2023 Mahindra Scorpio N
With a brand redesign and moderate sales success in recent years, Mahindra is upping the ante across all model ranges. The Scorpio-N is the first to feature the company’s new clothes.
Tough as nails. If you’ve ever considered the previous generation Scorpio, those are probably the words motoring scribes would’ve used to describe Mahindra’s yeomanlike SUV; it offers a no-nonsense approach to motoring.
One of the major drawcards for the Indian marque – especially its compact SUV range, which includes the Scorpio – is that it offered competent motoring at an extremely attractive price. The brand’s reputation for ruggedness also helped win over those in the agricultural sector who were perhaps tired of fancy electronics that could hinder performance in an off-road environment.
The recent popularity of SUVs saw Mahindra put together a few contenders across the segments. After a couple of years on the market, the Scorpio appeared and felt a bit long in the tooth, even though it had a reputation for utilitarian toughness.
It was not bad looking … or bad in any particular way at all. Perhaps the worst criticism anyone could have thrown at it was it felt a generation old by the time it was launched locally six years ago.
At the local introduction of Mahindra’s revised brand image and two new SUVs at the Gerotek Test Facilities not far outside Tshwane, members of the South African motoring media sat and applauded as the covers came off Mahindra’s updated Scorpio-N. The enthusiastic teenager within me would no longer be so easily entertained by the ready-for-action, squared-off styling.
However, the reserved grownup welcomed the new design, which brings it closer to offerings from brands that command a price premium.
The most noticeable changes occur up front, with narrower headlamps on either side of a revised six-slot grille that houses the new Mahindra twin peak logo. Along its profile, the Scorpio-N retains the familiar boxy lines of its predecessors and the shoulder line that rises parallel with the rear wheelarch. Those short overhangs lend the Scorpio-N an air of off-road capability, especially because the lowest bits of body trim are finished in matte black plastic and continue all the way from the front to the rear.
Inside, the Scorpio’s design has morphed from the ancient looking trim and those hard-to-touch panels to a swoopier design and softer materials all round. This is evident mid-fascia, where the massive infotainment screen takes pride of place atop buttons and dials finished in gloss black and faux brushed metal. The satin theme also features on the centre console, steering wheel and door panels. Couple that with the two tone leatherette upholstery and the Mahindra Scorpio-N punches in a category above its predecessor. Our time behind the wheel was limited to the handling circuit high above the Gerotek oval, and unfortunately, we didn’t get to dip our toes into the Scorpio-N’s offroad prowess.
What bundu-bashers will be pleased to hear, however, is that the Scorpio-N retains a body-on-frame chassis and a legitimate 4x4 drivetrain.
What I can report immediately is that the Scorpio-N possesses markedly improved NVH levels, despite the imperfect surface of the handling circuit; even spirited driving did little to unsettle it.
The six-speed automatic held on to a high ratio a little too long as I forced the Scorpio-N up two of the inclines, but otherwise, the 2,2-litre turbodiesel motor proved tractable enough with the drop of a cog.
We’re excited to receive the Scorpio-N for a more comprehensive drive and test. At the time of going to print, Mahindra was unsure when the first of the homologated units would arrive and what they would cost … we cannot report even a vague ballpark figure.
We’re crossing our fingers for the end of this year or the first quarter of 2023.
We managed to spend a few minutes in the new XUV700, Mahindra’s new unibody SUV offering. The styling is an evolution of the outgoing XUV500 and the engine options are slightly different to the Scorpio-N, with a more powerful 2,2-litre turbodiesel and 2,0-litre turbopetrol.
Again, Mahindra’s design team has improved leaps and bounds with the interior finishes, and the XUV700 is a significant upgrade from the XUV500.
We expect these to arrive on local shores at the same time as the Scorpio-N
The Mahindra Scorpio-N is still a little narrow in terms of exterior dimensions compared with its popular rivals, but that means it'll likely scamper up tight passes.
Black plastic cladding looks the part for a rugged aesthetic.
A successful facelift that moves on from the dated previous model, but retains the Mahindra hallmarks.
Deep dish steering wheel with satellite audio and computer controls lends an air of class.
Satin finishes on the switchgear add to the appeal, but may scratch easily.
Updated infotainment screen was a much-needed addition.
Buyers of the Scorpio-N need not feel like they had to sacrifice comfort for rugged ability.
The interior will seat seven, without luggage.
The Scorpio-N's overall design is an original look.
The cabin is where the changes are most obvious; it's been completely modernised.
TECHNICAL DATA 2023 Mahindra Scorpio N
- Price: TBA Engine: 2,2-litre, 4-cyl turbodiesel
- Transmission: 6-speed automatic
- Max Power: 129 kW @ 3900rpm
- Max Torque: 400 N.m @ 2300rpm
- 0–100 km/h 0-62MPH: 9.9sec
- Top speed: 115mph
- Fuel consumption: 43mpg
- CO2 emissions: N/A
- Rivals: Ford Everest, Isuzu MU-X, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Toyota Fortuner
- + updated exterior, improvements in cabin quality and appointments
- - powertrain lacks refinement