Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., pioneers of the SUV segment in India, today launched its much-awaited SUV, the All New ‘Scorpio-N’ in India. The all-new Scorpio-N from Mahindra is engineered to be a global product out of India.
The all-new Scorpio-N from Mahindra is expected to recreate benchmarks in the SUV segment yet again and take forward the Mahindra legacy of building authentic, world-class SUVs with an unmissable design, thrilling performance and high-end technology. Tough yet sophisticated, the All-New Scorpio-N is a head turner with a bold and imposing design and commanding driving position. It boasts of premium interiors and comes loaded with a host of advanced modern features and latest technology. The All-New Scorpio-N is powered by spirited diesel engine, with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions. In keeping with its adventure capabilities, it will be offered with a 4×4 option.
Designed at Pininfarina, Italy and Mahindra India Design Studio (MIDS), Mumbai and engineered by the teams at Mahindra Research Valley (MRV) near Chennai and Mahindra North American Technical Center (MNATC) in USA, and manufactured at the state-of-the-art world-class facility at Chakan, Pune, the All-New Scorpio-N is truly a global product.
The market launch of the Scorpio-N in New Zealand is intended for 2023, subject to improvement in global supply chain. New Zealand is a priority market for us, as the Mahindra brand is well-established and represented via a robust retail network of over 20 outlets across New Zealand.
Founded in 1945, the Mahindra Group is one of the largest and most admired multinational federation of companies with 260,000 employees in over 100 countries. It enjoys a leadership position in farm equipment, utility vehicles, information technology and financial services in India and is the world’s largest tractor company by volume. It has a strong presence in renewable energy, agriculture, logistics, hospitality and real estate.
The Mahindra Group has a clear focus on leading ESG globally, enabling rural prosperity and enhancing urban living, with a goal to drive positive change in the lives of communities and stakeholders to enable them to Rise.
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Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, a part of US $20.7 billion Mahindra Group, has launched its stylish new XUV500, a 7-seater SUV in New Zealand, in partnership with DDW Ltd., its New Zealand distributor.
The base W6 (FWD) version of the XUV500 is priced at NZD 29,990 (GST Inclusive + ORC), with its features covering all key elements of safety, style and convenience. The company also showcased the S10 version of its Mahindra Pik-Up ute.
The new XUV500 bridges the gap between style and adventure, luxury and ruggedness, performance and economy. The petrol-powered XUV500 takes the driving experience to the next level with an easy cruising capability on city roads as well as in challenging terrain.
Joydeep Moitra, Head of International Operations, Automotive, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., says, “the SUV market in New Zealand is one of the most dynamic and demanding in the world and we are excited to be a part of this ever-evolving market. Globally, the XUV500 has been well received with its unique blend of style and utility, luxury and ruggedness. We are confident that customers here would be similarly delighted with its powerful drive experience.”
Elaborating on its association with Mahindra, Dr. Sarwar, MD, DDW Ltd., said, “We are proud of our association with Mahindra, and are committed to establishing the brand in New Zealand. For the customer, competitively priced products such as the XUV500 and Pik-Up will be great value propositions. With our pan-NZ dealership and service network, we are fully geared up to offer a world-class experience to our customers. Mahindra has a long-term commitment to New Zealand, and DDW is working closely with them to introduce new products in the near future.”
The Mahindra XUV five-double-oh (official brand name) SUV has been around seven years now. Long enough to earn its first big makeover.
During that time it’s earned a following in its state of origin (India) and built a strong platform for future sales growth in rocky-road markets such as South Africa and Argentina.
Here, the seven-seat XUV500 has been on sale only for a couple of years, but it has garnered fans in isolated locations such as Gisborne and Tuatapere. These are places where durability, dependability and value matters a lot more than things such as cellphone projection, touch screens, and automatic parking assist.
But the latest Mahindra SUV still gets plenty of extra sophistication to go with its existing ready-for-duty nature.
This new W10 front-drive version offers multi-directional airbags, tyre-pressure-monitoring system, triple-row seating, reversing camera, three-zone climate control and cruise control across the 2019 range.
It has sat-nav via the 7” info screen, connectivity, sunroof and some of the plushest leather-clad pews you’ll ever find on a vehicle costing just $35,490 (4WD: $39,990).
Drop the side-impact airbags, the second gas strut for the bonnet, the leather hides, the shiny alloy kick-plates, the sunroof, the info screen and the sat-nav, and you’ll have the otherwise-identical W6 version of this SUV. At 29,990, the W6 appears tailor-made for larger families looking for a new vehicle alternative to a second-hand seven-seat SUV.
