Mahindra Scorpio: Know the SUV
One of the most important milestones in the history of Indian automobiles is the Mahindra Scorpio. Launched in 2002 after years of in-house development, this vehicle changed the face of SUVs in the country. It has been one of the most successful indigenous products ever and continues to be a popular SUV even today.
The Scorpio also took Mahindra to global markets and is currently into its second generation with multiple updates over the years. Sold in three seating configurations of 7, 8 and 9 seats, the Scorpio is a common sight in rural areas too, thanks to its strong built and a robust suspension. It continues to compete in the ever growing SUV market with its prices being in the middle of various car segments like premium sub-4 metre compact SUVs, C segment sedans and new age SUVs like the Hector, Harrier and the Seltos.
Brief history of the Mahindra Scorpio in India
The Scorpio made its debut in June 2002 when it was launched in two versions of Turbo 2.6 and Turbo 2.6 DX. Prices started at just 5.5 lakh which is almost half of what you would pay for a base Scorpio today.
In October 2002, a petrol engine was added though removed a few years down the line due to poor sales.
2006 saw the introduction a new facelift taking into considering inputs from owners. An year later, the famed 2.2-lite mHAWK engine made its way to the SUV. It was lighter, frugal and better in terms of performance.
2014 saw the launch of the second generation model that brought in changes in and out, a bump in engine performance and increased safety aids. Prices for this version started at Rs 7.98 lakh.
In 2017, the Scorpio got even more power and an updated 6 sped manual gearbox. Over the years, an optional automatic transmission has been introduced twice but taken off the market within months. A 4×4 is offered but sadly, only on the top spec trim.
Mahindra Scorpio: Typical new car buyer profile
The Mahindra Scorpio, due to new-age rivals, is witnessing a decline in demand from bigger metro cities. That said, owners still prefer it for the old school boxy SUV design, good build quality and a suspension that can handle abuse. A proper 4×4 with low ratio transfer case also helps those looking at adventure.
In small towns and rural markets, the Scorpio has no match. Rivals have come and gone but the sheer brand appeal and tag name is enough to lure customers each month. Anyone in this market looking at a large vehicle ends up purchasing a Scorpio. The ones with the lower budget however go for the cheaper Bolero – but more on this in some other article.
Mahindra Scorpio: Typical used car buyer profile
Who is the used car aimed at. Typical user profile. (may be different). Example: A new Honda Accord would be aimed at executives who need a no-nonsense, luxury car. A used Honda Accord would be aimed at younger buyers who want luxury for cheap, but with Japanese reliability.
A used Mahindra Scorpio is aimed at consumers who want a multi-tasking vehicle. In metro towns, its a buyer who wants a large SUV, one that he can use on a daily basis, to carry large items and to move around with family on weekends.
In smaller towns or rural places, thanks to a large cabin, the Scorpio is used to ferry people and luggage alike. Demand remains high in the used car market even today which means resale value is high. The Scorpio, specially in white or black, is looked up as a social status in smaller towns and hence youngsters, who are rising up in life and want to show off or earn ego points also end up buying a used Scorpio at the cost of a new mid size hatchback.
Key positives of the Mahindra Scorpio
The Mahindra Scorpio continues to look muscular with an old school SUV design, something that is getting lost in the new age options in the price band. This is a very reliable product with numerous reports of vehicle having done in excess of 2 lakh kilometers.
Next is the powertrain with the higher versions of S7, S9 and S11 being offered with a powerful 140 bhp unit. The 4×4 Scorpio, thanks to a low ratio transfer case and ample ground clearance is a very capable vehicle off the road. Talking of which, the Scorpio can handle a lot of abuse in terms of bad roads without the suspension giving up easily for years. For an SUV that is very old, feature list is impressive too. Lastly, it enjoys a very high social status in the smaller towns and rural markets and has ample street cred in metro cities.
Key negatives of the Mahindra Scorpio
The lack of an automatic is a big deal breaker for lot of buyers in metro towns. Further, contrary to Mahindra’s promotion of “live young, live free” and adventure activities, a 4×4 is only offered in the top spec trim which makes it too expensive for most.
Apart from this, space in the 2nd row is tight and among the lowest in this segment. Further, while the suspension can take a lot of beating, ride quality is far from plush and when driving alone, on the bouncier side. The overall shape of the Scorpio has remained largely same over the past 17 years unlike other SUVs that get major design upgrades every few years. Lastly, the top end model, even the non 4×4, is over Rs 17 lakh on-road and at this price, a buyer has a lot other options in the market too.
The ideal used Mahindra Scorpio
If you are in the market for a used Mahindra Scorpio, it is best to look out for a post September 2014 model or the second generation Scorpio. Ideally one that is 3-4 years old and has about 40000 to 50000 km on the odometer is a fairly good option in terms of long term reliability and trouble free nature. The automatic transmission wasn’t offered for long and hence is difficult to find.
Buying newer and older used Mahindra Scorpio SUVs
The Mahindra Scorpio has been in the market for over 17 years and you can find used examples of every age easily. However if you want one in NCR, stay away from anything that’s older than 7-8 years as the government does not allow usage of diesel cars that are over 10 years in the NCR.
