The Indian auto market is difficult to break into and it is very difficult for any car maker to break the formula of a successful car. In this sense, Mahindra Scorpio has proved to be an anomaly, a perfect example of a success story. Launched back in 2002, the SUV has managed to create a cult following for itself, a cult so strong that even Mahindra is afraid to mess with its name. So, 20 years later, when Mahindra decided to launch a new SUV, they ditched the Scorpio name and their latest SUV is called the Scorpio-N. Mahindra has come up with a new strategy with the Scorpio-N as the Indian automaker will continue to sell the old Scorpio under a new name in the country, which they are yet to confirm. As far as the Scorpio-N is concerned, Mahindra is aggressively marketing the new SUV as the “Big Daddy of SUVs”. Whether it lives up to the campaign or not, let’s take a look at our 2022 Mahindra Scorpio-N first drive review.
Check out the video review:
Mahindra Scorpio has been the definition of SUV that scares you, but the Scorpio-N takes on a more premium, road-friendly design theme. From the overall silhouette to the front, rear and sides, everything has been changed in the new model. It gets a new Mahindra grille with Twin Peak logo at the front, muscular wheel arches on the sides and a longer stance at the rear. L-shaped taillights have also been seen in some other vehicles on Indian roads.
The allure of a Scorpio is to stand on the side stairs and sit in high-set seats with an impressive view, making you feel like you’re on the first floor. As for the overall design, each person has a unique taste. For me, I look for width in an SUV and Scorpio gets a wide front. But the rear gets a tall design which strips the width and hence I am not a huge fan of the Scorpio-N’s design. I still like the previous Scorpio more!
Go inside the cabin and the all-new Mahindra Scorpio-N welcomes you with a dark, dual tone brown and black theme. It gets a touchscreen infotainment system powered by AdrenoX technology along with waterfall central console and vertically stacked AC vents. The screen size is only 8-inches, which is small for my liking, while the instrument cluster is semi-digital, unlike the XUV700’s fully digital console. I also missed out on a panoramic sunroof and electronic parking brake.
The Scorpio-N gets a single pane sunroof, wireless charger and 70+ Connect apps along with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It also has built-in Alexa functionality and Sony’s 3D immersive sound system. The overall quality, fit and finish and cabin feel is much better than Mahindra’s previous generation cars and most importantly the Scorpio.
As for the inside space, the Mahindra Scorpio-N gets three rows of seating and the third row now gets bench type seating instead of jump seats. Like all 7-seater sub-20 lakh cars in India, the rear space is not up to the mark and can only accommodate kids. Also, not being able to access the rear seats through the side opening doors is another big downside. There’s ample boot space with all the seats up front, while the middle row seats offer ample legroom and headroom.
Mahindra Scorpio-N is being offered with both petrol and diesel engine options. While the 2.2-litre diesel engine gets 203 PS output, the 2.0-litre petrol gets 175 PS rating, both derived from the XUV700. Gearbox options include a 6-speed manual and an automatic as well. We only got to run the mHawk diesel engine with 400 Nm of torque and an automatic transmission.
Engine output was good and I found the gearbox to be refined and not clunky. The biggest asset or USP for Scorpio is its suspension which is supreme and handles the broken Pune roads with ease. Mahindra has tuned the steering for a comfortable city drive and this has resulted in a slight oversteer for highway driving. The engine noise also creeps up when accelerating.
What is surprising is how well Mahindra has managed to control the pitch and roll movements. Scorpio-N doesn’t do any weird things like she used to do with regular Scorpios. There is also a 4XPLOR version with Intelligent Terrain Management Technology with modes like Mud and Sand. Mahindra will also offer a 4 wheel drive system, while the three driving modes are Zip, Zap and Zoom. Overall, the Scorpio-N surprised me with its supreme ride quality.
To be honest, I was a little confused about the placement of the Mahindra Scorpio-N. Starting at a starting price of Rs 12 lakh (ex-showroom, for the first 25,000 customers), this new SUV is almost identical to the premium Mahindra XUV700 and the original Mahindra Scorpio, with no features. So, who is the buyer of the new Scorpio-N? As far as I understand, the Scorpio-N is a perfect fit for all those who are looking to buy a butcher and tall looking SUV under Rs 20 lakh, with extra gadgets, premium feel and a lot of space.