Meanwhile, the W10 is arguably the most family-ready vehicle produced by the brand.
Luggage space has been sacrificed in the XUV500 to make room for third-row occupants and long-distance travel with all seats occupied will be best done with a luggage trailer attached to the vehicle (towing capacity 2500kg). Folding that third row down frees up 720 litres of stowage space.
Out where road maintenance is token, existing XUV500 owners will be impressed by the new 2.2 litre turbo-petrol engine of the latest version.
It is essentially a turbodiesel in its robust design, one equipped with a lower compression ratio and fitted with a new cylinder head featuring four sparkplugs to fire up petrol.
The new Mahindra turbo-petrol is diesel-like in more than just its architecture. For it produces almost identical power and torque figures to the 2.2 diesel in the Pik Up, the major difference being where those peaks are found in the rev range.
Both motors produce 103KW of power, the diesel at 3750rpm, the petrol at 4500. Torque output is a narrow win for the engine without spark plugs, the diesel pumping 330Nm in a band between 1600-2800rpm; the petrol is only 10Nm shy, producing 320Nm from 2000-3000rpm.
With an Aisin six-speed automatic gearbox transferring those petrol outputs to the front wheels, the XUV500 can sip fuel relatively gently for a vehicle weighing 2115kg.
Owners can expect the Mahindra to return 100km of travel in exchange for roughly 8L of petrol.
The new engine prefers to lope along on the mid-range torque instead of spinning up near the top of the rev range. It gets harsher and noisier as soon as it starts bleeding grunt above 3000rpm. Open-road cruising is best conducted while respecting the Mahindra’s preference for a relaxed pace.
Mahindra still has work to do on the fit and finish of the XUV500. The driver’s door needed a strong pull to seal the cabin, and a perennial rattle in the front passenger’s air vent annoyed.
But this upgrade offers more style, features, and luxury than has been offered in a Mahindra before. This new XUV500 has the potential to silence those who think Mahindra should confine itself to trucks and tractors.
MAHINDRA XUV500 W10
Pros: 7 spacious seats, superb ride
Cons: Four-star crash test (2012)
Too often motoring scribblers cover the industry as if it’s sport; a tale of winners and losers, rivalries and grudge matches. It’s an unfortunate trend that has circled back to numerous manufacturers, many of whom proudly gloat at press events about who they’re beating, and by how much. Whether the cars are any good often feels secondary.
It was therefore extremely refreshing to attend a recent launch and hear a manufacturer bigwig claim that their goal, their purpose was “not about trying to become another Toyota.”
These were the words of Joydeep Moitra; head of international operations at Indian car-maker Mahindra. He spoke at the manufacturer’s recent media event in Taupō — a relaunch of sorts for a carmaker that had “become invisible” in New Zealand. But, that might not be the case for long.
If you currently think Mahindra are some small, left of centre blip on the motoring radar, you may want to reconsider. What began in 1945 with two brothers — JC and KC Mahindra — building licensed Jeeps has blossomed into a USD$20b business with seven straight years of growth. They have over 240,000 employees working in over 100 countries, spread across 11 different sectors.
Cars, including sister company SsangYong, represent just a slice of the complex Mahindra pie. It’s the largest tractor manufacturer in the world according to volume, in part through their ownership of Mitsubishi’s tractor sub-brand. It represents India’s largest pre-owned car dealer and financier network. And it also dabbles in aerospace, real estate, hospitality, and more.
In a way, Mahindra has a similar look and feel to the emerging car-makers of China — highly successful in its own market, with the desire to penetrate the Western world. But, unlike those in China, Mahindra aren’t currently being crimped by potentially messy tariff and trade discussions with the US. It’s one of many reasons that Mahindra feel that the time is now right to make a big global push in places like New Zealand; the aim being to sell over 1000 vehicles here annually by 2022.
Just two vehicles make up Mahindra’s current Kiwi line-up. Most obvious is the Pik Up — a ute available as either a single-cab or double-cab. More oblivious is the XUV500, a comparatively quiet value-focused seven-seat SUV. While the instinct from knockers might be to place both in the same ‘too exotic, too weird’ basket, they’re actually quite different.
The Pik Up is proudly old-school, wearing the brand’s proud gravel-bashing history on its sleeve. The XUV on the other hand is clearly designed from the ground up to have mainstream appeal, and could easily be mistaken for some of its school-running, load-lugging rivals.
