Mahindra Scorpio N vs Scorpio Classic SUV comparison; interior, exterior, performance, features, price

As both, the new-gen Mahindra Scorpio N and the older Scorpio Classic are on sale now, we help you decide which one to pick.

Over its two-decade stint, the Scorpio has become a mega-brand, attaining loyalists for all its strengths and capabilities. And for these die-hard fans, for whom “nothing else will do”, the company has launched the Scorpio Classic, which will continue to sell alongside the all-new Scorpio N. The Classic isn’t a mere nip and tuck job, but has undergone some re-engineering, which includes a new engine, gearbox and suspension tweaks. However, the Classic range will be limited to just two variants – S and S11 – priced at Rs 11.99 lakh and Rs 15.49 lakh, respectively, only in diesel-manual rear-wheel-drive guise.

Interestingly, despite a plethora of car-like front-wheel-drive SUVs in the market, the Classic’s biggest and only competition is from its own stablemate, the Scorpio N, as both are hardy, 7-seater SUVs adept at tackling treacherous terrain. Unlike the Classic, Mahindra offers the N with a laundry list of powertrain options – petrol manual and automatic, as well as diesel manual and automatic – with an option of four-wheel-drive too; all of this across multiple variants. What’s particularly interesting is that the Scorpio N diesel-manual rear-wheel-drive’s prices range from Rs 12.49 lakh-19.49 lakh, with some variants overlapping with the Classic. So that brings up the question, in the company of the Scorpio N, will the Classic find takers? We bring the two Scorpios together to find out.

Mahindra Scorpio N vs Scorpio Classic: exterior

Classic’s taller stature and bonnet scoop make it look more intimidating.

The Classic is unmistakably a Scorpio wearing an intimidating persona. For 2022, it does get a few styling tweaks here and there to freshen its appearance, but it retains its tall, imposing stance and traditional Scorpio styling cues like the bonnet scoop, chunky side cladding, a kinked roof and the distinct roof rails.

N’s profile is much cleaner; kink in roof and the rails link it with the Classic.

In the company of the Classic, the Scorpio N looks like an evolution, adding a touch of modernity to some unmistakable design elements. It retains the basic shape of the headlamps, front grille, the kink in the roof, as well as the roof rails, however, it features fewer body lines and a cleaner profile. There are also new elements like 18-inch alloys, a chrome window and Volvo-esque LED tail-lamps. What’s more, the Scorpio N is much longer and wider than the Classic, but the latter is taller, and because the N’s windscreen is a bit more raked, it doesn’t look as imposing as the Classic.

Mahindra Scorpio N vs Scorpio Classic: interior

New touchscreen and glossy wood inserts do little to spruce up the Classic’s cabin.

Entering the cabin of the Classic takes you back to the early 2000s, where storage areas, charging provisions and even fit-finish weren’t given much prominence. Its boxy proportions, the beige interiors, a flat dashboard that’s pushed all the way into the firewall, and the massive glass area, all add to the sense of spaciousness. Glossy faux-wood trim on the centre console and a large 9.0-inch Android-based touchscreen are new additions for the Classic, but the latter lacks smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Owners will appreciate the commanding seating position, a great view outside and throne-like front seats. Individual armrests for the front seats are extremely comfortable for long-distance cruising, however, short drivers might find the seat squab too long for comfort.

Optional side-facing jump seats are a unique selling point in the Classic.

Hike into the middle row and it feels just as bright and airy, thanks to the tall windows and acres of headroom. The seat bench is flat but it is wide enough to accommodate three adults. The backrest, though, is a touch upright and, like the front, the seat squab is too long for short passengers. One of the Classic’s unique selling points is its optional side-facing seats, which can accommodate two adults. While this isn’t the safest nor the comfiest way of travelling, these jump seats have been really appreciated by owners who ferry a full load of passengers; the wide-opening tailgate makes ingress and egress convenient. It’s also favoured by the political class, whose security gain easy ingress and egress.

From the colour theme to the quality of bits, everything feels several notches better than the Classic.

Stepping into the Scorpio N’s cabin immediately after the Classic seems like a quantum leap in time. Design, fit-finish and feel are upmarket and top notch. The interior ambience feels just so special and is right up to speed with the times, with soft-touch materials, a nice brown and black colour theme, storage areas and charging ports, and all of this is bundled with agreeable ergonomics. Mahindra hasn’t sacrificed the high seating position and commanding view either, and the seats have better contouring and cushioning, making them more comfortable to sit on.

Lack of head and kneeroom in the N makes its third row rather uncomfortable.

The middle bench is contoured, and like the Classic, it will easily accommodate three adults. The last row, however, is cramped for adults due to poor head and knee room, and even the backrest is too upright. The N’s tailgate swings open to reveal a wide opening area, but with all the rows in place, it can’t hold much more than your weekly groceries, and, when folded down, the seats annoyingly come in the way of a flat floor.

