Mahindra Scorpio-N: 50 observations after a day of driving

The Scorpio-N is based on the third-generation modular body-on-frame platform and promises strong underpinnings with the use of high-strength steel – 81% in the frame and 41% in the body. Mahindra also claims to have the lightest Body in White (BIW) in the segment with better torsional and bending stiffness than D segment benchmark SUVs.

Sheel and Omkar got to spend some time with the Mahindra Scorpio-N during the media drive in Pune. Here are our quick and brief observations:

  • Two decades – That’s how long the Mahindra Scorpio has been on sale in India! Time flies when you’re having fun, and now you have the Scorpio-N that you see here.

  • The Scorpio-N is based on the third-generation modular body-on-frame platform and promises strong underpinnings with the use of high-strength steel – 81% in the frame and 41% in the body. Mahindra also claims to have the lightest Body in White (BIW) in the segment with better torsional and bending stiffness than D segment benchmark SUVs. Special attention has been given to optimising the load dissipation in the event of a crash with the major brunt being taken by the frame and not the body. In simple words, if there’s a crash, the doors won’t be deformed to trap you inside the car, you will be able to open the doors.

  • Mahindra is offering the Scorpio-N with 2 engine options – a 197 BHP, 2-litre turbo petrol and a 2.2L diesel engine that’s available in 173 BHP and 132 BHP tunes. Both these engines are being offered with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. For off-road enthusiasts, there is a 4×4 variant also on offer with the diesel engine.
  • Buyers will have 5 variants to choose from – Z2, Z4, Z6, Z8 and Z8L (The letter Z has been taken from Z101 – the Scorpio-N’s code name during development). Prices for the petrol MT variant start from 11.99 lakh while the top-end diesel MT (2WD) variant costs 19.49 lakh. You can check out the detailed price list here. The launch prices are competitive and undercut the competition quite conveniently. However Mahindra hasn’t revealed the prices of the automatic and 4WD variants as of now, so we will reserve our comments until then. Bookings will open on 30th July and the deliveries will commence during this festive season.

Exterior

  • The Scorpio Classic (the outgoing car) has a very distinct design that’s etched in people’s minds. When you look at the Scorpio-N standing next to it, the design sure appears like an evolution. It’s like the Scorpio switched from a lean muscle diet to bulk-up. Beefed-up wheel arches, swooping bonnet, tall stance and body creases sure give the Scorpio-N a muscular look.

  • • In person, the SUV has a commanding look. It sure has the presence of the old Scorpio with people making way for you on the road. It’s not very edgy and most people are not likely to complain about the way it looks. The front end feels mature and gets some chrome as well. The rear with its vertically stacked LED tail lamps does give a very Volvo-ish look.

  • Apart from the beefy looks, the Scorpio-N is equipped with dual-barrel LED projector headlamps, LED DRLs, and LED projector foglamps.

  • A healthy amount of underbody protection at the front.

  • Surprisingly, there is only one tow-hook, which is located at the rear. There’s none at the front of the car.
  • The Scorpio-N measures 4,662 mm in length, 1,917 mm in width and 1,857 mm in height. The wheelbase has gone up by 70 mm to 2,750 mm.
  • While the car feels sturdy, there are areas where the panel gaps are uneven. The door panels also have some flex, but it’s not something that’s very much different from the segment standards. The bonnet is very heavy and has plenty of insulation for keeping the engine noise controlled. The paint quality is pretty good and Mahindra uses a double-layer clear coat to get a wet finish for their cars. PPG Asian Paints is the official paint material supplier.

Our test car was fitted with a side step. It’s very much usable and with a healthy ground clearance, the side step didn’t scrape even during our off-road session!

  • The top-end automatic variants are offered with 18-inch alloy wheels shod with 255/60 section tyres. The manual variants get 17-inch wheels with 245/65 section tyres.