An average Scorpio owner does drive over 15000 km or so each year so keep that in mind while filtering through used options.
The current model got engine updates in 2017 and isn’t an easy piece of find in the used car market. The best and recommended models are from 2014 till 2016.
Mahindra Scorpio used SUV for the enthusiast
A used Mahindra Scorpio 4WD is what you should be looking at in case you are an adventurous person and wish to explore India on wheels. The high ground clearance and availability of a low ratio set-up makes the Scorpio a capable vehicle off the road. Do note that most 4WD Scorpios will be in the top spec trims which means ample features but a high price too.
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What to check before buying a used Mahindra Scorpio
The most common problem owners have associated with the Scorpio is got to do with its electrical components and electronics. These do start giving trouble within a few years of ownership. Likewise, the pre-2014 models were known to suffer from suspension issues.
The infotainment unit on the top end trims also has a tendency to hang up and needs a re-boot for proper operation.
There hasn’t been any major recall of the Scorpio that Mahindra has been vocal about officially. That said, on the post 2014 models, there was a recall for re-welding of the front suspension mounts for most Scorpios.
Typical maintenance issues and problems for used Mahindra Scorpio Explained
When you go for a test drive, make sure you operate all the features of the car. Keep an eye on anything thats not working or is throwing up issues. While fixing most electrical aids will not be costly, others could throw up a big bill.
If the car you are driving has a lot of kilometers on the odometer, either skip it or ensure there are no unwanted wallows or vertical / horizontal movements from the rear at higher speeds.
For the post-2014 Scorpios, ensure the car has gone to an authorised workshop for inspection and a possible re-weld of the front suspension mounts if the car was part of the recall.
Used Mahindra Scorpio: Service costs
Most electrical issues can be solved without burning a hole in your pocket. However we would still recommend you to check with the nearest service centre on the exact costs involved.
A full suspension overhaul won’t be cheap either and hence stay away from such models.
In terms of services, the Scorpio does throw up surprises depending on the mileage done. Here are some examples:
40,000 routine service: Rs 8972
50,000 routine service: Rs 2402
60,000 routine service: Rs 10579
70,000 routine service: Rs 3969
These are the actual service costs as per Mahindra but does not include parts that need replacement. Another area where the the Scorpio could burn a hole in your pocket are it’s tyres. A set of four new tyres can cost as much as Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000!
Expected real-world mileage of used Mahindra Scorpio SUV
Depending on the Scorpio you pick, fuel economy will vary. The base model comes with a m2DICR 2.5-litre unit that offers average performance but comes with a rated economy of 16 kmpl or an easy 11-12 kmpl in city usage. The 2.2 mHAWK units come with a certified economy of 15.37 kmpl and 15.01 kmpl for the 120 and 140 bhp versions. Even these can offer 10-11 kmpl easily without trying too hard. Thanks to a 6 speed manual gearbox on the 140 bhp models, the big Scorpio returns over 17 kmpl on the highways when driven around the 90 km/h mark.
Used Scorpio: Maintenance and service tips
We do understand that spares and routine maintenance of the Scorpio isn’t very affordable and this is where most owners of used examples might look at using the services of a neighbourhood garage. Do this only if the car isn’t in any standard or extended warranty any more. As for recommended outlets, we can’t see much right now, but ensure you only use genuine OEM or OES parts and lubes for good, reliable manufacturers.
Used Mahindra Scorpio: What to avoid
We say keep away from used Scorpios that have run a lot in terms of mileage. Likewise, the base S2 trim came with a lower performing m2DICR unit. While it has good low end torque, outright performance isn’t good – hence invest into a higher trim and hence a mHAWK unit.
Post-2014 Scorpio models are a better buy than the 1st gen models.
A 3-4 year old model that has less than 50,000km on the odometer is an ideal example of a used Mahindra Scorpio. If the pocket allows, opt for a higher trim model that has good number of creature comforts include safety aids.
From end-2017 onwards, all Mahindra Scorpio models have been offered with with ABS and Airbags as standard across all trims. However, this wasn’t the case with the earlier units. The Scorpio S4+ and S6+ which came in January 2015 have ABS and Airbags only in their (O) or option trim and these are the ones to go for when you buy a used Mahindra Scorpio.
For such a relatively new Scorpio and of a higher variant, expect to pay upwards of Rs 10 lakh post bargaining. That isn’t a bad deal considering upper trim Scorpios cost as much as Rs 16-17 lac on-road.
Used Mahindra Scorpio: Alternatives
A used Tata Safari Storme is a good alternative. It offers the same street cred but has a far more spacious 2nd row. Ride quality is better too.
A pre-owned Mahindra XUV500 is a good alternative to a used Scorpio. It is more car like, has more space, better features and excellent perfor-mance too However, suspension gives up early if you abuse it.
If you are on a tight budget and do not need a third row, look at a used Renault Duster. It has a fabulous ride quality, huge boot and an efficient engine.