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New Mahindra Scorpio Facelift Road Test Review

  • Dec 22, 2017
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Mahindra recently gave the Scorpio a mild facelift and a power boost. Let's see if it's enough to keep the sales numbers from dipping.



Exterior


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The new grille is the most prominent change on the outside. It ditches the vertical slats and borrows design cues from the new Imperio pickup. The bumper and foglamps get minor tweaks and a cornering light function.


The alloy wheels are still 17 inchers and their design looks a little sedate. At the rear, the Scorpio gets a few more changes. The clear lens tail lamps are replaced with a red lens, and the chunky plastic cladding on the tail door is gone for good.



Interior


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The new Scorpio has a lot more storage bins than before for knick-knacks and a rubberised slot for your cell phone ahead of the gear knob. The 12V accessory socket is, therefore, relocated to behind the shifter lever. Another rubberised area behind the gear lever makes for a great spot to park your wallet. Then, there's a sunglass holder for your aviators. But, it's not too large, and you may find it challenging to accommodate bigger frames.


The door storage pockets aren't easy to access, and the infotainment system is low, and therefore, hard to reach. Ergonomics isn't among Mahindra's strengths.


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Similarly, the front seat bolstering is limited, but the space for leg, head and knee is more than adequate even for taller passengers and those with a turban. The jump seats in the rear are best suited for emergencies only and for times when you not-so-good friend tags along. The forward-facing 8-seat option is available only in the top two trims.


The infotainment system doesn't get all the XUV500's goodies, such as Android Auto, but offers essential info like tyre pressure, navigation, fuel efficiency details, etc. The reversing camera uses the display to show you what's behind and it also gets dynamic guidelines that show where you might end up based on the steering angle.


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Other features like the cruise control, climate control, automatic headlamps, automatic wipers and automatic start-stop are carried over from the outgoing Scorpio. The instrument cluster also remains the same as before with analogue dials for speed and RPM and a multi-info display.



Engine and Transmission


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The Scorpio continues to get the 2.2-litre diesel engine, but now it comes with the bigger turbocharger from the XUV500. It adds 20PS and 40Nm to the power and torque figures, respectively, taking the total to 140PS and 320Nm. To fully exploit that additional power, it also borrows the 6-speed manual transmission from the Cheetah.


However, it's not part of the standard configuration and instead serves as an additional engine option to the lineup. The base S3 variant shares its powertrain with the utilitarian Bolero and gets a 2.5-litre engine with just 75PS and 200Nm. The higher variants use the more powerful 2.2-litre engine churning out 120PS and 280Nm with a 5-speed transmission. Only the top variant gets the 140PS engine as standard while the S7 has it as an option. 4WD is also now reserved only for the top variant only suggesting that Mahindra wants off-road enthusiasts to splurge on the top-end S11 variant. The good news is that the S7 120PS and S7 140PS options are separated by only Rs 30,000 making the more powerful engine the default choice for those willing to settle for the middle-of-the-road option.


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In the real world, a light right foot will result in a fuel efficiency figure of 13.2kmpl in the city with the bigger engine. The new engine also makes driving in the city easier as the torque is available further down in the rev range. Driving the new Scorpio on the highways is an easy affair too with the sixth gear and low-end torque coming to the rescue. On open roads, our test unit returned 15.6kmpl on the highway.


The tall, ladder frame SUV is rugged and, thanks to the extra power, gives you the confidence to go over bigger obstacles than before. It can go over most rough roads without breaking a sweat and more importantly, without making the occupants feel like it's pushing it too hard. In tight turns, though, the ladder frame shows its weakness with body roll. It absorbs all undulations on broken roads but the bouncy feel is still present, and the chassis throws passengers around if you turn too tight at high speeds. This is where you miss the proper bolstering for seats. The rear-seat occupants will be the first to find out if the driver is jacked up on adrenaline.


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The steering feels heavy at high speeds and inspires confidence on the highway, and it gets lighter at slow speeds. It's still not super light though, and you will know that you're driving a two-and-a-half-tonne SUV when taking U-turns.



Competition


Tata Safari Storme Varicor


The Scorpio's arch rival is the Tata Safari Storme, but it's starting to look old. You could also consider other soft-roaders like the Renault Duster for this kind of money, but the Duster couldn't match the Scorpio's ruggedness. The Scorpio's prices have gone up in the recent years, and it now starts at Rs 9.97 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the base trim with the 2.5-litre engine. The top variant with 4WD and the new engine will set you back Rs 16.01 lakh before insurance and registration.


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We'd recommend the S7 140PS variants as the best value for your hard-earned money. It costs Rs 12.99 lakh and gets the best of what you'd expect from a ladder frame SUV. However, it does miss out on a few features like alloy wheels, touchscreen infotainment system, reversing camera, tyre pressure monitoring system, captain seats and cruise control. Except for the cruise control and second-row captain seats, you can easily retrofit everything else as and when you please.

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