The cheapest way to get into a Mahindra is via the single-cab Pik Up S6, which starts at $25,990. The entry-level double-cab is $29,990, and the top-spec S10 (featuring a touch-screen infotainment system, dual-zone climate and more) is $33,990. The XUV’s pricing is similarly sharp, with the two-wheel drive foundation W6 starting at $29,990, with the higher spec W10 priced at $35,990 for the FWD and $39,990 for the all-wheel drive.
The majority of our time behind the wheel was spent tackling Off Road NZ’s complex Taupō course in each of the three Pik Up trim levels. Though there are cosmetic and tech-toy differences, each shares the same powertrain and transmission — a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four pot making 103kW and 320Nm, paired with an Aisin six-speed manual.
Driven’s Paul Owen has already aired a full road test on the Pik Up, appearing to fall mildly in love with the slightly grotesque ute. With an air of hesitation, I did what I could to try and disprove his thoughts. But, that proved hard.
The Pik Up is certainly not attractive. But, it’s quite clearly not trying to be. It’s also not trying to be refined or ‘car like’ unlike seemingly everything else in the segment. Instead its single-minded focus is utility. And with this off-road course as a backdrop, it showed just how well it nails the brief.
Despite each model only being fitted with 245/75 Grabber road tyres, none of the off-road tasks represented much of a challenge.
While some of this can be credited to simple, old-school engineering and extensive testing, it’s also worth noting that the Pik Up comes with the right tools underneath; including but not limited to a BorgWarner low-range transfer case and an Eaton locking differential (the latter being particularly in handy for the articulation test track).
One specific hill, incredibly steep with deep tyre-track ruts on each side, looked set to properly challenge the Mahindra’s mettle.
One of Off Road NZ’s staffers could be heard saying that it’s a hill most manufacturers don’t ever attempt to climb. However, in second gear with the tacho’s needle nudging red line, each Pik Up mounted the incline one by one. No sweat.
Some will guffaw at the styling or the 3-star ANCAP safety rating, but they’ll be missing out on a surprisingly charming, unsurprisingly capable utility. It is to the double cab what the Suzuki Jimny is to the compact crossover.
Our traveling from the off-road park to the night’s accommodation and then back to Auckland the following morning was in the XUV500 — an approximate four hours of commuting spent behind the wheel of the entry and top-spec models.
Questionable interior materials and that ‘distinctive’ rear wheel-arch design are both certain to raise eyebrows, but there’s no denying newly refreshed model’s space and comfort.
Powered by the same mHawk 2.2-litre turbo-diesel as in the Pik Up, the XUV500 sports more torque than most in this bracket. That doesn’t necessarily manifest in quick performance off the line, but it does give it surprisingly confident towing capabilities — a claim that we were able to verify with the aid of a dual-axle trailer. Keep an eye out for a full XUV500 road test in the coming weeks.
Overshadowing both the Pik Up and XUV is the issue of age. The former dates back to the mid-00s, while the latter turns seven this year.
Mahindra’s short-term solution to the dilemma is to target alternative markets. The Pik Up is already proving successful as a farmer-focused alternative to the world of quad bikes and side-by-sides. It’s hoped that the XUV on the other hand, with its competitive pricing, can steal away those potentially shopping for second-hand vehicles.
And long term? Well, while they remained tight lipped about exactly what’s on the menu, electrification is the next logical step. They’ve already unveiled a 1416kW, $3m, fully electric hypercar — the Pininfarina Battista — which is set to hit production next year.
That’s nice and all, but what we’re really interested in is what they’ll produce for consumers like you and I. And in that regard, we wait with bated breath.
Automotive designers use the term “tumblehome” to describe the angle of the slope of the side windows towards the centre of the vehicle.
In recent years, the designers of light commercial utes have been adding increasing amounts of tumblehome in their quest to create more sporty, car-like personalities for vehicles that are now just as likely to be used for family play as well as work.
Bucking this trend towards sportier-looking glasshouse design are just two utes. One is the high-country farmer’s favourite, the 70-series Toyota Land Cruiser. The other is this newly upgraded Mahindra S10 Pik Up double-cab wellside.
Like the 70-series, the Indian-made Pik Up has zero tumblehome, and is therefore qualified to earn the title of “the Taj Mahal of utes”.
Off-road icons such as the Land Rover Defender, Mercedes Gelande-wagen and Jeep Wrangler also have zero tumblehome, and there are some compelling reasons behind that boxier choice of design. Having zero slope on the side windows means that the vehicle can be fitted with more generously sized windows, and the driver can be sited closer to them.
