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Not so long ago, Mahindra was a manufacturer of basic and rugged vehicles that boasted the capability to go anywhere in any condition while discounting a luxurious cabin altogether. Now though, things have changed. The latest SUVs made by Mahindra boast almost the same levels of ruggedness while having a cabin that is thousand times more luxurious.
This sea change started with the launch of the first-gen Mahindra Scorpio back in 2002. Yes, it was exactly two decades ago, that the Scorpio turned things around for Mahindra. Back then, the Scorpio was an SUV that boasted an interior that one never thought would be seen on a Mahindra, and yet it boasted the go-anywhere capability and an engine that would last a million kilometres.
The Scorpio brand grew over the years, with newer iterations coming into the picture. The engine became smaller but more powerful and the SUV amassed a cult following for itself. Now, Mahindra has turned the Scorpio badge around and has launched a brand-new Scorpio the Scorpio-N.
It is a brand-new vehicle and has nothing in common with the older model. However, some design aspects of the Scorpio-N do remind you of the older model. It also features brand-new powertrain options and a bootload of features that would put some cars from the next segment to shame. What's it like to drive? Does it have the Scorpio charm? Read on to find out.
The Mahindra Scorpio: A Walk Down Memory Lane
Before we dig into the details of the new Scorpio, it is worthwhile for us to take a walk down memory lane to get a good idea of just how far the Scorpio as a brand has come. While the Mahindra Scorpio was first launched in 2002, the developmental work on it began five years before, in 1997!
Prior to the Scorpio, Mahindra was a brand that had based its vehicles and their design on the Willys Jeep. While Mahindra launched different models, they were more or less the same under the skin. Hence, the Scorpio was the first SUV that Mahindra built from scratch, and it was also the first ‘Global' product from the brand.
While we in India got the Scorpio back in 2002, the European market received it in 2003. Since then, there's been no looking back and the Scorpio in its various iterations and models is a much-loved vehicle across the globe.
In 2006, Mahindra launched the facelifted version of the Scorpio and 2007 saw the arrival of the Scorpio Getaway which is a pickup truck. In 2008, Mahindra launched the Scorpio with a 6-speed automatic transmission, making it the first SUV in the segment with the feature.
In 2009, Mahindra launched the second facelift and this one had a sleek and refreshing front fascia. Finally, in 2014, the third facelift was launched with a modern design, more powerful engine options, and a thoroughly modern interior.
Over the years, the Mahindra Scorpio became a household name in the Indian household with millions aspiring to buy one. Despite being several years old, the Scorpio is still in demand and people want to buy it. Hence, Mahindra will sell the older Scorpio alongside the new Scorpio-N. It will now be called the Scorpio Classic.
Hundreds of spy shots and many more rumours later, we have finally driven the much-awaited Scorpio-N and now, we can into the details.
Design & Style
Butch, muscular, powerful, makes a statement, etc, are some of the phrases and terms that can be used to describe how the Mahindra Scoprio-N looks. Right off the bat, we can say that the designers at Mahindra have done a fabulous job with the challenge of designing the Scorpio-N.
We say it was a challenge because, the Scorpio badge is one with emotion and thousands of people are used to the design language in its current form. However, the Scorpio-N had to be brand-new. Infusing some design elements that remind people of the iconic older Scorpio into a brand-new vehicle certainly is a challenge - a challenge that Mahindra's designers have aced.
The first impression that the new SUV will leave on you is — it is huge. It is indeed massive in size and Mahindra seems very proud of the fact that the new Scorpio-N is the largest SUV in its segment.
Up front are brand-new LED headlamp units that are somewhat reminiscent of the older Scorpio. It does get both projector and reflector systems and the headlamps are slightly swept back. The grille is large and imposing with horizontal slats. There are six vertical chrome strips and a large horizontal chrome strip. Mahindra's new logo is also seen on the Scorpio-N.
