By Malusi Msomi
The Mahindra Scorpio has always been an odd one in the segment. However, Mahindra recently launched its replacement, the Scorpio-N, which is possibly one of the greatest transformations in the segment. The latest model comes with new bold styling, technology, a new engine, and a new platform.
Boxy exterior shape
We were quite impressed with the styling of the Scorpio-N. The previous Scorpio (still being sold in India as the Scorpio Classic) looked disproportionate, while this model looks well put together. Our top-of-the-range Z8L 4×4 model comes equipped with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, and LED taillights with sequential turn signals. The front looks quite good with a new grille featuring Mahindra’s new twin-peaks logo. Interestingly, the rear taillights give us Volvo XC90 vibes. Nonetheless, it is a good-looking car.
The cabin of the Scorpio-N is decent and well-appointed, representing a much-needed improvement over its predecessor, despite the fair use of plastics. Standard equipment in the Scorpio-N includes a rich Coffee/Black colour scheme complemented by leatherette seats, an 8-inch infotainment display, a 7-inch TFT instrument cluster, a sunroof, and a 12-speaker Sony 3D surround sound system. It’s noteworthy that the infotainment system only supports Android Auto, with plans to introduce Apple CarPlay later this year. Although it is a 7-seater, space in the third row of seats is limited. When opening the door-style boot, you’ll find that trunk space is virtually non-existent when all seats are up.
Performance and driving impressions
Powering the 7-seater Scorpio-N Z8L 4×4 is a new 2.2L turbodiesel engine that produces 128.6kW/400Nm, paired with a 6-speed auto transmission. The engine and gearbox work quite well together, and in terms of ride quality, it feels pretty compliant. Diesel engines are generally loud, but somehow Mahindra did a good job when it comes to sound deadening as the cabin remains quiet even during acceleration. The Scorpio-N is fitted with a smart 4XPLOR 4×4 system, featuring selectable Terrain Modes (including Normal, Snow, Mud & Ruts, and Sand), along with a mechanical locking differential.
Mahindra has definitely upped their game with the new 7-seater Scorpio. Priced at R604,999, this car offers a compelling option. It still has some ground to cover in terms of catching up to the likes of the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Everest in overall refinement, but at this price point, you can comfortably transport your family and do some off-roading without breaking the bank.
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