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Mahindra Scorpio review: The new mHawk engine gives it an extra sting in its tail

With a retuned mHawk140 engine, Mahindra’s Scorpio has got a massive boost in performance and fixes the weak top-end grunt buyers complained about in the past.

autos Updated: Dec 09, 2017 14:23 IST
Mark Narakaden
Mahindra,Mahindra Scorpio,Mahindra Scorpio price
The retuned 2.2 litre mHawk engine of the Scorpio now develops 140hp and 320Nm of torque, bringing it to a similar level of performance as the current XUV500.

The Scorpio’s 2.2 mHawk engine has always been one of the SUV’s biggest highlights. Refined and smooth for a big diesel engine, strong low-end response and great drivability were the plus points that endeared it to many. However, rev it hard and the strain would become quite apparent as the engine ran out of breath. This lack of top-end performance was quite evident, especially if you are driving and overtaking at highway speeds. Incidentally, many Scorpio customers too responded with a similar feedback.

As a result, the Scorpio now has a new, more powerful engine variant. Mahindra has re-tuned the same 2.2-litre mHawk engine to now develop 140hp and 320Nm of torque, bringing the Scorpio to a similar level of performance as the current XUV500; though, the latter is expected to get a performance upgrade soon, which will further bump up its power.

The driver’s seat of the Scorpio gives you a commanding view of the road and surroundings through its vast glasshouse.

In terms of looks, Mahindra has not fiddled too much, and the Scorpio still makes for a familiar sight. Up front, there’s an all-new grille which replaces the blade-like chrome slats of the previous model with a more traditional seven-slotted design. It also gets a redesigned bumper with new fog lamps, a new skid plate, subtly tweaked projector headlamps and ORVMs that now come integrated with side indicators. The rear end has been cleaned up, the tailgate is all new and Mahindra has completely done away with the plastic appliqué that surrounds the number plate. The Scorpio’s already good-looking tail-lamps look better with a new red theme (from the earlier clear look).

The touchscreen infotainment system impresses overall.
The engine comes paired with an all-new six-speed gearbox; the additional gear is a boon for higher speeds.

Overall, the Scorpio’s nip and tuck job does enough make it look more contemporary and also lends it a hint of sophistication. Along with the new engine and design facelift, Mahindra has also added a new top-end variant called the S11, which features additional equipment. The new, more powerful mHawk140 engine will be available only in the S7 and S11 variants, along with the four-wheel-drive option. There’s a base S3 variant that will feature the m2DICR engine developing 75hp and 200Nm torque. Scorpio’s existing 120hp 2.2 mHawk engine, which also carries forward, will be available in the S5 and S7 trims. Sadly, there still is no automatic transmission on offer. The S11 variant gets new additions on the inside in the form of the dark grey faux-leather seat upholstery, embellished with a dark blue weave pattern that goes well with the cabin, and gear lever and steering wheel wrapped in the same faux leather. Apart from this, the interiors don’t deviate from the current vehicle and everything seems familiar. The driver’s seat gives you a commanding view of the road and surroundings through its vast glasshouse. The plastic quality still leaves a lot to be desired; for example, the door handles feel like they could break off if you pull them too hard.

Up front, the new Scorpio has an all-new grille which replaces the blade-like chrome slats of the previous model with a more traditional seven-slotted design.

In terms of equipment, it gets a new dynamic parking camera that helps indicate the vehicle’s trajectory while parking. The power windows get a delayed-operation feature post engine shut down, while the driver side window also gets an auto roll-up feature when you lock the vehicle. Also, sure to come in handy are a couple of new utility spaces, including a mobile holder slot near the gear lever and a sunglass holder near the inside rear-view mirror.

Other features that are carried forward are the touchscreen infotainment system that impresses overall, but sadly does not feature Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which, today, is fast becoming de rigueur. Micro-hybrid technology, a tyre pressure monitoring system, rain-sensing wiper and automatic headlamps also get carried forward. In terms of safety, the Scorpio gets dual airbags and ABS on all variants except the base S3.

The plastic quality still leaves a lot to be desired; for example, the door handles feel like they could break off if you pull them too hard.

With the new mHawk140 engine, power is up by 20hp and torque by 40Nm, and this translates into a very visible increase in performance. The Scorpio feels so much more energetic than before - while initial acceleration has definitely improved, the mid-range is now much stronger, which should be great for highway overtaking; Mahindra only allowed us a brief drive on the company test track, so we’ll know more once we have it out on the open roads.

The engine comes paired with an all-new six-speed gearbox; the additional gear is a boon for higher speeds. It was developed in-house and is already being used on some of the company’s export models. Mahindra said that it paid special attention to the unit’s shift quality, a common grouse with the five-speed gearbox. After operating it, you’ll notice that shift action definitely feels better than before and also requires slightly lesser effort to change gears. NVH levels have improved slightly with the use of better sound-deadening material. The Scorpio’s suspension remains the same, however, Mahindra say that it has tweaked the spring and damper settings to compensate for the increased weight and performance.

With the new mHawk140 engine, Scorpio feels much more energetic than before -- while initial acceleration has definitely improved, the mid-range is now much stronger.

While prices for the 75hp, 2.5-litre (older) engine variant of the facelifted Scorpio start at Rs 9.97 lakh, the new-tuned 140hp, 2.2-litre engine variant starts at Rs 12.99 lakh (all prices ex-showroom, Delhi), making it more expensive than comparable Tata Safari Storme variants and just shy of the Tata Hexa and Mahindra’s own XUV500. So, it doesn’t really come cheap. Also, there are still many rough edges with the facelift. The interiors are not all that great, imperfect fit and finish may show in places and some desirables, like an automatic transmission, are missing as well. But with the new-tuned mHawk140 engine, the Scorpio gets a boost in performance and fixes the weak top-end grunt that buyers complained about. The ample torque available throughout the rev range and the new six-speed gearbox should make it easy to, both, amble around in the city and drive briskly on the highway. Performance-wise, it is a big thumbs-up. Plus, the Scorpio still retains its traditional butch stance, so if you’ve been a fan of the Scorpio you’ll love the extra sting in its tail.

First Published: Dec 03, 2017 09:03 IST