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Old 1st July 2013, 01:30   #1
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Default Back in Black - My Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD

This is my first started thread on Team-BHP and I'm posting this to share my experience of buying and owning a Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD, which has completed almost 5000 km in the last 2 months since buying it.

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What I like about the Scorpio LX 4WD:
  1. Very smooth drive, and almost noiseless cabin
  2. Reasonably spacious, with a lot of luggage space
  3. Decent build quality- par for the course
  4. The black bumpers are easy to maintain and add a very elegant look to the vehicle. More on this later
  5. Sturdy vehicle that commands respect on the road

The Scorpio is my occasional weekday and regular weekend ride. I also use it on all those summer days in Gurgaon when it's too hot for the Nano's AC to handle. I plan to use this vehicle primarily for highway drives.

What I don't like:
  1. At this price point, Mahindra could have at least provided driver's seat arm-rests, whch they provide in the similar priced SLE
  2. With the driver's seat pushed all the way back for my driving position (I'm almost 6'4" tall), another person of my height just can't fit into the back seat. The Storme or the Aria are far better in this regard
  3. Bumpy ride- really felt each bump when driving along Western Express Highway in Mumbai
  4. Inappropriate place for tools under the middle row. The spanner and the jack rod keep jumping out and making noise. Mahindra could have at least designed some sort of harness for tools
  5. At this price point, and just considering the size of this vehicle, Mahindra should have provided electric ORVMs, which they haven't done, and made mirror adjustment very inconvenient.

Background- The Research and Decision Making Process
I've worked mostly in purchasing ever since starting my career, and my day to day routine involves doing a lot of research and analysis before the actual decision making process. And my personal life is no different in this respect

I sold my Maruti Swift VDi after it had completed 90,000 km in August 2012. It was a Bangalore registered vehicle that I had driven all over the country, and brought along to Gurgaon, where I used it for over an year and 8 months, before I drove it back to Bangalore and sold it for a very handsome price to Maruti Tru Value.

I bought a Tata Nano as a stand-in vehicle till I could complete my decision making process on the bigger car. The actual research had started almost an year before that in 2011, and I had zeroed in on the following vehicles:
  1. Tata Aria
  2. Mahindra Xylo
  3. Mahindra Scorpio
  4. Toyota Innova
  5. Tata Safari Storme

Another vehicle got added to this list in early 2013, which was the Honda Amaze.

Here are my views on each of the mentioned cars and my reasons for choosing the Scorpio. The actual variant chosen has a more interesting twist to it.

Tata Aria: Beautiful and very spacious vehicle with a powerful engine. I love the modern and very muscular looks of this car. However, the thing that kept me from buying it were the fact that it's selling in low numbers and my feeling that Tata might phase it out sooner rather than later, which would result in reduced spares availability, in addition to all the issues being reported on various forums about the Aria.

Mahindra Xylo: Again, spacious vehicle with space in all rows. The thing I didn't about it was driver seat comfort, even with the lumbar and other adjustments. So I gave up on it

Toyota Innova: Beautiful vehicle in terms of reliability, serviceability, and resale value. I was however dissuaded by the price tag, which I feel is too steep at INR 13 lacs plus for a basic feature like air conditioning to the folks in the middle and last rows, which is only available from the GX variant onwards.

Tata Safari Storme: Superb improvement over the old Safari, but one of the weird things that irritated me about this car is the fact that they've put in a plastic grill over the floor blower, which interfered with my feet each time drove it. Also, I didn't like the comfort of the rear jump seats. If we ever have to use them, those in the Scorpio are far better. It was off the table the moment I found out that the Scorpio LX 4WD is readily available with Sterling Motors.

One very interesting thing happened in the interim- my wife got a job in Mumbai and we decided that her taking it is a great idea. Since I would need to travel more often to Mumbai, I ended up looking at the Honda Amaze as well as an option. However, since road trips into areas with poor roads such as Ladakh were always on the cards, wife and I decided to check out the Scorpio again.

So, one fine morning in Early April 2013, I gave a call to Sterling Motors in Gurgaon, asking about readily available Scorpios. I wanted to have the vehicle quickly, and was in no mood to wait, since my wife's relocation was coming up, and I knew that a lot of her luggage could be taken to Mumbai in the Scorpio. Lo and behold, I was told that a Scorpio LX 4WD in black is readily available.

Now. I've always been a fan of the Black LX ever since I saw one Air Force officer's vehicle near my place, that was beautifully maintained. The black bumpers add a very different look and appeal to the black LX. And when I heard a black LX 4WD is available, I jumped for joy because here was a vehicle that would let me travel easily over bad roads, and have the ability to switch to 4L, in the event of an emergency need. I'm fully aware having been following Team-BHP's 4x4 and Off-roading forum for so long, that the scorpio is at best suited for soft-roading and not true off-roading. But the 4L setting is sufficient to handle some tough roads.

