If you don't plan to do a lot of freeway riding, reviewers say the Vespa GTS 250 is the best all-around scooter you can buy. Agile and quick, beautiful and well built, able to hit 76 mph and at least 60 mpg, the Vespa GTS 250 is well worth its high price, according to most critics.
"I've never felt so much like Audrey Hepburn as I did riding the new GTS 250," writes Susan Carpenter, the Los Angeles Times' motorcycle columnist. Its elegant shape is formed from a single sheet of stainless steel -- Italy's Vespa is the only brand that is built that way -- and it is "gently rounded and chromed in all the right places," she says. Testers say they even got approving glances from riders on regular motorcycles while driving the Vespa GTS 250 scooter, which they didn't expect.
The Vespa scooter's 244 cc fuel-injected engine (four-stroke, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled) and automatic continuously variable transmission make for quick, easy acceleration, according to reviewers. Unlike the smaller, 50 cc Vespa LX 50 (MSRP: $3,300), you can take the GTS 250 on the freeway -- and unlike the 150 cc Kymco People 150 (MSRP: $2,800), the more powerful Vespa GTS 250 scooter can keep pace with 70 mph-plus traffic.
But some testers say the Vespa GTS 250 still feels a bit shaky and underpowered in freeway traffic. They recommend a bigger scooter, such as the Honda Silver Wing (MSRP: $8,500 to $9,000) or the three-wheeled Piaggio MP3 scooter (MSRP: $8,900) if you plan to do a lot of long-distance or freeway riding.
A wide variety of sources road-test and review the Vespa GTS 250 scooter, and all come to similar conclusions. Major newspapers including The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, scooter-oriented sites such as TheScooterReview.com and ScooterMaxi.com and motorcycle publications including Cycle World and Motorcycle-USA.com all praise the Vespa GTS 250 scooter. Although the Vespa scooter doesn't win the comparison review at Wired magazine, it still earns the usual kudos for its beauty and agility.
1. The New York Times
Stuart F. Brown picks the Vespa GTS 250 scooter as one of three two-wheel commuter vehicles that are "fuel-efficient without being dull." He finds the Vespa scooter clean-burning, fast, agile and good for 60 mpg -- as well as being surprisingly popular with motorcyclists he meets on the road.
Review: A Lot of Smiles Per Gallon, Stuart F. Brown, Oct. 3, 2008
This is a very thorough and balanced review, based on road testing of the Vespa GTS 250 scooter in New Zealand. The GTS 250 accelerates incredibly well in traffic and still gets good fuel economy, besides being beautiful and well built. However, the reviewer notes that this Vespa scooter is expensive for its class.
Review: Vespa GTS 250 ie, Ant Stead, Dec. 12, 2007
The Vespa GTS 250 scooter earns a 2008 Award of Distinction at this website. This full review is short but complete, and it explains why the Vespa scooter excels at most tasks but feels "busy" at very high speeds.
Review: Vespa GTS 250, Jim Robins
4. Wired Magazine
The Vespa GTS 250 earns seven points out of 10in this test -- not the best, and not the worst among the four scooters tested. Like other reviewers, Wired's Nancy Miller finds the GTS 250 scooter agile and attractive, but not robust enough for the freeway.
Review: Test: Freeway-Legal Scooters, Nancy Miller, Oct. 23, 2007
5. Cycle World
The Vespa GTS 250 beats the now-discontinued Yamaha Morphous scooter in this review. Like other critics, Cycle World's Matthew Miles finds the Vespa scooter quick and fun but "a bit jittery."
Review: Urban Beat, Matthew Miles, Feb. 2007
6. Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times motorcycle columnist Susan Carpenter likes the Vespa GTS 250 the best of all five mid-range scooters she tests in this 2006 review (some have since been discontinued). The Vespa scooter's classic styling hides a sophisticated drivetrain, but Carpenter finds the GTS 250 a bit slow for freeway use.
Review: The Time Is Right: OK, Now Scoot!, Susan Carpenter, July 19, 2006
Reviewer Bart Madson has nothing but praise for the Vespa GTS 250. Unlike other testers, Madson enjoys riding the Vespa scooter on the freeway.
Review: Vespa GTS 250 Review, Bart Madson, Dec. 2, 2008