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Good but boring

The ‘new’ Scorpio has lots of new toys and handles well, but, on the flip side, looks as boxy as before.

Kushan Mitra        Print Edition: March 9, 2008

Scorpio Mhawk
Scorpio Mhawk
Mahindra & Mahindra’s Vice Chairman and MD Anand Mahindra plans to sell the Scorpio in the US. The problem is that the old Scorpio had the performance of a heffalump (an elephant-like animal mentioned by A.A. Milne in Winnie The Pooh). So, M&M decided that the only way around this problem was to engineer a solution.

So, here we have the Scorpio mHawk, with a whole new 2.2-litre engine tuned by engine specialists AVL of Austria. The new engine is lighter, has a variable geometry turbocharger and an intercooler on top of the engine, meaning the air scoop on the bonnet actually does something. This engine is actually more powerful than the previous one, pumping out five additional horses for a total 120 horsepower. Thankfully, unlike the old 2.6-litre engine, the power does not come in huge inedible lumps, but a lot more smoothly.

M&M’s concessions to the US have not stopped there. The Scorpio was always large enough for large people, and Americans are large, but now it has steering mounted “cruise control”. It’s nice, but stuck inside the gigantic construction zone that is Delhi these days, this feature seemed totally out of place.

Scorpio Mhawk VLX Specs


Engine:
2179cc 4-cylinder DOHC Diesel


Power: 120 horsepower@ 4000rpm


0-100 kmph: 14.9 seconds


Mileage (city): 10.5 km/litre


Price (as tested): Rs 9.65 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi)
Moreover, this car has a light sensor that automatically turns on the headlights, a rain sensor that automatically turns on the wipers and a tyre pressure monitor telling you when to get your tyres filled. Amazingly, this car also has antilock braking system (ABS), which does not improve the handling much, but gives you a strange sense of security while braking from high speed. Not that the mHawk wants to go terribly fast, but high-speed braking was uncomfortable on the previous Scorpio. Plus, you do get a reworked suspension, making ride and handling slightly better.

So, this is, for all intents and purposes, an allnew Scorpio, and it even wears aggressive looking “Powered by mHawk” badges on the sides, but unless you notice those, it looks quite the same. And that is a problem.

This car is pleasant, though not exhilarating, to drive, and has lots of toys, but it still looks as boxy as before. This is the third iteration of the Scorpio in terms of its mechanicals, but other than a couple of changes, this new one looks identical to the one Anand Mahindra launched in 2001. And that, according to us, is its major failing. But if this is a taste of things to come, then the “Son of Scorpio”, as M&M engineers sometimes refer to the car’s successor, might be a good thing to look forward to.

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