  • There are plenty of safety features such as 6 airbags, ABS+EBD, ESC, hill hold control, hill descent control, TPMS, all-wheel disc brakes, ISOFIX, front and rear parking sensors with cameras, E-Call and SOS Switch and driver drowsiness detection.

  • The roof has a kink towards the rear to liberate more headroom. The rear section is ribbed and carries a sharkfin antenna. The ski racks on our car didn’t feel very sturdy. There are some official accessories available as well for more utility. The sunroof is of a decent size and is offered on the Z6, Z8 and Z8L variants.

  • On the sides, you have a distinct “Scorpion Sting” element on the window line which may sound corny but is subtle enough in person for you to appreciate.

  • The rear spoiler houses the HMSL and looks well integrated with the rear design of the SUV. Apart from the base Z2 variant, all other variants get the spoiler.

  • Vertically stacked LED tail lamps are very Volvo-like and one can’t deny the fact that they look good on the road. ‘Adrenox’ badge sits on the rear quarter panel.

  • No variant badging on the car. You have the Scorpio-N logo on the right, that’s it. The 4Xplor badge on the 4WD variants is placed at the bottom-left. The side-opening tailgate gets a request sensor.

  • Spare wheel is a 17-inch steel wheel (245/65 section rubber) for the 2WD variants and an 18-inch steel wheel for the 4WD AT variant).

  • There are 7 colour options to choose from – Napoli Black (top-left), Everest White (top-right), Royal Gold (bottom-left), Deep Forest (bottom-right), Red Rage (our test car), Dazzling Silver and Grand Canyon.

Interior

  • First impressions when you step into the cabin are that it’s a likeable design. The dashboard layout is pretty basic and reminds you of the Scorpio Classic, but there are a few elements used to give it a modern feel. There’s a coffee brown and black theme that’s constant across the cabin (even on the seats) which, in person, looks good. The piano black centre console looks nice in the pictures but attracts a lot of dust and fingerprints.

  • Mahindra had used a line in one of the old advertisements that this is an SUV that you walk into and not crawl into. It holds true with the Scorpio-N as well. I found myself using the side step every time I got in the car. Front passengers get grab handles on the A-pillars to help ingress and egress. Rear passengers will probably find themselves holding on to the front seat while getting into the cabin.

  • With a tall windshield and a long bonnet, you get a good view of the road ahead from the driver’s seat. The overall glass area is healthy and with the sunroof in place, the cabin feels airy despite the dark interiors. Even while off-roading, the visibility was good enough to get through the course. 
  • The quality of interiors is good in some areas like the seats, steering wheel, stalks, switches on the centre console, etc. However, in other areas like the upper and lower part of the dashboard, the plastics feel very average and not very sturdy. Even the piano black finish on the centre console and the buttons on it feels very plasticky and even flex a little while operating.
  • Mahindra has gotten the ergonomics quite right. Everything is where you’d expect it to be and within easy reach. Owners will feel right at home once inside the cabin. There’s decent storage in the cabin with cubbyholes and door pockets, etc.
  • There are plenty of comfort features on offer like wireless charging, front camera, auto headlamps, auto wipers, drive modes, etc. There’s also Mahindra’s AdrenoX Connect with built-in Alexa, which uses a Snapdragon SD6 processor for 70+ connected car features. So, in a way you can tell Alexa to start your car and A/C as you walk up to it.
  • Flat-bottom, leather-wrapped steering wheel with silver and piano black inserts sports the new Mahindra logo. With thumb contours, it is nice to hold. However, it is adjustable for height only.

  • Vertically stacked side A/C vent. The engine start/stop button sits next to it and gets a chrome border around it. The coffee-brown leather insert looks and feels nice.

  • Dual-pod instrument cluster gets a 7-inch display in the middle. There’s a lot of information on display including TPMS with a tyre temperature display! You can scroll through the various options in the main menu like drive info, vehicle settings, vehicle alerts, audio options, navigation and fuel info.

