2014 Mahindra Scorpio Review: New Soul
Back in the day, Mahindra and Mahindra had made quite an impression of being a successful utility vehicle maker. They needed a makeover from this image and wanted to be known as a mainstream car maker. It was in 2002, when the first generation Scorpio was launched.
Dubbed as Anand Mahindra’s most ambitious project, the Scorpio was developed indigenously at Mahindra’s test research facility in India. It was an SUV made to compete against global brands.
The third-generation Scorpio is here. It gets a new design and revised interiors with more features but that’s not all...it gets a new chassis with improved ride and handling, better mileage and performance. Does the legend get a new Soul? We find out...
Before anyone could see it in real, there were leaked images of New Scorpio which emerged online. The hurried few took the liberty to pass a judgement about its design on the basis of just two images. I decided to reserve my opinion till I saw it in person.
Look at it...It is undoubtedly the smartest a Scorpio has ever looked. Respecting subjective opinion on looks, I liked what I saw. I am an old school SUV lover so the concept of a macho vehicle in flashy colours still doesn’t gel with me. We made a special request to Mahindra to arrange a white vehicle for our review and they were kind enough to do so.
The new Scorpio looks way better than any of its vehicles including the XUV500 and the premium SsangYong Rexton. The grille gets major attention with sabre tooth styled chrome detailing. The new dual projector headlights with LED accents on top look stylish. Hidden behind are cornering lights which lights up on tight corners. Fog lamps get a smarted housing on front bumper. Underneath the wire mesh is plastic cladding with a bash plate.
New design has made the Scorpio appear wider than earlier. The chunky bumper which bulges out in the front flows all the way to the rear with flared wheel arches. The hood gets a steep air intake scoop with characteristic lines. The front half from the side reminds of the Land Rover Discvovery4 with its straight flat styling. Even the side indicator pockets does remind of the same.
Redesigned front overhang paired with the new hood line and other details makes the front half look completely new whereas the rest of the side profile is too reminiscent of the earlier model. The B and C-Pillars have been blackened to give it a more uniform look. Mahindra offers new 17 inch alloys which look fairly decent. I would have preferred a different design because these look too edgy.
The rear again gets mixed reaction. Personally, I don’t mind the flamboyant lines on the tail door unless it is in white. The new Scorpio is offered in five vibrant colour shades of Diamond White, Mist Silver, Fiery Black, Molten Red and Regal Blue. I am yet to see all these shades in real but guess it looks better in Red than other coloured shades.
The central darkened surface, referred as ‘appliqué’ by Mahindra, looks smart only on a white car. It gets a smarter touch compared to the earlier model. Even the number plate housing has got a lot better. Thankfully, Mahindra chose to rework on the tail-lights and give modern and effective LEDs instead. Also, instead of the long tail light section, there are plastic fittings on the D-Pillars.
This one now feels suited and booted for the occasion. There is new of everything we have ever seen in a Scorpio. A new instrumental panel, dashboard and other additions to make it feel better equipped.
It looks very well groomed and also feels more spacious than before. There are no significant changes done to the dimensions instead the colour of plastics have got a shade lighter than before. The seats feel sufficiently cushioned with right amount of support. It would have been nice to see the seats clad in rich leather and not fabric. Nonetheless, they don’t feel inferior.
Front row seats come with individual armrests while the middle row seat gets a joint armrest in order to make the middle row accommodate three passengers. If all three sitting in the middle row have an athletic built, squeezing here should not be an issue. The knee room for middle row seat is generous for the average heighted and a bit tight for taller occupants. The third row seats which face each other are best when folded because being seated on it for long might prove to be a task.
Instrumental cluster as we mentioned earlier has been redesigned to make it look modern and urban. It gets a twin hexagonal surround with simple lettering in blue. The multi information screen placed in between the speedo and tacho gives trip, distance and gear engaged information.
The newly constructed dashboard gets revised AC panels, central console and a new 6” touch screen system with navigation. This system can be used to shuffle between different options like Bluetooth telephony, USB and Aux-in. It also displays information on average fuel consumption, tyre pressure, and tyre temperature and service intervals. Mahindra provides its own navigation system which is powered by Mahindra Navigator. Another feature which intends to aid the occupants is the voice assist system.
Undoubtedly, the interiors feel better than earlier. However, it still has issues which need to be rectified. The dashboard looks great but the plastic quality is not as premium. The grainy texture on it feels tacky. The finishing quality needs to be improved drastically. Door trims and handle look weak. There are no bottle holders on front doors whereas the rear gets them.
Beneath the gloss and glam of new looks and features, the new Scorpio gets a completely new chassis. Mahindra have invested three years in developing this chassis and fine tuning it for its next series of vehicles. Sources claim a compact version of the Scorpio is also in the pipeline.
How does a new chassis affect your decision of buying a Scorpio? Earlier, the Scorpio was famous for good and not so good reasons. The good ones included its street presence and styling while the not so good ones were concerned with its ride and handling. Back then, it did not feel secure at high speeds and with higher body roll, it didn’t impart sufficient confidence.
The third generation Scorpio has solved all these concerns to a great extent. Instead of going for a Monocoque frame like the XUV500, the Scorpio is still based on a conventional ladder frame structure with modern additions. In order to make it handle better, the stiffness quotient has been increased.
