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Aprilia SXR 160 review: The scooter goes beyond looks

Aprilia’s scooters have been known for their good looks and not for the ride quality, but the makers have finally made some amends. Our reviewer finds out if the ride is worth the price.

January 28, 2021 / 03:07 PM IST

Boy, this scooter looks great. It’s been a while since I’ve come across a product in this segment that’s made me stop in my tracks and take a good, long look at it, but there you have it – the Aprilia SXR 160 pulled off that feat.

Those sexy LED headlights look like they came from a superbike in the Aprilia range, and the dark windscreen gives it a certain air of menace, not to mention making the scooter look larger than it actually is. From the front to the rear LED tail lamp, I daresay there’s not a single angle from which the 160 doesn’t come across as super slick. Even the large seat is well integrated into the design, and those 12-inch alloy wheels are pretty much the icing on the cake.

The instrument panel is an LCD unit, with large, readable numbers and a variety of information – a rev gauge, distance to empty, battery voltage and so on. You also get a large and practical glove box, plentiful underseat storage and a USB charging point.

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Yuck, The Plastic!                                                                               


There are, of course, some downsides, principally to do with the quality of some of the plastic used (it looks… cheap), some panel gaps here and there and some oddities like the lack of a brake lever clasp, and the fuel cap being situated under the seat with no way to unlock it except with the key, rather than a combination lock.

Until now, Aprilia’s scooters have been known for their good looks, their entertaining natures – and their rather punishing ride quality, brought about by stiff suspensions that contributed to their sporty handling.

Thankfully, with this maxi-scooter, that harshness has been dialled down, resulting in a much more pliant ride quality that sits in a satisfying place between softness (to absorb bumps) and some stiffness, to help it corner well. The brakes are excellent, and stop the SXR with reassuring confidence, and thankfully, in city conditions, its size isn’t an issue; you can easily take U-turns, because of its small turning radius. The handlebar doesn’t foul with your knees when you do this, either. The chunky 120 section tyres front and rear offer plentiful grip and aid confident cornering no end.

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Let’s Talk Performance

As far as the engine is concerned, the SXR gets the powerplant from the SR 160 (the scooter below it in the pecking order), but in a far more relaxed state of tune. This means that the acceleration graph is more gradual, and it builds up speed in a way that’s quite different from the sprint-from-the-blocks nature of the SR; the engine feels unstressed at almost speeds, be it city crawling or with the throttle wound to the stop on an open road. Through all this, a pillion will be well taken care of, due to the wide and comfortable seating on offer.

So far, so good – until you start looking at its sticker price. At Rs 1.26 lakh, ex-showroom, the SXR 160 asks for as much money as several motorcycles in the 180+cc segment, and is considerably more expensive than almost any other scooter out there.

Whether you should buy it depends on what sort of person you are – head or heart. As a heart guy myself, I’d be willing to put down that kind of cash just for the way it looks.

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Rana Chaudhury is a writer passionate about automobiles.
first published: Jan 28, 2021 03:04 pm
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