The bumper is chunky and features C-shaped chrome inserts near the fog lamps. There is a silver scuff plate at the bottom. The bonnet is long and features muscular design lines on it. When viewed from the front end, the flared wheel arches add some extra muscle to the SUV.
This is only enhanced when the Scorpio-N is viewed from the side. The side profile is where the proper size of the SUV is felt. The flared wheel arches stand out and so does the silver trim that runs on the window line from the A-pillar all the way to the C-pillar where it circles over to cover the upper line of the rearmost window.
The functional roof rails too are finished in a shade of silver while the B and C pillars are blacked out. The door handles are just as chunky as you would expect them to be and they feature a nice little chrome strip integrated into them.
At the bottom is a nice and thick silver element that is integrated into the super stylish black cladding. The most stylish elements on the side profile though, are the diamond-cut 18-inch wheels. They have a unique design pattern and the more you look at them, the more they end up impressing you.
The rear is where the new Scorpio-N feels the newest in terms of bearing resemblance to the older Scorpio. Yes, it does feature tall vertically-stacked tail lamps, but this bears more resemblance to a certain large SUV from a well-known Swedish car manufacturer and we aren't complaining.
It features a chunky door handle located to the left hand side of the tail gate, just like the old Scorpio. The tail gate still opens sideways, again bearing semblance to the old Scorpio. The Mahindra badging, Scorpio-N badging, and 4XPLOR badging are brand new too. The black cladding from the sides continues to the rear where it covers most of the rear bumper.
It does get a chrome element and a silver scuff plate embedded into the rear bumper.On the whole, the new Mahindra Scorpio-N is a handsome SUV and there is no denying the fact that it is the most attractive Mahindra SUV so far. Yes, in our opinion, this title has now been snatched from the XUV700.
Cockpit & Interior
As aforementioned, the first-generation Scorpio was a game-changer for Mahindra in terms of how great the interiors were. Back then, the Scorpio featured a brilliant interior and a cockpit with a tachometer, a small LCD display, etc. 20 years down the line, it should ideally feature a game-changing interior once again. Well, Mahindra has pulled it off once again.
Tug on the chunky door handles and swing the door open wide and the first words that would come to your mind are premium and fancy. The Mahindra Scorpio-N features rich Coffee-Black leatherette interior and this colour combination really sets it apart. The sides of the seat are finished in black while the face is finished in coffee. This theme is found everywhere, including the door pads, dashboard, centre console, etc.
Right in front of the driver is the steering wheel that is taken straight from the XUV700. We loved the feel of the wheel in the XUV700 and so, we were immediately impressed by it even in the Scorpio-N. You do get steering-mounted controls for the audio as well as the cruise control and they are pretty simple and easy to use.
The dashboard features vertical air conditioning vents, positioned in the strip of coffee brown leatherette. At the centre of the dashboard are two more vertical AC vents that flank the infotainment unit. It is an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Sound is reproduced via a 12-speaker Sony audio system that sounds excellent, but it does need a little equalizer tweaking to get that perfect sound output. At this point, we also have to mention that the 8-inch screen does look a little too small for an SUV this large. A 10.25-inch screen should have been perfect.
Beneath the screen are a few buttons and a couple of knobs to supplement the touchscreen. Beneath these buttons are the controls for the air conditioning and then come a few more switches for various vehicular functions. All of these buttons are set in a piano black panel that looks really nice.
The Mahindra Scorpio-N features wireless smartphone charging and right above the wireless charging slot are a couple of USB ports to charge your smartphone or connect it to the infotainment.
On the centre console is the gear lever with a brushed aluminium surround and behind it is the 4XPLOR control panel. Now this is a rather fancy feature that we're used to seeing on some expensive and premium British SUVs. This is in essence the control panel for the 4WD system.
The driver can switch the drivetrain to 4WD Low or 4WD High at the touch of a button. By turning the knob, the driver can also switch between Road, Mud, Snow, and Sand terrain modes. This is an interesting feature indeed and feels really great to use when off-road. It is a huge step up from the plain-jane 2H-4H-4L knob found in the older Scorpio.
