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MAHINDRA XUV700 & SCORPIO-N

At a unique global event hosted simultaneously in India, South Africa and Nepal, Mahindra South Africa showcased the company’s advanced new flagship model, the XUV700, alongside the extensively revamped Scorpio-N and unveiled the Indian automaker’s new Twin Peaks logo.

The new XUV700 steps into the highly competitive medium-sized luxury SUV market with various technological innovations, powerful engines and an attractive new design. The highly anticipated XUV700, set for local introduction later this year, is the first Mahindra to display the new “Twin Peaks” logo – representing the bold new direction the automaker has embarked on with its new-age products.

The logo and new visual identity, to be used on all new Mahindra SUVs, embodies the company’s willingness to embrace a new world order, creating authentic SUVs and lifestyle bakkies for personal exploration and adventure, backing up the brand statement of “Unleash the Explorer in You”. 

New Growth Phase

It also heralds a new growth phase for Mahindra in South Africa, said Rajesh Gupta, CEO of Mahindra South Africa. The new visual identity will be seen throughout the country in Mahindra’s growing network of dealers and its latest products, starting with the XUV700, followed shortly after that by the Scorpio-N.

The striking XUV700 incorporates distinctive design elements carried over from the XUV500 but is represented in a more modern and contemporary way. It retains a solid wedge-shaped body with large windows, accentuated wheel arches and an even more prominent grille, enclosed by big, sculpted lights and teardrop-daylight running lights.

Besides looking the part, the XUV700 comes with a host of futuristic technologies and vehicle systems, starting with a choice of next-generation turbo-petrol and turbo-diesel engines – including the new 2.0-litre mStallion GDi turbo-petrol engine delivering 147 kW and 380 Nm of torque, and a brand-new 2.2-litre mHawk CRDe turbo-diesel providing up to 136 kW of power and 450 Nm of torque.

Both engines are combined with either a six-speed manual or six-speed auto transmission (the lower-spec diesel variant will only be available with a manual transmission), and an all-wheel-drive model is also available. In India, the XUV700 is available as both a five-seater or seven-seater in MX and AX trim.

Two high-spec AX7 models, equipped with advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) technology, including Level 1 autonomous tech, were made available for the XUV700’s local introduction. The interior immediately impressed, with high-quality finishes giving it a premier ambience and modern technology at every touchpoint.

Sci-Fi Tech

The so-called “sci-fi tech” cockpit of the royal blue vehicles included a Superscreen that combines two 10.25” high-definition screens into one for an immersive display of vehicle and entertainment information. The optional luxury pack added immersive 3D sound by Sony, electrically deployed smart door handles, 360-degree surround view, blind view monitoring, an electronic park brake, continuous digital video recording and wireless charging.

A short drive on the twisty and undulating Gerotek test tracks revealed the dynamic prowess of the reasonably robust petrol-driven model (the first derivative available), affirming its position as a worthy contender for the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Sorento, as well as the top-spec Toyota Fortuner, Ford Everest and Isuzu mu-X models.

Besides many industry awards, the XUV700 received a full five-star safety rating from Global NCAP. While the final specification of the XUV700 is still to be confirmed for the local market, safety features in the new Mahindra flagbearer will include advanced systems such as Front Collision Warning, Driver Drowsiness Detection and Automatic Emergency Braking.

Scorpio-N

Mahindra & Mahindra also unveiled the new redesigned and refined Scorpio-N, expected to be introduced here early next year. The ladder-frame-based Scorpio-N keeps the rich Mahindra SUV legacy alive with adequate performance, technology, capability, and innovation.

Looking at the Pininfarina and Mahindra designed and globally developed D-segment SUV, it is difficult to believe the Scorpio – Mahindra’s first model built for the global market – has been around for 20 years, manufactured at the state-of-the-art, world-class facility at Chakan, Pune.

According to Sachin Arolkar, Head of International Operations, Mahindra Automotive Division, the decision to include South Africa in the global reveal of the Scorpio-N is a clear sign of Mahindra’s commitment to the country as its second home outside of India. The Scorpio-N will undergo a comprehensive local testing programme before its introduction in 2023.

Built on a new third-generation body-on-frame platform, the Scorpio-N has improved structural rigidity, off-road capability and on-road manners, as we found during a short drive on the Gerotek test track. Its mStallion TGDi petrol engine delivers a substantial 149 kW and 380 Nm of torque, and the mHawk turbo-diesel – with the lowest CO2 emission in its segment – is rated for 129 kW and 400 Nm of torque.

As with the XUV700, the Scorpio-N is offered with both six-speed manual and six-speed auto transmissions and four-wheel drive as an option. A redesigned interior complements its macho exterior with rich coffee-black leatherette upholstery, a commanding seating position, a centre console encased in metal finished dual rails and an advanced infotainment system.

Zip, Zap, Zoom

The latest generation body-on-frame structure has been optimised to offer assured handling capabilities, and the penta-link rear suspension features a Watts-link mechanism for confident ride and handling attributes. The 4Xplor intelligent terrain management system incorporates an electric shift-on-the-fly 4-Wheel Drive System, as well as three drive modes – Zip, Zap and Zoom.

The substantially overhauled Scorpio-N is also bigger than its predecessor – 168 mm longer, 99 mm wider but 124 mm lower, with a 71 mm longer wheelbase – and will be offered with six- and seven-seat layout. Final specification and prices for the local market must still be confirmed, but it seems the Scorpio-N will provide an unmatched value proposition when it arrives here.

Report by FERDI DE VOS | Images © Mahindra South Africa

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