Peugeot Django scooter review
We may not like to admit it, but style is a factor when we’re looking to purchase a new motorcycle.
All motorcycle manufacturers understand this and also understand that nailing the styling can often make or break a bike’s success in the marketplace.
Styling is subjective, though, with the same bike considered a diamond by some and dog by others.
The reason I bring all this up is that the styling is a major talking point – and will no doubt be a major selling point – of Peugeot’s Django scooter.
First things first: ‘Django’ has nothing to do with Quentin Tarantino films. As far as I can tell, it was inspired by jazz guitarist Jean ‘Django’ Reinhardt, which seems an odd choice, but he was French and he was cool, so the connection makes sense!
The Django was launched in France back in 2014 and the current version – that we only received this year – made its European debut in 2017.
In designing the Django, Peugeot’s stylists say they looked into their own back catalogue; specifically the S55 scooter from 1954 and the 402 Darl’Mat automobile of 1937, but the overall vibe is of the 1950s and that absolutely comes through in the appearance of the Django Evasion, which I’m sure most people will think is a Vespa until they see the Peugeot badges on the bodywork.
The Evasion is one of three Django variants offered; the others being the Allure and the Sport.
I can’t really put my finger on it as to why, but I think there’s a definite “European” look to the Django – particularly the Evasion – I can imagine it cruising the Champs-Élysées and around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris or buzzing along the French Riviera coast on the way to Monaco.
This deliberately retro styling is accentuated by the Evasion’s two-tone colour scheme. Three options are available – Dragon Red/ White, Vitamin Orange/ White and Deep Ocean Blue/White – with the red/white version the most eye-catching, in my opinion.
In Europe, there’s also a Pistachio/White option and single-colour versions as part of a 22-colour palette for this scooter.
Faux chrome strips separate the two-toning, with chrome and brushed metal finishes added elsewhere, too, like on the pillion grabrail, muffler shield, mirrors and windscreen bracket.
Whitewall tyres and white wheels are standard on the Django Evasion, and while I cringe at the thought of having to clean them, they suit the retro vibe. Same goes for the seat, which is a two-piece unit with contrast piping and ribbed upper section.
Lighting consists of a classic-look hooded headlight (that turns with the handlebars, Vespa-style) and a slim tail/brake light. Indicators are subtly integrated into the body at each end and there’s a DRL, too, framing the Peugeot logo on the front end. Curiously, all lights are LEDs except the headlight.
The instrumentation, integrated into the headlight/handlebar assembly, is somewhat more modern, with a backlit analogue speedometer and digital display for the fuel level, clock, odometer and outside temperature. Why the hell you need an air temp gauge on a scooter, indeed any motorcycle, is beyond me. Another weird addition is a hazard light button, but anyway…
Overall, the Django Evasion’s styling is similar to a retro Vespa and I found myself making constant visual comparisons to the iconic Italian scooter when looking over the Evasion.
If the Evasion’s appearance is a bit TOO retro for you, the Django Allure offers a more subtle two-tone ‘Chocolate’ colour scheme of light and dark metallic brown. This is the sole colour option for now, but other equally-subtle, equally-elegant colour options are offered on the Allure for the European market.
The Evasion’s whitewall tyres remain on the Allure, but the white wheels are swapped for a brushed metal finish, which is very similar to – yes, you guessed it – a Vespa.
Finally, the Django Sport is for those who aren’t into retro in any form. It’s finished in black all over, including the wheels and fork legs, and presents a much more contemporary appearance than its siblings.
Other design points to note – on all models – include the grippy rubber strips on the footwell, retro-look ‘Django’ badging on the rear flanks and fold-out pillion pegs.
For all its retro looks and style-conscious appearance, the Django is entirely modern and conventional in every other sense.
Mechanically, it’s no different from most other scooters out there – simply turn the key, press the start button, twist your wrist and away you go.
In its home country, the Django is available in 50cc, 125cc and 150cc form. Our launch test was exclusively on the 150cc version, but the 50cc variant is being released locally.
On the 150 Django, the engine is an air-cooled 150.6cc 4-stroke single producing a listed 7.5kW and 9.2Nm. The automatic transmission is typical twist-and-go operation.
All Djangos are made in China, but this is a fact that’s hardly worth mentioning these days, as fit and finish on Chinese-manufactured motorcycles – especially those built for a European brand – are the equal of anything coming out of Japan or Europe.
Suspension is made up of conventional tele forks up front and a monoshock rear. There’s no adjustability on the front suspension, but the rear shock is 5-step adjustable to allow for pillions and extra gear in the optional top box.
Wheels are 12-inch, with 200mm disc brakes front and rear, complemented by standard ABS.
On the Melbourne press launch for the Django range, Peugeot Motocycles (yes, it is Motocycles, not Motorcycles) importers, Urban Moto Imports, presented us with the “full set” of Django scooters – Evasion, Allure and Sport.
Like I said earlier, styling is subjective, but I’d be pretty confident in declaring the Django Evasion, which was my favourite, will also be the preferred choice of most other Peugeot scooter buyers.
