2024 Mahindra Scorpio Long-Term Review

We've spent 3 months with the Mahindra Scorpio, and it has just received a 0-Star ANCAP safety rating. Does that mean the Scorpio is bad?

Matt Brand
Expert reviewer
Updated on
February 9, 2024
Saucey score


  • Best in-class ride dynamics
  • Cheap to buy and run
  • Superb interior comfort


  • Poor safety score
  • a SINGLE cupholder...
  • Questionable boot practicality
Car specs

129 kW + 400 Nm

$44,990 Incl. On-roads

7.2 L/100km

0 Star ANCAP

Buy a Car!
No Obligations, Hassle Free.

Oh boy.

We’ve been living with the Mahindra Scorpio (or Scorpio-N as it’s known in India) for a total of 3 months, and ANCAP has just dropped a bombshell.

ANCAP has tested the Scorpio and it is now one of only three vehicles ever tested by ANCAP - the others being the MG5 and Mitsubishi Express Van - to receive a 0-Star ANCAP safety rating.

That’s awkward timing for us here at CarSauce, because as we wrap up our thoughts on the Scorpio they’ve been vastly positive.

There is also more than meets the eye with the ANCAP rating, which we’ll go into more detail in our safety section.

Today we’ll give you our honest thoughts on the Mahindra Scorpio after an extensive amount of testing, and tell you just what we think of this cheap fully-fledged offroad SUV.

How much does the Mahindra Scorpio cost?

If you’re looking for a cheap off-roader, you really have only 3 options at the moment. 

The GWM Tank 300 which starts at $46,990 driveaway, the Suzuki Jimny XL for about ~$39,000 driveaway for the 5-speed manual, or the Mahindra Scorpio which starts at $41,990 driveaway for the entry-level ZL trim.

We’ve, however, spent our 3 months with the Z8 L, which is the top of the range and will cost you $44,990 driveaway.

In all, we think that’s good value for a fully-fledged off-roader

What’s the interior and tech like of the Scorpio?

Since we first reviewed the Scorpio, one of our biggest complaints was the lack of Apple CarPlay. Thankfully upon picking up our vibrant red long-termer, wired Apple CarPlay was added.

The 8-inch infotainment display is functional and easy to use, if not lacking in graphics and viewing angles. Still, it never froze on us and simply worked every time we started the car. Personally, I also appreciate the lack of gimmicks. It’s a simple, straightforward unit.

Same with the gauge cluster, which has two analogue gauges and a 7-inch display in the centre. It certainly wont wow you like in a GWM Tank 300 with it’s large full-digital instrument cluster, but again it shows plenty of information and strikes a good balance between ease-of-use and modern technology.

What has been massively pronounced over the 3-months of testing, however, was the single - yes, single - cupholder. 

A cheeky McDonalds run with my fiancee or friend(s) would end up so frustrating because only ONE person could put their drink in the cupholder. 

This seems like such a strange oversight, to have one single cupholder for the entire car. Sure there are doorbins that can fit a bottle, but that doesn’t help loosely closed drinks like coffee cups.

One massive thing I will miss are the seats. The majority of Indian’s view cows as sacred, so good luck finding leather inside of an Indian car. However, the seats would fool you into thinking they are leather, with plenty of support which made longer drives that much better.\

Same with build quality, over a few thousand kilometres not a single rattle or squeak could be heard, and the interior - although scratchy plastics certainly exist - is a mixture of faux leather and hard-wearing materials.

To summarise, I mostly really like the interior of the Scorpio. However, it’s practicality is quite significantly worse than that found in the GWM Tank 300.

What about the back seats of the Scorpio?

Really interestingly, the Scorpio only comes in Australia with a 6-seat configuration. That means you get captains chairs in the second row.

For most people, you might actually prefer this. Adults are far more comfortable thanks to the individual seating with armrests, and there is an easy entry into the third row.

However, and possibly unique to me, I have a large dog who cannot lie down in the rear. This became an issue when driving further because like a lot of dogs, driving is foreign and lying down calms him.

Still, I think for most people you’ll love the captain's chairs, and people who sat back there are always extremely impressed by the almost luxurious nature of the rear.

You also have a single USB-C port, adjustable fan speed, and map pockets and the seats sit higher than the front allowing for great road visibility and reducing car sickness.

Third-row space is just okay, but to be honest I wouldn’t put children in the third row due to the lack of full third-row curtain airbags. It does extend partially, but not all the way.

How much can fit in the boot of the Scorpio?

