Scorpio in an all-new avatar

For 2014, the trusty old Scorpio gets transmuted inside out. It achieves a fresh new air of desirability

After protracted testing on public roads, the highly anticipated 2014 Mahindra Scorpio finally witnesses its launch. The overall proportions and body shell haven’t undergone much change, though Mahindra has made significant mechanical alterations to make the new Scorpio, a more capable machine. In its newest rendition, the Scorpio rides better, handles better, gets a more premium interior and comes loaded with a whole bunch of new features.

In its new form, the Scorpio manages to come across as a desirable and appealing product. Pics/Amit Chhangani

Design and Styling
For its newest version, the Scorpio retains its familiar overall shape, though the exterior is generously smartened up. The front fascia is all new, with a big radiator grille lined by chrome. The huge mesh portion bears the Mahindra logo in the centre and is flanked by three chrome shards on each side. Eyebrow-style Daytime Running Lamps and a pair of projectors are newly designed, along with a muscular bumper. The raised bonnet now features an air scoop.

The car has large, wraparound head lamps with Static Bending Technology and  eyebrow-shaped DRLs
The car has large, wraparound head lamps with Static Bending Technology and eyebrow-shaped DRLs

The side profile doesn’t witness much change, and the body panels are more or less similar to the previous gen model. There is, however ,a new faux vent on the flanks accompanied by M-Hawk badges. The side cladding has the familiar Scorpio plaque and is now finished in a silver shade regardless of the body colour. The 17-inch alloy wheels are new, too, and look quite good.

At the back of the Scorpio, the owner can make room for a humongous space if all the seats are stowed away
At the back of the Scorpio, the owner can make room for a humongous space if all the seats are stowed away

At the rear, the tail lamps have been restyled in a more angular fashion and now feature LED tech. An interesting detail is the blue shade of the reverse lamp, something we have never seen on any other car. The reflector strips above the tail lamps on the earlier car have been replaced with new plastic elements. The tail gate has been redesigned, too, and now gets a large matt black plastic panel, which houses the registration plate, rear handle and the badges.

New 17-inch alloy wheels are a new design. Customers have an option to choose from additional designs available as accessories
New 17-inch alloy wheels are a new design. Customers have an option to choose from additional designs available as accessories

The new Scorpio, though not a radical departure from its forebear’s design, manages to look fresh and more muscular. It may not be the smartest facelift we have seen, but the changes, more likely than not, would appeal to the buyers in the segment.

New LED tail lamps get Scorpio branding and a reverse light housing in a unique blue shade
New LED tail lamps get Scorpio branding and a reverse light housing in a unique blue shade

Cabin, comfort and features
Mahindra has completely overhauled the interior of the Scorpio for the 2014 version. The dashboard is entirely new and manages to look smart and contemporary with its two-tone colour scheme. The oval AC vents have been replaced by rectangular units and the centre console now features a 6-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Bluetooth/CD/DVD/ Aux compatibility. The top of the line S10 variant also gets automatic climate control, Micro Hybrid stop/start system and
twin airbags.

The front seats are big, roomy and feature an extension under the thighs for added comfort. The gear lever is quite tall, and looks nice with its brushed chrome-finished knob. The middle row is an expansive place with comfortable seats and ample leg-room. The occupants also get a blast of cool air courtesy the rear A/C vents, though there is no such provision for the third-row occupants.

Front seats receive a retractable armrest each with a height adjustment option for the driver. The second row gets a retractable armrest in the middle. Third row gets opposite facing jump seats, useable only for short distances.
Instrument console, much like the rest of the cabin, bristles with a sense of newness and quality. The racy, bright font and the angular twin pods look funky and youthful. There’s also a small digital display between the dials featuring a trip/odo meter, fuel gauge, temperature gauge and a gear indicator. The steering is also new and chunky, and features
mounted controls.

While the interiors of the new car have vastly improved, there are some rough edges, too. The inner door pulls, for example, are made of poor quality plastic and are a pain to operate. There isn’t much storage space for small items inside the cabin, with door panels sorely missing bottle holders.

Engine and performance
Powering the new Scorpio in all but the base model is the good old mHawk 2.2-litre CRDI diesel engine with 120 bhp of power at 4,000 rpm and 280 Nm of torque between 1,800-2,800 rpm. While the engine from the old Scorpio has been retained, the 5-speed transmission is all new. The unit is a great improvement and offers slick, precise shifts albeit with a long throw.

The Scorpio is available in six variants, namely S2, S4, S6, S6+, S8 and S10. Of these, the base S2 variant comes powered by a less powerful 2.5-litre engine with 75 bhp of power and 200Nm of torque.