  • Just the one functional button for parking sensor alert among the dummy buttons.

  • Doorpads also carry forward the coffee-brown and black theme. Grab handle is finished in brushed silver and so is the door latch. Door pockets can hold 1-litre bottles and some other knick-knacks.

  • Power window switch panel is similar to the XUV700, with slightly different button placement. Front windows get auto up and down functions and the buttons feel acceptable to use.

  • There’s a 6-way powered driver seat and tilt adjustment for the steering wheel to find a comfortable driving position. The seats are draped in black and brown leather upholstery and the cushioning is on a firmer side, which will be good on long drives. The overall support is good. You get manual lumbar adjustment as well. 

  • Centre armrest is wide so that both front passengers can use it. It doesn’t slide forward, but has a small storage box below.

  • Pedals are well spaced out, but I wish the brake pedal was wider. Dead pedal is wide + comfy to use.

  • Rearward visibility is average due to the thick D-pillars. You have big quarter glasses which help, but you will be depending a lot on the reversing camera. Visibility from the ORVMs is good, but the view from the IRVM is bad. The headrests in the second and third rows obstruct the view.

  • Multiple elements on the centre console like brushed silver, piano black, chrome and brown inserts keep the design interesting. It’s simple, yet doesn’t feel boring.
  • The 8-inch touchscreen infotainment gets Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. I like the fact that Mahindra has given physical buttons below the touchscreen which are very useful while driving. It’s paired with a 12-speaker Sony sound system with a dual-channel sub-woofer that’s similar to the XUV700. However, the listening experience feels a notch below the awesome system in the XUV700.

  • The A/C worked fine during our test drive. However, because of the rains, we didn’t get to experience it in hot conditions. You get dual-zone climate control in the Scorpio-N. Drive-related controls like traction control, hill descent control and drive modes are placed below the A/C controls on the right of the hazard light switch. On the left, you have the front camera view button and the SOS switch. These push-down switches have a nice and sturdy feel to them.

  • Below, you have two USB ports and a wireless charging pad. The passenger airbag can be deactivated through the MID and you get a warning display next to the USB ports.

  • Glovebox is average-sized and feels very flimsy. It’s illuminated and ventilated.

  • Mahindra claims that the Scorpio-N has the widest sunroof in its category. IMO, it’s the length that matters more than the width. Still, it brings a good amount of light into the cabin.

 

  • Rear seats also offer good support and are nicely contoured as well. The backrest can be reclined slightly and there is a centre armrest with two cupholders.

  • At 5’10” Sheel had good legroom. In fact, according to him, the Scorpio-N has more room on the inside than his 2015 Scorpio. The longer wheelbase does reflect inside the cabin. As you can see, the window area is also pretty large and passengers won’t feel claustrophobic.

  • The rear passengers get seatback pockets, but they’re not that deep. You do get a phone holder though.

  • Rear A/C vents with a blower control and a USB-C charging port.

  • You can access the third row of seats by tumbling forward the left seat of the second row. Getting into the third row does take some effort. It is difficult for adults, more so if one is unfit. For senior citizens, it’s almost impossible. The last row seats are placed low, which means you sit in a knees-up position. The knee room is poor and even not-so-tall people will be uncomfortable. Moreover, since the second row of seats cannot slide forward, there is no option to increase knee room. Headroom is alright.

  • Mahindra hasn’t revealed the boot space yet. What we can tell you is that with all the seats up, there’s very little space left and the boot can only hold a couple of backpacks. With the third row of seats folded, things get better and a good amount of luggage space is available. You can fold the second row to increase cargo capacity further. With all seats down, you do not get a flat loading area. Also, with the third-row seats bolted to the floor, you cannot just take them out.

  • The tailgate is fully covered on the inside. The white plastic insert on our test car felt very loosely fitted.

Continue reading the driving impressions of the Mahindra Scorpio-N on our forum.

 

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