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Mahindra Scorpio – The quintessential SUV

Snapshot: After over a decade, the Scorpio gets an all-new version. But should you judge this book by its cover?

Mahindra is well known as the maker of rugged, no nonsense and affordable SUVs in India and the Scorpio has been the company’s poster boy in India for a while now. In fact the Scorpio has been the poster boy for affordable SUVs in India for a while. Mahindra has now updated the car to keep it competitive against rivals.

Exteriors
The new Scorpio’s looks can split opinion. The new face now gets cat-shaped claws in the grille along with a huge (and functional) air scoop in the bonnet. The twin beam projector headlamps also get LED parking lamps in them to mimic a person’s eyebrows. The sculpted bumper is all new as well. The side profile remains unchanged so you get the same plastic cladding around the body to give it a butch look. The rear is complete with the clear lense lamps as well as that huge plastic cladding on the door. All this manages to give the Scorpio plenty of road presence, just like an SUV should be.

Interior
Let’s talk about the bad bits first. There is only one big glass holder in the front. That means that if the driver and passenger decide to have a cold drink together one of them will have to hold it. Secondly, the seat cushion extends all the way to the edge of the door pads, which means that operating the height adjustment lever can be tricky. Apart from that it’s a huge improvement inside the cabin. The quality of materials used has been improved and is on power with most rivals. The rear seats offer good legroom as well and there is loads of headroom on offer as well. The seats themselves offer good bolstering and cushioning. The boot is well shaped as well.  You also get two jump seats at the back for added practicality.


 

Engine, performance and gearbox
The 2.2-litre mHawk diesel engine develops 120bhp of power and 280Nm of torque. This engine is one of the best, if not the best when it comes to overall refinement in its segment. There is very little resonance which comes into the cabin. Even when revved hard the engine remains relatively smooth. It is also a very responsive, especially for a diesel. The gearbox though could have been improved though since it still feels a bit vague to operate. That said it is light.

Ride and handling
The Scorpio’s Achilles Heel, an unsorted ride seems to have been corrected. The new suspension as well as chassis now feels settled while cruising on highways. The able suspension soaks up all the bumps that the road throws at it at slow city speeds as well. The handling has improved considerably as well. While the earlier car’s steering felt vague, the new one offers plenty of communication and is very agile as well. Even under hard braking, the car doesn’t dive unlike the last one, giving you plenty of confidence. Since this is a tall SUV, there is a bit of body roll, but it’s always well under control.

Safety and equipment
The top-end versions of the Scorpio come very well loaded. You get automatic headlamps, auto wipers, climate control as well as on-board trip computer, which shows the actual fuel consumed among other things. You also get two airbags as well as ABS as part of the kit.

Competition
The closest rival is the Tata Safari in terms of pricing as well as the Renault Duster. While the Safari cannot match the Scorpio on dynamics, the Duster feels a bit smaller on the inside and also doesn’t have the same engine punch of the Scorpio.?

Summary

The Scorpio comes across as a dependable, reliable and desirable SUV at an affordable and sensible price. While it may still not be perfect it certainly is a big improvement and manages to have its own charm. This car will still be top of its charts in the SUV segment.

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