Mahindra Scorpio N vs Scorpio Classic: features, price

At Rs 15.49 lakh, the Classic features halogen projector headlamps, 17-inch alloys, 9.0-inch touchscreen, reverse camera, rear AC vents, cruise control and automatic climate control. But here’s the interesting part – for Rs 13.99 lakh, the Z4 variant of the Scorpio N gets you an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, cruise control, rear AC vents, and if you spend Rs 1 lakh more, you can get a sunroof and Mahindra’s AdrenoX connectivity suite, among other bits, which is still appreciably cheaper than the Classic’s top variant. The N’s fully-loaded variant gets six airbags, LED headlamps, front and rear cameras, and all the bells and whistles.

Mahindra Scorpio N vs Scorpio Classic: powertrains

Mahindra has replaced the outgoing Scorpio’s mHawk engine with the second-generation unit, which is in a higher state of tune; this engine also powers the Thar and the Scorpio N. In the Classic, however, it makes 132hp, which is 8hp lesser than the first-gen unit, but the bigger news is that, thanks to its aluminium construction, it is 55kg lighter than the earlier cast-iron block. For this reason, those familiar with the Scorpio will immediately notice a difference in its engine note; gone is the diesel rumble of the earlier iteration for a smoother, quieter drone. Not only is this new unit more refined, it is also very linear in the way it delivers performance. It cleanly builds speed from idle, the throttle is responsive, and it is one of the few diesels out there that have almost no lag before the boost comes in. Even the Classic’s 6-speeder is smoother than before and its clutch is nice and light.

But with the N’s 2.2 diesel unit producing 175hp and 370Nm of torque, there isn’t a contest between them in this department. You can almost immediately feel its power advantage and the acceleration times only testify the obvious. But in the Classic’s defence, despite being significantly down on power and torque, it does the 0-100kph in 13sec flat, just 0.62sec slower than the N, but from thereon, the gap begins to widen. The N will even leave the Classic behind in rolling acceleration; while the difference between them is just 0.43sec from 20-80kph in third gear, the N is significantly quicker from 40-100kph in fourth gear, with the difference widening to 2.07sec.

Powertrain, performance
Mahindra Scorpio Classic S11 Mahindra Scorpio N Z8L
Engine 4 cyls, 2179cc, turbo-diesel 4 cyls, 2179cc, turbo-diesel
Power 132hp at 3750rpm 175hp at 3500rpm
Torque 300Nm at 1600-2800rpm 370Nm at 1500-3000rpm
Gearbox 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
PERFORMANCE Acceleration (from rest) Acceleration (from rest)
0-20kph 1.29s 1.64s
0-40kph 2.99s 3.45s
0-60kph 5.52s 5.60s
0-80kph 8.49s 8.77s
0-100kph 13.00s 12.38s
20-80kph (in third) 9.48s 9.05s
40-100kph (in fourth) 12.82s 10.75s

Mahindra Scorpio N vs Scorpio Classic: ride, handling

On account of its lighter engine and reworked suspension, the Scorpio Classic feels a bit more confident from behind the wheel than its older iteration. What hasn’t changed is the tough-as-nails construction, which means that it simply discards bad roads with disdain, and you can sail through the rough stuff without even flinching. Despite changes to the suspension, however, rocking movements are still felt on the inside, passengers are tossed around, and with an enthusiastic driver behind the wheel, it will lean rather uncomfortably around corners due to its height and narrow front and rear track.

Both SUVs showcase the same level of toughness on bad roads, but the Scorpio N sports a better and more comfortable ride.

Just like the Classic, the Scorpio N also exudes the same levels of toughness and has an air of indestructibility, but what’s remarkable is how much more comfortable and nicer it is to drive in comparison. The N smothers bad roads with authority, but its suspension transmits far fewer shocks, so passengers are more comfortable. And even though it isn’t as sharp to drive as some monocoque SUVs out there, you don’t feel the same top-heaviness and nervousness that you experience in the Classic around corners.

Mahindra Scorpio N vs Scorpio Classic: verdict

The Classic has its fair share of flaws, both ergonomically and dynamically, and buyers looking for sophisticated interiors and premium features won’t find value in the Classic. But its ability to tackle the rough and its imposing road presence lend it a certain charm and character, which is why die-hard Scorpio fans will continue to gravitate towards it. The good news for them is that its engine is smoother, the transmission and clutch pedal are easier to operate, and its driving manners are a smidgen better than before. What’s more is that the optional side-facing seats are likely to be a huge draw to the extent of being a deal-maker for some.

The Scorpio N manages to trumps its predecessor in every single aspect with ease.

But the Scorpio N trumps its predecessor in every single area – size, comfort, luxury and powertrain options – and it also drives more confidently. The verdict is quite clear, the Scorpio N is the pick, and will please buyers seeking an out-and-out modern, tough-as-nails SUV with all the bells and whistles. What’s more is that the N is also far better value than the Classic, with the mid variants being cheaper and also offering more kit. However, be prepared to deal with an excruciatingly long waiting period to own one.

Also see:

2022 Mahindra Scorpio N vs Scorpio Classic comparison video

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