Boot space has been another rather large disappointment with the Scorpio.

With the third row up, space is really little.

Drop the third row, and it leaves a large hump in the floor as the seat base simply folds forward. That leaves you with 756L of space (according to Mahindra), but really space useability is largely compromised.

You can fold forward the second row, and leave the third row base in place, which gives you a raised, rather awkward space.

Although never much of an issue as it’s really just myself and my partner driving around in the car, a family of 5 might struggle with the space constraints.

What’s under the bonnet of the Scorpio?

Powering the Mahindra Scorpio is a 2.2-litre, 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine with 129 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque.

That power is sent through to a part-time 4wd system through a 6-Speed Aisin torque converter automatic transmission.

The Scorpio is equipped with Mahindra’s ‘4XPLOR’ system, with selectable driving modes when off-road - Snow, Mud and Ruts and Sand.

It also scores a brake-locking differential at the rear.

Mahindra claims a fuel economy of 7.2 L/100km, whereas over the three months of testing we returned an average fuel economy of 8.8 L/100km. That's decent, considering this Scorpio has been mainly an urban dweller.

How does the Scorpio drive?

The Mahindra Scorpio drives mostly really well.

There is no doubt, however, that I wish the Scorpio had 2 things - more power, and a better stop start system.

Although the 2.2L mHawk engine has proven to be quite reliable over the years, it certainly is not quick. In fact, it has one of the slower 0-100km/h times we’ve tested at 11.78 seconds.

Although it may not be an overtaking beast, it certainly is an incredibly comfortable cruiser. The 6-speed automatic is tuned really well, and smoothly shifts the Scorpio along the road.

The torque of the engine, though not phenomenal, provides enough grunt to keep the Scorpio pulling surprisingly long after raw power has cut out.

More importantly, though is just how well-tuned the Scorpio is. It has Australian-tuned ‘Frequency Dependant Damping’, which adjusts damping force depending on the frequency and amplitude of bumps.

In lamens terms, you get a really comfortable yet reassuringly firm ride in a wide variety of road conditions.

This is what really led me to choose the Scorpio keys over other review cars I had over my time with the Mahindra, it just has an incredibly solid ride. Not to mention you do sit quite high, and that gives a proper ‘king of the road’ feel.

The stop-start system though is still genuinely terrible. Unlike most cars where the car does not entirely turn off, the Scorpio does. That means at night, the lights flash by turning off and then on. It also does not speak to the transmission and engine well, which means it can be a solid 2-seconds between the foot planted and the Scorpio beginning to move.

Thankfully, it’s a one-switch button to turn off, but you do have to do that EVERY time you start the car.

In all, the Scorpio does provide best-in-class ride and handling dynamics thanks to its Aussie tune, and certainly is my favourite driving new offroader sub-$50,000.

Is the Scorpio Safe?

I really wish talking about car safety wasn’t as politicised as it currently is.

Although the Mahindra Scorpio has scored 5-Stars in the Global NCAP safety rating, here in Australia, it scored a rather terrible 0-Star rating.

Why? ANCAP has just switched over to the 2023 crashing protocols, which emphasises crash avoidance and mitigating damage to other road users over purely crash safety.

Image Credit: ANCAP

In comparison, Global NCAP focuses on crash safety - i.e., how safe the occupants of the car are going to be in an accident.

Although the Scorpio received okay results for those inside the car when crashing - scoring Marginal, Acceptable and Good ratings for adult occupant protection - it really was let down by its inability to avoid crashing in the first place and also was found to have a high risk towards occupants of an oncoming vehicle.

Subsequently, the Scorpio received an adult occupant protection rating of 44 per cent, a child occupant protection rating of 80 per cent, a vulnerable road user protection rating of 23 per cent, and a safety assist rating of 0 per cent.

Image Credit: ANCAP

You can read the full report here by ANCAP.

I agree with ANCAP that Scorpio should have active safety technology (ADAS) like autonomous emergency braking at a bare minimum. It’s sister vehicle, the XUV700, has these technologies and they work great.

Although I do not subscribe to this idea, some people I’ve spoken to have suggested that ANCAP has unfairly targeted Mahindra, especially since quite a few cars at the moment would likely fare the same under the strict 2023 testing protocols. 

Image Credit: ANCAP

ANCAP is largely government-funded, so it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that making an example of a manufacturer to legitimise its work is out of the question.

Still, crash safety is important, and there is no doubt the Scorpio could do a lot better. I personally did not feel unsafe while driving the Scorpio, but I also thankfully never had to test out its crashing safely ability.