They have also included an anti-roll bar in the rear suspension setup. It is basically a bar which is connected to opposite wheels. When one wheel moves up or down, the torque in its movement is transferred to the other wheel making it replicate the movement of the earlier wheel. This helps both the wheels stay close the vehicle thus reducing body roll.
The new Gen Scorpio comes with a mHawk 4-cylinder 2179 cc VGT diesel engine which produces 120 bhp of power and 280 Nm of torque. It is the same engine which was used earlier. All variants get this engine except for the base variant which comes with an m2DICR 4-cylinder 2.5L engine making 75 bhp and 200 Nm of torque. Mahindra have sourced a new 5 speed transmission for the Scorpio from the Xylo.
As usual, Mumbai was the place for us to pick up the Scorpio. The voice assist system is useful when there are instances like a door has not been shut properly or if the driver has not strapped his/her seat belt. This system also brings in some levels of embarrassment especially if you are running on reserve fuel.
Normally, a blinking logo on the cluster should do this just fine but not inside the new Scorpio, where you are repeatedly told “Your Scorpio is running on low fuel” and not just once but twice. This message is told every time the engine cranks up which is frankly irritating. Thus, if you planning to take your boss or girl-friend for a spin make sure you tank it up sufficiently to save yourself from embarrassment.
We had the more practical 2WD S10 for our review. The numerous changes done to the chassis and the overall construction have led to the cabin feel quieter than before. Once inside, I spent some good time searching for the USB jack which has been positioned in a truly awkward manner underneath all the controls on the central panel.
The new hood design which looks impressive from outside also gives a better judgement to the driver. Thanks to the wider track, it feels better to manoeuvre as the turning radius has come down. The 4WD has a larger radius compared to the 2WD. Driving it inside the city proved to be easy as the steering feels rightly weighed.
It was on the highways where the new Scorpio impressed me completely. The new chassis makes it feel more balanced than before. Even on high speeds, the vehicle doesn’t lose traction. The 17inch wheels which make up for the lows of 16inch grab the road with greater confidence.
With a completely reformed suspension setup, the ride and dynamics of the vehicle has gone up by several notches. Its potential to take uneven roads and potholes has also increased. The new dampeners come into effect when the vehicle goes through a rough patch and insulates the cabin from the entire disturbance. The difference in stability is also clearly evident.
While taking corners at speeds of up to 100kmph, there is no body roll. It is only at higher triple digit speeds where one can feel an oversteer. To make night driving safer, there are static cornering lamps positioned behind the projector lights. These lights glow during taking turns thus illuminating critical points at night. They are very useful during pitch dark driving conditions. One thing that has changed is its straight line handling. The earlier version felt bouncy at higher speeds. Not that it has completely come down but has noticeably improved.
In fact, we managed to drive it on great lengths of bad roads. The new suspension setup swallowed whatever we threw at it. The gear shifts were little sticky but nonetheless it still impressed us with its safe insulation. Even the in-cabin noise insulation is simply fantastic. The 2WD impressed us immensely.
|Engine Capacity||2179 cc|
|Power in bhp/RPM||120 / 4000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||280 / 1800-2800|
|Gears||5 Speed Manual|
|Wheel base mm||2680|
|Gross Weight Kgs||2510|
|LED Eyebrow Lights||Yes|
|Static Bending lights||Yes|
|6" Touchscreen Infotainment Screen||Yes|
|2 DIN Audio System with BT and Aux-in||Yes|
|Shift on Fly 4WD||Yes|
|Micro Hybrid Technology||Yes|
|Rain and Light Sensors||Yes|
|Voice Assisted System||Yes|
|Automatic Climate Controls||Yes|
|Audio and Cruise Control on Steering wheel||Yes|
|Panic Break Indication||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||S10 2WD||2.2 VX 4x2||110 PS RxZ Diesel Plus|
|Price||Rs. 1,146,161||Rs. 1,268,768||Rs. 1,186,354|
|Engine Capacity||2179 cc||2179||1461|
|Power in bhp/RPM||120 / 4000||138 / 4000||108 / 3900|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||280 / 1800-2800||320 / 1700||248 / 2250|
|Gears||5 Speed Manual||5 Speed Manual||6 Speed Manual|
|Wheel base mm||2680||2650||2673|
|Kerb Weight Kgs||NA||2000||1296|
New Mahindra Scorpio was launched at Rs. 7.98 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai). This is the base model which features the 2.5L engine. This would be ideally preferred by fleet owners and commercial operators for its durability. If you want a fully loaded version, be ready to shell out Rs. 11.46 lakhs for S10 2WD and 12.55 lakhs for S10 4WD version (ESR Mumbai).
We expect the S6 plus and the S8 to sell more because the features offered including airbags and ABS are similar to the one in high end variants. The S10 has an edge with automatic climate control, steering mounted controls, LED eyebrows, static cornering lamps, touch screen entertainment system and driver information system.
To sum it up, the new Scorpio has got an impressive exterior design with aggressive lines. They have done a good job by restyling the interiors. In terms of mileage, we managed to get a best of 13.5 kmpl which is close to their official claim of 15.3 kmpl (ARAI)
However, the most impressive change is the new chassis which has given its ride and handling a complete makeover. The Legend has indeed got the best reboot possible.