The centre console also features a rather large armrest that not only looks great but also makes life behind the wheel very comfortable. The armrest can be lifted up to access the deep cubbyhole underneath it.
Comfort & Practicality
Comfort and practicality are certainly the strongholds of the Scorpio. It has always been amongst the most comfortable SUVs out there. The soft suspension, plush seats and the sheer space instantly made occupants of the Scorpio feel at home. The new Scorpio-N certainly takes things to the next level in this section.
The seats are excellent and offer great lumbar support, thigh support, and back support. Rear seat comfort too is great and there's barely anything one can complain about. The last row too is airy and definitely has more space when compared to other SUVs in the segment.
There are a few elements that make the Scorpio very practical indeed. This includes the grab handles on the A-Pillar and on the centre console. These are elements that will be helpful while getting in and out of the Scorpio-N and also gives occupants something to hold onto while off the road.
The manual handbrake is yet another element that reminds users of the rugged nature of the Scorpio. In terms of practicality, there are several storage spaces in the Scorpio-N. This includes a deep glovebox, a cubbyhole in the centre console, deep pockets in the door panels, etc.
Though Mahindra hasn't disclosed the exact boot space figures, we can confirm that it is one of the most spacious boots even with all three rows up. With the third row folded down, the space is humongous. The fuel tank capacity meanwhile, stands at 57-litres.
Engine Performance & Driving Impressions
The first-generation Mahindra Scorpio instantly became the most powerful SUV in its segment when it was first launched thanks to its 2.6-litre CRDe diesel turbo-diesel engine. Over the years, with the arrival of the mHawk engine, the Scorpio became even more powerful. It only seems befitting for the Mahindra Scorpio-N to feature some of the most powerful engines in the segment.
Before we get to the driving impressions, let's get the engine options and specifications out of the way. There is a 2.2-litre mHark diesel engine on offer and this is available in two states of tune. Mahindra also offers a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, and this one is the most powerful of them all. If you were wondering, yes, all of these engines are also found in the XUV700.
The 2.0-litre mStallion petrol engine puts out 200bhp at 5,000rpm and 370Nm between 1,750 and 3,000rpm. In the Scorpio-N, this engine is only available with rear-wheel drive and might lead to some nice sideways action with the traction control turned off. However, we didn't drive the Scorpio-N with the petrol engine.
In the lower state of tune, the 2.2-litre oil-burner produces 130bhp at 3,750rpm and 300Nm between 1,500 and 3,000rpm and this is only available with a manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive. This is yet another model we didn't drive. What we did drive though, is the top-spec diesel engine in both 4WD and RWD guises.
In its higher state of tune, the 2.2-litre diesel engine puts out 172.4bhp at 3,500rpm. The torque output differs between the manual and automatic variants. The manual variant gets an output of 370Nm between 1,500 and 3,000rpm. The automatic variant though pushes out more turning force at 400Nm between 1,750 and 2,750rpm.
We drove only the automatic variants and it was quite an experience, starting off with the RWD SUV. The 2.2-litre mHawk engine has always been a gem and in this state of tune, it really shines bright. Acceleration is brisk and the throttle response is great for a diesel engine.
When it is in the power band, it simply glides along on a huge wave of torque and power starting at 1,750rpm and going all the way to 3,500rpm. It does run out of breath after 3,500rpm and there is some turbo lag under 1,500rpm. This turbo lag is only enhanced by the 6-speed automatic gearbox.
It is a typical torque converter and it is therefore slow to react and slow to shift. This is of course a trait that is expected in a torque converter and we shouldn't really be complaining about it. If you do manage to keep the engine in that power band though, you can overcome the torque converter challenges.
Mahindra didn't have any Scorpio-N with a manual gearbox at the media drive. However, we can surely say that the 6-speed manual would certainly be more engaging to drive and will also bring out the characteristics of this engine beautifully.
