Mahindra Scorpio-N takes a giant leap forward
Mahindra says its Scorpio-N is set to disrupt the SUV category. After a week with it, we reckon that they may have a point. In fact, it’s such a significant step forward that it takes the Indian brand into a completely new dimension.
The Scorpio-N is completely new. It carries nothing over from the original. It’s also built on a highly automated new high tech manufacturing line. And engineered from the ground up to global standards.
Is Scorpio-N a game changer?
An authentic Mahindra SUV that builds upon the game changer legacy of the original Scorpio, the all-new Scorpio-N is bigger, bolder, more powerful, and more sophisticated. Built on an all-New third-generation latter frame platform, it has a muscular silhouette and a commanding presence perhaps even more enhanced by this Red Rage hue.
Scorpio-N’s ‘premium crafted’ interior is from another plant versus its predecessor. It brings a quantum leap in interior quality and craftmanship. The old one was pretty crap, to be honest. This one’s good enough for some pretty hallowed rivals to even learn from. Look, there’s nothing next level or outer worldly about it, but the coffee-black leatherette trimmed cabin is cleverly put together and pleasant to experience.
A quantum cabin step forward
Featuring a command seating position, metal-finished centre console and Car Play and Auto-rich 20 cm infotainment with Sony 3D Immersive audio system, it falls together very nicely now. Appropriate finishes are also applied in the right places. To bring a rare ergonomic balance to this neck of the woods.
The infotainment is not next level, but it does the job very well. However, While it’s spacious and convenient, Scorpio-N is hampered by a small boot. The third row seat does not fold well either, while the second row could be more versatile. Some smaller model rivals get that right, so this is one area where Mahinda can still make further gains.
Scorpio-N is not fast, rather competent
Scorpio-N is powered by a 128 kW 400 Nm mHawk turbodiesel in turning Mahindra’s shift-on-the-fly 4Wheel Drive in this premium model, via a 6-speed automatic transmission. Penta-Watts link rear suspension gets frequency dependent damping. 4Xplor terrain management brings Zip, Zap and Zoom modes. Zip for driving on traffic, Zap for sporty motoring, and Zoom for greatest ride quality.
Competent, dynamic, and assured-handling, Scorpio-N also takes a giant leap in how it drives. Look, its not fast. It’s actually among the slower cars we’ve run this year, but it gets on with it. It does not pretend to be a drag racer in the first place.
Scorpio-N won’t drive you
Some may contend that the Scorpio-N lacks safety systems. We certainly don’t miss them. In fact we find it refreshing to drive a car that is not trying to drive you for once. It certainly does not suffer from the safety overkill that some may say has swept the market. But it’s still very well safety specced. Enough to be considered top of the line safe just ten years ago.
Built around a new significantly stiffer, 73% high-strength steel, third-generation body-on-frame platform structure, it four wheel disc brakes with hydraulic assist and electronic pre-fill, an Electronic Stability Programme. Add six driver, passenger, side, and curtain airbags, a driver drowsiness alert, ISOFIX child seat mounts points. In fact, the Scorpio N is the first ladder frame SUV to earn a 5-star rating in the new GNCAP Global crash test.
Makes Mahindra attractive to a broader clientele
Far from its frumpy if practical predecessor, the Mahindra Scorpio-N is now a far more competent and complete package. It’s not just a quantum leap forward in just about every respect, it also comes with a more than attractive 5-year 150,000 km warranty & 5-year 100,000 km service plan.
And all that at just under six hundred grand, it’s a pretty compelling option to cash strapped family car buyers. No, it does not star in any other department. But it does all of that more than competently enough, at the money. It’s a major step to now make Mahindra attractive to a far broader clientele. – Michele Lupini
Images & data, Giordano Lupini
ROAD TESTED: Mahindra Scorpio-N 2.2D 4x4 Engine: 129 kW 400 Nm 2.2-litre turbodiesel I4 Drive: 6-speed automatic 4x4 TESTED: 0-60 km/h: 5.34 sec 0-100 km/h: 12.15 sec 0-120 km/h: 17.32 sec 400m: 18.4 sec @ 122 km/h 80-120 km/h: 9.14 sec CLAIMED: VMax: 170 km/h Fuel: 6.3 l/100 km CO2: 174 g/km Warranty/Service: 5y 100K/5y 100K km LIST PRICE: R590K RATED: 8