Mahindra Scorpio-2010 Review
The U.S.-bound 2010 Mahindra Scorpio will be an upgraded version of the so-called "all new"
model unveiled in April 2006, though the basic design dates from 2002. It's a truck-type
four-door SUV wagon with a separate frame, three-row seating for up to seven, and the same
general dimensions as a Honda CR-V or Jeep Liberty. Though it is unclear what engine the
2010 Mahindra Scorpio will use in the U.S., the SUV's current engine is a 2.2-liter four-cylinder
turbocharged diesel that was co-engineered with Austria's AVL company. This powerplant,
dubbed "mHawk," uses four valves per cylinder and common-rail fuel injection, features
claimed to enhance mpg and minimize exhaust emissions (notably the greenhouse-gas carbon
dioxide). Other modern touches include an aluminum cylinder head, extensive use of recyclable
plastics, and advanced nano-tech metallurgy.
So far, the Scorpio has been sold exclusively with a five-speed manual transmission, but we
expect the U.S. version will only offer a 6-speed automatic. The new transmission would almost
certainly be purchased from an established outside vendor such as Germany's ZF or even
General Motors. Unlike other markets, buyers here should expect a standard four-wheel-drive
The automatic transmission is one of many changes reportedly planned before the 2010
Mahindra Scorpio lands in America. Others would include adding dashboard and side airbags,
which were not part of the original design brief, plus revisions to upholstery, sound-deadening,
Mahindra Scorpio-2010 Review
assembly quality, and other necessities to suit American tastes. On the other hand, the Scorpio
is already offered with expected "first world" features like antilock brakes, rear-obstacle
detection, auto-on headlamps, even rain-sensing wipers, so those should be available here too.
There's even a four-wheel independent suspension tuned by British sports car legend Lotus.
Still, M&M and Global realize all too well that they have but one chance to succeed in the
demanding U.S. market. In addition, a spokesman for the U.S. importer tells Consumer Guide
that the company wants to squelch the idea that the SUV can only compete in the American
market with a low-price strategy. That means the 2010 Mahindra Scorpio must be a credible
and appealing entry from day one. That's why Mahindra is reportedly spending $80 million to
prepare its SUV for American prime time--and required Global Vehicles to chip in $65 million of
it. Of course, some of the funds will go toward setting up the dealer chain and satisfying U.S.
safety and emissions rules.
What changes might be made? Well, the Scorpio's swing-out cargo door could well be
exchanged for the liftgate Americans prefer, and the pair of inward-facing third-row seats could
give way to a front-facing bench, however small. Marketing would also probably dictate a styling
clean-up, with the dated bodyside cladding erased and a less-fussy grille installed. And U.S.
buyers would certainly expect available leather trim, a navigation system, and similar niceties
that the Scorpio now lacks.
With all this, plus cutthroat competition among established small SUVs, the 2010 Mahindra
Scorpio looks to be a here-today, gone-tomorrow proposition. But indications are that the
vehicle itself is sound (though we've not driven one yet), and Perez seems committed to a
professional, long-haul sales-and-service effort. As he told Automotive News, "We're not trying
to come in at the bottom of the market. We're going to deliver the most advanced fuel-efficient