Booking and Delivery Process
I booked the car and bought it right away. The price paid is as below:
Ex Showroom Price: INR 9,94,000
Discount Offered: INR 18,720 for self insured or insurance at INR 1
Total on-road price: INR 10,69,000 approx including zero dep insurance purchased directly from Tata AIG

Sterling Motors refused to offer any other discounts or freebies, insisting that Mahindra has been getting very strict with all dealerships about no extra discounts. That said, the folks at Sterling Motors, especially Mr. Sumit Singh Nagar, are unfailingly polite, and kept all their commitments. This was one of the most pleasant car purchase experiences I've had.

There were only two accessories I got fitted at the dealership, which were the Gear Lock and the Remote Lock.

Here's a pic of me receiving the car with my son.
Back in Black - My Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD-scorpio_delivery.jpg

It was a very special day for us.

Drove it to Malai Mandir in New Delhi about 5 days later for vahana pooja, and they really perform the pooja beautifully at this temple.
Back in Black - My Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD-dsc_0042_vahana_pooja.jpg

Post the vahana pooja, I drove down to Auto Zone in Sector 14 for the accessories fitment and added the following items:
  1. SAI GSM GPS Security System
  2. Blaupunkt LA 500 HU
  3. Blaupunkt Velocity Component Speakers
  4. Rockford Fosgate Rear speakers
  5. Reversing Sensors and Camera integrated into the HU
  6. Seat Covers
  7. Floor Mats
  8. An extra cigar lighter socket
  9. Scuff Plates
  10. Bull Bar

Some accessories came later over a month of ownership, which include:
  1. Ground Zero Active Sub-woofer under the front seat- I know a lot of the ICE Gurus on this forum don't feel this system provides the needed kick. But given my audio needs (mostly listen to Rock, Country, and classical music in the car, along with a lot of audiobooks), and the desire to save the boot space for travel, I decided to go for it
  2. Amzer Tablet Mount for my Galaxy Tab 2- I bought this device off flipkart, and it's super useful. Unlike the locally available tablet mounts, it provides for an extensible telescopic arm, with a brutally strong vacuum suction cup for the windscreen (the instruction manual even warns that the company will not be responsible for damage to your windscreen if you apply the suction cup and try to yank it off improperly)
  3. Fog lamps

Here are some images of these accessories:

HU
Back in Black - My Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD-20130630_161210.jpg

My Dash- Note the Amzer Tablet Mount, and the switch/ volume control of the Sub
Back in Black - My Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD-20130630_161422.jpg

Speakers- Rear and Front
Back in Black - My Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD-20130630_161448.jpg
Back in Black - My Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD-20130630_161514.jpg

The Tweeters
Back in Black - My Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD-20130630_161535.jpg

My Favorite Rock Group get their honorable mention
Back in Black - My Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD-20130630_161652.jpg

Fog Lamps
Back in Black - My Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD-20130630_182118.jpg
AC Performance: Superb in one word. The AC works perfectly at any external temperature, and cools the interiors in minutes, even after the vehicle has been out in the sun for while

Seat support and Ergonomics: Seats are comfortable. However, my major gripe is about why Mahindra didn't offer driver seat armrests

Engine performance: The Scorpio is an eminently driveable city ride. It's pretty easy to steer and judge turnings and distance to vehicles in front, and the engine is smooth, with uniform power delivery across all RPM bands. This makes city drives very enjoyable. Also, Mahindra has succeeded in producing a surprisingly quiet and refined vehicle. It is in fact the first vehicle in which I've been able to listen to classical music while driving. The Scorpio doesn't disappoint on the highway either, and the engine is powerful enough to reach very good speeds. However, I'm a bit apprehensive to take it much beyond 110 km/h, just given the ride dynamics of the vehicle. The MHawk is in fact the best thing about the Scorpio

Gearshift: The gear shift is occasionally hard. But more interestingly, it has the Scorpio vibration, which is something unique to this vehicle. Overall, it's got a relatively long throw, but is pretty decent to use

Fuel efficiency: 8.5 to 9.5 km/l in city and 12.5 to 13.5 km/l on the highway

Suspension: This is the one aspect on which the Scorpio disappoints. You feel every bump on the road. As long as the road is smooth, it's smooth sailing. But even the slightest bump will be felt

Handling: Body roll is a reality and anyone switching from low slung hatches or sedans to a Scorpio better learn to handle this fast. I found to my dismay while turning into the basement of our office, where the path narrows at one place, that the door handle and part of the door touched the wall one day and got scratched, despite the fact that I was driving very slow and carefully.