We drove the 2.2-litre mHawk-powered S10 variant for this review. For such a huge vehicle, a light clutch and a slick shifting gearbox, along with a refined, tractable engine comes across as a boon. Add to the equation a high driving position that gives you a majestic view of surroundings and you have a vehicle which is a breeze to drive even on the most congested roads. The smooth engine has truckloads of torque even in lower revs, though it kicks to life post 2,000 rpm, after which a potent surge of torque makes overtaking a breeze. Performance tapers down at the top of the rev range, but the Scorpio is meant to munch miles while surfing on the wave of its strong mid-range.

Ride and Handling
Just like the interior, Mahindra has made drastic changes under the running board as well. The body on frame construction stays, but the chassis components are all new, and are made of lighter, yet stiffer materials. The new chassis, if Mahindra’s claims are to be believed is almost 100 per cent stiffer than the previous model.

On the move, the Scorpio feels significantly more planted and compliant as compared to the previous model. There is still some bit of flex, but it’s a far cry from the boat like behaviour of its predecessor. Ride quality is supreme, especially at slow to medium speeds, and the Scorpio can take even the most vicious bumps in its stride without a whimper.

The Scorpio drives decently well, though the steering doesn’t have any feel and the dynamic ability. Still, it isn’t something to write home about.

This SUV is meant to ferry people in comfort, and it complies to the brief fantastically well. What adds to the comfort inside the cabin is the astonishing NVH control achieved by Mahindra. The Scorpio drives with minimal road, tyre and win noise filtering into the cabin.

The features list is also generous, and the top of the line S10 variant comes loaded with stuff such as rain-sensing wipers, auto lights, tyre pressure monitor, parking sensor, start-stop technology and more. The new headlamps also feature a smart Static Bending Technology which swivels the beam towards the steered direction — a boon on twisty roads at night.

Rs 7.98 lakh (S2) Rs 8.60 lakh (S4)
Rs 9.77 lakh (S6) Rs 10.84 lakh (S8)
Rs. 11.46 lakh (S10)
(All prices, ex-showroom, Mumbai)

Technical specs
GLA 200
Engine: 2.5 litre-diesel / 2.2-litre diesel
Power: 75 bhp @ 3,200 rpm / 120 bhp @ 4,000 rpm
Torque: 200 Nm @ 1,400-2,200 rpm / 280 Nm @ 1,800- 2,800 rpm

While the old Scorpio was an untiring workhorse which delighted its owners with its reliability, comfort and low maintenance cost, the new Scorpio adds some sophistication, finesse and modern features to the mix. In its new form, the Scorpio manages to come across as a desirable and appealing product. It’s high on comfort, features and refinement, and offers great value. Sure there are a few coarse edges, but if a full-size, feature-rich SUV at a budget is what you are looking for, the Scorpio presents itself as one of the frontrunners.


Tata Safari Storme
The Safari Storme is one of the strongest contenders in the budget, full-sized SUV category. The body shell on the Safari Storme, much like the Scorpio, hasn’t changed drastically as compared to the previous gen model. But under the skin the Safari Storme is a brand new machine. It’s a huge departure from the unrefined previous generation model, and features a modern chassis and comes with totally refurbished interior. The feature list is pretty generous, too. Big on space and comfort as ever, the Safari still makes a lot of sense for those who believe that size matters.
Price: Rs 9.9-13.7 lakh

Tata Safari Storme

Renault Duster
The Duster was the first sub-10 lakh rupee compact SUV from an international carmaker in India. That was one segmental void which was begging to be filled — the Duster, thus, upon its launch became a runaway success. Powered by a frugal and sufficiently powered 1.5-litre diesel engine in two states of tune, the Duster has the right blend of good looks, spacious cabin and a terrific ride quality. The cabin, though functional, isn’t very well appointed. The Duster is essentially a five-seater, though you can retro fit a pair of jump seats.
Price: Rs 7.8-13 lakh

Renault Duster

Tata Aria
The Aria was the point from where Tata Motors took a leap ahead in terms of automotive technology. The first-ever crossover from Tata Motors scores big in terms of space and comfort, not so much when it comes to style and attitude though. Having been priced optimistically at the launch, the sales of the Aria never took off. Tata Motors, however, with time have reduced the prices and the Aria is attractively priced now. Tata have further slashed the price by one lakh rupees very recently for the festive season, making it a great value for money option.
Price: Rs 8.95-14 lakh

Tata Aria

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