Nothing Else Will Do Indeed - Mahindra Scorpio N Review
The Mahindra Scorpio is the synonym of 'Power' in India. From Rohit Shetty blowing up a few in his movies, to NSG commandos using it during combat, politicians, business owners, off-road enthusiasts and travel junkies, all love the Scorpio. No wonder, even when the new one has arrived, Mahindra chooses to retain the earlier generation and rebadge it as 'Scorpio Classic'. That's the high demand the moniker holds even today!
Now I'll be completely honest, I had not expected myself to be driving the all-new Scorpio N any sooner, of my bad health condition and a vacation in the ICU because of it. So much so, that I called up one of the team members at Mahindra and told them about my inability to attend the launch, or further, even be able to test the car. But a few enduring thoughts and some planning later, me and Aryan flew down to Pune to finally get our hands on this behemoth of an SUV.
On The Outside
In flesh, the Scorpio N looks stunning. There are a few cars in the Indian Automotive Industry which look good in bright red! The Scorpio N carries the shade with utmost poise. The muscle lines are properly accentuated and the black plastic cladding that runs across the bottom end of the car visages strength in a very elaborate way.
The headlamps are large and look like an evolution of the headlamp design from the previous generation of the Scorpio. This isn't a bad thing at all, as it retains the character of how a Scorpio is shaped and programmed in the minds of the consumers significantly. The Fog Lamps are housed on the C-shaped applique on a gloss black housing which does look like a Scorpion's Stinger.
A similar element can be seen on the rear quarter-glass area as well, where the chrome strip is finished off in the shape of a scorpion's stinger. I like how the detailing work is being presented in most Indian Manufactured cars that signify the roots of the design. There is a very cultural approach to how the Scorpio is designed, the core values of Scorpios from yesteryears have been retained in a significant manner and one can visualise the spots where the recollection is prominent. This is also a marker that TATA Motor's ex-designer, now with Mahindra Automotive, Mr Pratap Bose's genius is involved.
The red Scorpio N in a very green environment slaps a very sophisticated contrast in the face of critics from India and abroad. Although it does look significantly graceful in other shades available too, the dynamic characteristic, chiselled body lines and energy of what lies beneath that bonnet are magnified in this shade called Red Rage. The positioning of the new Mahindra 'Twin-Peaks' logo and the absence of Mahindra written anywhere also does make you wonder if this is a European SUV.
On the inside, the sophistication continues and inspires the eyes with awe. The dashboard is low enough and gives a greater view of the long bonnet. There are premium soft-touch materials used everywhere around the cabin which do uplift the experience, like leatherette on the dashboard panel with stitching, soft-touch leather steering and gloss black panels at major touch points. The Interiors look like they have been inspired by large butch American SUVs.
The airconditioning vents are large and do have a wider spread of air throw which does help the rather hefty-sized owners who would be using the Scorpio N as their primary vehicle and want to cool down quickly after a quick walk-around of their farmland. There are physical buttons for most of the controls too which is quite helpful.
What is also appreciable is the addition of a dual-zone air conditioning system which allows the front passenger and driver to have different temperature settings to suit the level of sweat they are perspiring out of their body. Luckily, Mahindra has not plonked a massive touch screen to distract the driver but has reduced itself to using a more practical 8-inch display which has wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. While the former worked seamlessly, the latter wasn't yet available and awaited certain clearances from Apple and Hardware manufacturers which was also the situation when the XUV700 was launched.
The seats are one of the best in the industry, both in terms of comfort and positioning. The ergonomics are great too, with oodles of lumbar, lower back and under-thigh support. The seat cushioning is pretty stiff in some areas and soft on the central pad giving it the longevity it needs for the abuse Scorpios usually go through. Although the art leather seats are something I don't like that much, I would have highly appreciated Mahindra keeping an option of high-quality fabric / knitted seats in relevance to the hot climate we have in most parts of India. Otherwise, everything on the seats and ergonomics front is spot on! Reckoning to the ergonomics is the physical handbrake lever beside the driver too. Properly enthu friendly.
