Mahindra Scorpio: 10 things you DON’T know about this iconic SUV

Mahindra has now become a global company and has many international brands under its belt. However, the conditions were always like this and the company has worked hard to achieve this sport. One of its first independent SUVs was the Scorpio, which was first launched in 2002 and has been a strong seller ever since. In fact, the Scorpio is one of the most recognizable SUVs in India and has inspired a whole generation of SUV lovers. Let’s now get to know 10 interesting facts about this macho SUV that are not in common knowledge.

Mahindra’s first truly in-house vehicle

Before the Scorpio, all other vehicles by Mahindra were based on Jeep underpinnings and were not completely original. After the launch of the Bolero in 2000, the company looked towards building a vehicle on its own sine after years of manufacturing cars it had gained enough expertise to do so. The Scorpio was then made and launched in 2002 to celebrate the Mahindra’s 50th anniversary. It was the first ever-vehicle to be designed and developed in-house by Mahindra with some assistance from AVL Austria and consultants from Japan.

Leaf springs at the rear

The current Scorpio is quite a modern vehicle and comes with independent front suspension while the rear setup consists of torsion bar with coiled springs. However, this was not the case when the first generation Scorpio was launched in 2002. The front suspension setup at that time was pretty similar but the rear end had leaf springs, something still seen on the hardy Bolero and Thar even today. This was the reason for the bumpy ride of the first generation Scorpio.

Only 23 engineers worked on the Scorpio project

A small team of engineers worked closely to make the indigenous Mahindra dream come true. To be precise, the Scorpio project team was very small with just 23 engineers working on the SUV. This helped Mahindra to keep the costs down, which later on became its plus point. The complete cost of designing and developing the Scorpio including the tooling at the company’s Nashik factory cost Mahindra and Mahindra just about Rs. 500 crore, which is quite a low some for the development of an all new mass market vehicle.

The company achieved this low R&D cost by including vendors in the design and development of the Scorpio. It is said that Mahindra decided how to put the parts together while the vendors developed most of the systems used on the Scorpio.

2-litre petrol engine

The original Scorpio came with a 2.6-litre turbocharged SZ2600 engine and it was the first choice of most customers. However, many have forgotten that Mahindra also offered the Scorpio with a petrol engine option – a Renault-sourced 2.0-litre powerplant that offered 116 Bhp of power along with 187 Nm of peak torque. Unfortunately, bad mileage from the petrol engine ensured that it didn’t do well in the Indian market obsessed with mileage.

Shock pricing

Mahindra is known for pricing their products sensibly and the first generation Scorpio is a shining example of this. When the first generation Scorpio was launched in 2002, Mahindra put a shocking price of just Rs 5.5 lakhs for it. This made it about Rs 50,000 cheaper than the widely popular Toyota Qualis. The Scorpio was also in the same ballpark of sedans like the top-spec Esteem, which it trolled through its first ad campaigns. As of now, the starting price for the base variant Scorpio is Rs 9.99 lakhs. It still gives many modern SUVs a run for their money in terms of sheer power and value for money.

First Indian SUV to offer sedan-like features

SUVs were seen as a crude and rough-tough vehicle with only practicality as a priority. This was even more true for SUVs which started under Rs. 10 lakh price mark. However, Mahindra broke this stereotype in 2007, five years after its launch, and updated the Scorpio with multiple sedan-like features including rain sensing wipers, cruise control, tyre pressure monitoring system, voice assist, reverse sensors and “follow-me-home” headlamps. Though it was not the first Indian SUV to come with modern features, it sure was the most affordable one at that time.

First Indian SUV to offer a diesel auto and start-stop option

Even before automatics became a fad,  Mahindra offered one with the Scorpio lineup. The company equipped the Scorpio with an automatic transmission in 2008 and in the process, the Scorpio became the first budget SUV to come with an automatic gearbox with a diesel engine. The Scorpio’s turbocharged 2.2-litre mHawk diesel engine was offered with a six-speed automatic transmission alongside the regular manual transmission. Also, the company also equipped the SUV with a Micro Hybrid idle start-stop feature.

India’s not the only place

Scorpio 2009 2014
2009 model Scorpio

That’s right. The Scorpio is not and India exclusive vehicle but has helped Mahindra to expand globally. To let you know, the Scorpio is sold in Latin America (Central and South America) along with South Africa. However, in some countries like Uruguay and Egypt, the Scorpio is imported as a CKD rather than being manufactured fully. The Scorpio based pickup truck, the Getaway is also quite popular in some of the international markets where pickup trucks are sold in large.

2.2 litre turbo petrol

As stated earlier, the Scorpio is an international product which is sold in many countries around the world. In Latin America, Mahindra sells the Scorpio with a 2.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine. This turbo engine was derived from Mahindra’s 2.2-litre mHawk diesel engine which is sold in India. It produces 154 Bhp of power along with 280 Nm of torque. The XUV500 sold in India comes equipped with the same engine.

Customized Scorpios

Mahindra is known for having a separate department which is involved with the customization of its vehicles. The recent Thar Wanderlust is a good example of the Mahindra Customization department’s work. However, the Scorpio was one of the first vehicles which were given the special custom treatment. Customers can buy customised versions of the Scorpio directly from the company. Also, Mahindra is currently the only mainstream manufacturer in India to offer such extensive customization options for its models out of factory. Since it is done by the company itself, these vehicles are not affected by the recent Supreme Court ban on vehicular modification.

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