Mahindra has introduced its second new-generation SUV to New Zealand. Following on from the XUV 700 (“seven double-oh”), which made its Kiwi debut in March, comes the Scorpio 4x4.
The newcomer is a very different proposition to the 700, which is a seven-seat crossover with a petrol engine and front-drive. The Scorpio is also a seven-seater, but in the form of a heavy duty 4x4 based on a ladder-frame chassis with a diesel engine and low-range transfer.
It’s genuinely new model: a replacement for the long-running Scorpio (more than two decades) in Mahindra’s home market of India, although this is the first time it’s been sold in this part of the world. The original Scorpio continues in India as the “Scorpio Classic”, which is why you might have seen this all-new version referred to as “Scorpio-N” in some overseas media. N-for-new-generation, presumably. But for NZ, it’s just Scorpio.
Both 700 and Scorpio wear Mahindra’s new Twin Peak logo on their grilles.
Scorpio is an SUV that competes with conceptually similar models like the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Ford Everest and Isuzu MU-X. Proper 4x4 adventure vehicles for exploring and towing (Scorpio is rated for 2.5 tonnes).
Mahindra’s challenger-brand status and Scorpio’s relatively compact size (it’s about 130mm shorter than Fortuner) might bring an expectation of sharp retail stickers. So it proves – albeit with the caveat that the vehicle carries “introductory pricing” only guaranteed until September 30.
There’s an entry-level 2WD version that opens at $44,990, and even the top-specification 4x4 is just $50,990 – undercutting the Fortuner by over $10k and the cheapest Everest by $20k. The price might also beg comparison with the LDV D90 SUV ($41,990-$55,990).
There are four Scorpio models, all powered by the same 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four making 129kW/400Nm. There’s a six-speed transmission and selectable intelligent “4xplor” Terrain Management System (TMS) on all but the entry 2WD, with Normal, Snow, Mud/Ruts and Sand Settings.
There are two specification levels: Z8 and Z8L. The 2WD model is Z8, with an extra $3000 adding the full 4x4 system to the entry model.
The Z8L 4x4 is $49,990, but it can also be specified as a six, rather than seven-seater, with two luxurious-looking captain’s chairs in the second row, for $50,990.
Z8 specification comes with a suite of off-road electronic and anti-roll functions, cooled glovebox, second-row air conditioning module, dual-tone dashboard and “Rich Coffee Black Leatherette” upholstery.
Z8L trim adds higher-quality 12-speaker Sony audio (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard across the range, with an eight-inch touch screen), front camera for parking and off-roading, front parking sensors, power driver’s seat and wireless phone charging.
The lack of camera-based active safety systems might raise an eyebrow: there’s no active cruise control or lane-assist, although they are likely to be added next year.
The emphasis is on durability and off-road performance, which Mahindra hopes might resonate with Kiwi customers.
DRIVEN Car Guide has been in India testing the Scorpio on tarmac and off-road. Look out for our first drive and video review soon.