Piaggio Ape Xtra LDX, Bajaj Maxima C and Mahindra Alfa : Spec comparison
Published On Oct 15, 2020
Top contenders in the cargo three-wheeler segment, the Ape Xtra LDX, Alfa and Maxima C, cater to the fast-growing sub 500kg last-mile delivery segment. We get a closer look at the key 3Ws to help you understand them, before you decide which one suits best to your needs.
The three-wheelers are perhaps the most recognized vehicle across India’s cities, towns and villages. The cargo-carrier 3Ws are an essential part of the absolute last-mile delivery. Easy to use, affordable and highly fuel-efficient on every terrain and operating condition is what makes them indispensable. Over the years, this segment has evolved with far superior products and fierce competition among vehicle makers.
The cargo carrier segment has three equally strong rivals- the Ape Xtra LDX, Mahindra Alfa and Bajaj Maxima C. So, which one is the best? What are the key performance elements in each of them? Which one should you buy? If you’re looking for these answers, then read as we explore them in detail.
Unlike the other key segments of the Indian commercial vehicle market- the cargo carrier segment is relatively smaller than the passenger carrier in overall sales volumes. This is obvious because the the public transport in India is highly inadequate, and the 3Ws are more suitable and popular for a last-mile people carrier. The omnipresent 3W steps-in to address the increasing mobility needs of masses.
The cargo carriers are vital in reaching out to the customers' door-steps, the most convenient, quick and faster delivery vehicle. Despite the industry's cyclical nature, the 3W cargo segment retains its steady growth as demand for last-mile distribution and delivery remain relatively insulated from the economic uncertainty. This burgeoning 3W cargo carrier segment is catered with key products line-up, and we compare the top 3 products to find out how they stack against each other?
Piaggio Ape is the clear leader in the cargo carrier segment with over 42% of market share. Piaggio Ape 3Ws are known for higher performance durability and superior mileage. Bajaj Auto, the overall 3W segment leader, follows closely behind Ape in the cargo carrier segment. With nearly 27% of the market share. Mahindra is another player catering to this segment with an equally strong offering. Let's look at how the top three products look on paper.
The engine's size, power, and efficiency are highly critical for the performance and to carry loads efficiently. Hence, the engines are at the heart of the 3W; OEMs quickly address this with the most reliable and fuel-efficient engine. For example, with the Ape Xtra LDX, you get a single-cylinder naturally aspirated engine that produces 9.4hp of power at a peak torque of 23.5 Nm, tuned to a 5-speed gearbox. Given the similar operating conditions and duty-cycle, even Bajaj Maxima C also gives you a similar configuration like 9hp of power and 23.18Nm of torque with a single-cylinder forced air oil-cooled type engine which also mated to a 5-speed gearbox. The Alfa gets almost an identical engine with 9.4hp of power and 23.5 Nm of torque in a single cylinder, direct injection, air-cooled engine.
Payload & Cargo Body
Apart from the fuel-efficient engine, what matters to the end-user is how much cargo a vehicle carries? This 3W is a source of livelihood, and the more payload the vehicle can carry, the more it benefits in terms of revenues. Thus, a higher payload is always what sets apart the 3W. Here the Ape Xtra LDX gives you rated payload options of 514 kg with a 5.5 ft cargo body.
Likewise, Maxima C is a relatively smaller payload 3W with 430 rated payload; however, the Mahindra Alfa scores high against both of its rivals, as it has a rated payload figure of 520kg. Mahindra being the challenger brands, knows better what matters to the buyer and enhanced the Alfa considerably in the BS6 make-over with superior aggregates and far more payload capacities.
The cargo load tray's volume and size are quite crucial in the cargo carries needs, and each OEM is offering generous space. Ape Xtra LDX length is 6 ft and width is 4 ft 6 inch, while Maxima C comes with 5 ft 4inch, 4 ft 6 inch and Alfa length 5 ft 5 inch and width 4 ft 6-inch length and width, respectively. Clearly, Ape has a bigger size cargo tray against its rivals. The ground clearance varies with each model with the 245 mm, 175 mm, and 193 mm for Ape Xtra LDX, Alfa and Maxima C, respectively.
Aggregates & Dimension
For an uninterrupted and durable performance, the quality of aggregates is quite critical for the cargo 3W. Ape Xtra LDX gets front suspension with hydraulic telescopic shock absorber with helical compression spring with damper. At the back is a similar type with a rubber compression spring. The steering is the standard handlebar that is effortlessly to navigate the vehicle; the brakes are drum type in hydraulically actuated internal expanding shoe type. The tyre is 4.50-10, 8PR and bigger 10.5L fuel tank for longer trips.
Maxima C gets powerful suspensions and clutch cry, single plate, power coupling which is maintenance free for life. The brake is a right-hand foot-operated hydraulic drum type. The gradeability of 18% to help you climb the fly-overs and steep terrain effortlessly. The fuel tank size is 8L.
The Alfa also offers some of the most efficient aggregates six plate wet type clutch, electronic handle throttle, the instrument cluster comes with attractive displays with a digital odometer. Also, passenger cabin door front and rear reflective tape for safety, fuel lines are snap-fit type at both ends. The wiring harness is split wiring for ease of assembly and service.
Considering all three vehicles cater to the same cargo segment, they offer almost identical specifications with minor changes. Remember, the buyer of this segment is highly-priced sensitive, and hence it makes OEMs job hard to offer everything without making it more expensive. What really matters the most is performance, payload, reliability, lower maintenance cost, and higher fuel mileage. And Xtra LDX, Maxima C and Alfa don’t disappoint you with any of these elements. While Ape and Alfa have a slight edge in power figure than Maxima C, and terms of cargo body length, Ape Xtra LDX is more generous. Similarly, Alfa scores higher on payload than its two rivals; here, Maxima C offers you the lowest payload.
It is quite evident that 3W makers have completely revamped the cargo carrier by offering more for less. The BS6 emission makes the quintessential 3W the most environment-friendly and the smallest but cleanest diesel engine in India. In terms of performance, the market leader Ape Xtra LDX promises you more, but both Maxima C and Alfa are second to none. The specification including powertrain, payload and overall built quality, there isn’t much of a difference; each vehicle carries forward its distinct identity, keeping the original elements intact. Yet, they are refined with a new engine and more power to help earn the owner more. You go ahead and check out each of these vehicles by visiting the respective dealership. Take test drivers, check the prices in your city or town before you make up your mind go with one of these equally deserving options.