The Scorpio Classic is much more easy to live with now
The Scorpio Classic is much more easy to live with nowShot by Rohit G Mane for evo India

2022 Mahindra Scorpio Classic road test review

The fourth-gen Scorpio lives on with a new moniker, mild styling tweaks, and some much needed changes under the skin

Seldom does it happen that a manufacturer continues to sell the previous generation of a vehicle alongside the new one. While the new Scorpio-N is breaking sales figures, giving Mahindra a hard time to even keep up with deliveries, demand for the last-gen Scorpio still remains as strong as it has ever been. And that is why this is an exception that Mahindra is more than happy to make. The fourth-gen Scorpio hasn't been axed. In fact it now lives on as the Scorpio Classic, alongside its new-gen sibling, to satisfy the hunger of those who still want an honest, rugged and simple SUV that just works. It gets refreshed styling on the outside and a few additions to the interior, but more importantly it also gets a new engine and improved suspension that make it more easy to live with everyday.

2022 Mahindra Scorpio Classic design

Mahindra has gone the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" route with the design of the Scorpio Classic, because this styling is proven, admired and more importantly giving them the numbers. It retains the basic shape of its forerunner, albeit with a few changes that make it look more modern.

At the front, the Scorpio Classic sports a new grille that houses Mahindra's new-age 'Twin Peaks' logo. Its headlights are now projector units with cornering function, and down below, on the revamped front bumper, housed are a pair of LED DRLs that give it a distinct identity. The Scorpio Classic also gets a hood scoop, although it is purely for styling; a non functional unit that doesn't actually feed air into the intercooler of the new engine.

Onto the sides, there's new body cladding on the doors, bearing the Scorpio nameplate and dual-tone alloy wheels which continue to be 17-inchers. As you move to the back, you will notice that the Scorpio Classic gets a filler cap on each side, one for the DPF fluid and one for diesel itself. It retains the vertically stacked tail lights which have now been upgraded to LED units and what also hasn't changed is side-hinged tailgate. The latter is a classic Scorpio trait that is admired by VIPs and politicians, because this lot of Scorpio consumers prefers jump seats at the back for their bodyguards and PSOs. We aren’t kidding, that is a genuine requirement in some parts of the country.

With the Scorpio Classic then, Mahindra wanted to make sure the essence of the Scorpio isn't lost, and by the looks of it, they have succeeded. It looks just as butch as before, especially so in the 'Napoli Black' shade that our test car is seen wearing. It takes styling up a notch from the previous-gen, with all the little modern details, and it's really astonishing how this seven year old design still does a good job of grabbing a lot of eyeballs.

2022 Mahindra Scorpio Classic interior

After you grab the Scorpio Classic's familiar pull-out type door handle, open the door and make your way inside you will be treated to a familiar sight. Its upright dashboard layout, high seating position and big, comfy, fabric seats are similar to Scorpios of the yore. And so is the driving environment. The Scorpio hasn't really been a wide car on the inside, ever since its first iteration, and the Classic is no anomaly. It offers good amounts of legroom, knee room and headroom for the front occupants but things like the window switch pad, which extends into the driver area, will bother you. As I found out, it's very easy to smash your elbow into it every now and then. The lack of bottle holders in the front door pockets and an extremely narrow cavity to access the seat height adjustment are two other ergonomic glitches which haven't been addressed with the Scorpio Classic.

While the new Scorpio-N is a technological tour de force on the inside, the Scorpio Classic feels like you’ve stepped inside a time machine. New bits for the Classic's interior include a new 9-inch infotainment touchscreen with Android OS and there's also dual-tone colour scheme for the dashboard along with faux wooden trim on the centre console. The new touchscreen is responsive and easy to use. But with no Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, you have to turn to good ol' bluetooth or AUX connectivity to listen to some music. There are third party applications, but they aren't all that intuitive to use daily. Mobile connectivity is also possible with an AUX or a Type-A USB port, but finding the ports themselves is a task, as they are hidden right under the screen. The steering wheel has been carried over from the previous generation, but it now wears the the Mahindra Twin Peaks logo, and more gloss black trim.

The Scorpio Classic gets three seat options for the rear — two captain’s chairs in the second row with a bench seat in the third row or a bench seat in the second row with two or four jump seat options at the rear. If you opt for the captain seats, you’ll find generous amount of foot space and there's also tonnes of headroom, thanks to the kink in the roof. But the seats, like the fronts, are placed way too close to the doors and that doesn't give you enough space to spread out your elbows.

It's a different story at the very back too. The upright backrest is the least of your worries in the third row, because anybody over 5 feet tall will find it ultra tight to spend any time there. If one sits comfortably in the second row, the third row is almost un-inhabitable.

There isn't much in the way of rear seat entertainment too, with the Scorpio Classic only getting air-con vents to blow cold air at you at the back. There isn't a single USB port behind, not even of the dated Type-A sort. The jump seat layout then is the more practical of the lot as it offers better ingress and egress in comparison to any third row, but it also lacks in terms of safety. And if you use your Scorpio’s boot an awful lot then the jump seats can also be folded up to open a huge amount of storage space.

