It’s quite a climb into the Scorpio’s cabin but once you plonk yourself in the driver’s seat, you’re in for quite a shock. The interiors are a quantum improvement over the previous model and it’s hard to spot any carryover parts, except for the roof light which, incidentally, belongs to the mid-1990s Ford Escort which Mahindra once built!
The all-new dashboard, with its layered design, has a nice play of different textures and materials that have transformed the ambience of the cabin. The plastics aren’t up to global standards but are far better than the local competition.
In fact, there are a surprising number of quality touches inside. We like the fluid and well-damped way the knobs and buttons work and even the air vents feel robust. Detailing like the silver accents on the steering wheel and around the vents and dials enhance the appeal, but what feels out of place are the cheap door handles – they are hard to operate and feel like they could snap off.
M&M hasn’t pulled any punches when it comes to features and the Scorpio is easily the best-equipped SUV in its class. The top-end S10 version we’ve tested here gets tyre pressure sensors, cruise control and steering-operated controls
Taking pride of place in the centre console is a new six-inch touch-screen infotainment system that interfaces with the audio, navigation system and climate air-con systems. It has parking sensors too but there’s no camera.
The Scorpio’s seats are again all new and quite comfy but could have been better designed. In the quest to increase under-thigh support, the seat squabs are too long, and if you’re short they dig into you behind the knees. This is made worse in the middle row where the seat base has been angled a bit too far upwards. Legroom and headroom are pretty decent and, despite the narrow cabin, the wide bench makes sitting three across quite comfortable.
The front seats are more generous than before but the wider seat base almost touches the door pads. As a result, you can’t access the door pockets (which are impractically slim) or the seat adjuster, unless you open the door! It’s an appalling snafu, but then the Scorpio’s ergonomics have never been great. M&M’s engineers have improved driver convenience by moving the power window switches to the doors and the fuel filler release button to the dash, but there are other buttons that aren’t as well located – like the auto lights, auto wiper and auto start-stop buttons – and the central locking can only be operated by the locks on the door handles, which are annoyingly hard to open.
Our test vehicle came with side-facing jump seats in the back, which are best suited for very small runs. The Scorpio can also be specified with a forward-facing third row bench but in reality it’s best to leave this space for luggage.