Mahindra Scorpio Facelift

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BY
VIVEK VENUGOPAL

February 22

Watching the Scorpio evolve through all these years is like watching a small kid grow into an adult. Ever since its launch in 2003, the Scorpio has had innumerable changes to its engine, suspension, electronics and interiors. Mahindra has even given it three facelifts in that decade – each one proved to be more successful than the one before. This latest iteration of the home grown SUV may look like a facelift, but it is built on a new chassis. The rest of the changes are much more profound too.

The new Scorpio has a modular chassis which is stiffer and boasts of better suspension, service free hubs and a rear anti roll bar. The wheelbase is identical but it has a wider track. They call it the W105- an internal code name for the model which Mahindra describes as the next generation Scorpio. It is much like what Tata did with the Safari Storme two years ago – same basic body yet built on totally new chassis with styling updates for the exteriors and interiors. They have given it a new front end, with projector headlamps, a sharper front grille and a bumper that accentuates the width of the car. The bonnet line is different and the fenders now start lower than before. The rear has a substantial plastic cladding in black and the rear windscreen has its edges shaped to go around the cladding. Bigger 17 inch wheels make the car look more balanced. For all the changes underneath, it is a shame they left the side profile especially the glass house unchanged.

The interiors are a welcome change to those used to the Scorpios of yore. The dashboard and door trim are all new. Most of the ergonomic flaws of the old car are gone. The power window switches and fuel filler cap switch have been moved back to more conventional locations. The top of the dashboard has a darker trim to keep reflections minimal. The steering wheel and the 6 inch infotainment system in the top end model are similar to the ones in the XUV 500. It is still not perfect; the plastic quality is not as good as we expect in a modern car and the front seats are placed too far out, closer to the doors. Mahindra engineers have managed to reposition the middle row and liberate some more knee room.

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The good news is that the 2.2litre common rail diesel engine continues as such. This was a fine engine when it started out, with 118bhp and 28.5kgm torque and it continues to impress with its pulling power. Press the accelerator in any gear and the Scorpio pulls well for something that weighs nearly 1.8 tonnes. There is enough performance to pass fast cars and long trucks on the highway. The gearbox and clutch are a bit heavy but exude a manly feel to the driving.

The real improvements in the Scorpio however are down to the new suspension. The ride quality now is now up with the best in its class. It is soft and compliant and the bounciness of the older Scorpio is all gone. The added stiffness of the chassis, the wider track, 17 inch wheels and the better damping characteristics of the new suspension have all drastically improved the handling too. The new Scorpio feels much nicer to drive, with the steering responding faster and the car feeling much more agile.

Mahindra has never skimped on features with the Scorpio and now the fully loaded S10 variant comes with cruise control, automatic climate control, tyre pressure monitoring system, engine stop-start, rain sensing wipers, automatic projection headlamps with LED strips and a follow-me-home function, a touch screen system with GPS, steering mounted controls etc. There is an option of four wheel drive on two trim levels and also a base model with a less powerful old school 2.5 litre common rail engine. The top end model is fantastic value for money and is our pick of the range.

 

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BY VIVEK VENUGOPAL

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