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It is an iconic name in the Indian automotive industry. It has defined aspirations and has inspired many to dream big for their next car purchase. Over the years, it has become a cult icon and has amassed a following, unlike any other car. Yes, the car in question is the Mahindra Scorpio.
It was back in 2002 that the Mahindra Scorpio first debuted. Back then, it was the best SUV Mahindra had ever made and it remained that way for several years. Despite many attempts from competitors, no SUV exuded a charming character quite as the Scorpio did.
In 2006, 2009, and 2014, Mahindra launched facelifts of the Scorpio. However, a brand-new Scorpio would arrive only two decades after the first one hit the roads. Earlier this year, Mahindra launched the much-awaited Scorpio-N. Needless to say, the Scorpio-N has turned out to be an immense success, with Mahindra receiving one lakh bookings within just 30 minutes of booking being opened.
While the 'N' is all set to take the Scorpio brand to the next level, the older Scorpio has turned out to be one that can't be pushed aside easily. It still holds great brand value and is still bringing in a steady flow of bookings. Hence, Mahindra decided to keep it in production, under the 'Scorpio Classic' moniker.
While it does look exactly like the older Scorpio, Mahindra has made enough changes to keep it going strong for a few years. We drove the SUV a few hundred kilometres to see what it is all about. So, what are the changes? How effective are these changes? Is it worth your money in 2022? How does it stack up against the Scorpio-N? Read on to find out.
Design & Style
The Mahindra Scorpio Classic is built on the principle of retention and the one thing it has retained very well is the design and styling. It has got the same boxy, proportionate, butch, classy, and muscular looks that the Scorpio has been carrying around for years now.
Up front is the same familiar fascia. It retains the clear-lens wraparound headlamps, the bonnet with muscular lines, and the iconic hood scoop. The hood scoop however, is no longer functional and Mahindra has chosen to retain it as an aesthetic element. The grille up front is new and features six vertical chrome slats. It even gets the new Mahindra Twin Peaks logo.
Not much has changed in terms of the design on the front bumper. It now features pretty basic LED DRLs placed above the cornering lamps. The skid plate at the bottom is finished in matte silver. The wheel arches and quarter panels further enhance the muscular design and styling
When viewed from the side profile, the new alloy wheels are the first element to grab your attention. The dual-tone diamond-cut alloys heels certainly look good and enhance the styling of the SUV, however, sometimes it does feel like the black finish on the wheel make them look a little understated.
The cladding is now body-coloured and the new Scorpio badging on it is more pronounced. The SUV also gets a new mHawk badge on the quarter panels. The silhouette of the side profile remains unchanged and that is a good thing for die-hard fans of the Scorpio.
Move on to the rear and yet another signature Scorpio element is now back in business. The tall tail lamp has been resurrected on the new Scorpio Classic. This was a design element that first appeared on the 2006 facelift of the Scorpio but was omitted on the 2014 facelift. After a hiatus of over seven years, the tall tail lamp is back.
Apart from the tail lamp, the other changes at the rear include a new Scorpio Classic badge, a prominently placed Twin Peaks logo and the S11 badging is present just below the Scorpio badge. You still get a large step for passengers to get into the boot and the large spoiler too has been retained.
On the whole, the Scorpio Classic has retained the design and styling of the older Scorpio and this will certainly keep bookings coming.
Cockpit & Interior
The Mahindra Scorpio has always had a rugged and practical character and its interior screamed of the same nature. It never came with over-the-top luxury or a lengthy features list. It did the job well and that's about it. The Scorpio Classic too has retained the same nature. Tugging on the chunky door handle and swinging the heavy door open reveals the understated interior of the SUV.
It gets new beige upholstery, however, the overall interior layout remains the same. The seats are as flat as they always used to be and the fabric still feels a little too raw and rough, like it can handle abuse. Climb into the driver's seat and the first thing one would notice is the steering wheel.
This particular settering wheel is borrowed from the erstwhile XUV500 and is a chunky unit. It has mounted controls that can control various functions like cruise control, music, etc. Behind the wheel is the analogue-digital instrument cluster with a blue backlight. It certainly is a remnant of the old Scorpio and looks decent.
The MID is very small and yet packs quite a lot of information. It displays the gear position indicator, odometer, two tripmeters, temperature gauge, and fuel gauge. This MID is flanked by a large analogue speedometer to the right and a tachometer to the left.
The dashboard is compact and narrow and taking centre stage on the dash is a new 9-inch infotainment unit. The touchscreen is Android-based and while touch performance is decent, the interface is more like an Android tab and it does give users a feeling that an Android tab has been stuffed into the dashboard. The UI certainly could do with some improvement.
The S11 variant comes with six speakers to reproduce sound. These speakers do have quite a bit of jarring and while it does produce bass notes pretty well, the mids and highs are muddy and no amount of EQ tweaking made them sound good.
While the dashboard and cetnre console layout hasn't changed much, the addition of faux wood trim does add a touch of premiumness to the SUV. The centre console sticks to the bare basics too.
The Scoprio Classic remains devoid of any premium features and it does have quite a few rough edges. Some would say the fit and finish isn't great, but this is just how the Scorpio has always been. The finish definitely could have been improved. For example, connectors to the rear defogger are exposed and this is quite shoddy.
