Journey of more than a decade has turned out quite adventurous for Mahindra Scorpio as the year 2014 marks the arrival of its second-generation based upon all new chassis and improved suspension hardware. Mahindra’s new generation platform that boasts of stiffer mechanicals for better driving dynamics now underpins the new Scorpio and in fact will act as fountainhead for the company’s next generation vehicles. Except the door and roof panel everything else is new in this second-generation Scorpio and to drive this point home Mahindra has spared no efforts. Striking exteriors, quality interiors and improved driving dynamics are the nub points of the Scorpio’s promotional campaigns. Looking as fit as a fiddle, new Scorpio looks all set to rewrite its dwindling sales fortunes once again. Now whether it is able to do so; we find out in this road test review.
To stress the credentials of all-new claim, Mahindra has genuinely worked hard to make new Scorpio quite different in its appearance from older one. Although old boxy and upright design theme has been intact, a healthy makeover of nose and to some extent rear infuses a healthy dose of newness to Scorpio. Up front large wide and quite square-ish bonnet diving by number of character lines, bulges and central bonnet scoop. Honeycomb grill with multi-chrome vertical slats chalks out the nose of new Scorpio that is flanked by stylistically designed projector headlamps with LED Eyebrows. Lower air dam and skid plate completes the frontage though fog lamps seem to be placed at a bit higher than what practicality demands.
In profile Scorpio feels similar as upright and square-ish looks of older model has been carried over. Glass area too is similar to older generation though this new model has got a large 17” alloy wheels all-around. Alloy design itself is in synch with modernity though rear wheel arches still feels quite unfilled. Use of black-chrome emblems is in plenty and it indeed helps to break the monotony of profile view of Scorpio.
On rear Scorpio features a large upright unanimated tail gate though courtesy of large black chrome strip running across the rear, Scorpio looks a bit sassier than what it actually is. Tail lamps are now smaller though long vertical design theme of original tail lamps is retained. Under the skin new Scorpio is now underpinned by modern tubular frame chassis that is stiffer and safer than before. Front and rear tracks have been widened and new Scorpio now sits lower than its previous version. Further the smaller turning radius of 5.4 metres makes the city manoeuvring of Scorpio less cumbersome than before.
CABIN AND INTERIORS
Wide opening doors of Scorpio are quite helpful though passengers have to really climb up into the cabin. Footsteps are therefore offer the much needed help though ingress-egress is certainly not in positives of new Scorpio. Ambience and quality however has been massively improved and the whole cabin now feels much more upmarket than before. Almost flat dash board tucked forward frees up quite a space though it is not scooped as in case of some Honda vehicles. Two-tone layered dashboard feels fresh on colour combination though the grain quality is just about average. Modern looking vents powered by automatic climate control and XUV borrowed 6” touchscreen infotainment makes the Scorpio generously equipped on modern standards of equipment. New binoculars instrument cluster is neat though we wish it had come with bigger fonts.
Seats come in grey-blue combination with comparatively longer squat than featured in most of the vehicles around. Front seats are comfortable, wide and have got ample of the space. Driver seat comes with height adjustment though range is not as comprehensive as we would like. Outside view is commanding and with bonnet view in sight, driving car as large as Scorpio is not a mountain to climb. Rear bench too is wide and is laid all the way to the doors in order to maximize the passenger comfort. Augmented this wide bench is set of rear AC vents that is sure to make the rear occupants comfortable in scorching summer seasons.
There are two jump seats behind the rear bench though these are comfortable only for short distances. Folding back the rear benches frees up a considerable amount of trunk room that is enough for even a week long holiday luggage.
HEART AND VEINS
New Scorpio comes with the 2.2-litre, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, mHawk turbocharged diesel engine that belts out 120 PS of max power and 280 Nm of max torque. However there is option of 2.5-litre, 75PS/200 Nm m2DICR that is fitted under bay of lowest S2 trim of this SUV. Fitted with variable geometry turbocharger mHawk engine is quite a gem in terms of its refinement, linear power delivery and astoundingly good drivability. Though performance figures are not something that won you over with their magnitude, mHawk engine is sure to plaster a grin smile on your face with its excellent drivability. Off the line acceleration is par with the course as Scorpio starts its stint quite confidently. There is absolutely no turbo-lag whatsoever as variable geometry turbocharger feeds well and measured air to whip up the performance.
Ambling around in city is quite a breeze and Scorpio’s excellent drivability coupled with small turning radius is sure to enthral the occupants. Even the midrange is quite rapturous though engine tends to lose its composure as revs starts approaching the upper limit. The best way to avoid this hoarse sound is to upshift early and let the Scorpio cruise happily in its comfort range.
In terms of transmission, Mahindra has replaced the older gearbox with new 5-speed manual transmission that has recently debuted in updated Xylo. This new unit is touted to have more refined and accurate shifting which is onlypartly true. In contrast to its predecessor new gearbox feels slicker still Mahindra hasn’t been able to get rid of notchy character of older unit completely. Clutch pedal is light though it is more progressive than it should be. Foot-well is not very ergonomically placed and brake pedal too feel a bit spongy.
Equipped with new hydro formed and suspension hardware this second-gen Scorpio promises a big improvement on dynamic front. Double wishbone independent front coil spring does duty up front while rear responsibility is handled by multi-link coil spring that more importantly has the addition of anti-roll bar. Further 17” wheels instead of older 16” helps to increase the stability of Scorpio.
Credential of good ride quality of older Scorpio remains intact in newer version as it shows good soaking pliant suspension setting. However real improvement has happened in the way Scorpio behaves at higher speed. Gone are days when driving Scorpio at higher whacks need courageous attitude and acute controlling capabilities. Pitching, wobbling and vertical moments in new Scorpio has been clamped down effectively. Further the handling has taken a big leap forward owing to incorporation of anti-roll bar at back and stiffer chassis hardware. Assisted steering is light and easy to manoeuvre though it lacks the desired feedback.
Scorpio has been launched in total of six variants with option of 4WD priced between Rs 8.40 lakh and Rs 13.05 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Mahindra claim of all new Scorpio is really been substantiated by this road test as we find this second-generation exhibiting quantum jump in almost each and every jarring aspect of its predecessor. Styling has improved, quality gets whipped up, mechanicals have been refined and dynamics has shown some real progress. In fact this new Scorpio is so much improved that it certainly deserves a new name. What about calling it Scorpio 2.0 or Scorpio Gen-next rather than calling it only new Scorpio. Mahindra could have thought about it.
Style & Substance 4/5 Ride & Handling 3.5/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 3.5/5 Safety & Equipment 3.5/5
Power-Plant & Transmission 3.5/5 Fuel Efficiency 3.5/5
Value for Money 3/5