Mahindra Gusto Vs Honda Activa 3G: Scooter Shootout

Scooters are a very good vehicles to commute around in a city. They have decent power, fuel economy and handling. But all this changed when Honda launched the Activa.

The Honda Activa had impressive power, better economy and handled better than any of its competitors in the market and was a pleasure to ride. The Activa, being a mere scooter, wiped out its competition in the Indian market and has been taking on motorcycles now.

Other scooter manufacturers had a massive blow or rather a hole in their pockets. They have been working immensely hard to take over the Honda Activa's position in the market.

Honda launched a refreshed Activa variant called the 3G in the 110 cc segment recently and the competition only got immense. Mahindra launched the Gusto in India recently as well to directly compete with the Activa.

So, putting them on a one-on-one street fight, which one would emerge as a better commuter? Let's find out in our exclusive comparison between the Mahindra Gusto and Honda Activa 3G:

Models Tested:

Mahindra Gusto VX
Price: INR 57,152 (on-road Bangalore)

Honda Activa 3G
Price: INR 58,739 (on-road Bangalore)

Mahindra Gusto:

The Mahindra Gusto was launched in September 2014 with the intention to take on the market leader in this segment, the Honda Activa. Mahindra designed the scooter ground up and the name ‘Gusto' is derived from a gust of wind.



The Mahindra Gusto and the Activa have distinct styling. The Gusto gets more details in the front compared to the Activa. The overall design of the Gusto is quite boxy compared to the better flowing lines of the Honda.

The Mahindra Gusto has a very unique styling at the rear. The big rectangular tail lamp with Mahindra in the middle makes sure it won't go unnoticed when you are following it. The Activa gets a well rounded rear end, which has seen very little changes over the years. The rear number plate holder is another very good looking feature on the Gusto.


In mixed testing conditions during peak hour traffic, back roads, twisties and the highway, the Activa delivered a fuel economy of 40 kpl while the Gusto returned 30 kpl.

Power Delivery:

The Gusto's engine is not as refined when compared to the Activa and runs out of breath at 80 km/h, but develops good low-end and mid-range power. The Honda on the other hand has a smooth, responsive motor that feels a little lethargic at mid-range speeds of 50 to 60 km/h, however, has the stamina to go all the way to 95 km/h.

Ride and Handling:

In spite of lower clearance at 153 mm, the Activa corners better, whereas the Gusto's underbody parts such as the centre stand and the exhaust touch the road when cornered hard, even though it has a ground clearance of 165 mm. The Activa corners better because it weighs just 108 kg while the Gusto tips the scales at 120 kg. The Activa also has the advantage of a better suspension setup.

Wheels and Suspension:

The Gusto rides on 12 inch rims while the Activa rides on 10 inchers. Although running on bigger wheels and sporting telescopic suspension at the front, the rider is able to feel the road imperfections through the handlebar. The rear suspension could have been setup a little harder too. The Activa's smaller wheels and spring loaded hydraulic front suspension do a better job of soaking up the bumps.

Seating and Comfort:

Although the Gusto has a seat that is specially designed to be comfortable in the city and offers height adjustment of 35 mm for tall and short riders, the Activa's seat is light years ahead in terms of comfort. It is wider and softer. This is important to consider when the scooters are used beyond city commuting.

The handlebar on the Gusto is wider compared to the Activa but this doesn't help with comfort either. The handlebar could have been angled inwards a little and shoulder pain is something one will have to be accustomed to since even the seat set to a higher position, makes no difference apart from the feel. The Activa has a good handlebar position setup.


The Mahindra Gusto has sharp braking, but brakes disintegrate as quick as they hold. The Honda on the other hand comes equipped with a combined braking system (CBS), which feels a little spongy.

Combined braking system (CBS), also called linked braking system (LBS), is a system for linking front and rear brakes. It is basically designed for riders who do not know how-to properly use their brakes. For a skilled rider, linked brakes on the Activa offer no advantages but several disadvantages. The combined braking system limits your ability to use only one brake on surfaces such as loose gravel/wet grass or at low speeds.