Comfort, Practicality & Boot Space
The Mahindra Scorpio has always been a practical SUV and the same traits are carried forward with the Scorpio Classic too. The seats are wide and comfortable. The contouring on the seats are missing and it does feel more like a flat bench, especially in the middle row. However, there is no death of space.
The seats could do with a little more underthigh support. However, the leg room, knee room and head room are all excellent and it is difficult to find any fault with the space offered by the SUV. The Mahindra Scorpio is available in multiple seating configurations.
Our review unit came with the base seven-seater configuration. This includes two in front, a bench seat for three in the middle and two side-facing jump seats at the rear. There is a nine-seater variant on offer too, wherein the first two rows remain the same but the jump seats at the rear are slightly wider. Yet, we doubt seating nine would be comfortable.
There is yet another variant that offers seating for seven. The bench seat in the middle is replaced by captain seats and the jump seats in the rear are replaced by a bench seat. However, when it comes to practicality, this configuration is least useful.
The jump seats at the rear in the former configurations can be folded and tied up with a velcro. The bench in the middle too can be put through a two-step fold, allowing for more cargo space. The side-opening rear door further improves practicality. Mahindra claims the Scorpio Classic has a boot space of 460 litres, but it can in reality accommodate much more.
Engine Performance & Driving Impressions
The first-gen Mahindra Scorpio was powered by a 2.6-litre turbo-diesel engine that instantly made it the most powerful SUV in its segment. Over the years, the Scorpio continued to become more and more powerful. The 2.2-litre mHawk diesel engine made the SUV a joy to drive. In its last iteration, the 2.2 mHawk produced 140bhp and 320Nm. Now though, Mahindra has updated the engine.
The Mahindra Scorpio Classic is powered by the next-gen 2.2-litre mHawk engine. It is lighter and output figures have dropped. It now produces 130bhp at 3,750rpm and 300Nm between 1,600 and 2,800rpm. This is 10bhp and 20Nm lower compared to the older mHawk engine and hence it is natural for one to expect a decrease in performance.
However, this engine sings a different song while the SUV is being driven in real-world conditions. It is now up to 55 kilograms lighter than the older engine thanks to new construction. As a result, it still feels quite lively and one wouldn't really notice a major performance drop unless acceleration runs are timed.
If you are timing your acceleration runs, then the 0-100km/h sprint is done in around 13 seconds, which is just over a seconds slower when compared to the older Scorpio. However, this is not so easily noticed when it is being used in real-world conditions.
The SUV is still very much capable of cruising at triple-digit speeds out on the highway. Transmission duties are now handled by a smooth-shifting 6-speed gearbox. Thanks to the additional cog, one would expect a lower engine speed at highway speeds. However, the ratios are too close to allow for this and 100km/h is achieved at 2,000rpm in 6th gear. A taller 6th gear would have been much better.
The gear lever is now cable operated. This simply means the gear lever does not wobble and vibrate to the extent of making one think it will fall off. Apart from the new powertrain, Mahindra has also equipped the Scorpio Classic with a new suspension system borrowed from the Scorpio-N.
Adaptive dampers play a major role in improving ride quality. It absorbs bumps and potholes very well. Uneven highways are all taken in its stride and the ride is not as bumpy as it used to be at higher speeds.
However, it still is a tall SUV with a narrow track. This does lead to body roll and there's nothing one can do to reduce it. The Scorpio still has lots of body roll and there is plenty of lateral and sideways movement in the SUV. Tackling potholes at slow speeds does lead to excessive yawing and pitching and it can get uncomfortable at times.
The Scorpio Classic is not available with 4WD even as an option. However, knowing it is a capable platform, we took it off-road. Getting the rear wheels up in the air was pretty easy as the SUV did not display a lot of articulation prowess. However, it also displayed how capable the Scorpio really is, even in RWD format.
On the whole, the Scorpio Classic is a no-nonsense, practical, and capable SUV that gives you the old-school feels while driving it. It certainly lacks finesse. However, its target buyers don't require finesse.
Safety & Key Features
The Mahindra Scorpio Classic is a bare basics SUV and hence, it gets the bare basics in terms of safety and features too.
Mahindra Scorpio Classic Safety Features:
- Panic Brake Indication
- Collapsible Steering
- Engine Immobiliser
- Anti-Theft Warning
- Seat Belt Reminder
- Speed Alert
- Auto Door Lock
- ABS with EBD
Mahindra Scorpio Classic Key Features:
- Six Speakers
- Automatic Climate Control
- 2nd Row AC Vents
- Hydraulic Bonnet Struts
- Steering-Mounted Controls
The Mahindra Scorpio Classic is the perfect example of how a brand can retain its classics. It is an SUV that still sees immense demand despite being a couple of decades old underneath. Now, it has received a proper refresh with a new powertrain, suspension, and a few comfort features.
However, there's no hiding behind the fact that the Scorpio Classic is still a rugged, practical, and bare basics SUV underneath. Whether or not one should buy the SUV completely depends on expectations and requirements.
If one requires a premium SUV with lots of features, great ride and handling, and lots of powertrain options, the Scorpio-N is the one to pick. However, if practicality and ruggedness are of a higher priority than a tech-filled SUV, the Scorpio Classic still impresses. It can lug loads or haul people across any terrain you throw at it and will continue to perform flawlessly in all conditions.