Cars - Mahindra

Road tests and reviews of the latest Mahindra models available in South Africa

2016 Mahindra Scorpio

By Franky Johnson

Mahindra South Africa recently launched an upgraded version of its tough and rugged Scorpio Pik-Up (bakkie) range.

The imposing new styling, the signature front grille and integrated bonnet scoop gives the Scorpio Pik-up a positively indestructible appearance. The Scorpio Pik-up Double Cab Adventure units, which is the version we drove at the launch, come equipped with an LA Sport Front and Rear Bumper, Snorkel, Roof Rack as well as a set of alloy rims shod with P245/75 R16 Radial all terrain tyres.

On the inside, the Scorpio Double cab has full fabric seats, styled seat foams, a centre Armrest on 2nd row seats, power steering, electric windows, air-conditioner with rear vents, central locking, pockets on all four doors, decent sized cup-holders, roof-liner with sunglass and remote holder, map pockets, USB and SD Card, plus a 2-DIN stereo system with CD/MP3 Player for entertainment on the move, and audio controls on the steering wheel.

The quality of the interior is much improved and even the few bits of shiny plastic don’t look out of place. The steering wheel is adjustable for tilt only, making it a little difficult for shorter folk to find a comfortable driving position as you have to sit close to the dash in order to reach the pedals. However, in fairness, one does adjust to this fairly quickly

Interior space is generous, and particularly so for the rear seat passengers. There is excellent head-room, good knee space and a good seating position – no ‘knees-up’ sitting as in most other double cabs in its category. The Scorpio Pik-Up also has one of the more generous cargo boxes.

Safety equipment includes driver and front passenger airbags, vented disc brakes in front, drum brakes at the rear with ABS, full seatbelts for four, but the centre seatbelt at the back, is a lap-only proposition.

The Scorpio Pik-Up is powered by a mHawk 2.2-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder engine producing just 88 kW of power, while torque is rated at a lowish 270 Nm from 1 600 rpm, and is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. However, off-roaders will appreciate its BorgWarner transfer case with high and low range four-wheel drive, which can be operated on the move. It also has a diff-lock to help keep you moving “over sand, snow, muck, ice, rocks or whatever”, according to the brand.

The new Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up double cab really impresses with a brilliant performance. The differential isn’t like many other locking diffs, in that it only locks down to feed power to a planted wheel when it is needed.

It’s always on, meaning that unlike many other off-road capable vehicles with a locking diff activated by pressing a button. A normal locking diff will keep both wheels spinning at the same speed to ensure planted traction, but the Mahindra’s system allows some wheelspin on one wheel before it starts to send power to the other.

It does this in a relatively balanced manner, though it can allow more slip than you might expect at first, particularly if you’ve experienced a more traditional locking differential, but it works very well.

With it’s very short front overhang, the Mahindra is able to negotiate extremely steep terrain without hassle, and while it doesn’t have huge ground clearance – only 210mm – it proved to us on the 4x4 drive that it will scramble up and successfully find, traction over some of the worst surfaces imaginable. It was basically unstoppable; however, it would benefit further from a smaller turning circle for easier maneuvering in tight situations.

The engine produces enough torque to easily propel it up hills in low range and it will creep downhill in first gear, 4L, with more conviction than many SUVs triple the price. All in all, a very impressive performance from a very impressive off-road vehicle.

The Mahindra Scorpio Double Cab Pik-Up cruises quite well on the freeways, and only up very steep hills it may be necessary to drop down a gear or two to keep it on the boil. Diesel Consumption in the combined cycle is given as 8.8 ltr /100 km, and the tank holds 80 litres.

The Mahindra Scorpio Double Cab Pik-Up is an affordable proposition that looks tough and rugged, and has excellent off-road performance. In terms of pricing, the Double Cab 4x4 Adventure retails for R321 995, which includes 3 Year 100 000 km warranty, 5 Year 150 000 km powertrain warranty and a 3 Year/60 000 km service plan.

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