The Mahindra Scorpio was first launched in India and since then it has become one of the best selling SUVs in the country. The Scorpio is one of the most recognizable SUVs in India and is even used to ferry around the nation’s lawmakers.
In this story, we list out 10 things you may not know about the Mahindra Scorpio.
Mahindra’s first truly in-house vehicle
The Scorpio was launched in 2002 to celebrate the Mahindra’s 50th anniversary. The Scorpio was the first ever-vehicle to be designed and developed in-house by Mahindra with some assistance from AVL Austria and consultants from Japan.
Only 23 engineers worked on the Scorpio project
Mahindra’s engineering tea for the Scorpio project team was very small with just 23 engineers working on the SUV, which helped Mahindra keep the costs down. In fact, the complete cost of designing and developing the Scorpio including the tooling at the company’s Nashik factory cost Mahindra and Mahindra just about Rs. 500 crore.
The company achieved this low R&D cost by including vendors in the design and development of the Scorpio. It is said that Mahindra decided how to put the parts together while the vendors developed most of the systems used on the Scorpio.
Leaf springs at the rear
The modern-day Scorpio offers independent front suspension and torsion bar with coiled springs setup at the rear. However, when the Scorpio first arrived in 2002, it offered a similar front suspension setup while the rear made do with leaf springs, something still seen on the hardy Bolero and Thar even today.
2-litre petrol engine
Many people remember the original Scorpio’s 2.6-litre turbocharged SZ2600 engine as it was the one that most customers bought. However, most of the public have forgotten the fact that Mahindra actually offered the Scorpio with a petrol engine option – a Renault-sourced 2.0-litre powerplant that offered 116 Bhp and 187 Nm of peak torque. Unfortunately, bad mileage from the petrol engine ensured that it didn’t do well in the Indian market obsessed with mileage.
When it arrived in 2002, the Mahindra Scorpio was launched at a shocking price of just Rs 5.5 lakhs. This made it Rs 50,000 cheaper than the wildly popular Toyota Qualis and was also quite close to the pricing of sedans like the top-spec Esteem, which it trolled through its first ad campaigns.
Nowadays, the base variant of the Scorpio costs around Rs 10 lakhs. However, Mahindra has added a host of new features and has updated the engine and given it a new chassis as well, which helps the Scorpio justify its current price tag compared to that of the original.
While it is not a very well known fact, Mahindra does offer customers the option to buy customised versions of the Scorpio directly from the company. This customization is done by the carmaker’s in-house modifiers called Mahindra Customization, which is based out of Mumbai. Mahindra is currently the only mainstream manufacturer in India to offer such extensive customization options for its models.
First Indian SUV to offer sedan-like features
Mahindra has kept the Scorpio fresh in nterms of features and looks on a regular basis since its arrival in 2002. In 2007, five years after its launch, Mahindra updated the Scorpio with multiple sedan-like features including rain sensing wipers, cruise control, tyre pressure monitoring system, voice assist, reverse sensors and “follow-me-home” headlamps.
First Indian SUV to offer a diesel auto and start-stop option
in 2008, the Mahindra Scorpio became the first budget SUV to offer an automatic gearbox with a diesel engine. The Scorpio’s turbocharged 2.2-litre mHawk diesel engine was offered with a six-speed automatic transmission alongside the regular manual transmission. Mahindra also launched its Micro Hybrid idle start-stop feature with the Scorpio.
2.2 litre turbo petrol
Mahindra sells the Scorpio in Latin America with a 2.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine. The turbo petrol engine was derived from Mahindra’s 2.2-litre mHawk diesel engine sold in India and cranks out 154 Bhp and 280 Nm of torque. This engine can be currently found with the updated XUV500 sold in India.
India’s not the only place
As stated above, the Scorpio is sold in Latin America (Central and South America). Along with South Africa, South America is another market that the Scorpio is produced. However, in a few countries like Uruguay and Egypt, the Scorpio is imported as a CKD. Even the Scorpio based pickup truck, the Getaway is popular in quite a few international markets.