2024 Bajaj Chetak Premium first ride review
Bajaj has finally rolled out the third-generation Chetak with a few much needed upgrades. Ever since its inception in 2020, the Chetak’s achilles heel had been its dated cluster, which, although suited to its neo-retro design, wasn't very user friendly. Well, not anymore. The scooter now offers a TFT display on its higher ‘Premium’ variant priced at ₹1.35 lakh (ex-showroom). But a more significant change to the Premium variant is a bigger 3.2kWh battery, which gives more range. It also gets a bigger 21-litre boot and there's the option of a ‘TecPac' now, which brings with it more features. I got astride the updated Chetak to see how it fares.
2024 Bajaj Chetak styling
Cosmetically, the Chetak remains unchanged. Apart from the ‘2433’ badging, its new internal codename, on the glove box lid, there's no way to differentiate it from its predecessors. But I'm not complaining, it was and still is a very classy design and despite the fact that it's almost four years old now, it continues to garner attention on the road. Up front you get a round LED headlight with vertical turn-indicators that have an auto canceling function. The scooter rides on 12-inch wheels and gets a curvaceous body in profile. At the back it looks very stately courtesy of its wraparound tail lights with built in indicators.
Its excellent fit and finish has always been the Chetak’s strong suit and that remains. From the quality of the paint to the consistent panel gaps, this is arguably the most well-built electric scooter on sale in India currently.
2024 Bajaj Chetak features
The Bajaj Chetak Premium now boasts a 5-inch TFT display, but its lower ‘Urbane’ variant continues to retain the older round LCD display, which is now fully coloured. It also gets the option of the TecPac, for an additional sum of ₹8000, which adds in a 10kmph higher, 73kmph top speed, hill hold assist, reverse mode, music control and call management. In addition to all this, the TecPac on the Premium variant, demanding ₹9000, gets even more kit — turn-by-turn navigation, display themes and phone notification alerts. I got astride the fully loaded Chetak Premium to see how it performs.
Right off the starter blocks, the first thing you notice, obviously, is the TFT screen. This unit isn't as comprehensive or even touch compatible as the ones on the Ola S1 or the Ather 450 X and that should have definitely made the experience better. While it’s a big step up on the LCD unit, it does lack a few things.
For starters, it only gets turn-by-turn navigation which can get a bit confusing at times, because it doesn't display maps. And although it is legible in bright sunlight, it has small graphics which are hard to read. To control the screen, the Chetak gets new switchgear which feels tactile and satisfying to use, but it takes a while to get used to this setup which controls the left part of the screen from the left and the right part of the screen from the right side of the handlebar.
2024 Bajaj Chetak battery, motor and dynamics
The updated Bajaj Chetak Premium now gets a bigger 3.2kWh battery which gives it a claimed range of 126km (18km more than before) on a single charge. It continues to be powered by a hub-mounted PMSM motor which churns out 4kW of peak power and 16Nm of torque.
The Chetak continues to feature switchable ride modes, which can be toggled on the go and just like before it automatically switches to ‘Sport’, if you whack the throttle even in ‘Eco’ mode, to make quick progress. It's a commendable feature and comes handy during overtakes, but it's followed by an annoying beep, everytime, which can get on your nerves after a while.
The throttle action feels linear in both ride modes, with the sport mode offering better performance off the line, but I certainly would have appreciated more regen at higher speeds because post 25kmph, it tapers heavily.
On consumer demand, Bajaj has increased the Chetak's top speed from 63kmph to 73kmph by tweaking its gearing. It's an added sense of safety and a much needed upgrade, because it now has more speed to spare during quick overtakes.
The Chetak is not the sportiest scooter in its class, and at 134kg its a bit on the heavier side. Still, it does a good job of hiding its weight in the corners and feels a lot nimble than you can imagine.
At its launch, the Chetak received high praises for its ride quality and it still remains one of the most comfortable electric scooters in the market. It does an excellent job of damping out rough roads and undulations, but you've got to be really careful on sharp speed breakers, because it likes to scrape its belly due to its low ground clearance.
2024 Bajaj Chetak verdict, price and rivals
The Bajaj Chetak has gotten better than before, but it still misses out on a few features which its rivals, the TVS iQube, Ola S1 and Ather 450 X deploy. But with competitive pricing now (₹1.15 lakh for the Urbane and ₹1.35 lakh for the Premium variant), this electric scooter has definitely become more attractive than before. It is the electric scooter to have if you want something that feels solid, has a good real-world range and if neo-retro is your cup of tea.