The rear bench is where the game changes for real! The passengers in the back, unlike the earlier generations of Scorpios, get more leg room, about 105mm of extra space liberated over the previous generation which for a 5 ft 8-inch structure of mine was more than adequate. 1470mm of overall shoulder room in the second row is 55mm more than the predecessor, which isn't much of a change but does mean an awful lot more when you are seating 3 healthy Punjabi males with their sherwanis on to your childhood friend's wedding.
There are air conditioning vents for the 2nd row too, with its fan control to blast air through those sherwanis when it is 40 degrees outside. Your friends and family at the back also need the latest charging cables for their smartphones as there is a USB Type-C fast-charging port only. Basically, you need your friends to be very rich, the latest smartphone adoring, blingy youngsters and not a 30-year-old average joe like me with a 3-year-old Samsung which has lived half its life being thrown around.
This is the aspect where the character of the previous generation Scorpio takes a rapid departure from how the new Scorpio N behaves on the road. The car I've been driving is fitted with the new mStallion 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol from the XUV700 which produces 200 bhp of maximum power at 5000 rpm and a healthy 380 Nm of maximum torque at a low 1750 rpm. The torque curve stays at its peak till 3000 rpm which gives the Scorpio N an immensely good low-end torque. This is also thanks to the smooth 6-speed torque converter automatic (tested here) and a 6-speed manual gearbox.
Also, It is f***ng smooth!
A stiffer frame married to an even stiffer body shell eradicates the structural flex one would associate with the previous generations of Scorpios considerably. This feels more luxurious than just functional, like a PANERAI watch reducing itself to be called a TIMEX but being as solid as it could ever be. I like how double wishbone suspension up front with FSD and coil-over springs behave on the harshest of road conditions, in addition to the Pentalink suspension at the back which just doesn't let the harshness of the road surface creep into the cabin and make the driving experience uncomfortable.
There is an excessive amount of noise and vibration damping work done as well throughout the cabin and structure which ups the comfort game by at least 3 folds over the previous generation.
The updated FSD suspension also helps greatly in creating a better balance for the chassis when cornering hard. The Petrol-powered Scorpio N only comes with a rear-wheel drive setup (as of now) and provides a great body weight distribution from the centre. This benefits the handling characteristic of the Scorpio N incredibly well and makes you think twice if you are driving a proper ladder-on frame-built SUV.
Making an SUV more sophisticated and modern doesn't have to take away the abilities of its forefathers. The Scorpio N is a proper boulder mover and then some! The 4XPLOR system fitted with the turbocharged diesel motor producing a power of 170 bhp at 3000 rpm and torque of a staggering 400 Nm at 1750 rpm has an electronically operated shift-on-fly 4WD mode with a mechanical locking differential and 4 modes, namely Normal, Snow Mud & Ruts and Sand, which actuate the ESP system as per the traction requirements.
We were driving through the jungles of Aamby Valley in Lonavala under heavy rainfall, where there was slush, muddy track and worst of ruts where some of the best SUVs could fail, The Scorpio N went through it all like a breeze, that too with Highway Terrain tyres. Unbelievable!
What also impressed me the most is how insulated it keeps you from the outside world. The Noise Vibrations & Harshness levels inside the cabin, while doing good roads, bad roads or no roads is astonishingly good.
There is a great amount of engineering gone into keeping these parameters in check so the driver or its passengers are in an utmost relaxed phase while inside the car. This is even more surprising a fact for me because the engines, both petrol and diesel, are cast out of aluminium blocks which in engineering terms provides a reduction in weight up front but also makes the engine extremely loud even at idle due to aluminium's noise resonating properties.
Points to Ponder : 1. If you've owned the previous generation Scorpios and have loved how they function in your life, you're going to break your bank or sell off your useless assets to get this one. This is Mahindra's epitome of refinement over all kinds of terrains.
