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Mahindra Scorpio N drives in to dominate the Indian roads again

Mahindra Scorpio N
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Mahindra Scorpio N

When Mahindra showcased this product, they called it the big daddy of SUVs - Mahindra Scorpio N

India loves SUVs. And this love will further continue due to the new products that are launched recently. Given the advantages SUVs have in poor Indian driving conditions, this paradigm shift is well justified. Sensing the market 20 years ago, Indian auto major Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) developed and launched its SUV, Scorpio. This SUV, when launched in 2002, completely transformed the face of M&M and has gone on to become a household name across the country. And with sales still going strong, the Scorpio continues to be at the core of M&M’s universe. A series of updates over the years has improved the product considerably, but now 20 years on, M&M has given the Scorpio its biggest revamp, which is largely new. But just how much better is it? Let's find out what is new in the third-generation Scorpio N.

Mahindra Scorpio N drives in to dominate the Indian roads again

When Mahindra showcased this product, they called it the big daddy of SUVs. The reason behind this is that the engineers at M&M took the third-generation ladder frame of the outgoing Scorpio and worked on it to accommodate the larger structure with a longer wheelbase, wider and taller compared to all the SUVs that are available in the market. M&M has completely overhauled the Scorpio and modernised it in all aspects. If you look at the Scorpio N, you can immediately say it has a charismatic and macho personality. The silhouette of the bonnet is typical Scorpio and the face is the tallest and widest in the class. The wide stance of the car is evident with the help of a wide rectangular three-dimensional grille followed by the slimmer full-LED headlamps. The front bumper houses LED DRLs and fog lamps.

The side profile has distinctive design elements like a chrome strip running along the bottom of the window line to the top of the rear glass, which looks like a telson of a scorpion. Like in the XUV700, the swollen wheel arches and the kink above the rear wheel are very evident in the Scorpio N as well. The 18-inch 255/60 tyres looks rugged and sporty. The rear of the Scorpio N has few elements, such as a black panel between the tailgate and the rear window. By looks, the rear looks flat and too plain. The tall ‘stacked’ tail lamps are inspired by Volvo’s SUVs.

Mahindra Scorpio N drives in to dominate the Indian roads again

Once you enter the cabin, you won't think it is an Indian car. It is very premium due to the chocolate brown colour plastic trim, which also has a nice fit and finish. The trim colour is well complemented by the brown leather seats which offer outstanding comfort for all the passengers. From the previous generation, Mahindra has retained the tall driving position and commanding view in the Scorpio N as well. In the rear, you get a choice to choose either captain or a bench seat. Both offer good cushioning but captain seats offer more comforts. Apart from their ability to recline, they also provide better access to the third row, whether by an easy fold and tumble, or simply walking between them. Like in most cars, the bench seat has a 60:40 split.

The middle row offers tremendous knee and headroom, with enough width for three on the bench. The middle row passengers also get a pair of AC vents with blower control, as well as two USB-C ports. Till the previous generation, Scorpio's third row featured side-facing seats but the Scorpio N now gets front-facing seats as standard. The headroom and shoulder room are sufficient in the third row but the knee room is too tight. The third row is basically for kids since there are no AC vents, cupholders and mobile charging points.

This new Scorpio-N packs all the latest features that one expects. Mahindra’s Adreno X that apart from a mobile app, is also accessed through the 8-inch infotainment system complete with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and a plethora of driving data is displayed using a 7-inch instrument cluster including driver attention detection. There is also a connected car tech too, including remote functions, location services, an SOS function and even Amazon Alexa commands. The 12-speaker Sony audio system is lifted from the XUV700, which offers excellent audio output. In terms of storage, it is decent with two large cupholders and large door pockets.

Mahindra Scorpio N drives in to dominate the Indian roads again

The Scorpio N gets Mahindra turbo-petrol (mStallion) and turbo-diesel (mHawk) engines. The 2.0-litre turbo-petrol produces 203hp and 380Nm, while the 2.2-litre diesel makes 175hp and 400Nm of torque. It is mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox but is also available with a 6-speed manual. In its highest trim, you can also opt for a 4-wheel drive variant of the Mahindra Scorpio N. Either a 6-speed automatic or manual transmission, both of which shift smoothly and seamlessly. The diesel engine is punchy, has a superb mid-range and feels more practical with better fuel economy and load-bearing capacity. Power delivery is linear and predictable in both the diesel and petrol mills while both have enough grunt and refinement to not be able to tell them apart. These excellent engines are what rounds up the Scorpio-N as a complete package.

The chassis and body structure is stiffer too thanks to the use of more high- and ultra-high-strength steel. The rigidity of the body has improved and an increase in stiffness reduces the body roll. Mahindra has extensively worked on the suspension package concentrating on the damping ability and performance at various frequencies of vibrations. Scorpio uses the Frequency Dependent Damping (FDD/FSD), which I think is one of the best configurations for Indian road conditions. The rear suspension uses a multi-link setup including a Watt's Link. The steering dynamics feel incredibly light, which makes it a boon in bumper-to-bumper city traffic, but on the highway, you would want the steering to stiffen up slightly to give you more confidence. Considering the body-on-frame construction and tall in nature, the SUV possess a body roll, but it’s far better contained and gives you the confidence to go around corners faster than in the old Scorpio.

In the terrains, the 4x4 variant showed its potential. The four-wheel-drive can be selected from two buttons on the centre console with a terrain management system that then decided the appropriate throttle response. All these combined with easy steering means that the Scorpio doesn’t at any time need any muscling around. It is simply very easy to drive everywhere with the steering weight calibrated well for all kinds of usage. With the advanced 4x4 system the Scorpio N also adds four terrain modes (Zip, Zap and Zoom, which translate to Eco, Normal and Sport) that will not only alter the traction control and other electronics but the behaviour of the 4x4 system as well. To that effect, it has a lockable differential too. The braking is quite impressive even under hard braking and mid-turn braking doesn't upset the car much.

Mahindra Scorpio N drives in to dominate the Indian roads again

Notable features in Scorpio N are a wireless charger, a sunroof, dual-zone climate control, auto headlamps and wipers, powered adjustment for the driver’s seat, engine stop/start, keyless entry and go, drive modes in the diesel versions, and off-road drive modes in the 4WD versions. The Scorpio N gets front and rear parking sensors but doesn't get the full 360-degree system, and front and rear cameras. The top-end models will get you six airbags, all-four disc brakes, ESC and multi-mode traction control.

The Scorpio is one of the most successful Mahindra models ever and has the potential to do well with the Scorpio N. the new Mahindra Scorpio offers a raft of improvements – especially in areas where it was clearly lacking vis-à-vis the competition. As a result, it features better quality levels and improved fit-and-finish, as well as increased levels of standard equipment and decidedly better ride and handling. For people looking for a tough, sturdy, body-on-frame SUV, the new Mahindra Scorpio N could prove to be a very attractive proposition. With no direct competition, Scorpio is all set to continue dominating the market and Mahindra has got a clear winner but Mahindra has to really focus on its capacity and try to reduce the waiting period to keep the customers happier.