Mounting up outside Melbourne’s Savoy Hotel, I found the saddle nicely-shaped and comfortable. Seat height is a low 770mm and the rider’s section of the seat tilts up to access the underseat storage, which will take an open-face helmet, but not a full-face – unless you have a very small head.
Bar reach is comfortable and relaxed, with a surprising amount of room in the footwell, too. The single-level footwell was at a sensible height for me and even taller riders on the launch found it comfortable. Being flat, the footwell also allows for small bags to be placed between your feet, unlike the Vespa that has a raised section in the middle of the footwell.
Starting up with the key that also opens the pair of secure storage pockets in the legshield (large enough for a phone or wallet), the 150 single purrs away quietly with no vibration.
Note here that the Django’s bodywork is all plastic, not metal. Despite this, dry weight of 135kg is certainly on the porky side for a scooter of this size and capacity. The weight, I feel, was a factor in the Django I tested feeling slightly underpowered for local conditions. Having ridden a few 125cc bikes in the past 12 months, the Django’s performance felt closer to those than what I was expecting from a 150.
hat being said, it is a scooter and no-one’s buying a 150cc machine expecting high-performance. As long it has enough acceleration to move away from the lights ahead of the traffic – which the Django has – that’s really all that matters.
With the launch taking place around the Melbourne CBD and Albert Park, we were mostly in the 40km/h to 80km/h range, which is the Django’s sweet spot. It’ll hit 100km/h and even up to 110km/h, but you wouldn’t want to be at those speeds for any length of time – if highway riding is part of your riding regimen, look elsewhere. In addition to being taxing both for rider and machine, these high speeds amplify any road imperfections felt through the suspension and those small 12-inch wheels.
At urban and suburban speeds, though, the Django felt solid over tramlines, speed bumps and most potholes.
Handling was surprisingly good, despite the size and the perceived excess weight, with the Django proving nimble enough to weave through traffic, so lane filtering was simple, with right-angle turns and roundabouts accomplished confidently, too. Wind out the suspension adjustability and you can also carry a pillion without a problem.
With the inner-city launch route requiring the brakes to be worked regularly, the Django’s smooth and progressive stopping was a positive, while the modern scourge of the city – dumb pedestrians looking at their phones when they cross the road – was counteracted by the ABS assistance, so you can jump on the anchors in an emergency and know you won’t put the scooter on the bitumen in the process.
A gripe with the Django – and I must stress it is a minor one – is the indicator noise, which is louder than the usual tick-tick-tick. Great for reminding you if you’ve left the non-cancelling indicators on, but I can see it being grating day after day.
Our launch test was brief and covered mainly flat going, but anecdotal evidence I’ve heard since suggests the Django struggles on steep inclines.
On the positive side, further feedback points to the Django being impressively economical, delivering an estimated 200km from the 8.5-litre fuel tank.
It has its pros and cons, but the Django fulfils its purpose of being a practical, comfortable and functional city commuter. It performed better than I was expecting, actually.
However, it’s the style that really sets this bike apart and I’m struggling to think of any scooter – that I’ve either ridden or seen – in the past decade that looks as cool as the Django Evasion. It’s the sort of bike to look cool on in an inner-city way and I can see cafes and hipster boutiques parking one out the front purely as a piece of attractive retail sculpture!
How will that styling age, though? Pretty good, in my opinion, as it’s reinterpreting familiar design cues, rather than presenting anything radically new.
The mix of European styling and Asian pricing – from $4,990 ride away – should see the Django perform well locally. So, if you want a bike that fulfils the role of a city commuter – and looks incredibly good doing it – give the Django a look.
2019 Peugeot Django price and spec
ENGINE Type: SOHC twin-valve 4-stroke single Capacity: 150.6cc Bore x Stroke: 75mm x 63mm Compression Ratio: N/A Starting: Electric Ignition: N/A Fuel System: Electronic fuel injection Cooling: Air Max Power: 7.5kW at N/Arpm Max Torque: 9.2Nm at N/Arpm
Clutch: N/A Transmission: Automatic Final Drive: Belt
Frame: Steel underbody frame Front Suspension: Telescopic forks Rear Suspension: Monoshock, adjustable Front Wheel: 12.0-inch alloy Rear Wheel: 12.0-inch alloy Front Tyre: 120/70-12 Rear Tyre: 120/70-12 Front Brake: 200mm disc w/ABS Rear Brake: 200mm disc w/ABS
LxWxH: 1925mm x 710mm x N/Amm Wheelbase: 1350mm Rake: N/A Trail: N/A Ground Clearance: N/A Seat Height: 770mm Weight: 135kg dry (Allure, Sport – 140kg)
Fuel Capacity: 8.5lt Fuel Range: 200km (approx.) Average Fuel Consumption: N/A
Django Evasion – Dragon Red/White, Vitamin Orange/ White and Deep Ocean Blue/ White
Django Allure – Chocolate; Django Sport – Mad Black
LAMS APPROVED: Yes
PRICE: Django Evasion – $4,990 ride away
(Django Allure – $5,190 ride away; Django Sport – $4,990 ride away)
WARRANTY: 24 months, unlimited km