New 2014 Mahindra Scorpio Review: Buffed-up Brute

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Added in: Mahindra

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After much ado, the new 2014 Mahindra Scorpio has finally graced us with its presence. Before rants start about it being old wine in a new bottle, Mahindra clears the air by claiming that considerable mechanical changes hide under that re-tweaked body, changes that make the big old girl ride better, handle better and come across as a more appealing SUV. Let’s find out

Styling and Finish

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The familiar Scorpio shape remains but has been refurbished in parts. The front fascia is all-new and styled with romp. The grille is a fresh take on the trademark Mahindra toothy job, with floating slats bearing chrome highlights at the backdrop of a huge mesh portion. Those, along with a slim chrome lip make the grille give the front a suave, yet imposing look. Eyebrow style Daytime Running Lamps and a pair of projector lamps can be found nestled within the large, wraparound headlamps. The bumper is all new as well and has been smartly styled with minimal fuss- no stupid bumper extensions and unnecessaty clutter. A properly sized air dam gives company to the front scruff plate- all of which contribute to the butch looks. Also, the front bumper neatly wraps and integrates itself with the front wheel arch flare. The bonnet is new as well, and has been given revised, smarter surfacing along with a functional hood scoop.

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The sides have been retained from the old car- no sheet metal changes here, apart from a rather, cheesy looking fake vent on the flanks that’s littered with M-Hawk badges.  The side cladding continues with the familiar Scorpio plaque in raised lettering, but now it’s finished in a silver hue regardless of the body color. There are a newly designed set of 17 inch, five spoke alloy wheels as well, which look the part.

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Moving on to the rear, the new Scorpio gets a pair of newly styled, LED tail lamps which, though resting in the same old nacelle, gets a more edgier character rather than the round units from the last Scorpio. Highlights include Scorpio lettering inside the clusters and a little blue on the reverse alert lamps. The sky high reflector strips above the tail lamps from before have been replaced with new matt finished elements which look like grab handles at first sight, but they aren’t- we’re not quite sure what they are. The tail gate has been revised thoroughly with a large matt black panel which bears the number plate, rear handle and all the tell tale badges running across.

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Overall levels of fit and finish are acceptable and don’t flatter too much. The rear tail gate still has those ugly hinges which stick out like a sore thumb and the rear window defogger has exposed wiring which doesn’t come across as great detailing.

Interior & Ergonomics

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Step, or rather climb up inside and it’s a whole new world. Gone are the wonky, oval HVAC vents and other childish design elements. The dashboard design is completely new and now gets a dollop of contemporary style and a dual tone color scheme. The centre console is rather smart, with boxy HVAC vents, the 6” touch screen infotainment system with Bluetooth/CD/DVD/Aux analogous to the one in the XUV500.

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Below that lie a couple of smart rotary knobs along with a few nice re-assuring buttons for the automatic climate control system, the Micro Hybrid tech amongst other things. A prominent, raised Scorpio plaque is stuck to the dashboard on the co-passenger side, positioned below the left HVAC vent near the not-so-large glove box. Like all Mahindra’s, a tall gear lever makes its presence felt- this one though had a brushed chrome finished knob going with the up market theme. The middle row occupants’ gets a blast of cool because of the additional air vents but the third row stays high and dry- what with no roof-mounted A/C vents.

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Instrumentation is all new as well and features a twin pod setup which tries to put a little funk into life. The elements in the dials look like shards of Energon crystal from the Transformers’. There’s also a small digital display between the dials called the Driver Information System which show the trip/odo meter, fuel gauge, temperature gauge and a gear indicator.

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The steering is also new and chunky, and feels great to hold. It also features controls for the infotainment system and the cruise control

The seats are nice and supportive. The ones on the front receive a retractable arm rest each while the drivers’ throne gets a height adjustment feature – however the arm rest on the drivers’ seat fouls with the hand when taking a sharp left turn. The high-set upright driving position gives off that intimidating feel as well. The rear bench seat is adequately comfy with good under thigh support and a good backrest angle. It also comes with a rather slim retractable arm rest in the middle- no captain seats here, even on the top end S10 variant. The third row gets midget-specific jumps seats.

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 The interiors retain that spaciousness all around with generous amounts of headroom and legroom for the first two rows. The middle row, though not split, can be folded flat and the rear jump seats can also be stowed away, making way for a cavernous space for some outdoorsy gear.

Fit and finish levels have moved eons ahead from the last Scorpio. While there are still a few loose ends, like the deplorable, clumsy inside door handles/pulls, the interiors look remarkably well put together for a Mahindra. Storage inside the cabin is nothing to write home about. The lack of bottle holders in the door pads is mildly displeasing and the place around the gear lever definitely could have been better utilized for generating space for storing more knick-knacks. Two 12V chargers are around- one in the front and one at the back.

>>Next page for more features and details of the 2014 Mahindra Scorpio>>

Features and details of the 2014 Mahindra Scorpio explained through images

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Large, wraparound head lamps with Static Bending Technology & Eyebrow shaped DRLs

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New 17 inch alloy wheels

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Prominent Scorpio branding on the side cladding

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New LED tail lamps, again with Scorpio branding

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Height adjustable front head rests

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Height adjustable rear head rests

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2nd row arm rest

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Humongous room at the back with all the seats stowed away

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Rotary knobs for climate control

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Driver Information System

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Good quality stalks

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Steering mounted controls

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Inside door pulls are of a poor quality

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Roof mounted interior lighting

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Front door pad- Lack of proper storage holes or bottle holders mark their absence

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Rear door pad

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A/C vents for the middle row

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Roof mounted microphone for telephony

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Coat hanger equipped gran handles

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various menus and sub-menus of the six inch touchscreen infotainment system

>>Next page for Engine, Performance, Ride and Handling>>

Engine and Performance

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The new generation Scorpio trundles along with the oil- burning, mHawk 2179 cc, 4-cylinder, CRDI unit and is boosted by a variable geometry turbocharger with an intercooler. It is rated for 120 bhp at 4000 rpm and 280 Nm of torque between 1800 – 2800 rpm. New is its mate, a 5MT320 5-speed manual transmission which promises to be a slicker shifting unit- more on that later. The Scorpio will be offered in six variants, the S2, S4, S6, S6+, S8 and the top of the line S10. While all these variants get the aforementioned engine, the lowly S2 variant gets to do with the clattery m2DICR 2.5-litre engine.

