2023 Mahindra Scorpio-N confirmed for Australia, XUV700 delayed


India’s Mahindra has revealed a new seven-seat 4WD similar in size to a Toyota RAV4 – but it lacks key safety technology set to become mandatory in Australia within nine months.

Alex Misoyannis

The 2023 Mahindra Scorpio-N body-on-frame four-wheel-drive has been locked in for an Australian launch sometime next year – alongside the car-derived XUV700 medium SUV, now delayed from its initial late 2022 launch.

Positioned as the successor to India’s 20-year-old Scorpio four-wheel-drive – the SUV version of Australia’s Pik-Up ute – the new Scorpio-N sits atop a new body-on-frame chassis, with new styling, more space, and a far more modern interior with home to as many as seven seats.

However, specifications published today suggest Mahindra’s new SUV is not available with any form of advanced safety technology – at least in the Indian market – such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) or lane-keep assist.

A specific launch date has not been confirmed for the Scorpio-N, however if it is to be launched without AEB, it must go into production for Australia before 1 March 2023 – the cut-off date for the mandatory fitment of AEB on newly-launched vehicles locally.

Even if it makes this cut-off, the Scorpio-N must gain the technology – standard on all other key players in the medium SUV segment – before March 2025, if it is to remain on sale.

India has announced plans to introduce a new government-backed ‘Bharat NCAP’ crash testing program, in a similar style to Australia’s ANCAP – however whether this mandates the fitment of AEB remains to be seen.

While it’s not equipped with AEB or any other advanced safety aids – such as lane-keep assist, blind-spot warning or radar cruise control – the Scorpio-N offers the expected six airbags, driver drowsiness detection, tyre pressure monitoring, and parking sensors.

Measuring 4662mm long, 1917mm wide and 1857mm tall, sitting on a 2750mm wheelbase, the Scorpio-N is a similar size to a Toyota RAV4 – but rides much higher (200mm), and uses a ladder-frame chassis similar to a ute or heavy-duty 4WD.

Buyers in India can choose between 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol and 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engines, mated to a choice of six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, and rear- or four-wheel drive.

The 2.0-litre petrol engine develops 149kW and 370Nm with a manual (or 380Nm with an auto), while the diesel can be had in a 97kW/300Nm tune with a manual, or up to 129kW/400Nm with an automatic (370Nm with a manual).

Range-topping versions offer a mechanical locking rear differential, simulated brake-based front differential lock, a low-range setting, three on-road modes (Zip, Zap and Zoom) and four off-road modes (Normal, Grass/Gravel, Mud/Rut and Sand).

The Scorpio-N’s styling is a more mature evolution of the older Scorpio and Pik-Up, with boxy proportions, available LED headlights and tail-lights, 17-inch or 18-inch wheels, plenty of chrome trim, and a range of colours including gold, red, and the green shown here.

Inside, an 8.0-inch central touchscreen with wired and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Amazon Alexa and satellite navigation is available, along with a 7.0-inch instrument display, and a 12-speaker Sony sound system.

The six or seven seats on offer are trimmed in leatherette on flagship grades, with six-way power adjustment for the driver, ‘fold and tumble’ functionality for the second and third rows, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter.

Other available interior features include a sunroof, wireless phone charging, dual-zone climate control, second-row air vents, a cooled glovebox, reversing camera, USB-A and USB-C ports, and push-button start.

The 2023 Mahindra Scorpio-N is due in Australian showrooms sometime next year, with full pricing and specifications to be announced closer to launch. Flagship versions in India cost just under two million rupees – equating to about $AU36,000.

Launching alongside the Scorpio-N will be the car-derived XUV700, previously slated for arrival in late 2022, but pushed back due to strong demand in India.

“Since its launch, the Mahindra XUV700 has proven to be extremely popular. In India alone, this world class authentic SUV has drawn unprecedented orders, upwards of 100,000 orders,” a Mahindra Australia spokesperson told Drive in a statement.

“The extraordinary demand in the domestic market, coupled with supply chain bottlenecks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, has put severe constraints on the supply side. This has impacted our product introduction plans for the XUV700 in the Australia market, it is now expected to be launched in 2023.”

Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

Read more about Alex Misoyannis LinkIcon