2022 Mahindra Scorpio Classic engine and performance

It's the mechanicals that have received major tweaks in the Scorpio Classic and those make it much easier to live with. The Scorpio Classic gets the option of a single 2.2-litre turbo-diesel mHawk engine. You might think it's the same unit as before, but you’d be mistaken. Instead, this engine is an iteration of the same power plant that debuted on the Thar and is now doing duty in the XUV700 and Scorpio. It makes 128bhp and 300Nm which is 8bhp and 20Nm less than before, but this engine is almost 55kg lighter than its predecessor and that makes a huge difference in the way the Scorpio Classic performs and feels in the real world.

Right off the starter blocks, this engine feels much more refined and silent than I have ever experienced on a Scorpio. Mahindra says that this engine makes 230 of its 300Nm torque as low as 1000rpm and that is evidently noticeable. The Scorpio Classic feels peppy and its engine is eager to rev till its 5000rpm redline. It has a nice throttle response and that coupled with excellent mid-range from the engine makes the Scorpio Classic feel very quick. But in the real world it is a bit slower than before, with a VBOX tested 0-100kmph time of 13.6 seconds, compared to the old car’s sub-12 seconds time. It is also 1.2 second slower than the diesel manual variant of the Thar that we tested. But considering the fact that the Scorpio Classic is bigger, longer, heavier and now meets BS6 emission norms that figure is quite respectable.

You should remember that when the Thar first came out in 2010, it was underpinned by a chassis derived from the then-current Scorpio and now, with all the progress that Mahindra has made, the Thar is helping its older sibling with a new heart.

The low end grunt has always defined the Scorpio’s driving experience and that remains. You can perform quick overtakes on the highway, even when held in a higher gear, but once you get into triple digit speeds the Scorpio’s brick-like aerodynamics come into play and it does takes a while to push the speeds further up.

Overall then Scorpio feels more grown up with better refinement and Mahindra also claims that it can deliver 14 per cent better fuel efficiency, which is always an added bonus.

The Classic is available with only a 6-speed manual transmission that is now cable-operated. The result is less vibrations and slicker shifts than before. The clutch, which although feels a little heavy for city use, provides good feedback, but the Scorpio’s manual is not as easy going as gearboxes in other monocoque SUVs. The other thing that feels heavy is the Scorpio Classic’s steering. While its more high-tech sibling, the Scorpio-N, gets an electric power steering which makes it effortless to drive in the city, the Classic resorts to the old hydraulic type. This gives it heavier steering, one that demands more effort during slow speed maneuvers, particularly while parking the Scorpio Classic in tight spaces.

The Scorpio Classic gets an updated version of the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine from the Thar
The Scorpio Classic gets an updated version of the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine from the TharShot by Rohit G Mane for evo India

2022 Mahindra Scorpio Classic ride and handling

The next big change to the Scorpio Classic is the way it rides and handles. While it retains the same suspension configuration as before, with double wishbones at the front and a multilink setup at the rear, it gets MTV-CL (Multi Tuning Valve - Concentric Land) frequency dependent dampers derived from the Scorpio-N. The result is a significant improvement in the low speed as well as high speed ride quality. Over bumpy roads the Scorpio always used to bounce around exuberantly and that made passengers very uncomfortable. You would get tossed around all over the place but that just isn't the case anymore. The Scorpio has become more comfortable and polished in its road manners. You can drive over bad patches of road at a significantly higher speed without feeling sick.

The frequency selective dampers offer a good Jekyll and Hyde personality to the Scorpio Classic. They turn supple over big bumps and stiffen when you build speed over smoother roads improving the high speed stability. It also makes it a little more composed around corners but fact remains that the Scorpio is no corner carver and bends are best taken at an easy pace. There is more compliance at the rear so it is far less susceptible to getting thrown around by bumps and that gives you more of a sense of stability than before, but by no means is the Scorpio an SUV that likes to be thrown around bends at a rapid pace.

In terms of straight line stability, the Scorpio has always been an excellent mile muncher and the Classic just takes it up a notch. It has a fantastic driving position, very comfy couch-esque seats and can sit at a steady 120kmph cruise all day long, without breaking a sweat.

The Scorpio Classic gets frequency dependent dampers that make its ride quality much more superior
The Scorpio Classic gets frequency dependent dampers that make its ride quality much more superiorShot by Rohit G Mane for evo India

2022 Mahindra Scorpio Classic price and rivals

Available in only two variants now, the S and S11 – the Scorpio Classic between Rs 11.99 lakh Rs 15.49 lakh (ex-showroom). The top-spec S11 variant has become Rs 3 lakh more affordable than before and Mahindra has done that for a reason. Because of the existence of the Scorpio-N its price overlaps with the base trims of the Scorpio-N, but the Classic plays on a completely different turf. It is a tried and tested package which serves those who seek a basic and rugged SUV. Those that need a third-row jump seat layout and those who've admired and become habituated to its character.

To say that the Mahindra Scorpio-N has become a popular car, is a huge understatement. 25,000 bookings in the first minute of its launch, with more numbers piling up as the clock ticks by, Mahindra has pulled up a third blockbuster in a span of just three years, after the Thar and XUV 700. The Scorpio Classic? Well, there still exists a demographic, maybe not in our cities but definitely in B and C towns, that needs a no-nonsense workhorse and the Classic fulfils that brief perfectly. Plus there’s no real rival so it has the field all to itself to make hay.

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