TVS Scooty Zest

10 November 2014, 05:10 PM Ninad Mirajgaonkar

Introduction

‘Good things come in small packages’ – nothing I have driven or ridden recently defines this better than the new TVS Scooty Zest. A tiny, almost inconspicuous scooter (baring the colours), with a name that is known for offering convenience over performance, surprised us by not only outperforming our expectation but also most scooters in its segment. 

The Scooty is a household name in India, used to address all sorts of scooters used by the fairer sex. It is a solid brand, built over the years through numerous iterations of light and easy-to-use scooters; but a couple of days with the new one told us a different story.  It still holds true to all the basic values, but now offers lot more in performance making it an interesting option even for guys looking for an affordable fun scooter.

Looks & styling

TVS has not experimented too much with the basic design of the Zest; it is very much like the other two with a beak-like forward sloping front and with a headlamp cluster that is almost unchanged since the first 60cc version.  This one, though, is marginally bigger and feels a lot more premium.

A passing glance may not reveal too much about the styling and a little closer inspection is required to appreciate the design. The dual-tone front looks pleasing, shape of the turn blinkers is contemporary, all the lines gel together nicely and the overall body looks proportionate. I really appreciate the single body colour and minimal sticker job as it moves away from being the sprightly budget first scooter for college kids, to being a more mature product.'

TVS Scooty Zest 110

TVS Scooty Zest 110

  • Displacement110 cc
  • Mileage - ARAI62 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)7.9 bhp
  • Kerb Weight97 kg
  • ;

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 53,665

The rear though looks a little quirky with the small tail lamp cluster and black surrounds. Everything else on the scooter including the front suspension, engine, stand and foot board is all painted black and that creates a nice contrast.

The Scooty Zest in this bright terrific turquoise colour, still, without a doubt looks like a scooter for the fairer sex.  But the palette also includes the white and black colour options, which probably don’t look as girly and could be an interesting option even for guys who may want to pick one, after we discuss the performance. 

The overall paint quality, fit and finish is top notch; the Scooty Zest competes with best of the scooters on this front.  TVS has done a good job here, and though people will identify it as a Scooty, they will easily know this a bigger and premium version.

Features

There is ample storage space on the Scooty Zest. At the front there is an open glove box which is deep and will be very handy to hold valuable stuff like keys, purse and even mobiles; I am almost sure it won’t throw out stuff even if the ride gets bumpy on bad roads. The under seat storage of 19 litres is biggest in the segment and can comfortably hold a small size helmet.

It gets a basic analogue instrument cluster with white background and orange backlight that is easy to read. The other lights on the cluster include turn indicators and the Eco and Power mode lights. The handlebar grips feel nice and the quality of the switchgear is acceptable, TVS has also used a rubber-based material for the footboard that will be of help in the monsoons.

The best feature, though, is the TVS’ patented EaZy centre stand, it is unbelievable light and pulling the scooter on the main stand hardly requires any effort. This will certainly be appreciated by women.

Perfomance

While the looks and size are still in line with the other two models in the Scooty range, the performance is drastically different. It is quick and not just in comparison with its siblings, but also with most of the 110cc scooters. It uses the same engine from the Wego and Jupiter producing 8bhp at 7,000rpm and 8.7Nm of torque at 5,500rpm.

The differentiating factor though is its weight, it is just 97kg and with a well-tuned CVT, the Zest can get to 60kph in 11.1 seconds. It is fast compared to most scooters in this segment. TVS says that the true top-speed of the scooter is 84kph, though we managed a lot more on the speedometer. Getting past 70kph is a breeze and the refinement levels are brilliant. It starts feeling out of breath after 75kph, but it is not designed for such speeds in the first place.

This is one of the best tuned CVTs on any scooter, there is hardly any lag and this Scooty starts moving the moment you twist the throttle. Like many TVS products it has Eco and Power mode – be gentle with the throttle and Eco mode will illuminate on the instrument cluster, while hard pull will get you there quickly, albeit with some drop in efficiency.

The Power light constantly stays on once the scooter crosses 50kph mark. The ARAI efficiency of the Scooty Zest is 62kpl, though the real world figure is expected to be around 52kpl. With the tank capacity of five litres it has a decent range of around 200km.

Ride & Handling

The scooter feels little harsh while riding solo over bad roads; the suspension set up, especially at the rear, is stiff. I could feel the smallest of the bumps but I can live with it looking at the stability it offers around corners and at high speeds. With a pillion, though, the ride feels substantially better and needless to say, it comes at the cost of the performance.

With the light weight of the Scooty Zest, it is easy to cut through city traffic and, changing direction quickly is not a difficult task even for beginner and feels planted around the corners till 50kph.  It seems TVS has designed this model specifically for people with shorter seam; it will work well with the majority of its target audience, but tall riders are going to be uncomfortable with the riding posture.

There are a couple of interesting things on this scooter. Unlike any other model, the front tyre of the Zest is fatter than the rear; it is mainly to add some weight and grip to the light front. Since most of the mass is concentrated at the rear with the engine and CVT gearbox, TVS has decided to use a bigger drum brake at the rear. This is once again extremely rare, but it works and the braking is more than acceptable. We will still suggest TVS to give a disc brake at the front or at least as an option, as it will further improve braking and safety.

Verdict

The Scooty Zest is one of the most fun scooters I have ridden in a very long time. It is quick, easy to manoeuvre and light weight making it even better than most commuter motorcycles in city traffic. The efficiency is also decent and what makes the overall package absolutely delightful is the pricing. At Rs 42,300 (ex-showroom Delhi) this is one of the most affordable 110cc scooters available in the market today.

For guys, ignoring it purely because of the gender bias around the marketing, it will keep you away from a fun scooter. Look at the black or white colour options, if looks are a problem, but this is a strong little scooter with good built quality and great performance. 

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