Pros: Solid construction, easy operation, superb handling, 4-stroke motor (for cleaner emissions)
Cons: Styling (only because I think it looks a little too modern)
I'm still not sure why I bought my Vespa -- just all of a sudden I had to have one. I have owned a motorcycle in the past, but had no interest in owning one now. The Vespa ET4 was the only scooter I considered. Here is Seattle, if you don't have the time or inclination to buy a vintage scooter and tinker with it, your options are either space-age styled scooters (Aprilia, Yamaha Zuma, etc), scooters made from Vespa tooling in Asia (Bajaj, Stella), or you can get the real deal. I chose a Vespa because of the heritage and the cachet of owning what I consider the 'Cadillac' of scooters, as well as the clear quality or construction.
This is indeed an apt metaphor, because at about $5000 out the door (including tax, license, extended warranty), the only way you can pay more for a scooter is to get Vespa's Gran Turismo 200 (but that's another story). I was very happy with my shopping experience at Vespa Seattle. The staff is knowledgeable, enthusiastic about scooter riding, but not hard sell. When I took delivery of the bike, one of the staff spent quite a bit of time after closing to walk me through the controls and such before I rode it home.
And speaking of riding, what a joy! The Vespa has a smooth ride, and you feel very stable at speed. The power is more than adequate (I'm 5-11 and 220#), so if you're a big guy like me, or you're taking a passenger, you really want to spring the extra grand for the ET4 v. the 50cc ET2. One more thing; if you're looking at other scooters, be sure to note how much weight they can carry. You can sometimes find a cheap, cute looking scooter at Costco, but they're only rated to carry about 170# or so. No such problem with the Vespa!
And a word to the guys: believe it or not, this thing is a chick magnet (sorry ladies, I use that term with the highest of respect and affection). I can't begin to tell you how many times good-looking women come up to talk to me about the scoot, or just to ask directions or whatever. Sometimes it makes me almost wish I was still single! So guys, if you don't have macho hangups, get a Vespa! It's as good as a walking a dog for meeting nice girls, and you don't have to clean up poo-poo!
Also consider the social aspect of scooting. You can join the Vespa Club of Seattle, and enjoy weekend rides with friends who have similar interests.
Bottom line is, if you get a Vespa, you have more than just basic transportation. You have a nimble, quality vehicle that is built solid and, with regular maintainance, will last darn near forever. And the fun factor can't be beat. No matter how stressful a day I have had, a 20-minute ride on my Vespa will change my mood, so I suppose it's cheaper in the long run than therapy!