Within 10 days of buying it, I drove down to Mumbai. The drive was flawless and the beast performed beautifully on the road, returning a mileage between 12 and 13 kmpl on the entire route.

Service and Service Quality
On return from Mumbai, I found some clattering noise on the underside, which was promptly diagnosed by Sterling Motors as emanating from the exhaust pipe having come loose. They fixed this immediately and suggested that I also get the vehicle serviced, since it had already run almost 4000 km.

The first service bill came to about INR 4000. I also got a under-body anti-rust coat done, which cost me an additional INR 6,500. One gripe I had with this service was that Sterling Motors lost my plastic floor mats, and I realized this only after I paid for the service. They have however been gracious enough to mark my invoice and indicate that the amount would be deducted in the next service.

After this, my Scorpio has only been running in the city. I noticed some oil leaking a few days ago, which I reported in a separate thread. It turns out the leak was from a damaged gasket in the receptacle from which engine oil is filled (image below):
Back in Black - My Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD-20130629_164908.jpg

This was fixed by Sterling Motors at no cost to me. But they managed another goof up this time- the mechanic forgot to replace the engine cover and I realized this only when I opened the engine to get the remote lock bonnet sensor fixed correctly at Batra Car Care (a previous goof-up by the Sterling Motors Showroom Accessories guys). This was just about an hour later and thankfully, I got back my engine cover.

All I can say in closing is that there is a certain appeal to the Scorpio that just can't be described. Even with all it's shortcomings, it endears itself to you once you own it. One person I was talking to, who's owned an LX for about 3 years, likened it to an Enfield Bullet, which is an interesting comparison (Not built for speed, but commands respect, in his own words)

Coming up this week is my Ladakh Trip and I will keep you all posted on that

Last edited by HighwayofLife : 4th July 2013 at 16:04.
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Old 5th July 2013, 10:26   #2
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Default Re: Back in Black - My Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 5th July 2013, 10:42   #3
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Default Re: Back in Black - My Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD

Loved your review!

Just a couple of [unsolicited] suggestions:
1. Remove the bull bar if you aren't a big fan of it. It somehow doesn't gel with the All Black butch look of the vehicle.

2. If you have some more money to spare, get the cladding that goes with the SLE/VLX fitted on your vehicle. However, keep it unpainted, so that you don't have to deal with the nuisance of minor scratches/nicks that are received as part and parcel of city driving. Bonus is that it adds to the "mighty muscular" looks of the Scorpio too.

Congratulations and wish you a million miles of safe & happy driving!

Cheers,
Vikram

Last edited by comfortablynumb : 5th July 2013 at 10:46.
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Old 5th July 2013, 10:58   #4
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Default Re: Back in Black - My Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD

Many congratulations on this acquisition! Wanted to check one thing - you mentioned that you drove from Ggn to Bby within 10 days of buying the car; how did you get accustomed to the vastly different dynamics as compared to the hatches you'd been driving earlier, especially at high speeds? You did touch upon this briefly while relating your parking experience, but how was it over a much longer drive and at much higher speeds?

I ask as I'm looking to buy an XUV and plan to do a Bby-Blr drive within 10-15 days of getting the car, and having driven a 1.6L Ford Ikon for the past decade, am a bit apprehensive of adjusting my driving style so dramatically and so soon. Your thoughts?
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Old 5th July 2013, 11:30   #5
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Nice review

Liked the all back Scorpio (you need to name it). Just wondering why XUV500 didnt make it to your short list.

See if you can paint the bull bar in black. The chrome bits looks out of place

Wish you a happy ownership!!
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Old 5th July 2013, 12:22   #6
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Default Re: Back in Black - My Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD

Thanks everyone,

Quote:
Originally Posted by comfortablynumb View Post
Loved your review!

Just a couple of [unsolicited] suggestions:
1. Remove the bull bar if you aren't a big fan of it. It somehow doesn't gel with the All Black butch look of the vehicle.

