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Old 12th October 2013, 19:49   #1
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Default The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar

My first new Jeep ( clone ). Yes the first new Jeep not the first new 4x4 but Jeep /Jeep clone yes, the previous Jeeps were a 1976 Model CJ3B RHD Petrol and a 2001 Model Mahindra MM 550 that I sold recently.

Intrepid Explorer - I was 1999 model LWB Prado
Intrepid Explorer II - Was the MM 550 it was hardly used and was sold off last month. I guess I drove it just about 1000 km for the 20 odd months that I owned it.

This is tIII. Maybe I will drive it a lot, I dont know but I have driven it about 450 km in 10 days.

The purchase decision :

The Thar is not a car even for two people to sit and drive in comfort. It is purely a fun car just a nice something to have and get the Jeep feel. Thats about all. Overall manufacturing quality control is so poor.

I have mentioned earlier that this is not the best buy, but in a monopolistic situation with no other suitable options available I bought this. Buying a Thar is like getting a suit tailored. You buy the cloth and then visit a tailor.

So a Thar machine has been purchased, now repairs, modifications, additions, warranty repair changes need to be done.

On the positive side look at it like this :

What is a Thar - An offoader with creature comforts ? or a road drive vehicle which can offroad a bit ?

It drives well for sure. Once you reach smooth tarmac, then the engine is powerful at 105 bhp. Gear shift is smooth, airconditioning is OK so far in October. Talk of June, then the real test will come. The engine is quiet for a diesel, meets emission specifications.

Driving position OK for a 5 ft 8 inch height person for me. Would like to raise the driving seat by a couple of inches although.

Roll is good with the Bridgestone H/T 235 tires and they are good tires.

What led me to buy it when I know it's not a good vehicle :

Try as you might, I saw a lot of experiments all over India (on this forum and other experiences). No matter what people did, other diesel engines, new radiators, Bolero radiators on MM550, an A/C never worked. Engine overheating problems and leaks were imminent.

I would say the single leading factor towards buying an overpriced Jeep clone was this. Nothing else is available that can be registered in Delhi NCR. It has a functional A/C with the new material Canopy. Road drive ( good quality tarmac ) is decent.

Its a Jeep thing and I like Jeeps. It will meet my off road requirements. It will not take any severe beating off road, but will do the Job as a 4x4 soft roader through some sand, mud, slush and elephant grass. Thats about it. I bought it, it is there now , there is no wow factor, but look at it, I have been driving it for about 10 days now, every single day.

Its a Jeep thing that even I wont understand.

Booking & buying the Thar :

I sold my MM550 and then felt a bit lonely without a Jeep. I asked around a few dealerships. Sterling Motors said they don't have Thars, it will have to be booked. I asked a couple of guys in Delhi, Koncept Auto and Durga Motors, they had some. Koncept said they have a Black one. I said I will take it. Next day they asked me to furnish a host of documents, address proof, this that. I said I cannot drive all the way to Delhi for just this.

In the evening of September 20, I went again in person to the Gurgaon dealership - Sterling Motors. I had bought a few cars from them earlier.

A Xylo in 2009
A Scorpio in 2011
An XUV in 2012
Even my Bolero was always serviced there from the very first service.
They also used to service my CJ3B earlier.

They said they have a Rocky Biege Thar. Manufactured on August 14. They said dont take it they will get me a new one. Later I heard the new version has some improvements. I paid them Rs. 50,000 as booking advance and they said they will get me a car in 2 to 3 weeks. About a week after this they called me and said the vehicle has been invoiced to them from Nasik and it will arrive in 3 days time. I said it will take more than that time.

I negotiated on the final price and I got a discount of Rs. 6000 on the insurance premium part. I said come to my office tomorrow and take a cheque.

They did come after two days and I gave them a cheque of Rs. 6.5 lakhs, saying I have some cash with me which I will bring on the day of delivery.

I was busy for the rest of the week but on Thursday, October 9, I went to the showroom with the cash, paid the balance amount. The vehicle was ready there with the PDI done. Of course they were very courtious to me as usual. I had gone there in my Bolero and my driver wasn't around (he had gone to pick up somebody from the Airport).

I said I wish to go to my office in my Thar, they were kind enough to send the Bolero to my home.

The drive experience:

Of course I had test driven it a few months ago. As I drove it the CRDe engine was not exactly great guns. My Scorpio's MHawk is much better. When I had driven their badly depleted test drive version I thought this is a heavily misused vehicle, the engine of a new Thar will be better, but in a new Thar it was not very different from the test drive Thar or other Thars I was forced to drive during rescue missions off road or drove for some time.

Compare it to the Scorpio's MHawk Engine and it is a lot inferior. I dont know even Scorpios came with this same CRDe engine for a long time and they were very successful.