2. For the first time SUV buyers, this would be quite a great choice if you understand that ladder on frame chassis is not the greatest when it comes to high-speed highway comfort and you and your passengers might get tossed around above the speed of 100 kmph if the highway has a wavy structure or if there are massive bumps on it.
3. The petrol-powered Scorpio N is fitted with a high-compression turbocharger which produces 2.6 bar or 37.5 psi of boost at peak, which means that you will require a higher grade of fuel to use the potential of this engine fully. Lower quality fuel like the 91-octane that we get at all major fuel pumps will also degrade the overall thermal efficiency of the engine which in turn plunges the fuel economy by at least 20%. Highly recommend the use of 95 octane fuel and above for optimum performance and efficiency of 19 kmpl over our 60 km run from Lonavala to Pune via the Mumbai-Pune-Expressway with an average speed of 75 kmph and cruise control set to 80 kmph.
4. The third row is the most pointless space to travel in the Scorpio N, although it has 800mm of overall seat pitch, a higher floor and an upright seat-back make it an uncomfortable affair for adults. I will even avoid making kids sit there on longer trips because of the absence of air conditioning vents and large window area which tends to heat the last row significantly. Ideally, take the Scorpio N as a 5-seater effectively.
5. The reversing camera needs an urgent software upgrade since the camera is extremely laggy in terms of quality output and frame rates. Not something I want to experience when I am reversing through the rough stuff, worse near the edge of a mountain road.
6. Getting the Z8 and Z8L trim is the best decision you'll ever make, the amount of standard equipment on offer is top grade. Besides the comfort and safety upgrades, it comes with a 12-speaker SONY Surround Sound system which sounds epic! You also have an option of Captain seats in the 2nd row in these variants too which add up to the luxury spec.
No car / SUV qualifies to be as badass as the Scorpio N in this price bracket. Period. The incredibly well-engineered chassis, suspension, ergonomics, technology package and structure are second to none! This is what an SUV is, not your compact high-rise crossovers, not your front wheel-driven premium pseudo SUVs. As hardcore as it can be, the Scorpio N condenses the true values of a rough road-friendly wagon to the max. This one is something that I would buy, do yourself a favour, get yourself one too and thank me later. Nothing Else Will Do Indeed! Photos : Aryan Juneja
Prices : ^ Our Choice Z2 Manual 2WD (Petrol) : 11,99,000 Z2 Manual 2WD (Diesel) : 12,49,000
Z4 Manual 2WD (Petrol) : 13,49,000
Z4 Manual 2WD (Diesel) : 13,99,000 Z4 Automatic 2WD (Petrol) : TBA* Z4 Automatic 2WD (Diesel) : TBA* Z4 Manual 4WD (Diesel) : TBA* Z6 Manual 2WD (Diesel) : 14,99,000 Z6 Automatic 2WD (Diesel) : TBA* Z8 Manual 2WD (Petrol) : 16,99,000 Z8 Manual 2WD (Diesel) : 17,49,000
Z8 Automatic 2WD (Petrol ) : TBA* Z8 Automatic 2WD (Diesel) : TBA* Z8 Manual 4WD (Diesel) : TBA* Z8 Automatic 4WD (Diesel) : TBA*^
Z8L Manual 2WD (Petrol) : 18,99,000 Z8L Manual 2WD (Diesel) : 19,49,000
Z8L Automatic 2WD (Petrol ) : TBA*^ Z8L Automatic 2WD (Diesel) : TBA*^ Z8L Manual 4WD (Diesel) : TBA* Z8L Automatic 4WD (Diesel) : TBA*
Z8L 6-Seater Manual 2WD (Petrol) : TBA* Z8L 6-Seater Manual 2WD (Diesel) : TBA*
Z8L 6-Seater Automatic 2WD (Petrol ) : TBA* Z8L 6-Seater Automatic 2WD (Diesel) : TBA*^