Rear wheel driven Mahindra Scorpio or the front wheel driven Renault Duster; which one is for you?

Rear wheel driven Mahindra Scorpio or the front wheel driven Renault Duster; which one is for you?
The Scorpio has been around for eons, introduced to take the premium SUV journey further for M&M from the Mahindra Bolero. It pretty much ruled the roost when it was launched, and the sole competition was in the form of the Tata Safari.

Many moons later, the market is now aflush with options galore. One such contender to the Scorpio has been the Renault Duster since it was launched in 2012. Both vehicles have evolved through the years but this is how they fare today.

Unlike the 2179cc diesel-engined Scorpio with its tried and tested body-on-ladder construction, the Duster is a monocoque and is available now with either a 1498cc naturally aspirated petrol or a 1330 cc turbo-petrol engine, depending on the variant one chooses. Yes, they’re as similar as chalk and cheese, but both of them pretty much are vying for the same crown.

To make this comparison more appropriate, the Mahindra Scorpio S7 has been stacked up against the Duster RXS Turbo CVT, with the Mahindra priced at Rs. 14.48 lakh, ex-showroom, New Delhi while the Renault will set you back by Rs. 13.59 lakh, ex-showroom, New-Delhi.


The Scorpio’s 140 bhp mHawk powerplant pulls from low down, and that torque of 319 NM is just what is required when driving through the hills, crawling in traffic in first gear without slipping the clutch or wading through slush. But if it is pure highway driving pleasure that one is looking for, then the refined 154 bhp turbo petrol residing under the Renault Duster’s bonnet is where the fun is at.

The CVT gearbox of the Duster is smooth shifting and the Renault is more relaxed whilst cruising at highway speeds. Unfortunately, despite sporting an automatic gearbox in the past, the current Scorpio gets only a 5-speed manual on the S3+ base model while the rest of the variants get the 6-speed manual, ensuring that city slickers continue to work their left calf muscles in traffic.


The previous generation Scorpios were renowned for their ruggedness but they also were infamous in the ride and handling department. However, the Scorpio has progressed significantly since its inception decades ago and the ride and handling too have improved by leaps and bounds. That being said, the Renault Duster is still a tad better with the way it rides and the handling too seems to be slightly better than the Mahindra. It handles sudden directional changes far better than the much-heavier Scorpio and also carries its weight much lower than the Mahindra.


Aesthetically, the new Scorpio has an uncanny resemblance to its predecessors. The A-pillars are near-vertical to give it a taller, more imposing demeanor while the Duster’s A-pillars swoop much lower, lending the Renault a sportier silhouette. The taller stance of the Scorpio gives the driver a more commanding view of the road than the Duster.

The flavor of the season seems to be chrome embellishments, and both the Scorpio and the Duster get plenty of the shiny stuff around the grill area, enough to satiate customers who love bling. These aren’t optional, unfortunately, and come pre-fitted from the factory in the top range variants of both marques. So, for those who prefer a more subdued exterior, they would just have to wear darker shades and live with it.


All in, which of the two should you go in for, then? Well, if bad roads are part of your daily commute, you can’t go wrong with the Mahindra Scorpio. For the city slicker and the expressway warrior, the Renault Duster is the weapon of choice.