We then drove the Scorpio-N with 4WD and this one is really impressive. We drove it on the road and off it. On-road, the Scorpio-N is by far the best handling old-school SUV in its segment. It is still a body-on-frame SUV and is primarily rear-wheel drive and with this in mind, the way it handles curves is just excellent.
This is courtesy of the new suspension setup. Up front are double wishbones with coil-over shocks, which are pretty common. At the rear though, Mahindra has worked on something new. It is called Pentalink which stands for five links and this uses a WATT's linkage system. This is the suspension system that has worked like magic.
The ride is supple and the Scorpio-N just absorbs potholes like they aren't there and then you chuck it around a corner and it surprises you. The wallowing and bouncy cornering traits of the previous Scorpio are no longer found. But it now holds a proper line and the driver gets great feedback from the new steering system.
Mahindra has tuned the steering wheel to be on the lighter side and we would have liked it to weigh up a little more off the road. It was tuned to perform well off the road, and it certainly did that very well.
We did take the Scorpio-N off the road on a specially curated track that showcased the capabilities of the SUV. Yes, the light steering is certainly a boon on such terrain, but the really impressive bit certainly is the 4WD system.
Mahindra has equipped the Scorpio-N with 4XPLOR that features multiple terrain modes. This changes the throttle response and the way the engine sends power to all four wheels. It can be switched to 4H at the touch of a button, on the fly. Or, if you are about to attempt something more extreme, 4WD low ratio is also accessible at the touch of a button.
The beauty of the 4XPLOR system lies in the various terrain modes it offers. The driver can choose between Road, Snow, Sand, and Mud, and the Scorpio-N will deliver exactly the kind of power needed to get through the terrain. We slotted it in Mud terrain mode as we were driving on mud and slush courtesy of the heavy rain.
Well, the Scorpio-N took on all the obstacles with ease. Articulation, steep inclines, and declines, slush pits, etc, were all handled with absolute ease and it is really effortless. At the end of it all, we got back on the road and drove straight to the airport in Road terrain mode and with the engine in the Zoom driving mode. Needless to say, it was a rather quick drive to the airport.
The Scorpio-N is a very impressive SUV and Mahindra has just delivered yet another engineering masterpiece. Although, we certainly would have enjoyed it more with a manual gearbox. We really can't wait to get our hands on a manual for our road test. So stay tuned for that.
Safety & Key Features
A decade ago, Mahindra and its SUVs didn't really have much in terms of safety. Things have changed since then and Mahindra has been making some amazingly safe cars in recent times. The XUV300 and XUV700 are perfect examples of modern and safe Mahindra vehicles. With such high standards of safety set, the Scorpio-N too had to keep up.
Mahindra Scorpio-N Safety Features:
- Driver Drowsiness Alert
- Electronic Stability Control With 18 Features
- SOS Button With Geo-Location
- Hill Hold
- Descent Control
- ISOFIC Child Seat Mounts
- ABS with EBD
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
Mahindra Scorpio-N Key Features:
- Sony 3D Immersive Audio With 12 Speakers
- Front Camera & Parking Sensors
- Wireless Smartphone Charger
- Optional Captain Seats
- Keyless Entry & Push Button Start
- LED Lighting
- Auto Headlamps & Auto Wiper
- 8-inch Touchscreen
- Wireless Android Auto & Apple CarPlay
Needless to say, the new Mahindra Scoprio-N is packed to the gills with lots of features.
The Mahindra Scorpio-N is available in seven interesting and classy colour options:
- Deep Forest
- Grand Canyon
- Everest White
- Napoli Black
- Red Rage
- Royal Gold
20 years ago, Mahindra launched a game-changer. The Scorpio became the Indian automotive hero and was an aspirational car. It was an SUV that wielded power and became a symbol of prestige. Now, Mahindra has launched yet another game changer in the Scorpio-N. It certainly seems all set to rewrite the Scorpio story and we're certain of an ultra long waiting period for the SUV. Daddy, is finally here!