Say hello to the new Aprilia SXR 160! It is the newest maxi-scooter in town and the spiritual successor to the Kinetic Blaze that was launched way back in 2006. While that premium scooter segment may not have been accepted then, Aprilia thinks the Indian two-wheeler market has matured since and even evolved to welcome a new scooter segment. So, the new Aprilia SXR 160 enters exactly where the Blaze left off promising more performance and comfort. Can it be the transition point from regular scooters to a full-sized maxi-scooter? Read on to find out.
The Aprilia SXR 160 is a made-in-India, made-for-India scooter that has been designed in Italy. The company calls it a Crossmax design or a hybrid of sorts, taking the sportiness of a maxi-scooter and shaking it up with the practicality of a regular Indian scooter. The result is a handsome looking offering without compromising on function. The SXR is a head-turner indeed, like all Aprilia models. The front apron stands tall with the RS660 inspired twin LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights. The imposing design is complemented by the tall windscreen that helps deflect wind at high speeds to an extent. The sharp and angular theme continues on the side panels that swoop upwards and integrate into the rear. The LED taillight gets a signature pattern and truly makes the scooter stand-out against its contemporaries.
The step-up seat also adds a bit of heft to the design and makes the SXR 160 look taller than it actually is. The chunky exhaust muffler and grab rails are some of the more likeable elements, while the 12-inch alloy wheels finished in brushed grey look sharp and subtle. Not to forget, the decals add to the styling drama along with the bright colours - Glossy Red, Matt Blue, Glossy White and Matt Black. We have to say, the SXR 160 looks proportionate from all angles and there's not a dull moment anywhere.
That being said, Aprilia could improve on the plastic quality overall and also work around the uneven panel gaps in certain areas. That is a big no-no for something that's worth well over one lakh rupees.
Also Read: Aprilia SXR 160 Pre-Bookings Begin In India
Performance & Dynamics
The maxi-styled scooter shares its underpinnings with the SR 160 with the same steel frame underneath as well as the 160 cc single-cylinder, 3-valve engine. The air-cooled, fuel-injected motor develops 10.8 bhp at 7,100 rpm and 11 Nm of peak torque at 5,750 rpm. The numbers are identical between both models but peak power kicks in 600 rpm earlier on the SXR. The scooter has been tuned to be more comfort-oriented and power is spread more evenly through the rev range.
I do miss the 'kick in the pants' feel that the SR 160 offers, which has been traded for linear acceleration and more composed performance. The wonderful chassis set-up means that the SXR 160 is excellent in terms of high-speed stability with decent low-end and strong mid-range power output. A poor top-end though is its Achilles' heel. The SXR feels out of breath beyond 80 kmph and takes some time to get the numbers climbing after 75 kmph. While that may not have been a problem with a lower displacement unit, the SXR will be compared to 150 cc motorcycles, and performance could've been on par that way. Moreover, the Crossmax scooter is a good 7 kg heavier at 129 kg (kerb), which further dulls performance over the SR 160. The SXR 160 could use an additional bhp or two to make the throttle response a little more exciting. The engine though is extremely refined and settles down well, even in the top-end.
The sporty chassis also ensures that the Aprilia SXR 160 is as agile as its cousin. The additional weight is hardly felt once you get going. and the wide 120-section MRF Zapper tyres offer excellent grip to lean in corners. The scooter feels confident and likes being pushed around a bend. A light front-end makes it easy to manoeuvre on narrow city roads. Aprilia has also worked well on the suspension set-up, which is still firm when compared to the plush ride quality of a Suzuki Burgman Street. But it's not as rigid the SR 160 either.
Unlike the SR, the focus on the SXR 160 is on comfort, and it does manage to strike that middle-ground. The 30 mm telescopic front forks and the adjustable rear monoshock help glide through broken patches and undulations but a slightly larger pothole is still unsettling. The braking system is potent comprising a 220 mm front disc brake with a 140 mm drum brake at the rear. Aprilia does not offer a rear disc brake even as an option, while single-channel ABS is standard on the model. The feedback from the unit though is sharp and extremely responsive. The ABS isn't too intrusive either.
Tech & Ergonomics
The Aprilia SXR 160 is fairly simple but the all-digital console brings that edge of technological zing. The new console adds to the premium look and is fairly easy to read under direct sunlight. The multi-functional unit is rich on information and comes with a speedometer, tachometer, engine oil temperature and external temperature indicators. It also gets two trip meters, real-time fuel efficiency indicator, average speed, battery voltage and tell-tale lights for engine malfunction and ABS. There is a dedicated 'Mode' switch on the right-hand stalk that gives you access to different information on the console, while the switchgear quality itself is decent.
As Aprilia's flagship scooter, and the one inclined at comfort, I do think a side-stand indicator and an engine kill switch would've been nice additions to the package. More so, since the ignition switch is not in the most conveniently placed position. It takes some effort and one needs to bend down to locate and push the key inside. Meanwhile, under-seat storage is good for groceries and knick-knacks. Aprilia won't give us the exact capacity but we can confirm that it does not fit a full-size helmet. And yes, you do need to access it using the seat lock on the side. The tow hook along with the lockable glovebox with a USB charging slot are all practical bits that add to the functionality.
With respect to ergonomics, the Aprilia SXR 160 is by far the most comfortable scooter to come from the brand. The seat is substantially wide for the rider and pillion and well cushioned as well. It also has an arc separating the rider and pillion seats, which also supports the rider's lower back. Impressively, the SXR 160 offers decent knee-room for the rider, but the floorboard space is conspicuously less. With a tall handlebar, the riding posture itself is upright and comfortable, designed for long hours on the saddle. The brand is pitching the SXR 160 as a scooter for the highways and those looking at more riding time will be particularly happy.
Aprilia India will also offer Bluetooth connectivity as an accessory on the SXR with features like statistics, ride logs, riding style and more. Sadly, our test vehicle wasn't equipped with the same and we will have to wait till after the market launch to see how it works.
Prices for the Aprilia SXR 160 are yet to be announced and will happen sometime later this week. We reckon the SXR will be offered in the vicinity of ₹ 1.30 lakh (ex-showroom), and that's quite steep. However, the novel Crossmax scooter brings an evolved riding experience, and we do hope the company pleasantly surprises us with low introductory prices.
The Aprilia SXR 160 is a big step-up from the run-of-the-mill scooters and also a lot more comfortable than its sportier cousin - the SR 160. It would've benefitted from slightly more power and a better top-end. Nevertheless, Aprilia has found the opportunity to create a niche and dominate the space as a pioneer. The Aprilia SXR 160 is an upgrade for enthusiasts who want more power and touring abilities from a scooter. It certainly commands your attention and is easily one of the most attractive scooters to go on sale.
Photography: Pawan Dagia