Next-generation Mahindra Scorpio spotted testing

In more ways than one, the Scorpio has been Mahindra’s coming-of-age product. It was not just the first indigenous model developed by the Indian car-maker but also the first time the brand had conceptualized and launched something that wasn’t derived from the erstwhile Jeeps they were making under license for decades. Armed with macho styling, potent engines, tough body-on-frame build and competitive pricing that pitched it directly against the mid-size sedans of the time, the Scorpio scripted history. 

Would you believe if we tell you the Scorpio – 17 long years after its launch – is still Mahindra’s best-selling model? Yes, not the trend-setting XUV5OO, not the newest-of-the-lot Marazzo and not even the much-cheaper KUV1OO! That the Scorpio still manages to attract thousands of demanding buyers out there month-on-month speaks volumes about its strengths and the way it delivers what’s expected of it. Remarkably, the Scorpio on sale in 2019 sports the same basic design that it debuted with way back in 2002. Of course, there were four facelifts in-between but you get the point.

That explains how crucial this camouflaged test mule – believed to be the next-generation Scorpio – is for Mahindra. Caught testing near Oragadam on the outskirts of Chennai - not far off Mahindra's R&D Center - the test vehicle hides a great deal of Mahindra's near future underneath it's camouflage. 

At first glance, it’s clear the upcoming Scorpio is wider, longer and shorter than the model it's slated to replace. Thanks to the thick camouflage, design elements of the new Scorpio remain hidden. But, it’s fair to assume Mahindra’s trademark slatted grille will take pride of place up front. We only wish it doesn't end up looking gawky like the one in the test car. On the same note, let's also ignore the crude round headlights and taillights seen here. They are sure be replaced by modern wraparound units in the production version. While a couple of bulges can be seen on the tall and flat hood, the popular offset hood scoop from the current Scorpio seems to have been given a miss. Just like the current Scorpio however, mildly-flared wheel arches and a kink on the window line can be seen in profile. The wheelbase is noticeably longer too, reducing the rear overhang. The rear isn’t upright anymore, bringing the car more in line with the times.

With all of these comes not just better stance and proportions but also potential improvements in interior space and handling. Talk to the current Scorpio owners and you'll know these two are the areas where they feel the current model lags behind rivals. While the improvements in the second row are most welcome, what remains to be seen is the usage of space behind it. Will the new Scorpio continue to get side-facing bench seats in the third row or will the engineers plonk in the better and safer forward-facing bench? That remains to be seen. 

Mechanically, the next-generation Scorpio is expected to retain it's body-on-frame construction. Expect a host of improvements underneath though. That's great news as the Scorpio would continue to be the true-blue traditional SUV in a field full of monocoque wannabe SUVs. Rumour mills state that Mahindra's 2.2-liter 'mHawk' engine is likely to make way to an all-new BS6-compliant 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine that generates over 150 horsepower. A 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic transmissions are likely with four-wheel drive option available in select variants.

While Mahindra hasn't confirmed yet, we expect the new Scorpio to go on sale late 2020 or early 2021. Let's wait and see if the next-gen Scorp stings Mahindra's rivals as hard and deep as the original did in 2002!