PIAGGIO MP3 300 (2022 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Great handling
  • Can be driven on a car licence
  • Plenty of power for national speed limits

At a glance

Power: 26 bhp
Seat height: Low (30.7 in / 780 mm)
Weight: Medium (496 lbs / 225 kg)

Prices

New £7,250
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

You don’t need to look at the Piaggio MP3 for very long to work out its party trick – it’s got three wheels - but what may not be quite so apparent at first is why.

Because the front wheels are far enough apart the MP3 qualifies as a trike and so it can be driven on a car licence in the UK. You used to have to buy a model with the ‘LT’ suffix for this to be the case, but these days all the MP3s qualify.

There are a few other concessions made to this end. The indicators have to be out on stalks rather than integrated neatly in the headlight unit and there has to be a foot brake. But because of the front suspension system, the MP3 still leans like a motorbike and from the perspective of a biker it handles like a large and quite slow-steering scooter.

If you ride year-round in a city (or you want to start) the added stability of the MP3 is a big bonus. It’s not infallible but even on damp cobble stones the front end grip is so good that you don’t really need to think about it.

What’s more, if you get the knack of the locking system you don’t even have to put your feet down at traffic lights (see below) which is a convenience I didn’t even know I wanted.

The only real downside is the price, but a keen finance deal will make it cheaper than a season train ticket and it’s a massive amount cheaper to buy and infinitely more convenient than a car on the daily commute.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The front end of the MP3 feels like it’s glued to the tarmac. The best way I can describe it is that it feels like you’re riding on shellgrip everywhere you go. Even bouncing up and down raised junctions carrying lean angle the front end felt completely untroubled.

I was sceptical when told that riding the three-wheeler would feel the same to steer as a two wheeled model but I’m happy to have been proved wrong. You can feel the extra weight to begin with and it feels ever so slightly reluctant to tip in at first but once you’ve adapted you don’t even have to think about it.

It's no wider than a traditional maxi-scoot, either, so filtering through traffic isn't a problem.

Piaggio MP3 300 Sport front

The brakes are plenty powerful enough as you’d expect with the extra contact patch on the front. I found that I tended to use the foot brake quite a lot as you get plenty of braking power from it and it keeps your right hand free for locking the front end into upright mode as you roll to a stop so you don’t need to put your feet down.

This is done with a toggle switch on the right switchgear and can only be performed at very slow speed. A yellow light on the dash alerts you that the system can be used but once you have the knack of it you don’t really need to look for it.

As soon as you twist the throttle, the front reverts to unlocked mode but you do need to make sure you pull away positively otherwise you’ll lose your balance and have no feet down to catch it. I did this a couple of times as I got used to the system and while the MP3 feels lithe and responsive on the move, it feels burdensomely heavy when you’re trying to keep it off the ground in congested and impatient traffic.

Piaggio MP3 300 Sport turning left on the road

Engine

Next up: Reliability
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The MP3’s 300cc single-cylinder engine, pragmatically named the hpe (High Performance Engine) puts out a fruity 25.5bhp and is plenty fast enough for carving up city centre traffic or a blast in a national speed limit.

As is the case with all twist-and-go units, there is a sense of disconnect between the throttle and the rear wheel as the revs initially build before the drive is created.

Piaggio claim a fuel economy figure of a whisker over 88mpg and after an afternoon of point and squirt riding in central London the bike’s analogue fuel gauge needle had barely moved.

This will be a real novelty for many car drivers making the switch – getting almost 225 miles from £18-worth of fuel isn’t so easy on four wheels.

Piaggio MP3 300 Sport front end on London street

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Just because we haven’t embraced the maxi-scoot in the UK, doesn’t mean there aren’t hundreds of thousands of them buzzing around the city centres and ring roads of Europe 24/7/365. As such, Piaggio have had plenty of opportunity to get the 300 hpe engine right and the rest of the bike feels pretty well put together, too.

I've knocked off a star for the switchgear, which feels a little bit flimsy, and plasticky, and a few times the sensor in the seat that tells the bike you are on took a bit of shuffling around to work.

Piaggio MP3 300 Sport locking switch on right handlebar

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

There are a few three-wheeler scooters out there to choose from these days. The MP3 starts at £7000 and the Sport model tested here costs £7250.

That may sound like a lot for a scooter but at £105pm and £109pm respectively on PCP, it offers a convenient commuting option to car drivers working in the city. By way of a comparison, a season train ticket from Potters Bar to central London costs £233.50pm.

A Yamaha Tricity 300 costs more at £7900 and the Peugeot Metropolis costs even more than that, starting at £8999 (2022 prices).

Despite being slightly cheaper than the three-wheeled competition, I have to knock a star off in this category as a conventional two-wheeled scooter of similar spec is cheaper. A Honda Forza 350 starts at £5699, for example, and a Yamaha XMax starts at £5850.

Piaggio MP3 300 Sport right side

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

As you’d expect from a scooter, you get plenty of storage in the underseat compartment but you can’t fit a full-face helmet in there. An open face lid will fit or you could get a decent amount of shopping in there.

The Sport model comes equipped with Paiggio’s MIA connectivity, which pairs the bike with a smartphone and Bluetooth earpiece. This unlocks data on your phone like trip logging and average consumption.

You also get traction control and ABS as standard, as you would expect at this price point, but there’s no TFT dash, cruise control or heated grips (although this is an optional accessory).

Piaggio MP3 300 Sport dash

Specs

Engine size 278cc
Engine type Piaggio HPE single-cylinder 4 stroke
Frame type Double cradle in high strength tubular steel
Fuel capacity 11 litres
Seat height 780mm
Bike weight 225kg
Front suspension Articulated quadrilateral - Nominal axial stroke: 95 mm. Electro-hydraulic suspension blocking system
Rear suspension Dual hydraulic shock absorber with pre-adjusted spring in one of 4 positions – Nominal axial stroke: 122 mm
Front brake Two 258 mm discs
Rear brake 240 mm disc
Front tyre size 110/70-13
Rear tyre size 140/60-14

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 47 mpg
Annual road tax £47
Annual service cost -
New price £7,250
Used price -
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 26 bhp
Max torque 19.3 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 214 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

Piaggio first launched the MP3 in 2007 to bring a new level of stability and safety to urban commuting.

The MP3 has been available in several capacity variations over the years including, 125, 250, 300, 350, 400 and 500. There are also multiple specification levels across the range.

Piaggio released the first MP3 models in 2006 with a 125 and 250 version, and followed this in 2007 with a 400.

By 2011, Piaggio had five concurrent MP3 models in the range and set about updating the range. The defunct 125 was replaced by the 125ie and 125 Yourban, which were only made for a year before being dropped from the range completely in 2012.

The 300 LT became the 300 LT Touring (until it was discontinued in 2012) and the 300 Yourban LT. The 300 Yourban LT was made until 2017 and Piaggio also released a Business edition between 2013 and 2014.

The first MP3 500 appeared in 2012 as the MP3 500 LT Sport (although it had been released before as a Gilera Fuoco) and endured in various editions until 2018.

The first Piaggio MP3 Hybrid appeared in 2009 with a 125 petrol engine alongside an electric motor. The MP3 could run fully petrol or fully electric modes, or a combination of the two.

The 300 Hybrid was released in 2010, but both models were subsequently dropped from the range entirely.

Other versions

The current range includes the MP3 300, MP3 300 Sport, MP3 500 and MP3 500 Sport.

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