The Mahindra Scorpio is an iconic nameplate in India. Having first arrived on the scene in 2002 as Mahindra’s first global product, each successive model of the SUV has continued to build on its love affair with the Indian audience. Even now, when the new Mahindra Scorpio-N is out in showrooms, the carmaker continues to sell the regular Scorpio or ‘OG’ Scorpio as it is popularly referred to in automotive circles. It only goes on to show that Scorpio is vastly loved across the country and there is still a certain demand for a vehicle of its kind. Here are some of the reasons behind why that remains the case even after all these years.
Since the very beginning, the Mahindra Scorpio has always had a ladder-on-frame chassis. It is important because this increases the robustness of the vehicle. In a ladder-on-frame type of chassis, there is a ladder-like chassis that is first constructed with the wheels and powertrain fixed to it, and then the entire body of the car gets bolted on top of that. The chassis in such cases is quite literally the backbone of the vehicle, and it bears the brunt of the force while the vehicle is being driven. Such vehicles tend to last a lot longer, and the Scorpio is a prime example of that. It is also the reason that Mahindra was quite easily able to spawn a pick-up truck based on the Scorpio platform, called the Scorpio Getaway.
Since the Scorpio has always been a robust vehicle, it is a common occurance to find 15 year old models running well in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, where the emission norms still allow for them to run. This is another testament to the strength of the Scorpio as the road infrastructure in tier 2 and tier 3 cities isn’t always the best and these roads take a huge toll on a vehicle’s life. But, the reason that the Scorpio continues to work in such conditions is because it was designed to endure such abuse in the first place. The OG Scorpio came out in 2002 and at the time, the road infrastructure was vastly inferior to what it was today. While the Scorpio did get updated over time, it till date follows the formula of robustness, which is why it remains a hit even today.
Once again, the Mahindra Scorpio was conceptualised in a time when features weren’t really the need of the hour. If you were looking to buy a car, and an SUV like the Scorpio at that, then in all possibilities you were simply looking for a car that could accommodate as many people as possible. In contrast, if you look at the cars of today, one could argue that high-tech features have reached a point where they have begun to interfere with the driving experience. In such an age, the Scorpio continues to stick out for its obvious simplicity.
This is good for a couple of reasons. First of all, if there are less things that can go wrong, you will need to fix lesser things when they do. The OG Scorpio has always offered the basics that have been required with the times, but it has never gone over the top with its feature list. Secondly, operating a Scorpio has always been simple, right from trying to get your driving position right to finding out how to change the A/C settings. You don’t need to skip through menus on a screen to toggle things on and off, which can be distracting while driving. Following the convention means that even those who don’t really get the hang of modern features can operate the Scorpio without worrying about hitting the wrong button.
It’s Great Off-road
Another reason why the Scorpio’s ladder-on-frame chassis is a win is because it is great off-road. This type of a chassis configuration, as we already know, can take a beating and that becomes even more important when a vehicle is regularly run off-road. Over a loose surface, the ladder-on-frame chassis allows the Scorpio to slip and move about more easily, and without affecting the body of the car all that much. This is one of the reasons that the Mahindra Scorpio has been entered in numerous rallies and is used as a rescue vehicle in challenging conditions by different organisations.
The other reason why the Mahindra Scorpio is such a beast off-road is because of the fact that it gets four-wheel drive along with a low-range gearbox. It comes in handy when the terrain gets really challenging such as slush or on steep inclines when you don’t want your wheels to spin. Initial Scorpio’s used a lever based system to shift to the low-range gearbox but later editions got a on-the-fly system. It allows the four-wheel drive to be engaged with the high-range gearbox on the go, but for low-range, you still have to come to a complete stop before it can shift.
Because of the fact that the Scorpio is so simple to operate, it can be used across a host of situations. It’s comfortable enough that you can use it as your daily vehicle. In fact, using a Scorpio as your daily car will definitely get you more space on the road, as the OG Scorpio still has a lot of presence and commands respect from other road users. Some might even say that the regular Scorpio has even more presence than the Scorpio-N, but that is a discussion for another day. Comfort aside, when you have to ferry a bunch of people, the Scorpio can take in up to nine people! Everyone won’t be comfortable but that is a pretty neat party trick. The space and the comfort also make it a great car for road trips.
If you fold up the seats inside, the Scorpio also acts as a great cargo carrier. With some modifications, the Mahindra Scorpio is also used by different organisations, from police to rescue forces. The reasons for these different bodies choosing the Scorpio could be different but the basic theme is the same – the Scorpio is a reliable, robust vehicle that can take on challenging terrain with its four-wheel drive system. In fact, most of us will from one point in time or another in our lives, will have a Scorpio story to tell, despite you ever having owned it or not.
It’s a Legend
It has been more than two decades that the Mahindra Scorpio has been operating on Indian soil and if you were to count the number of cars that have stuck around for that long, you will find that the list comprises of a handful of names. So, the Mahindra Scorpio finds itself in the company of esteemed names such as the Honda City, Maruti Alto and Mahindra Bolero. While a Scorpio might not be everyone’s cup of tea, people who drive one often find it hard to switch over to other cars. You’ll often find them saying that they just don’t make them like the Scorpio anymore, and in its own right, that is truer than ever.
With all that said, there will come a day when the curtain will fall on the OG Scorpio, but for it has already accomplished, the Mahindra Scorpio will be remembered in India for decades to come. And as far as its future is concerned, Mahindra already has its successor in the shape of the Scorpio-N.