Indian carmaker Mahindra has been in the mainstream Australian market since 2007 to a
very limited extent, with only a couple of vehicles in its range, the Pik-Up utility and
XUV500 SUV, both aimed at rural buyers.

We assume that sales have been low but don’t actually know for sure because the
company has chosen not to submit its numbers to the national VFACTS database.

Mahindra is now looking to boost its Australian profile and expand into the urban market
with the recent launch of a pair of SUVs, the XUV700 and Scorpio.

This week’s review is on the Scorpio. It’s been on sale in India and other overseas markets
since 2002 but the latest (third generation) model is the first to come to Australia.

It competes against vehicles such as the Isuzu MU-X, Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Pajero
Sport and SsangYong Rexton.

Not surprisingly, Scorpio’s price will be the main attraction with two versions on offer, Z8
and Z8L, priced at $41,990 and $44,990, plus on-road costs, respectively.

Scorpio’s body shape is pretty much the same as most of its three-row seat competitors
although it is one of the shortest which shows up in its tiny boot.

The front grille features six vertical chrome bars with Mahindra’s butterfly symbol in the
centre in place of a seventh bar, which of course would have seen the Jeep legal team

Headlights are full LED with orange horizontal daytime running lights beneath them.

At the rear there are large LED tail lights together with the Scorpio name topped off with a
small red ‘N’ with a claw shape around it.

The rear door is side-hinged which can cause problems in tight parking spaces.

Five body colours are available: Deep Forest, Napoli Black, Everest White, Red Rage, and
Dazzling Silver. All are included in Scorpio’s base prices.

There’s a quality look and feel to the inside of the Scorpio, highlighted by brown and black
two-tone leatherette seats together with matching soft-touch trim on the front console and

The old-style ratchet hand brake on the centre console only leaves enough space for a
single drink holder and a tiny centre storage box.

Although both Scorpio variants have three rows of seats, they seat six in a 2-2-2 formation
with individual captain’s seats for the centre row. No doubt this will attract some buyers
and deter others.

Boot space is negligible with the third-row seats in place. Indeed, the amount of space
doesn’t even appear in the specifications sheet. The third-row seats can be folded and
tumbled for extra space, again not specified.

Both Scorpio models are powered by a four-cylinder 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine with
outputs of 129kW and 400Nm at 1750 rpm, paired to a six-speed Aisin automatic
transmission with all-wheel drive. A petrol engine is available but at this stage will not be
coming here.

Fuel consumption is quoted as 7.2L/100km.

Both variants have an 8.0-inch colour infotainment touchscreen with a number of shortcut
buttons below it. The Z8 gets a 4.2-inch monochrome driver’s instrument cluster with the
Z8L stepping up to a 7.0-inch screen with two analogue and one digital displays.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is standard on both variants, together with a
reversing camera. There’s a USB-A read-and-charge port in the front console and USB-C
charge ports in both the front and second rows.

The higher-spec Scorpio Z8L adds a 12-speaker Sony 3D Immersive sound system,
smartphone wireless charging and a front-facing camera.

There’s no satellite navigation or digital radio in either model.

This is the major downside to the Scorpio with safety features limited to front, side and
curtain airbags (with limited third-row coverage), electronic stability control, ABS brakes
with electronic brake distribution, tyre pressure monitoring, reversing camera and Isofix
child seat anchors.

The Scorpio Z8 has rear parking sensors only. Z8L adds front sensors.

There is no autonomous emergency braking, which will be mandatory from next year. Also
missing are active lane keeping, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear
cross traffic alert.

Scorpio does come with hill hold and hill descent control as part of its emphasis on off-
road performance. With that in view it underwent a six-month testing program in Australia
including 120,000km in the snow at altitude in the High Country as well as the heat of the
Red Centre.

Its 4XPLOR intelligent terrain management technology allows shift on the fly between
2WD and 4WD modes.

We encountered some frustrating problems with the Scorpio’s stop/start feature. On four
separate occasions after accelerating away from traffic lights, limp-home mode was
activated leaving us stuck at around 30 km/h.

Despite taking the vehicle to our local Mahindra dealership for a software upgrade the
problem recurred. We were eventually told that the solution was to turn off stop/start via a
button on the dashboard … but it was necessary to do this again each time we re-started
the engine.

Around town the problem was an inconvenience, on a high-speed motorway it could be a
serious safety issue. Hopefully Mahindra can get this corrected sooner rather than later.

Entry requires a bit of a climb but there are side steps on the outside and large grab
handles on both A-pillars to help if needed.

The steering wheel has only height adjustment, meaning that the seating position needs to
be adjusted to suit each driver.

On the road Scorpio is quite impressive. It’s not particularly sharp off the mark but once up
to cruising speed it’s smooth, relatively responsive and surprisingly quiet for a diesel-
powered vehicle.

Fuel consumption during our week-long test was 8.9L/100km compared with Mahindra’s
claimed figures of 7.2 L/100km.

Where Scorpio does stand out is off-road. It certainly handled the moderate conditions that
we put it through with ease.

The big news though came a few months back when a couple of professional drivers set a
new Guinness World Record by crossing a 385km section of the Simpson Desert in just
under 13.5 hours.

Mahindra Scorpio is a capable and comfortable SUV with off-road ability that’s likely to
appeal to rural buyers.

With its price and seven-year warranty it offers excellent value, however the disappointing
level of safety features is likely to deter family buyers.

Potential buyers of the Scorpio may wish to hold off for a couple of weeks when Chris we’ll
be reviewing the new Mahindra XUV700.

Looks: 7/10
Performance: 8/10
Safety: 4/10
Thirst: 8/10
Practicality: 7/10
Comfort: 7/10
Tech: 7/10
Value: 9/10

Scorpio-N Z8: $41,990
Scorpio-N Z8L: $45,990
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Mahindra dealer for drive-away prices.


SPECIFICATIONS: (Mahindra Scorpio-N Z8L 2.2-litre turbo-diesel five-door wagon)

Capacity: 2.184 litres
Configuration : Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 129 kW at 3500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 400Nm at 1750 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.2 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 190 g/km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic

Length: 4662 mm
Wheelbase: 2750 mm
Width: 1917 mm
Height: 1857 mm
Turning Circle: 11.8 metres
Kerb Mass: 2100 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Seven years / 150,000 kilometres

About Alistair Kennedy

Alistair Kennedy is Automotive News Service and Marque Publishing's business manager and the company's jack-of-all-trades. An accountant by profession, he designs the Marque range of motoring book titles, operates the company's motoring bookshop on the NSW Central Coast and the associated web site, as well as its huge digital and hard copy database. Whenever we can escape from the office he does so to cover new vehicle releases and contributes news stories. Alistair's other interests include cricket and family history on which he has written three books.
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