Aprilia SXR 160 Road Test Review
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Can the SXR deliver on Aprilia’s maxi scooter, or at least the standard maxi-style scooter promise?
We were left a bit disappointed after the first ride of the Aprilia SXR 160. Not only was it too compact to be called a maxi-styled scooter, it also had a firm, borderline harsh ride setup and the ergonomics were a bit cramped. But now that we’ve spent more time with it in the real world, does it perform its basic scootering duties well and can it actually be the Aprilia scooter to buy?
- The styling of the SXR 160 is rather disproportionate. The front is bulky while the rear section isn’t.
- The front fascia bears the new three-headlight design that has been derived from the RS660 and Tuono 660. It is surrounded by large, chunky body panels, complete with a big windshield.
- The seat and tail section are slimmer in comparison. There’s a more familiar Aprilia scooter feel to it. That said, the chunky grab rail is a neat unit and does not look too gaudy.
- Aprilia has managed to package the scooter better than the Storm and SR offerings. The quality of plastic used for the body panels is of a high standard and the paint quality is brilliant as well. We would have liked it if the premium plastic treatment also made its way to the floorboard and the front apron panels.
- Even the switchgear quality should have been better for a scooter at this price point. The switches are small and clunky to operate.
- Overall, the SXR isn’t quite a maxi-scooter or even a maxi-styled scooter. When parked next to something a bit more conventional like the Honda Activa 6G or the TVS Jupiter, the SXR barely looks any larger and that is a shame.
- Even in practicality, there isn’t enough underseat storage on offer. The SXR stores 7 litres of fuel (one litre more than the SR) and that eats into the underseat space. The shocking bit is that it cannot even store a half face helmet, let alone a full-faced one.
- One of our biggest grouses with the riding posture on the SXR are the low bars. Unlike the SR, the SXR’s hand controls are set low, kind of like you would find on conventional scooters. Coupled with a relatively tall seat, the riding posture becomes really tiring on long rides, putting a strain on your shoulders and shoulder blades. It is not that much a problem for short city jaunts though.
- There’s barely enough floor space here. The length of the floor itself is less and if you have large feet, you will find it constricting. Plus, there’s very little space to place any groceries on the floor. There is a luggage hook mounted quite high on the inner apron so if you do not have a large carry bag, your groceries are going to be left dangling.
- We also feel that the scoop of the rider seat could have been less aggressive. While the seat has nice cushioning, the sharp scoop makes you slide down the seat when braking hard.
- A neat addition to the SXR is the ‘Mode’ button on the right side switchgear. It allows you to toggle through the data on the LCD dash without letting go of the bars.
To know all about the Aprilia SXR 160’s features, or rather what bits it misses out on, check out our first ride review.
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ENGINE & PERFORMANCE
- While it shares the 160cc single-cylinder 3-valve mill with the SR 160, the CVT on the SXR 160 is tuned slightly differently. While it feels sprightly for the most part, the performance tapers away post 65-70kmph. It did manage to clock a VBox-tested 95kmph, which is quite apt for its displacement.
- What does impress you mightily about the engine of the SXR 160 is just how smooth it is at moderate to high speeds. There is some initial gruffness experienced at low speeds but once you get past 45-50kmph, there are barely any vibes felt through the floorboard.
- The motor is pretty frugal as well, returning 47kmph and 46.21kmpl in our city and highway tests. That is roughly the same fuel efficiency that the old BS4 Aprilia SR 150 returned, which you got to remember was at least 12-13kg lighter than the SXR.
RIDE & HANDLING
- At the first ride of the SXR, Aprilia officials had stated that the springs used on the scooter were a bit softer in comparison to the SR model. That plus the downsizing of the wheels to 12 inches lends it a more pliant ride. In fact, it is the comfiest Aprilia scooter we have ridden till date.
- The ride isn’t jarring at all, with the front-end barely transmitting any shocks back to the rider. The rear monoshock could have been tuned better though. It rebounds a bit too quickly and feels too reactive, making the rider bob up and down in the saddle over sharp bumps. Also, if you do take speed humps spritiedly, it does toss you off the seat, thus unsettling the ride. Compared to scooters like the TVS NTorq 125 and the Suzuki Burgman Street 125, the SXR 160 is just a tad firmer and that’s pretty commendable.
- It handles pretty well in the urban jungle. It is easy to corner and stays composed when leaned over as well. The handling isn’t quite as intuitive and sharp as the SR 160 but it was never meant to be a sporty handler.
- The chunky 12-inch MRF tyres provide ample grip. They rarely let go of traction, even when braking hard.
- Like all Aprilias, the SXR 160 too has fierce brakes. It is incredible at shedding speed and the front end doesn’t feel jittery at all under hard braking, thanks to its chunkier 120-section tyre. However, one must keep in mind that it has ABS and not CBS. Hence, if you go hard on the rear brakes, it does step its tail out, making it a bit unnerving for newbie riders.
The Aprilia SXR 160 is the Italian brand’s most comfortable, practical and feature-rich scooter. It handles bad stretches of roads better than anything we have experienced from the company previously. But we find it quite hard to justify the benefits to its steep price tag of Rs 1.27 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). If you want something that is big, comfy and feature-loaded, you could save a huge chunk of money and get the Suzuki Burgman Street 125 instead. The only reason why you would want to get this scooter then is to have an Aprilia in your garage--and even then it isn’t the most cost-conscious way to go about it. But hey, it is the most practical way at least.