But we’d like to know what you think, and you can do so by joining the conversation in the comments section below.

What are the specs and features of the Scorpio?

Scorpio Z8 features:

  • Dual Pinion Electric Power Steering
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
  • Brake Disc Wiping
  • Electronic Brake Prefill
  • Dynamics Control
  • Traction Control System
  • Trailer Sway Mitigation
  • Roll Over Mitigation
  • Hill Hold Control (HHC)
  • Hill Decent Control (HDC)
  • Command Seating with Seat Height Adjustment and Lumbar Support
  • Rear Spoiler
  • Aero Wipers (Front)
  • R18” Alloy Wheels
  • Silver Skid Plates
  • 20.32 cm Touchscreen Infotainment System
  • Android Auto and CarPlay Compatibility
  • Cruise Control
  • USB Charge (C Port) in 2nd Row
  • 2nd Row AC Module
  • Cooled Glove Box
  • PM 2.5 Filter Certification
  • Fully Automatic Temperature Control (FATC) with Tri-Cool AC
  • LED Headlamps
  • Projector Fog Lamps with Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
  • LED Tail Lamps
  • LED Sequential Turn Indicator
  • Auto Headlamp and Auto Wiper
  • Driver and Co-Driver Power Window with Anti-Pinch
  • Rear Wiper, Washer, and Demister
  • Push Button Start
  • Passive Keyless Entry
  • Power Fold Outside Rear-View Mirrors (ORVM)
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • 4XPLOR - Intelligent 4x4 System
  • Selectable Terrain Modes (Normal, Snow, Mud & Ruts, Sand)
  • Dual Tone Dashboard
  • Robust Centre Console with Metal Finished Dual Rails
  • Rich Coffee Black Leatherette Interiors
  • Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel and Gear Knob
  • Chrome Door Handles
  • Signature Metallic Scorpio-tail Element Integrated into the Belt-line

Scorpio Z8L adds:

  • 12 speaker Sony Branded Audio with twin channel sub-woofer
  • Front Camera
  • Front Park Assist Sensors
  • 6–Way Drivers Power Seats
  • 7-inch Colour Drivers Display
  • Wireless Phone Charging

How much can the Scorpio tow?

The 2023 Mahindra Scorpio has a maximum braked towing capacity of 2500kg, with unbraked towing up to 750kg.

How much does the Scorpio cost to run?

The Mahindra Scorpio is covered by a 7-year, 150,000km warranty, including roadside assistance. 

In terms of servicing costs, this occurs at every 10,000kms or 12 months (whichever comes first). The first service is required at 3,000kms or 3 months, and is free of charge.

  • 3,000 kms or 3 months: Service Cost: Free of Charge
  • 10,000 kms or 12 months (1 year): Service Cost: $460
  • 20,000 kms or 24 months (2 years): Service Cost: $370
  • 30,000 kms or 36 months (3 years): Service Cost: $450
  • 40,000 kms or 48 months (4 years): Service Cost: $728
  • 50,000 kms or 60 months (5 years): Service Cost: $350

Total cost is $2,358 over 5 years or 50,000 kilometres.

What’s CarSauce’s take on the Scorpio?

Despite the elephant in the room of 0-star ANCAP safety, the reality is I really enjoyed my time with the Mahindra Scorpio over the last few months.

It drives great, has a nice and solid interior, and subjectively I love the looks.

Safety also requires a bit of digging into, because it’s not as straightforward as it’s totally unsafe. 

In fact, my guess is had the Scorpio been tested to 2019 protocols, it probably would have scored at least 3-stars. But that’s my opinion, and I strongly recommend you read the report yourself and come to your own conclusions.

Regardless, if you’re looking for a great value and proper off-roader (Jacob tested the Scorpio in Chennai, India with a full off-road video on that soon!), it’s an easy recommendation from me.

Saucey score breakdown

Maintenance Costs and Warranty
Fuel (or EV) Efficiency
Interior Design and Features
Value for Money
Technology and Innovation
Is it fit-for-purpose?
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Matt Brand
Matt Brand, the esteemed car critic from Car Sauce, offers unparalleled expertise on all things automotive. From new car releases to pre-owned options, he provides in-depth analysis and honest evaluations to guide readers through the car-buying process. Join us as he delves into the exciting world of motoring.
Car specs

129 kW + 400 Nm

$44,990 Incl. On-roads

7.2 L/100km

0 Star ANCAP

Buy a Car!
No Obligations, Hassle Free.

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