|Revving it up: The new Scorpio Refresh comes with the refined mHawk engine that retains its composure even at high speeds
Before the Scorpio was launched, Mahindra was known as a company that made tough vehicles that catered to the rural market. The Scorpio changed Mahindras image completely and it was a success, especially in the urban market.
This car has always been ahead of its game. Its been through a few facelifts, three engine upgrades and now there is the Scorpio Refresh, with an entirely cosmetic makeover. Also, its now available only with the mHawk engine — the CRDe engine now comes only with the Getaway and the Xylo. The new Scorpio also gets Mahindras start-stop system to improve the engines efficiency.
The most telling change in the exteriors of the Scorpio is at the front end. The brochure claims that the Scorpio Refresh is fresh from the gym, and it certainly looks beefy — though not necessarily pretty. It sports a new grille with a Bugs Bunny tooth at the centre, a characteristic also present in the Bolero and the recently launched Xylo.
Then, theres the new bonnet scoop, which now looks smarter, and the front bumper looks like its been chiselled off Schwarzeneggers biceps. There are also the clear lens headlamps and bigger foglamps up front. The chunky, pull-type door handles, new side cladding and the integrated footstep on the rear bumper round up the facelift. The changes to the exteriors certainly make the car look aggressive and beastly.
Mechanically, the Scorpio remains unchanged except that the start-stop system, first seen on the Bolero micro hybrid, has been added here as well. The micro hybrid system has been further developed; the engine now turns off after five seconds compared to the 10 seconds on the Bolero and when you depress the clutch the engine starts running again.
Theres one problem though. When the engine shuts down, so does the air-con compressor and only the blower keeps running. So on a hot day, if you catch a series of stoplights, the car quickly goes to scorching hot.
Apart from this, the Scorpio feels the same to drive. It comes with the identical refined 2.2-litre mHawk engine mated to a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox. The engine is a gem with a good torquey nature. Theres hardly any turbo lag and the engine pulls from as low as 1500rpm without any problem. Even when stretched the engine retains its composure well. The soft suspension set-up remains unchanged, so the Scorpio still tends to bounce over bumps at high speeds. Straight-line stability is just about okay and you have to be a bit careful going over bumps while cornering because the car gets a bit unsettled. The light steering, strong engine and the short wheelbase make the car very nice to drive in the city.
The new Scorpio rides well at slow speeds, getting over large bumps very easily. But as speed increases the car tends to jump a bit, takes some time to settle down and the passengers arent seated in great comfort because of this.
As for the interiors, they are largely unchanged but theres a new dual-tone upholstery option, a new gear lever and a 2-DIN MP3/CD player with a USB port. A very useful addition is the power mirrors. You no longer have to stretch across to adjust the far side mirror. As in the VLX, the Refresh comes with standard gizmos like automatic wipers, parking sensors and cruise control. The build quality of the interiors, though not bad, is not in the same league as the Innova. The front seats are pretty comfortable but the rear seats could have done with more space.
Good looks and a sturdy engine have always been the Scorpios strengths. Now with this makeover, the Scorpio has the mien and the muscle to star in a movie like the Terminator Salvation. Its priced at Rs 9.3 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the VLX BS-IV model. Considering the equipment and the overall appeal of the car, this is reasonable enough. If you still think its expensive, there are lower versions of the Refresh with price cuts of up to Rs 34,000 for the base version. For this price, this is Indias best SUV yet.
Mahindra Scorpio Refresh
Price: Rs 9.3 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Turning circle: 11.2m
Kerb weight: 1850kg
Engine: 4-cyls in-line, 2179cc, common-rail turbodiesel
Installation: Longitudinal, rear-wheel drive
Power: 120bhp at 4000rpm
Torque: 29.5kgm at 1800-2800rpm
Suspension (F/R): Independent, coil spring, anti roll bar/ multi-link, coil spring
Gearbox: 5-speed manual/ 6-speed automatic
Brakes (F/R): Discs/drums
Tyre size: 235/70 R16