Text – Mohit Soni; Pictures – Ankit Mishra
Shootout – TVS Star City+ vs Mahindra Centuro
Price OTR Mumbai : Rs. 50,745/- (TVS Star City+), Rs. 57,600/- (Mahindra Centuro)
These two domestic companies fight it out in the highly competitive segment against the ruling Japanese brigade
The commuter segment just gets pickier and pickier day by day as there are endless options to choose from. Right from extra ordinary reliable Japanese products to the innovative and exciting products from domestic manufacturers. Bajaj started this with technologies inside the engine and now Mahindra has given technologies on the outside to play and standout. However, there is another player in the market which is TVS. TVS has a reputation of coming late to the party but coming in with a bang. Here, TVS has clearly made the new Star City+ to counter the Mahindra Centuro which has been doing really well despite being a newcomer. With Mahindra’s reach increasing day by day and by selling it in innovative ways, it has made everybody stand up and take notice, and also made rivals buck up their game. We have compared both these 110cc offerings from the domestic manufacturers and put them in the battle zone to find out who bleeds blood and who tastes victory!
Styling – In terms of aesthetics, both these motorcycles follow traditional conservative styling but with a slight twist as always. Both motorcycles play with the colour palette and graphics very well, albeit to a minimum. While the Mahindra looks low, long and athletic, the Star City+ looks chunkier, is noticeably taller and has a pleasing side profile. The front and rear of the Star City+ is vanilla while the Mahindra distinguishes itself well with a huge headlight dome and cowl. Meanwhile at the rear, the LED tail-light unit looks swell. Both motorcycles have all-black theme below the body panels while the Star City+ has rear springs painted pearl white which help it identify as a TVS commuter. Meanwhile, the Centuro has traditional red coloured rear springs but the golden ribs at the front helps it hoist its flag.
Ergonomics – Ergonomically both have long and comfortable seats with excellent cushioning. However, TVS claims they have used a brand new foam for their seats because the Phoenix 125 was criticised for soft seats and not being a long distance companion. We did 300 kms in 60 hours and we can say not a sign of pain was felt. The Centuro has been with us as our long term bike since a very long time and the seats on the Mahindra also are spectacularly done. The main difference between the two is the riding position. While both have upright position, it is on the TVS that you sit noticeably taller and the handlebars come towards you to give you even more confidence while riding in a relaxed position over the Mahindra. We preferred the Centuro way more but we sort of like the way TVS has cleverly done its riding position as it helps you get good visibility too. The pillion is even more comfortable than the rider as there is plenty of space to roam around and positioning of the footpegs for both rider and pillion is done well on the TVS. Meanwhile we criticised the Centuro’s footpeg positioning (rider side) not to be inch-perfect like other commuters out there but still remains perfectly comfortable for any kind of journey.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – Coming to their instrument cluster, the Centuro wins by leaps and bounds. The Mahindra comes with a tachometer, trip meter, clock, digital speedometer and distance to empty meter which the TVS lacks. Let’s not forget the amazing flip key with the three features. Meanwhile, both have service reminder, Eco modes which flash when riding carefully. The Star City+ gets a power mode when you are hammering the motorcycle to its limit. The cluster on the Star City+ looks cool with a large speedometer with a white background and tell-tale lights around it are neatly arranged and the small digital meter houses a fuel gauge and an odometer. When it comes to fit and finish, both companies have executed this part very well. Paint and sticker job is as usual well done and there are no rough finishes or pointy edges anywhere. The quality of the Star City+ is just superbly done. Apache inspired switchgear and palm grips feel top notch or may be two segments above. Meanwhile, Mahindra quality is great according to industry standards in the same segment but the feel and size of the controls feel small and minutely cheap when compared.
Performance – Powering both these machines are engines roughly around the 110cc mark in terms of displacement and both create almost identical horsepower and torque. Sure there is a difference and allow us to explain. The Centuro has 8.5 BHP and 8.5 Nm of torque while the Star City+ creates 8.3 BHP and 8.7 Nm at 7000 and 5000 RPM respectively, which is 500 RPM lower when compared to the Centuro on both horsepower and torque counts. Both these motorcycles are equipped with smooth shifting 4-speed gearboxes. Gearing too on both these bikes is on the taller side but the Mahindra has annoyingly taller gearing when compared to the Star City+. Meanwhile, the Star City+ has slightly shorter gearing and the engine is even more responsive than the impressively tractable Centuro’s motor. Talk about being better than the best and this is where the Star City+ excels. The sophisticated ignition timing system’s precise fuelling helps the Star City+ gain a 11 out of 10 while the Mahindra gets 9.5 out of 10.
