Over the years Mahindra's Scorpio has gone on to dominate the mass market SUV segment in the country while also proving its mettle over the most extreme terrains. We take the current avatar of the Scorpio for a spin to bask in its success story
When it was launched back in 2002, the Mahindra Scorpio had only one rival in its segment, the Tata Safari. 11 years later the Scorpio continues to sell in strong numbers while facing competition from new entrants like the Renault Duster. The Scorpio has garnered a massive fan following over the years and is the vehicle of choice for those looking for a budget SUV that is still high on the appeal and status symbol front.
One of the most definitive factors to have mesmerised people about the Scorpio is its exterior design. Its rugged and chunky design consisting of the squarish bonnet with the neatly integrated air scoop, rectangular grille and headlights along with the front bumper that incorporates the fog lamps and a plastic skid plate give it a dominating yet pleasant appearance which is in sync with traditional SUV design norms.
Mahindra has also given the Scorpio 2.2 mHawk a sticker job on the right side of the bonnet that stretches over the right A-Pillar, front apron and over to the end of the driver’s door, the graphic stickers also run along the left rear door all the way to the left half of the tailgate. While stickers can be a clumsy affair, the execution of this sticker job actually works in favour of the Scorpio for it adds some glitz to the otherwise large plain surface areas on the side.
Another design feature that stands out about the Scorpio is its side cladding. Running along the wheel arches and doors is a flared plastic cladding that gives the otherwise flat contour a muscular stance. Going around the back, the Scorpio’s large rear window, tall tail light clusters and the chunky wrap around cladding that neatly incorporates the rear bumper with a foot step never fail to catch one’s attention. Our Scorpio 2.2 mHawk VLX 4x4 also had an integrated tow hook in the rear bumper which we thought was a welcome addition.
Completing the exterior look are the black roof rails, a rear spoiler and a set of ten spoke 16 inch alloy wheels. No doubt, the Scorpio is a stylish vehicle and its looks have won it many followers over the years. While Mahindra continues to tinker with its exteriors, we really aren’t complaining and amongst the budget SUVs in the country, the Scorpio is definitely one of the better looking ones.
Step inside and you are greeted by a welcoming beige interior colour scheme. The centre console and the rear air vent surrounds are finished in faux wood and lend a visual break from the light and dark beige plastics. The plastics themselves are of average quality with some uneven edges at the panel gaps and this is something that Mahindra should look at rectifying for the inferior quality is visually irritating. Having said that, Mahindra has added some nice touches as well including the leather wrapped steering wheel, brushed chrome details and neat airconditioning vents.
In terms of equipment, the Scorpio 2.2 mHawk VLX 4x4 packs a decent amount of kit with features that include a Bluetooth enabled stereo that can play music off CDs, USB devices as well as from an AUX port, power windows all around, electric ORVMs, an illuminated ignition ring, steering mounted audio, phone and cruise control buttons, rain sensing front wipers, power outlets for both front and rear passengers, rear A/C vents, rear parking sensors, rear defogger and wash wipe, remote central locking and a tyre-tronics system that informs the driver about individual tyre pressure on all four wheels. The Scorpio also comes with a voice guidance system that informs you if a door is open and doesn’t fail to remind you to always buckle up!
Over the years the Scorpio has been fitted with active safety features such as dual front airbags, anti-lock braking system and a collapsible steering column. Passive safety features on Scorpio include crumple zones and side impact beams.
As a seven-seater SUV the Scorpio has two rows of front facing seats and jump seats for the third row. There is also an option for a forward facing third row seating. The seats themselves are well bolstered but are a tad too firm, which can get uncomfortable over long drives. Passengers at the front get individual arm rests while rear passengers have a centre armrest that folds away to make way for the third passenger. The biggest drawback of the Scorpio’s interior continues to the rear legroom that is left wanting and tall passengers may have their knees rubbing against the front backrest. The rear jump seats are not the best place to be in either as they tend to get tossed around quite a bit.