I have been meaning to do this for a long time now. Having read a multitude of articles and reviews on how a car handles and feels and its features, I wanted to check if there was a way to take a car out on the highway, preferably a long drive and see how the car performs in terms of your needs while on a drive. Small things that people generally overlook and miss out on short test drives get amplified on the longer drives. The perfect opportunity presented itself when the RoadTrippers Club Biker’s Football tour of Bangalore was organised on 15th of July. As the possessor of the only Mahindra Scorpio (A Scorpio S11) with the RTC branding, it was essential that someone took the car down to Bangalore for the event. I was the first to raise my hand! Which also gave us at ScoutMyTrip for a road trip test for the Scorpio S11 review!
So, on 13th I loaded a brand new Mahindra Scorpio S11 4×4 2018 model with my one knapsack, a bag full of snacks and started at 6 am from Mumbai. This is my review of the SUV while on the drive!
My experience with Scorpio over the years
I have been driving a Scorpio for the longest period, have done Ladakh and Nepal on a 2.6 CRDE, own a mHawk 4×4 older model myself and have always loved the road presence, the new Scorpio S11 thankfully doesn’t compromise on this aspect. Big, tall and menacing, the newest model carries the same manly DNA that its predecessors had. The first thing you notice when you started an older Scorpio is vibration and the stutter. Like a giant waking up after a slumber, I turned the ignition on the Scorpio S11 and waited for this feeling. I didn’t even realize that the car had started, smooth and refined, the engine turned over with a purr and felt calm and collected! With a frown, I hoped that the new Scorpio S11 didn’t disappoint on the power front.
The styling is also bang on. Headlights that looks like the eyes of the Transformers, the grille that screams class, and a high seating which keeps you above the eye line of all the cars next to you, the car also strangely feels and handles lighter than any Scorpio I have driven before.
The journey begins!
Well, off I went, to stop to a standstill 10 minutes later, amidst a sea of container trucks leaving the city at that very precise moment. The traffic jam lasted for a good 40 minutes, which also talked to me about another feature of the car, the air conditioner. The 2.6 had a lovely AC, all the subsequent versions, though adequate, did not freeze you and on some really hot days, would let you break a sweat. The new Scorpio S11 A/C had me moving the vents away from me in about 5 minutes. In a complete standstill, the a/c showed no reduction in cooling! Kudos to the team that designed this.
Some stand out features
As I made my way out of new Bombay, the rain gods smiled and decided to give me a taste of what I was to experience for my entire journey in Maharashtra. A very erratic drizzle, always confuses you, should you switch on the wipers now or wait for a few drops to accumulate? This baby had rain sensing wipers, no confusion there! This is also when I noticed that one of the pet peeves of mine with all the Mahindra Scorpio’s had still not been addressed. The speed of the wipers is fast. Even at the lowest setting, its way to fast! Most of the new age cars have an intermediate setting between the slowest mode ( which is really slow) and the second mode, which you can use to control the speed of the wipers. But the problem is easily solved with the rain sensing wipers and we are good to go!
The now familiar infotainment system still doesn’t support apple car play or android auto, but very easily connected to my phone. I paired both my Samsung Galaxy Note and my iPhoneX to the system and started playing some music. The speakers are a definite upgrade and sound very good. More importantly, the creaks and clanks of the earlier body is not heard in the cabin. Either they have been rectified or the noise cancellation of the body works very very well. To cut a long story short, dire straits sounded even better and when deep purple started playing, I almost forgot I was not in a theater! The navigation is still from MapMyIndia, and for those who are familiar with the earlier versions or the ones that work in the XUV5OO, shouldn’t be a problem at all.
As the playlist progressed, I left Mumbai and on the expressway was making good speed. Near Lonavla a minor landslide again brought us to a standstill, over the next 2 hours, I was stuck in the car with pouring rain nowhere to go. Luckily the snacks I brought from home helped passing time. Aerosmith switched to raftaar and Bollywood tracks and the car started moving again (was it the music? Hmmm)
I was effortlessly reaching 110, 120 kmph with the new burst in the power that has been given to this model, overtaking is a cinch. The weight and balance is equally good and you feel safe in the vehicle even in very wet conditions. The only glitch I found was that there is a marked power loss when accelerating past 110. For a second it feels that the car loses its power and then picks up and moves happily forward. I don’t know if this is a problem with this particular vehicle or across the Mahindra Scorpio’s, maybe another owner can check and confirm this. The 6th gear is a boon! You can cruise in this gear for as low as 80 or 90 and I went to a max of 150 kmph (recorded on my Phone GPS as well as the speedometer) the car doesn’t feel unsafe at all. Overall, extremely satisfied with the entire experience.
The final stretch
As the Bollywood numbers died down and moved to the crooning of Mohd Rafi and Hemant Kumar, I made my first stop for a quick cup of coffee outside Chitradurga, some 700-800 kms from my start point. By the time I had crossed the border before Belgaum the sun had come out and I was able to improve my average speed on this stretch. The roads are excellent, except for a brief stretch between Hubli and Dharwad where there is a 2 lane highway instead of the otherwise prevalent four-lane divider highway. All through these routes, there are petrol stations and restaurants. At the coffee day, my regular double shot espresso downed, and one more to go, because I had realized that I would be driving into the night, highlighted the biggest problem ( according to me ) in the cabin of the Scorpio S11. There is no cup holder in the front! I was forced to hold the cup between my legs on the seat while driving, and that is not a very comfortable thing!
Well, with the unfamiliar warmth between my legs, I took off to reach the highway again and the onset of the nightfall. This is where I tested out the lights of the car. No complaints there. There is enough for you to see ahead on the roads even in the most unlit highway. Very adequate, without blowing your minds away. Bangalore traffic was soon on me, but the sheer driveability of the car is such that I faced absolutely no problems because of this. Another big plus point in favor of the new car. After 13.5 hours of driving, with 2 stops for fuel (average fuel economy was around 13.2, but that is mainly because of my high speeds and rapid acceleration, I have seen it give 16 when at a much more sedate pace) , I was in Bangalore, dirty muddy and completely satisfied with the entire experience of having driven 1115 kms in this time frame. All in all, a huge thumbs up to the team at Mahindra Auto for having made marked improvements on the already successful Mahindra Scorpio. This is a car you can bring home but will be tempted to never leave it in the parking, you need to hit the highways!
Hope you liked my Scorpio S11 review on a road trip. If you want to check out the specs of the car, head to Overdrive and their spec sheet which should cover all of it.
Pros and cons of the Mahindra Scorpio S11 for a road trip
- Greater road visibility
- The sixth gear!
- Powerful engine with an excellent pick up.
- Incredible boot space.
- Comfortable captain seats
- Quick cooling air condition, with climate control
- Good stability on highways thanks to the weight
- No cup holder in the front
- No apple car play or android auto in the entertainment system
- Power loss when accelerating beyond 110km/hr
Specially for Road Trips:
- Mileage: 13.2km/l on high speeds. Best scenario mileage of 16km/l
- Top Speed: 150km / hr
While we’re at it, here are some pictures from the Road Trippers Club Biker’s Football Tour. Check out some road trip resources such as the road trip checklist or the vehicle checklist before a road trip.