As I found out while negotiating some steep, narrow tracks on a ruggedly coastal farm in Northland, the Mahindra possesses such great visibility that it’s easier to keep to the track when the alternative is a potentially fatal plunge over a bluff.
There’s a further plus to this old-school, negative-tumblehome design — cabin space, especially of the vertical kind. The Pik Up has the most generous floor-to-roof cab dimensions of any ute on the market.
The visibility and space advantages of the Mahindra’s cab design have been inherited from the previous model, but the latest Pik Up adds increased sophistication via a new engine, new gearbox, new front fascia featuring LED headlights, new dashboard, and new electronic architecture. The latter enables features such as connectivity, satellite navigation, hill hold control, traction control, stability control, voice recognition, reversing camera, remote locking, and cruise control to enter the Mahindra play-book.
Traditional utilitarianism and durability meets modernity that is almost state-of-the-art in the new S10 version of the Pik Up. There’s even a couple of things that most other utes decline to offer, such as the gas struts that assist the raising of the bonnet, and the automatic illumination of the hazard lights to warn other traffic when you do. Another selling point is the automatic locking rear differential fitted to all Pik Up models.
All of the above costs just $33,990 in the 4wd S10 wellside. (A less well-equipped double cab-chassis S6 version of the Pik Up sells for $29,990, and a singlecab-chassis S6 model costs $25,990.)
A now-retired top Mahindra exec once paraphrased the company’s philosophy as “making more things available to more people” and the new Pik Up range appears to fulfill that wish. However, there are a few caveats. One is that the new gearbox is the only gearbox available and it’s an easy-to-use, six-speed manual.
Automatic versions are still a year or two away, and are likely to come on stream after the engine meets Euro 6 emission standards in 2020 rather than the current Euro 5 compliance.
Another potential fish-hook is the three-star ANCAP crash test rating of the previous Pik Up is likely to remain the same for the S6 models, although the extra active safety features of the S10 are likely to win a further star for the flagship Pik Up (if tested).
Although other ute engines offer more punch, the new 2.2 litre Mahindra turbodiesel pumps out 330Nm of driving force and delivers adequate overtaking performance when propelling the 2115kg Pik Up up an uphill passing lane. It also has its rivals licked when it comes to noise, vibration, and harshness, to the point where there is zero mechanical noise entering the cabin when traversing highways at open road speeds.
Further powertrain refinement can be found in the smooth, un-taxing action of the clutch pedal, the snick-able gear shifts, and traction/stability systems that make little fanfare of their intervention.
A 500km drive in the Mahindra lowered the indicated fuel level of the 80-litre diesel tank only by half, suggesting that the company’s average fuel use claim of 8.8litres per 100km is on the money. Helping this economy is the wider spread of ratios in the gearbox. First delivers unflappable crawl-ability off-road, while sixth has the Pik Up trucking noiselessly along the open highway, the engine turning an unruffled 2000rpm (400rpm above the 330Nm torque peak) at 100km/h.
A large rotary dial on the centre console offers on-the-move changes from rear-wheel drive to four-wheel drive and back again.
To select low ratio, the vehicle must be stopped, but it accesses a transfer case change worthy of the name, and the Pik Up rivals its far more expensive 70-series Land Cruiser competitor in its ability to clamber, climb, and descend. It then betters the Toyota with its automatic operation of the diff-lock, an advantage the Cruiser claws back via its extra ground clearance and axle articulation (although the Mahindra’s traction control is highly skilled at keeping things trucking when one or two of its wheels are in the air).
Suspension consists of independent torsion bars up front and a leaf-sprung live axle at the rear. Spring rates are well chosen for the available wheel travel to work over a wide range of vehicle speeds, and although the damping could be increased to better control those wheel movements, it isn’t far from being on the case.
Equally old-school is the choice of hydraulic steering assistance for a rack with slow gearing.
This might make urban parking efforts blue-collar work, but equally there’s plenty of road feel on winding roads, and little kick-back through the wheel when deep in the rough stuff off-road.
Call me perverse, but I found the strangely upright design of the Mahindra grew on me over the week test. You soon realise there is plenty of function behind the form, and that tumblehome places limitations on practicality.
Then you do the sums, and see that the Mahindra S10 makes every day a Fieldays special. No other 4wd double-cab offers so much for so little.
Mahindra Pik Up S10
Pros: Seriously useful, plusher than expected
Cons: No auto, 2500kg of tow, not 3500kg