When the new Scorpio was launched, the whole media was behind the vehicle. Go, drive and write whatever one discovers. So were we, still following our tradition of presenting the truth ‘naked’, we decided to hold and see how the wind blows in the coming time. Here we, at ‘The Naked Truth’, today bring our take and what we discovered in one of the most awarded SUVs’ ever made in India.
Call it Mahindra Scorpio or Mahindra Goa, this SUV, with its rugged and well-proven underpinnings has gained the reputation of a no-nonsense and highly reliable vehicle on every part of the earth it is being sold on.
Is it a mere facelift or a new vehicle? This is the question that nearly everyone had in his/her mind before the new Scorpio was unveiled; in fact it is still there in many minds. Well, let’s make this question itself our point of discussion and move ahead. What’s a facelift? Well, take a car, add some bling to exterior and some to interior and voila! A new model is born! Haha, the Maruti Suzuki way that is (No pun intended, but the Sting Ray is something we have fallen for; of course laughing). Then what a new model is? Well, a new model in our opinion is at least when a considerable part of the vehicle is entirely new, including everything right from styling to mechanicals. So what the new Scorpio is? Let’s discover it now.
Aggressive styling with some sharp lines has always been the USP of Scorpio and Mahindra has by no ways risked going away from the same. Playing a bit safe with the exterior styling of this cash cow; Mahindra has decided to keep the side profile identical to what it already was; a disappointment for us for sure as we wanted something new. So what? If customers like it, then it will be manufactured. Front end is welcome, a new grille, new and modern looking headlamps, new bumper and a lot more. What’s good is that these changes make the Scorpio a bit matured looking beast instead of an amateur and aggressive one; definitely a welcome change. Going to rear, we again welcome the LED treatment on the tail lamps, new intrusions in the place of reflectors are also a welcome but what looks out of place is the plastic surrounding the registration plate area. Although Mahindra took the initial customer feedback a bit seriously and quickly painted this rear appliqué in body color (they even changed the registration plate surrounding now) but still it looks out of place and what we miss is the plain but attractive styling we had on the older variant. All in all, Mahindra has targeted two birds with a single stone by keeping the older styling alive for the ones who liked it, but still adding some modern cues for appealing the modern crowd; all in all, a thumbs up from our side.
I can bet that Mahindra has taken the ‘make a list and address everything’ approach here. If the exterior had nothing very special to make us jump from our seats then interior left no stone unturned to make our jaw drop (wait, let me lift it from the floor and fit it back). Right from the time we opened the front door, all we were having was an awe for how far Mahindra has actually gone with the interiors. I won’t write pages about it as people are already familiar with the vehicle but will write about what we experienced in the vehicle in the mean time. Ergonomics are flawed at places, light interiors get soiled easily, a tall person will never be happy opening the glovebox and the driver simply can’t access some buttons when the vehicle is in odd gears, rest everything is okay. What is actually awesome is the touch screen head unit for the entertainment system. This thing contains everything right from your songs to GPS, distance to empty, phone connectivity etc etc.. a long list you know. So, for the new design, we give a thumbs up. Fit and finish may not be very nice, but everything is nicely bolted and can be expected to take beating for years without giving up.
Seats are changed, front seats are better and can accommodate a person with average build in supreme comfort, the jumbo guys may find them quite inadequate though. Those who had to complain with the comfort of the middle row can rejoice now. The new seat is way better than the outgoing one with better cushioning, better sizing and a better placed back rest. All in all, the comfort may not be better than the Tata Safari Storme, but it isn’t much behind either.
How it drives? Engine, Gearbox, Ride, Handling and Brakes!
Well, it still drives the way it drove when we drove it for the first time, so rugged are the underpinnings that they just refuse to die or give up under any situation (Of course, it doesn’t meant that it can bend the laws of physics and mechanics).
If there is anything we can write pages about in admiration, then it is the 2.2 mHawk and this one is no exception. This gem of an engine is the one which gives a fantastic blend of power, refinement, responsiveness and fuel efficiency and this one hasn’t gave us any ghastly surprise; as expected. The gearbox is a straight lift from the Xylo mHawk, the clutch is better and so is the shifting action; resulting in a stress free driving experience, especially in the city and hilly routes. There is a complain though, the gear ratios are a bit short and hence the engine gets noisy even at 100 kph in 5th gear with the rev needle hovering around 2500 rpm. For instance, it hovers around 2200 in a Tata Safari Storme and makes it feel a relaxed cruiser compared to the hurried feel the Scorpio has. Still, the performance is more than adequate for a 1.8 tonne beast and we are actually impressed with the performance on offer that can put even some sedans to shame (please don’t try though).
New suspension is better and so are the brakes, all in all, the dynamics now do a bit of justice to the performance on offer and that’s a good thing. In fact we liked the way Scorpio has now transformed. The new hydroformed chassis has helped it lose some kilos from weight which is helping here for sure. The steering wheel is responsive but what still disappoints is the fact that the dynamics are still not there. The brakes are good but there is an initial spongy feeling which requires a bit of getting used to. Ride quality is what we should give special thumbs up to Mahindra for. They have worked really hard here and that’s what is well apparent in every situation now. There is nothing to complain and the vehicle simply glides over many surfaces. In fact it is very much near to the Tata Safari Storme, if not better or equal to it and that’s a really good thing we must say.
Should you put your money on it?
Of course yes, Mahindra has tried to iron out every issue this steady steed had associated with it and they have succeeded in a lot of it. This simply adds more to the appeal of this vehicle along with the fact that the prices are still nearly same as before without any major hike (ignore the duty rise by government which was incorporated on 1st January 2015); which just works as an icing on the cake. And yes, this is a new model under the skin of a facelift; something that appeals the customers who liked it old as well as the ones who wanted something new and a lot more new customers too!
*Picture credits: Mahindra