The Mahindra Scorpio has been around for quite some time now and is known to be one of India’s best indigenous SUV efforts. Since its birth in 2002, the Scorpio has undergone various upgrades – cosmetic as well as mechanical. When exports of the Scorpio started, it was well received in the global market – giving a deserving recognition to the in-house design team at Mahindra. Today the Scorpio, along with its various variants like the ’Getaway’, is sold in various countries like Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Egypt, Russia, Malaysia, South Africa, Qatar, Brazil, Chile and ofcourse, India.
Design and Features
Compared to the long, conventional SUVs, the Scorpio comes across as a muscular, new age variant of a stubby ol’ Jeep. And with the vertically slotted grille upfront, a misinformed bloke might think of the Scorpio as a Jeep product too. The latest version of the Scorpio gets a new pair of headlights that appear to be ’floating’ and gets minor design tweaks to the bumpers. The rest of the body is similar to the older Scorpio – with the stylish yet functional air scoop on the bonnet, muscular cladding on the wheel arches and lower quarter of the body, the long stacked up taillights, body integrated foot-step, the roof rails and the flush mounted rear-most windows. The large 16” wheels add to the butch character of the Scorpio, but an external mounted spare wheel on the back door would have added more substance to an otherwise boring tail end.
Inside the car, you get a selection of beige or black tint for the dash with matching fabric on the seats and door inserts. Depending on the colour of the interiors you also get a fake wood-finish panel for the centre console in light or dark brown. But for car costing upward to 10-lakh rupees, the inclusion of fake wood panels and exclusion of leather feels shortchanged. The Scorpio offers some features like a back-lit key hole for easy access, fade-in and fade-out effects for the interior lighting, 180-degree adjustable reading lights, rain sensing wipers etc. But what it loses out on is something as basic as an electrical control for the ORVMs – which is again not expected from a car in this price range.
Drivability and comfort
The Scorpio feels at home when trotting off the road. Its soft suspension absorbs all the bumps of an off road surface and a decent grunt from the engine gives you ample amount fun when you decide to kick some dust. Unfortunately though, the same can’t be said about the Scorpio’s tarmac ethics. The suspension has a tendency to bounce around on the road surface undulations. Furthermore the suspension’s eagerness to bounce often leads to a lot of body roll when driving around bends and especially in the ghats. So if you or any member of your family suffers from motion sickness, you are better off with something tauter like a Toyota Innova. The latest generation Scorpio however has got some ride-and-handling tweaks from Lotus, which has made the new vehicle a better package than its predecessors.
The Scorpio has a seating capacity for up to seven people. However the rearmost seats are a tad uncomfortable for adults primarily owing to the cramped headroom – rendering them comfortable only for kids. The middle row features captain seats which is comfortable proposition for long distance journeys. The front seats get arm rests for a comfortable drive, but they often tend to obstruct the driver’s reach to the awkwardly placed gear shifter. Further the gear shifter has been placed at a certain angle, making it difficult (sometimes) to shift gears as smoothly as you would with a conventional perpendicularly mounted gear stick. And if that doesn’t irritate you, then the AI woman reminding you about the seat belts or the Scorpio’s power, will surely make life miserable! Overall the ride quality and comfort in the Scorpio cannot be termed ’plush’ but are good enough. However, there are better vehicles in that price range that will do the job better.
The Scorpio gets the 2.2-litre mHawk diesel engine. Though it has a deficit of almost 400 cubic centimeters over the pervious generation Scorpio’s 2.6-litre CRDe, the mHawk has managed to shave 80 kilos off the kerb weight. Furthermore, its gets 6 more horses with a total power output of 121PS. The torque is rated at 290 Nm – which is a decent amount for a vehicle that’s claims to lug seven people around. As you browse across the variants, you’ll find the mHawk engine mated to various technologies and/or creature comforts like automatic transmission, start-stop (micro-hybrid) technology etc. Overall, the Scorpio 2.2 is good for a fuel efficiency of 14-16 kmpl for the city and 17-18 kmpl for the highway with the air-con at full blast.
The Scorpio’s main competitor comes in the form of the Tata Safari, considering both these vehicles cater to the same genre – SUVs. However, for a person looking purely for a people carrier with good highway ethics and creature comforts, the Toyota Innova too joins the league. So if you are looking for a seven seater and are particularly looking at a SUV form factor, the Scorpio, with its features list definitely a value for money proposition.