excellent feel and stopping power. The Let’s comes with 120 mm drums instead of 130 mm ones like other scooters but that does not make any difference in the braking as it offers sharp braking power like the Wego and Maestro. If we wanted to find a practical winner for this test, which means the best ride and handling combined with a useable powertrain, it has to be the Wego.
Verdict – Let’s get straight to the point. The Hero Maestro and Honda Activa despite being significantly larger than the other scooters here have shortcomings which are quite evident. The lack of modern suspension and not so inspiring styling and not carrying the value for money tag, put them out of the question. The Honda Activa-i though scores higher over the Maestro if we had to rank them because it has more mileage, a much refined engine but the engine on the Maestro is peppy and loveable with decent economy figures as well. Next comes the Ray Z.
The Yamaha Ray is the only scooter which has been there in our every shootout because it does whatever it has been told to do extremely well. The lack of under-seat storage was the first minus point and now the lower performance figures and high price tag make it come third in this shootout. The Let’s comes and blows away everybody as it is latest of the lot. Thoughtfully done powertrain, value for money quotient and other practical bits make it come second as the winner of this five way scooter shootout is the TVS Wego. The Wego justifies every single penny as most convenient features are standard. Even the very small niggles have been sorted out because of the fantastic attention to detail on the Jupiter has helped TVS make the Wego even better. The Wego has the value for money tag like no other scooter in this test. The largest under-seat space, the mature ride and handling balance, the goodies which are far more than the competition, all help make it the scooter which takes the trophy back to Hosur.
The Suzuki Let’s comes very close to the TVS Wego but loses out on aspects that are highly essential for customers in India, which is undoubtedly a trump card called value for money. The Japanese offers reliability over everything meanwhile the TVS offers the same and everything else at a very compelling price. It wins this shootout by a subtle margin.
Further Reading –
Riders – Hrishikesh Mandke, Amit John, Viraj David, Omkar Jadhav, Heramb Kanader, Swapnil Sawant.