Scorpio Loader has 2.5 turbodiesel with 74kW anmd 258Nm, five speed manual, power steering, plastic wheel covers and not much else.
Scorpio Loader has 2.5 turbodiesel with 74kW anmd 258Nm, five speed manual, power steering, plastic wheel covers and not much else.
Boxy, Jeep-like shape is no coincidence, as Mahindra plays to its heritage.
Boxy, Jeep-like shape is no coincidence, as Mahindra plays to its heritage.

Mahindra has something of a reputation for tough-as-nails, no-frills vehicles, built like a tank and, in some respects, finished like one.

It's worth remembering that Mahindra and Mahindra got their start in 1945 building a clone of the CJ2 Jeep that was even rougher 'n tougher than the Willys original.

So, what does one do when one is saddled with a reputation of this nature? If one is Ashok Thakur, no-nonsense head honcho of Mahindra SA, one plays to it.

Thakur said: “We've had a lot of requests from customers for a no-extras, workhorse version of our Scorpio one-ton PikUp, so here it is - the Scorpio Loader.”

It comes in at R149 900.

That's 27 grand cheaper than the previous entry-level Scorpio PikUp, with the same 2.5-litre NEF turbodiesel, for which the maker quotes a conservative 74kW and 258Nm, and a five-speed manual 'box driving the rear wheels.

It has neat, unfussy new headlight units, a scoop on the bonnet, steel rims with plastic covers, mud flaps, a one-piece roof liner with moulded-in holders for sunglasses, and map pockets in the doors.

Power steering is standard - on a steering column that adjusts for tilt but not reach - as are vinyl upholstery, heating and ventilation but no aircon, no audio system, no airbags and no driver aids of any kind.

All of which sounds a lot like the old CJ2; if it's as tough as the original Jeep, that's not a bad thing.