Bikes > Ride

The Peugeot XP400 is the ultimate commuting machine

The French knew exactly what they were doing with this maxi-scoot

This thing is an absolute stunner both in looks and performance. PHOTO BY SIMONN ANG

Traffic is a systemic problem that requires a systemic solution. Or at least that’s what the smart people say. Sounds quite complicated, eh? But the math is incredibly simple if you think about it. Driving a five-seater to move one man is an inherently flawed way of moving people.

I know, I know. The powers-that-be didn’t leave us with much of a choice. Jeepneys are hot and crowded. The lines to get a train ticket are longer than the Great Wall of China. And buses get stuck in the same traffic as cars. What else is there?

Well, allow me to point you all in the direction of the Peugeot XP400.

The intricate gauge cluster can also connect to a mobile phone via Bluetooth. PHOTOS BY SIMONN ANG

If you are considering switching from four wheels to two, this French scooter has got a lot of car-like amenities that will make the transition incredibly easy.

For one, the XP400 has a badge we mostly see on cars. It’s not much larger than the NMax, but broad fairings wrap around your knees and legs. And a windshield protects its rider from the elements.

The XP400 is a handsome machine from any angle. Some say it looks like a larger Aprilia SR GT 200, and I do get that. But it evokes the look of an adventure bike better than the SR GT with the sharp and chiseled edges, the wire wheels wrapped in knobbies, and the tiny beak under the twin headlights. Build quality is superb, as is expected of the French marque.

You get a key fob that activates the keyless ignition system. Although it doesn’t have door lock-and-unlock buttons because, er, the XP400 hasn’t got any doors. It has a pair of large analog gauges flanking both sides of a large and intricate TFT screen that looks like it has been pulled directly out of a car.

Because of the split-seat design, this secondary compartment under the pillion seat can be easy to miss. PHOTOS BY SIMONN ANG

You won’t miss your car seat with the XP400’s wide and cushy saddle, either. The stepped design creates a small backrest that does not look like much, but surely provides respite to a weary lower back. The seat is long, too, so there’s no need to get sweet and chummy with your pillion. Both rider and passenger can sit together at a COVID-safe distance, so to speak.

And while you won’t be riding the XP400 to take your parents to the airport, there’s room under the massive split seat for all the office essentials: a backpack, a 14-inch laptop, a large insulated water bottle, a lunch box, and more. Rain is of no concern since all compartments are weather-sealed.

Intricate pieces like this taillight set the XP400 apart. PHOTOS BY SIMONN ANG

The 400cc liquid-cooled thumper churns out 36.7hp (at 8,150rpm) and 38.1Nm (at 5,400rpm). Power is nothing short of ample, and even capable of exceeding the published top speed of 137km/h. The XP400 is gentle and kind—perfectly suited for those new to expressway-legal displacement or motorized two-wheelers in general.

Much of its calmness is down to the CVT. You do have to wait for it to get to the right ratio before the bike gets going. The XP400 doesn’t explode off the line. Instead, it gradually builds up speed from zero, which is typical of scooters. I’m sure those who yearn for snappier takeoffs can find a performance variator kit to spice things up a bit. Otherwise, getting this scooter moving is the easiest thing to do.

Twin 295mm discs take care of stopping this beaut. PHOTOS BY SIMONN ANG

The handlebars are high and close to the rider, making them great for standing up. However, the floorboards have a slight gradient on them (angled down toward the front), which makes it feel as if the bike is ready to throw you over the bars anytime.

Although the XP400 positions itself as an adventure scooter, it doesn’t really have the ground clearance to be a serious off-roader. And while it does have spoke wheels, the 17- and 15-inch combo isn’t really up to the task of tackling technical trails. With that in mind, I would swap out the Pirelli Scorpion Rally STRs and opt for less aggressive 80-20 tires to eliminate some of the vibrations at high speed, get a bit more on-road stability, and a lot better mileage out of the tires.

The rear monoshock is hidden beneath the fairings under the seat. PHOTO BY SIMONN ANG

The suspension is luxuriously comfortable on the XP400. The upside-down fork handles impeccably. Left-to-right transitions are effortless, and filtering through traffic is such a breeze. The rear end feels extremely stable and planted while cruising at highway speeds.

The 815mm seat height can be quite daunting for the vertically challenged, but the bike’s center of gravity is so low down that it really doesn’t matter. The bike is a revelation when it comes to chassis dynamics. It’s—again—so easy. So simple. Riding it is almost instinctive. Also, with the engine so low, there’s no heat to reckon with at all.

Other scooters typically have convenient compartments in this area. Sadly, the XP400 does not. PHOTOS BY SIMONN ANG

This scooter is already very practical as it is, but there are some glaring misses that seem too obvious to overlook. There’s a USB plug under the seat, but no accessible USB charger by the dash for charging a mobile device. And there are no cubbies or storage pockets for phones or RFID cards like those on a modern Vespa or even an NMax despite plenty of unused space in the front fairing. The small compartment in front of the seat is just right for a Motorola pager, but completely inadequate for a modern smartphone. It’s also not the most accessible in a pinch such as storing a parking ticket right after pulling it out of the till since the rider tends to be sitting on the cover.

The underseat compartment’s entry is a little tight as the seat does not open fully upright like on the Vespa GTS 300, so it does take a bit of gymnastics to fit stuff in. The windscreen is large, but unfortunately not adjustable, which is a bit of a disappointment considering the bike’s P555,900 price tag.

A subtle reminder of the origins of this maxi-scooter. PHOTOS BY SIMONN ANG

So yes, a competent scooter such as this can take care of your daily commuting needs just as well as a car. It can even save you a ton of gas money (fuel consumption is just 21-23km/L), and free up hours of your day you would otherwise spend twiddling your thumbs on EDSA.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting we all swing to the far left and criminalize those who choose to drive four-wheeled tin cans. We’re all just taking our byahe one day at a time, bes—in ways we each deem fit. But there are alternatives worth considering, and the Peugeot XP400 makes a compelling case.

Simonn Ang

Simonn is just a regular guy who happens to love cars and motorcycles. He also loves writing about them, too.