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The light clutch action coupled with the light steering at slow speeds make piloting the big hustler though traffic an easy chore. The engine characteristic adheres to that trait, with minimal lag and generous low speed tractability. The behemoth wakes up above 2,000 rpm and delivers a very linear surge of torque all throughout, thereafter. It does feel a little sluggish though, especially under heavy load, but that’s just inherent diesel characteristic I guess.

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Back to the new gearbox, the old, slushy unit isn’t a patch on this one. Shifts are definitely slicker and well-oiled, with absolutely no mis-shifts and gear mashes. Admitted, the shifter is tall and the throws are hilariously long, but that’s not a spot of bother considering how far the Scorpio has come today in terms of refining and grooming itself.

 Ride and Handling

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Under that newly toned body, the new Scorpio packs a few tricks up its sleeve. To start with, the body on frame construction stays, but benefits from an all-new chassis. Manufactured using an aerospace derived technique known as Hydroforming, the new ladder beneath is stiffer, lighter and stronger than the outgoing one, even though it’s visibly thicker. In fact Mahindra says that the new chassis is almost 100% stiffer than last time!

Suspension continues to be carried over which constituted of a double wishbone front and a multilink rear setup but it now features long-lasting polyurethane bushes instead of rubber. The track has been increased on both axles too, which results in a reduced turning radius of 5.4m- quite impressive for a SUV as we found out. The steering also gets a new collapsible system, while the rear axle gets refurbished as well.

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So how do all these changes take shape? For starters, it feels a lot more planted and compliant on the road, with minimum choppiness and flex- you can feel that extra stiffness doing its bit to hold everything together. Rough patches are dealt with aplomb and the ride quality has definitely received a major boost.

The steering sadly feels vague and disconnected as the speeds rise. Though not exactly a boat anymore, the new Scorpio struggles a tad, but manages to hold its line when pushed hard. Of course, high speed antics in this big bruiser will leave you with sweaty palms, but that’s not why the Scorpio is here, is it? Save your joyrides with the 320d or something else of its ilk.

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The brakes are good enough, but come across as a little spongy and lack that confidence inspiring bite. The new Scorpio uses ventilated discs up front and drums at the rear.

What’s astounding is the levels of NVH levels Mahindra have managed with this one. Pop the hood open and there’s a fair amount of sound deadening, insulation stuck on the inside- a part of what collectively bring NVH levels down.  While the powerful, climate control chills the inside like a breeze, one gets a commendable amount of seclusion at all speeds. Wind noise and tire noise are non- existent and there’s just a distant, muted boom of the mHawk doing its bit at triple digit speeds. An effortlessly cool mile gobbler, the new Scorpio could be described as such.

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Features and Equipment

Top end Mahindra’s have always had elongated feature lists. The new Scorpio doesn’t disappoint either. The top end S10 variant is bristling with stuff like rain sensing wipers, auto lights, tire pressure monitor, parking sensor, start-stop technology and more- all of this can be accessed and manipulated through the six inch touch screen on the center console, which also packs in a built-in navigation system. There’s also a shift on the fly 4WD drive system, but we didn’t get to try it out as the press vehicles didn’t have that feature. The new headlamps feature a smart Static Bending Technology which swivels the beam towards the steered direction- a boon on twisty roads at night.

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Dual airbags up front are offered and so are ABS and the start-stop Micro Hybrid technology. One more interesting safety feature is the new Panic Brake Indication, which makes the hazards flicker under hard braking to make other road users aware of your intentions. The hazards also come on if one pops the bonnet open. All of those features aren’t exactly rocket science, but at least they expose some new tech to the masses. The basic variants on the other hand are pretty bare though, but those are just taxi operators’ delight.

>>Next page for Verdict, Price, variants and Technical Specifications>>

Verdict

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The new Mahindra Scorpio has come a long way since 2002- no two ways about it. With every generation, the evolution has been praiseworthy. But this one might just be the best of the lot. A few inherent Scorpio issues like dynamics and styling have been addressed with this one- although not thoroughly, but still a lot to keep it safe until the next generations start to appear. Fit and finish have genuinely improved though a handful of shoddy bits are still around. But all that apart, NVH and refinement levels have been dialed up by at least five notches.

The new cabin feels like a thoroughly pleasing place to be in, and the new gearbox is much, much slicker- all of this contributes to a far better driving experience. The new Scorpio will effortlessly munch away the long miles and it won’t exercise your limbs in stop-go traffic. That easy going characteristic wins it a lot of brownie points from our side. Agreed, the steering is dead, and she’s still scare you with its high speed maneuverability but it’ll ferry you loved ones in utmost peace.

Mahindra have finally made the Scorpio a mildly desirable and appealing product- at least the top end variants. If comfort, value and refinement are high on your agenda, you must give this one a try while looking for a big, bad SUV in a budget. For those seeking the thrills around a corner, we would like to suggest robbing a bank and getting themselves a BMW X5.

The New Mahindra Scorpio will be available in five variants, prices for which are as below:

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

Technical Specifications:

mahindra scorpio brochure image

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