Mahindra Scorpio N first drive review

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Rs. tba (automatic variant prices not yet announced)

20 years since its introduction, the shoes that the Scorpio created have only gotten larger. Without trying to fill them out, Mahindra instead started with a blank slate and created the all-new Scorpio N. Think of it as an all-purpose sneaker compared to the trekking boot that was the earlier model. 

Authentic to its claim of “all-new”, the Scorpio N doesn’t share a single component with the existing Scorpio. And I say existing because Mahindra isn’t killing it just yet, which will be sold alongside the new Scorpio N


While Mahindra would like to sell it as an evolution of the iconic Scorpio silhouette, the truth is that it looks a lot more sophisticated on the insides, more butch from the front and lets face it…a lot similar to the XL6, XC60 and even the Wagon-R from the rear!

If you’re a stickler for details though, you’d have plenty to gaze at in wonder. Things like the scorpion sting motif find their way around the fog light housings and even more prominently around the window belt line. A chrome trim strip runs around from the bottom of the window line and arcs back to the top with a “stinger” at the tip of the C-pillar. Call it genius or garish, it sure does create a strong identity for this butch SUV and is instantly recognizable.

Step inside and you’ll find an even bigger step up, both literally and tangibly. The coffee+black interior colour combo across all variants instantly elevates the ambience and the soft-touch insert on the dashboard along with the Scorpio insignia only adds to the premiumness. The use of matte aluminium on the door grab handles and dashboard trim gives it the purposeful look of an SUV that means business.

Seats are extremely comfy, regardless of being in the first row or second, with perfect cushioning and lateral support. On the top-end diesel variant that I was driving, it also comes with driver-side electric adjustment and captain seats for the second row that shrink journeys with their supreme comfort. The only thing that it lacks is seat ventilation, which sort of has become a must-have feature in any segment, let alone the D-segment.

Third-row comfort is compromised and the boot space even further with all three rows up. You could seat children under six years of age or an adult for less than six minutes in the third row, so take a moment before planning that road trip with buddies. The third-row occupants might not consider you one at the end of the trip.


There’s plenty to play with in the front though. A 6.5in MID is nestled between the analog dials, which is the way it should be. All the info you need without gimmicky digital rev counters or speedos and the ample buttons on the steering wheel allows you to get to things like Driver Drowsiness Detection and Tire Pressure Monitor in a click. Or three. 

Lock your gaze on the centre console and a new 8in infotainment screen is well integrated into the dash, running on a similar AdrenoX system that made its debut in the XUV700. It’s decidedly lower res compared to the twin-screen setup in the XUV700, but gets most of its functionality and then some. 

Alexa is baked right into the system so native, vehicle-level commands like “Alexa, open sunroof” or “set temperature” and “play radio station” are all executed faster than your fingers could do the job, finally! A voice assistance system that actually works? A resounding yes! Of course, you’ll still need to be in a network-connected area while impressing your travel companions. 

Alexa in the Scorpio N works like any Alexa-based device at home, so you could technically ask it to switch on your air-conditioner at home so you arrive in a pre-cooled living room, Mr. Wayne. It even works with What3Words, a location-finding system that has the whole planet mapped out in quadrants of 3mts and each one can be reached by using a combination of three unique keywords. It won’t be replacing Google Maps anytime soon, but it does come in handy if your destination isn’t showing up on Google, and you want pinpoint accuracy in a remote location.

Then there are the front and rear cameras, which is a welcome feature, right? But it seems like Mahindra is celebrating 20 years of the Scorpio with 1.5MP resolution cams from 2002! Not only are they practically unusable in the stormy conditions we were driving in, but also suffer from lag, which I’ve never before experienced with any car cam at any price! Backing up looking at the screen might just result in you hitting something sooner than it appears on the feed and then there is the fish-eye distortion. Overall, it’s the first thing Mahindra should upgrade in the facelift cycle, if not the final delivery cars when they start making their way to customers’ hands in October-November.