Instrumentation and Switchgear:

The Gusto needs some work here. The instrument cluster is too small. The fuel gauge and the turn signal display is shabbily placed, making it difficult to read. The rider needs to take his concentration away from the road to peek into the fuel gauge. The Activa has a big, well laid out instrument cluster which is easy to read.

The switchgear on both the scooters are practically identical and feel good. The right side has the starter switch while the left side has the high/low beam, horn and the indicator control switches. The feel and useability of the controls is really good on both the scooters.


When it comes to lighting up the road in the dark, the Gusto has the advantage. The headlight throws out a better beam compared to the Activa. Both the high/low beam are well focused on the Gusto, which is very important for the highway as well as crossroads. The Activa needs more headlight beam throw and better focusing.

Under seat access:

The Activa's seat pivots from the front and the rear flips open, giving access to its storage and fuel tank. The Gusto flips open from the front, giving access to the same, but has a simple mechanism that holds the seat up, keeping it from slamming down on your hand. A smart and very innovative feature.


This is another bit Mahindra has to work on. The under seat storage cannot store a full face helmet. The Activa has a much larger storage place and is neatly sorted with grooves and partitions to store vehicle documents and the much important tool kit. Mahindra have not revealed details about the Gusto's under-seat storage space while the Activa has a 18-litre storage bin.

The Gusto features front storage space unlike the Activa. The smaller pocket below the instrument cluster could have been designed better because in dusty conditions, well, it collects a lot of dust. A closed or a lockable storage will be a better idea.

Grab Handle:

The Gusto's larger grab handle makes it easier to hold the scooter or grab it while putting it on centre stand. The Activa has a smaller grab handle, which makes it difficult for people with bigger hands to make use of.

Good Bits Bad Bits: Gusto

To sum up the good bits, the Gusto is well designed from the rear. The seat height adjustment is a very good feature and the brakes are good. The rear grab handle is well shaped and the rear view mirrors offer excellent view of what is happening behind you while the headlight gives good visibility in the dark. The kicker too is forward facing which makes it easy to start while seated.

Good Bits Bad Bits: Gusto

The bad bits start from the engine, which is not as smooth as its competitor. The side stand is designed very poorly, which has a high risk of the vehicle falling over when the roads are uneven. The storage space is not sufficient enough, and the instrument cluster could have been designed better along with the handlebar and improved seat foam.

Good Bits Bad Bits: Activa

The Activa is designed better as an overall package. The seating and riding position is comfortable while the smooth, responsive, fuel-efficient engine makes it a pleasure to ride. Instrument cluster is easy to read and storage space is plenty under the seat.

Good Bits Bad Bits: Activa

The rear grab handle could have been designed better, along with the rear view mirror, which offers slightly restricted vision.


The Mahindra Gusto is definitely a good offering. The seat adjustment is very innovative. But the Activa was able to wipe away all its competitors and now has started competing with motorcycles—that's how good a scooter it is. So, keeping value for money as the key factor, the Activa comes out on top, although the Gusto is an impressive effort by Mahindra.

Technical Specifications:

Mahindra Gusto:

  • 109.6 cc, Air Cooled
  • 8 bhp @ 7500 rpm
  • 9 Nm @ 5500 rpm

Honda Activa 3G:

  • 109.2 cc, Air Cooled
  • 8 bhp @ 7500 rpm
  • 8.83 Nm @ 5500 rpm

Behind The Scenes:

Lighting is a problem on a dull rainy day. But hey, where's the fun in waiting for the perfect time.

Shutter speed, aperture, ISO...get it right!

Behind The Scenes:

I think I got it. Nope, did you get it? Another shot perhaps?

Behind The Scenes:

Yup! That's the perfect angle!

Behind the scenes:

The Editor screams... the train is approaching, sit still and trust the engineer! We need this shot.

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Story first published: Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 16:46 [IST]
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