The TVS Star City+ pulls with more authority and much quicker than the Mahindra Centuro because of the clever stuff achieved by the boffins at TVS. Partly because of the comprehensively revised EcoThrust engine which even sounds sporty with a throaty note. Meanwhile, the Centuro has the soundtrack engineered specially but sounds commuter-ish. The Star City+ pulls better because of the 10 kgs less it has to lug around than the Centuro which is a lot in the commuter segment. Coming to the most important part, “Kitna deti hai”? Well, the Centuro has been giving us not more than 58 km/l on a daily basis meanwhile with the same riding style, we saw the Star City+ return 62.5 km/l, despite the engine being brand new and as we all know it can sip even less later on. The economy rose on the Centuro when we recently sent it for a thorough check up/service, rising by 5 km/l instantly than before.
The Centuro weighs more because of the double-cradle frame, 18-inch wheels and slighter bigger fuel tank while the Star City+ has 2.5-litres lesser fuel tank capacity, single downtube frame and 17-inch wheels which helps in agility as well. Mahindra also performs really well but the Star City+ comes and betters it by a good margin and you can’t go wrong or not enjoy either of these smooth and refined engines which only tend to vibrate post 8000 RPM. City drivability is excellent on both but the Star City+ nabs the award. Meanwhile, both reach 95 km/hr indicated on the speedometer on an empty stretch of road.
Dynamics – When it comes to braking, blipping the throttle after coming to high speeds and diving into a corner (handling is what we mean), both are thoroughly enjoyable. However, the engine package makes the Star City+ even more enjoyable to ride. We have endlessly praised the Centuro’s ride and handling to be very sporty but so is the case with the Star City+ which has the TVS DNA, making it very fun to chuck around corners and sweepers. Both have a long wheelbase to provide stability at high speeds and both are very fun to ride. Single downtube frame and 17-inch wheels on the Star City+ makes the handling even more crisp, nimble and precise.
The Centuro has 18-inch wheels but despite that the composure, cornering speeds and level of fun is amazing. Ride quality on both these bikes is really well done. Dynamic ability is mostly dependent on how the tyres are on a motorcycle where TVS has finally heard all the criticism. The Mahindra Centuro no doubt has the superior tyres of the two with premium rubber from MRF. Meanwhile, TVS has turned the tables upside down and developed a tyre which grips 100% better than the old Eurogrip tyres. Still is isn’t the best like the MRF but the tyres are something which you can live with now.
Verdict – The Mahindra Centuro is no doubt sheer value for money but the price rise in instalments over the last one year has made it the most expensive 110cc motorcycle in the market. With the pricing close to Rs. 58,000/-, the price of the Star City+ is Rs. 8000/- less than the Centuro, but what you get compared to the Centuro is very less. However, in terms of ride, handling, comfort, quality and fuel economy, the TVS Star City+ is ahead and this is something what the average customer looks for in the segment. The Centuro is for somebody who needs exclusivity to the maximum and has the reliability aspect covered by the 5-year warranty which is pretty much the life period of the motorcycle for a single owner.
Coming back to the Star City+, TVS is known for quality and reliability already and has the value for money tag, and also comes with all the new generation essentials. The TVS Star City+ with the higher fuel economy and lesser price tag is the clear winner of this test for the normal person as the Centuro now becomes a premium product in the market which as we know holds a place for people who are willing to pay more to get more.
The Mahindra Centuro and the TVS Star City+ offer exclusivity to customers when compared to the Japanese offerings. The Centuro is on the premium side while the Star City+ is thoroughly practical and a no nonsense commuter which does everything right. Even if you compare it to the N1 variant of the Centuro, the Star City+ undercuts it by a large sum of Rs. 4000/-, making it the winner of this shootout.
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