Mahindra & Mahindra introduced the Scorpio SUV in 2002, as a clean sheet design meant to give India an affordable, homegrown SUV that could hold its own in the city and on the highway. 12 years since, over 450,000 examples of the Scorpio have found homes in India alone, even as a small chunk of production has headed to international shores too. Over the years, Mahindra has continually refined the Scorpio, from shifting from the belt drive to a chain drive, dumping leaf springs for coil springs and going through 3 generations of turbo diesel engines.
Essentially, the Scorpio SUV that you buy from your nearest Mahindra dealership is a highly evolved beast, especially when compared to the early iterations from 2003-04. The Scorpio brand has also grown from strength to strength in the ensuing decade plus production run. As this illustration indicates, the advent of new competition – read Renault Duster, Tata Safari Storme, Ford EcoSport and for that matter, even the Nissan Terrano – has curiously seen the Scorpio get stronger than ever.
One of the three cash cows for Mahindra & Mahindra, apart from the Bolero and XUV500, the Scorpio SUV is a very important product for the automaker in terms of the numbers game. As a brand, the Scorpio literally established Mahindra as an automaker to watch out for in India. Therefore, it was of no surprise when a person no less than the President of the automaker, Mr. Anand Mahindra, was himself present for the unveil of the SUV’s latest iteration.
In its 2015 iteration and the third major upgrade since its 2002 debut, the Scorpio adopts a new hydroformed chassis, revised front and rear styling, improved suspension aggregates, a wider track, a new gearbox, a new banjo axle and numerous other bits. Pictorially, the slew of changes on the 2015 Scorpio SUV Facelift can be explained in three images. In fact, Mahindra emphasizes that the 2015 Scorpio is a new generation model.
In terms of engines, the Scorpio Facelift retains the 2.5 liter M2DiCR and the 2.2 liter mHawk, 4 cylinder units, with power outputs unchanged, at 75 Bhp and 120 Bhp respectively. Torque outputs are reduced to 200 Nm (from 220 Nm) and 280 Nm (from 290 Nm) though.
The 5 speed gearbox on the 2.2 liter mHawk is an all-new affair, with a higher torque handling capacity of 320 Nm. A rear wheel drive layout is standard fare, with 4 wheel drive options on select variants.
The Scorpio Facelift received more than some flak for its design, first revealed through a couple of spyshots that made their way onto the interweb last weekend. In the flesh though, the Scorpio’s design is a different cup of tea. Mahindra has retained the body shell of the older Scorpio, with major revisions to the front and the rear.
While the design is very busy at both the front and the rear, the front kind of grows on you. We feel that darker shades of the Scorpio make the SUV’s new design look good. Meanwhile, the good news about the Scorpio’s rear is that the unusual design elements can be cleaned up with a little bit of imagination, particularly so considering that the X’Mas tree reflectors are still a straight fit on the facelifted model’s derriere. As all styling matters go, we’ll leave each to her/his own.
The 2015 Scorpio Facelift carries over the hexagonal design theme on the tail gate, a-la-XUV500. With the Scorpio Facelift becoming the second Mahindra to gain this styling element, after the XUV500, we expect to see more of this design in future Mahindras.
The front of the car comes with static bending lamps, although the word bent would have been more appropriate here.
When viewed from a particular angle and with the honeycomb bezel in place, the Scorpio Facelift looks somewhat like the Land Rover Freelander2.
The 17 inch alloy wheel size makes the Scorpio the second Mahindra vehicle to feature this size, apart from the XUV500.
Both the front doors of the Scorpio Facelift have plenty of heft and there’s nice mechanical feel to shutting the door. Unlike many new cars, the Scorpio continues to exude a sense of toughness that its heavy sheet metal body provides in good measure.
The same can’t be said of the tail gate though, which is considerably lighter. A lot of material has been shaved from the tail gate’s inside. Meanwhile, the bonnet of the Scorpio gets hydraulic struts, and this is one feature that isn’t available even on the more expensive XUV500.
The seat fabric on the Scorpio is new and so is the upholstery.
Other bits such as the better quality plastic bits used on the all-new dashboard and the rear AC blower placed at a less acute angle show that the improvements span the entire vehicle.
The faux carbon fiber, glossy finish on the center console could prove to be a fingerprint magnet.
The leg room on the middle seat has improved, and the thinner seat backs and the narrower dashboard could be the reasons for this increase. A six footer was comfortable at both the front and the rear.
The third set of side facing seats are strictly for short hauls.
The seats are well bolstered and the front passenger seat back has a magazine holder. There are mobile phone holders on the rear doors but most smartphones won’t fit in.
Apart from these minor gripes, the Scorpio Facelift packs in plenty of storage and a couple of charging sockets.
In terms of driving position, the Scorpio’s front seat delivers a commanding view of the road ahead, and the edges of the bonnet are still visible, making for better manouverability and judgment in tight spots/urban traffic. The power windows switch move to the doors while the seat belts don’t have height adjust-ability, a glaring omission in an SUV that offers ABS and Airbags.
Here are the technical specifications of the 2015 Scorpio,
We had CarToq expert Dr. Mandar Ketkar and the owner of not one, but two Scorpios, accompany us to the launch. Much of this report’s finer details were gleaned from Dr. Ketkar’s real world experience with two generations of the Scorpio. Hat tip, Doc.