2. If you have some more money to spare, get the cladding that goes with the SLE/VLX fitted on your vehicle. However, keep it unpainted, so that you don't have to deal with the nuisance of minor scratches/nicks that are received as part and parcel of city driving. Bonus is that it adds to the "mighty muscular" looks of the Scorpio too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arup.misra View Post
See if you can paint the bull bar in black. The chrome bits looks out of place
Thanks much Vikram and Arup. Suggestions noted on the bullbar and cladding, and I'll look into that right away. I have plans to put in a different type of bullbar design I just saw at an accessories shop, that's all black. Either that, or I'll get the bullbar painted black

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agarwaka View Post
Many congratulations on this acquisition! Wanted to check one thing - you mentioned that you drove from Ggn to Bby within 10 days of buying the car; how did you get accustomed to the vastly different dynamics as compared to the hatches you'd been driving earlier, especially at high speeds? You did touch upon this briefly while relating your parking experience, but how was it over a much longer drive and at much higher speeds?
The important thing is to drive at an initial speed no exceeding 80 to 90 km/h and getting a feel for how the vehicle handles. SUVs, however well they may be built, are still taller and larger than sedans, and will not take kindly to wild cornering. In any case, from Delhi to Mumbai, the road is flat and straight throughout, with some nice curves between Udaipur and Shamlaji (I just love that stretch), and the only part of the road on the Mum-Blr sector, where you might get some opportunity for extreme cornering would be between Belgaum and Kolhapur, just before Pune, and on parts of the Mumbai Pune Expressway, and I strongly suggest that you not try to test cornering in your new beast

Quote:
Originally Posted by arup.misra View Post
Just wondering why XUV500 didnt make it to your short list.
Budget for one, and me not being such a huge fan of the XUV 500 for another. It just has too much bling IMHO.

Last edited by HighwayofLife : 5th July 2013 at 12:23.
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Old 5th July 2013, 14:17   #7
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Nice review, may I know how much you paid for "SAI GSM GPS Security System" please?
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Old 5th July 2013, 21:07   #8
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Welcome to Scorpio Country. The LX 4WD is an excellent choice for taming the Ladhaki wilderness. Your gripe about the suspension will change with a change in tyres like mine with new Geolander AT tyres. Suggest some aux lamps for the bullbar. Cheers !
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Old 5th July 2013, 23:04   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puneet.S View Post
Nice review, may I know how much you paid for "SAI GSM GPS Security System" please?
INR 7800, and took a separate SIM for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by princey View Post
Your gripe about the suspension will change with a change in tyres like mine with new Geolander AT tyres. Suggest some aux lamps for the bullbar. Cheers !
Absolutely- once I gather the budget for these. Alloys are also on the cards

Last edited by benbsb29 : 7th July 2013 at 12:02. Reason: Merging back-to-back posts. Plz use the Multi-Quote button to reply to more than one post at a time.
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Old 6th July 2013, 06:24   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighwayofLife View Post

Absolutely- once I gather the budget for these. Alloys are also on the cards
Excellent, try ones with a minute positive offset away from the chassis to compensate for the body roll too. Like killing two birds with one stone. All the best.
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Old 6th July 2013, 13:56   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighwayofLife View Post
INR 7800, and took a separate SIM for it.
Thanks, would appreciate a mini-review too if possible. I am also keen on having this installed in my Scorp - i have gear lock installed already, but i guess no security is enough - especially in 'theft prone' models.

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Old 6th July 2013, 17:10   #12
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Default Re: Back in Black - My Mahindra Scorpio LX 4WD

Congrats on making the right choice. You will experience a phenomenal difference in the drive ability and the gear shift after the 2nd service. Drive safe and enjoy the truck.
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Old 7th July 2013, 01:00   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puneet.S View Post
Thanks, would appreciate a mini-review too if possible. I am also keen on having this installed in my Scorp - i have gear lock installed already, but i guess no security is enough - especially in 'theft prone' models.
Sure Puneet, I'll get you the full info by next week
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Old 14th July 2013, 12:38   #14
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Just got back from my trip to Leh and into range of a usable network at Manali. I'll put up a separate travelogue of course. My Scorpio performed beautifully barring some extreme climbs on bad roads, where I had to engage 4WD, post which it was simply awesome. Average mileage of 12.5 on the plains and 8.5 on the hills.

Here's my list of positives on the vehicle from this very challenging drive:
- 4wd allows it to take on anything
- Very tough car with decent mileage

My list of cons:
- I found the low end torque wanting on some slopes and felt I was engaging 4wd too much because of this
- Everything inside is now shaking and creaking. I guess this might not be unique to this vehicle alone
- Suspension makes you feel every jolt. Alloys and new tyres on the cards for certain now

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Old 25th July 2013, 16:24   #15
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Some interesting developments in the last week or so- I'll be moving back to Bangalore in the very near term and need to sell the Scorpio.

I've put up an ad on the classifieds and invite any interested buyers to take a look.

The sale would be closed by next week.

The future holds either another LX 4WD, or could possibly be a Safari Storme VX 4x4

Last edited by HighwayofLife : 25th July 2013 at 16:26.
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