Mahindra Scorpio: What makes it a favourite among SUVs?

Mahindra Scorpio: What makes it a favourite among SUVs?

The Scorpio, along with Tata’s Safari, has been among the longest-serving SUVs in India and has witnessed updates and facelifts in some form or the other. While the Safari brand has been revived only recently, the Scorpio still soldiers on in its current-generation avatar with a face-lift model launch around the corner. The Scorpio’s 2.2 mHawk engine has always been the talk of the town for its refinement and smoothness. Customers also loved it for its responsive engine and drivability, but what was also pointed out, is how stressed the motor would sound, eventually running out of steam when pushed hard. The absence of top-end performance meant overtaking was a bit problematic. In 2017, the Scorpio received a new engine variant: a re-tuned 2.2-litre mHawk engine, producing 138bhp and 320Nm of torque, almost matching the XUV500 for performance.

Rugged looks

While Mahindra Cars have ensured the Scorpio gets a new look, there are still design cues that remind us of the old one. At the front, the grille is different from its predecessor’s with those seven-slots visible. The front bumper has been restructured and includes new fog lights, a skid plate, mildly tweaked projector headlights and ORVMs incorporating side indicators. The rear looks different too. Gone are the vertically-stacked tail lights and in comes compact design themes. There’s no doubt that it sticks out like a sore thumb among other SUVs in our market, but believe it or not, the Scorpio still has its share of buyers. The S11 gets more equipment and the mHawk140 engine is sold solely on the S7 and S11 variants – and you get four-wheel-drive too. The S3 variant gets the m2DICR engine, making 73bhp and 200Nm of torque, while the 2.2-litre mHawk, develops 118bhp on the S5 and S7 variants.

Old wine?

On the S11 variant of the Mahindra Scorpio, you get some added bits, like the dark grey faux-leather seat upholstery, sporting a dark blue weave pattern that bodes well with the rest of the cabin, including bits like the steering and gear lever wrapped in faux leather. The rest of what you see remains familiar. We continue to like how the driver’s seat gives you a great view out-front and around you as well, thanks to its huge glasshouse. Plastic quality could improve on the upcoming model because certain parts on the current-gen model feel too flimsy.

Features-wise, it is equipped with a dynamic parking camera, power windows get a delayed-operation, the driver side window gets an auto roll-up function and few added spaces. You also get a touchscreen infotainment system, automatic headlamps, rain-sensing wipers and a tyre pressure monitoring system. Safety-wise, it features ABS and dual airbags.

Torque of the town?

Power and torque figures have increased on the mHawk140 engine and that means better performance as well. The engine is fitted with a Borg Warner turbocharger, making the SUV feel a lot livelier, and at about 1,500rpm, you do feel the surge of torque. Acceleration is far better and the mid-range is stronger too, making it good for overtaking. The new engine doesn’t run out of steam and the brakes have been updated too. Mated to the engine is a 6-speed manual transmission which has been developed in-house – and we’re happy to report the shift quality is better than that of the old 5-speed ‘box. The clutch operates better and there’s a step-up in NVH levels. Clatter can be heard at idle but it slowly disappears as you push down on the accelerator. The suspension setup remains the same, but some adjustments have been carried forward.

The verdict?

Prices for the top-of-the-line Mahindra Scorpio have nearly reached the 20 lakh-rupee mark and that makes the Scorpio unbelievably expensive, considering the Tata Harrier is just that bit more pricier – but then, you also get more SUV for the money. The Mahindra Scorpio isn’t the affordable SUV it once used to be – and with the facelift model due for launch soon, it’s only going to get priced that bit more. There are multiple flaws that have to be ironed out and the cabin feels ages behind the current crop of SUVs. It also misses out on an automatic transmission, which is important, considering most SUV buyers prefer an automatic model. Performance, however, still impresses and with the amount of torque on offer in the rev range, the 6-speed manual should make it fairly easy to live within the city. The rugged stance remains, and after having seen test mules of the upcoming model, we can confirm that the exterior gets a few yet notable changes. Apart from that, expect a re-designed cabin, probably even a petrol engine – and most definitely – an automatic gearbox option. Expect the features list to be longer and more in sync with the competition. Also, grab the latest info on the new cars, only at autoX.

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