Mahindra Scorpio-N: Floats like a butterfly, stings nobody

The Scorpio-N possibly has the best suspension in its class of SUVs—it glides over potholes, has minimal body roll and doesn’t ‘dive’ during regular braking. Seats are firm, and don’t pinch your lower back after day-long drives.

Mahindra Scorpio-N: Floats like a butterfly, stings nobody

Initial impressions are good. Although its design may not wow you, as you soon you take the seat and start driving, the new Scorpio-N will pleasantly surprise you with its features, driveability, and fit and finish.

We recently drove it in the congested Pune traffic, on the expressway, on narrow hilly roads, and off the road.

What is the Scorpio-N?
It doesn’t have any connection with the old Scorpio (which will be sold as the Scorpio Classic). Mahindra said the ‘Scorpio-N’ stands for “Scorpio raised to the power of N.” Both the SUVs don’t share any component; while the Scorpio-N is manufactured at the company’s Chakan plant near Pune, the Scorpio Classic is made at the Nashik plant.

What defines its design?
Do you remember the Alturas G4, the Ssangyong SUV that Mahindra launched in India in 2018? The Scorpio-N, especially from the front three-quarters, looks like that premium Korean SUV.

It’s almost as big as the Toyota Fortuner (which is priced more than Rs 30 lakh), and has similar road presence (muscular wheels arches, front grille reminds you of the Scorpio Classic, and third-row windows have a scorpion’s sting-like curve in metal). Its tail lights, smart though these are, look a lot like tail lights of Volvo XC90.

How is the cabin?
The craftsmanship is good, at least in the top-end variants. The cabin is done up in a coffee-black colour (dirt doesn’t show on this colour) and the central touchscreen is encased in metal-finished dual rails. All three rows are spacious even for the tallest Indians, but luggage space is limited (you can create more luggage space by folding down third row seats).

How does it drive?
The 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine (TGDi mStallion) produces 200 PS of power and 380 Nm of torque, and the 2.2-litre diesel engine (mHawk) produces 175 PS and 400 Nm (diesel engine in entry-level variants produces lesser power and torque). Both get six-speed manual and automatic transmission options, and 4×4.I drove only the top-end diesel.

On the road: It drives like a sedan on the highway—planted. If you change lanes at speeds above 80 km/h, there is a slight body roll. It possibly has the best suspension in its class of SUVs—it glides over potholes and doesn’t ‘dive’ during regular braking. Seats are firm, and don’t pinch your lower back even after day-long drives. You do feel body roll on winding hilly roads, but it’s controlled.

Off the road: Get into 4×4 low and first gear, and the Scorpio-N can be driven just about anywhere—in the slush, dry river beds, even foot-tall rocks.

Is it a good buy?
Prices start at Rs 11.99 lakh (ex-showroom) for the Z2 petrol variant, going up to Rs 19.49 lakh for Z8L diesel MT (prices of the AT and 4×4 variants will be announced on July 21).It’s a fine attempt by Mahindra; price per cubic feet of cabin is among the lowest for a car in India, and it’s a cabin that is loaded with technology (AdrenoX with 70-plus connected car features) and home-like comfort. With powerful engines and go-anywhere capability, it’s an SUV that can be truly called an SUV.

Why buy an SUV?
While Mahindra claims that the Scorpio-N has the lowest carbon dioxide emissions in its segment—achieved through competent engineering and product development right from the outset—one must be conscious about the environment before buying big cars.

Ask yourself do you really need a large SUV, especially if you’ll be the only one using it most of the time? As compared to small cars, large SUVs are expensive to maintain, difficult to park and leave a bigger carbon footprint. Decide wisely.

SUVs in similar price range

Kia SeltosRs 10.19-18.45 lakh
Hyundai AlcazarRs 16.44-20.25 lakh
Tata SafariRs 15.25-23.46 lakh
Mahindra XUV700Rs 13.18-24.58 lakh
MG Hector PlusRs 15.47-20.1 lakh
(Prices are ex-showroom; the Seltos is a five-seater, and all others have six or seven seats; prices of the Hector Plus are of the seven-seat variant)

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