But the absolute highlight in Scorpio N remains the 12-speaker Sony 3D sound system. It’s plucked right out of the XUV700 and sounds almost as impressive with a huge soundstage, helped by the roof-mounted ‘height speakers’ in the front and third row. You can select between various presets such as Party, which proved to be the best overall setting for a wide, yet powerful presentation. Stage offers a more front-forward soundstage that is realistic to a live performance while the Immersive 3D mode makes the sound more diffused, perfect for background listening while having a conversation.

The system is well-tuned with bass that is rich and deep and the imaging is superb, aided by careful angling of the midrange and tweeter towards the occupants. Thankfully, the AdrenoX system also keeps the sound tuning options always at hand so you can quickly make changes even while on the move, without the need to send a search party into system settings just to adjust the subwoofer level.

Connectivity remains par for the course with twin USB-A ports at the front, single USB-C for the second row, and a sole 12V socket for the last row. Mahindra claims that the Scorpio N is ready for both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay wireless mirroring, but in the test car, I couldn’t get CarPlay working even with a cable, so let’s just attribute that under the WIP feature list. A wireless charging pad is offered in the centre console and accommodates all but the largest phones (with cases) between its guide bars. 

As expected, the connected car feature set has swollen to a list of “70 plus” and some of the mentionable ones are the remote engine start/stop and the ability to turn on the AC remotely, which cannot be underestimated if you live in India. There’s also the integration of India today, Just Dial, Thrillophila, Accuweather, Zomato, Horoscope and Ticker Tape apps right into AdrenoX and can be accessed via dedicated hot keys in the system or just ask Alexa. Again, the keyword here is “connectivity”, as they all rely on a strong network connection for the built-in eSIM to work.


Behind the wheel of both the 175hp/400Nm Diesel Automatic and the 200hp/380Nm Petrol Automatic variants, the Scorpio N instantly feels commanding to sit in and drive. With a large glass area that offers excellent views ahead and around, it really does make you feel invincible. While the diesel has enough poke and grunt, it’s the petrol that feels even more linear and refined, with a gearbox that works seamlessly. 

Mahindra engineers have worked hard on the dynamics of the Scorpio N and it shows when you encounter the first corner behind the wheel. There seems to be an ideal balance between torsional stiffness and pliancy in the ride, making it a comfortable place to be in on a highway or rolling around in slush. Frequency-dependent dampers help in reducing the rebound shocks from broken surfaces from filtering into the cabin and it does make for a comfortable ride in the front two rows. Body roll is incredibly well controlled and it doesn’t at all feel like the tall SUV that it actually is! Even with its lightness, the steering is accurate enough to take you where you point the SUV and it doesn’t feel half as big while on the move. The brakes though, seem a bit over-servoed and need practice in modulation.

Mahindra persists with the Zip/Zap/Zoom drive modes on the diesel variant and barring a tiny difference in gearshifts, I couldn’t tell one from the other really and you would have the same linear, progressive power regardless of the mode you’re in. Out on the off-road trail, the Scorpio N justifies its genes by tackling ridiculous amounts of axle articulation, hill ascent and descent with almost no trail to speak of and putting its 4Xplor terrain management system to optimum use. It leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind about its ability to do proper SUV-ish stuff and more than justified the inclusion of grab handles on the A-pillar, which is a sign of a serious contender.


Breaking away from the actual Scorpio name and suffixing the N has allowed Mahindra designers and engineers the freedom to create a whole new segment of SUVs. It will appeal to the potential Creta or Fortuner customers alike, while even swaying some XUV700 customers. 

Its blend of luxury, technology and off-road capability makes it unique, especially given that its nine variants span a wide price band, from ₹12 lacs to ₹20 lacs! Some of its tech still feels like it could use a final coat of gloss, but overall as a Scorpio successor, this one’s an overachiever for sure!

Stuff Says

Designed to be a disruptor and it certainly does so the moment you experience its broad range of talents and tech.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Seat comfort, ride comfort, driving position

  1. Alexa works brilliantly

  1. Sony 3D sound system best in the segment

  1. Off-road capability like no other SUV in class

  1. Front/rear cameras need better refresh rate and res

  1. No ventilated seat option

  1. Drive modes seem like a gimmick

  1. Some plastics could use better finishing and fitting

Engine: 2.0L petrol / 2.2L Diesel
Power: 200hp/380Nm and 175hp/400Nm
Wheels: 255/60 R18