A definite improvement over the rather crude but efficient DI engine for sure.

The little niggles.

Of course it is not without the usual niggles. The chief among them :

Excessive vibration while idling. The sound and vibration goes once the clutch is depressed.
Very noisy canopy, seats and suspension. ( The kich kich sound )
Impossible to open the rear tailgate, I pull the wire from inside instead.
Poor paintwork, small dents in the body parts, poor paint finish apparent. But at the same time never before in India have I seen a Jeep with paint of even this standard.

All the alternatives that were considered, and why you zeroed in on this particular car - Are you nuts ? Yes I am!

Price was never a consideration. Here I am sitting ready to buy a Jeep Wrangler whenever it is launched and available of course. What were my alternatives ?

Tempo Gurkha - uncertain past present and future, where do you get it ? BSIII cant register it so where is it sold dont even know the dealership ?
Gypsy ? same issues and no AC otherwise why would I sell my MM 550
After this there is nothing else.

- On-road price, discounts etc.

The final price after a discount of Rs. 6000 was Rs. 813,000 on the road + 1000 for the front insect mesh.

The AC Thar comes in only one engine variant, 2500 cc CRDe churning out 105 bhp. Better than any Indian Jeep ever sold earlier.

The good and bad about its equipment levels

The equipment inside is so basic. No cup holders, no cubby holes can't store a thing but two ashtrays are there.
The dashboard is a Bolero lift off but better air flow vents than my 2008 Bolero. I like the orange and blue lined instrument panel.

The toolbox has a lock, what a blessing. And there is a glove box that doesnt fall off.

A few things that matter today but not in this Jeep :

Electric windows
Electric adjustable mirrors.
A better coil spring based rear suspension or why not the scorpios rear suspension as well ?
Option of a factory fitted hard top
Better framework for the canopy which is mistakenly called a roll cage by many enthusiasts.

Over the past ten days, I have driven it almost every day. 15 KM to my office and back. One trip to Delhi where it drove well ontarmac and four trips to the shooting range which is crossing the Gurgaon Faridabad highway and Surajkund link road. A very scenic drive through hillocks and dense acacia forest.

It is the classic Jeep design that attracts me the most. There is nothing better than a Jeep to drive.

The overall built quality is poor. Mahindra dont believe in refinements at all.

Interior is functional at best, no great attractions, but that's what a Jeep is expected to be. An improvement over MM550 I would agree.

Interior space and comfort - Very Jeep like or lets say Mahindra Jeep like. Front seats are OK, limited adjustment space. Otherwise nothing else to add to your comfort. A couple of front seat covers need to be purchased.

- Air conditioner is good. It is the first Jeep in India with an AC, lets see the summer how it functions. Delhi summer is severe.

But look at it I am a different Thar owner than a first time Mahindra buyer. I have had a Bolero for five years till the Thar arrived and I stopped driving my Bolero from this day.

It was the same AC, no fresh recirculate options, a very basic thermostat control, no vents for directional air flow to floor and windscreen, but I knew it had experienced it and was ready for this very basic and rustic cooling / heating option.

Is it not more comfortable than not having one at all ? And is it not better than all those failed attempts to install AC in MM550s and all the experiments in earlier Thars when AC was not a standard company fitment ?

Seat support - poor it is the same old bad Bolero seat.

Ergonomics poor and nothing else that deserves a mention. The tailgate doesnt open for starters and the canopy makes a heavy kich kich noise at the smallest bump.

The CRDE engine is better than any previous Mahindra Jeeps and city driving is decent. Gear shift is smooth, except the jamming reverse gear from parked position. It is much inferior to the Scorpios MHawk engine. On the highway, the drive quality is fairly decent I would say.

Suspension & ride quality is poor, of course. IFS has helped matters a bit, but rear leaf springs are very hard.

However it is very stable when cornering even at 80 kmph. Better than any Gypsy or older Jeeps from Mahindra.

A number of people had complained about the brakes but I find it good. I dont drive over 80 km in India; people who drive above 100 on city roads might find them weak. It is vacumn assisted I dont see an issue here but I am used to driving a Bolero for over 5 years so my perception will be different.

The door trims are an improvement over Bolero.

The headlamp adjustment level is insufficient, the high beam is higher than desired and needs manual adjustment. I will install 100 W bulbs with a relay in it.

The wipers are of poor quality and will be replaced by Hella or Bosch blades. The wiper arm doesnt sit properly and is always in the bottom half of the windscreen.

Problems that it came with :

Heavy chik chik from the canopy
Rear tail gate cannot be opened from the outside handle.
Rattling from doors and roof
Reverse gear doesn't engage, many attempts required
Rattling sound when idling goes once clutch is pressed
Attached Thumbnails
The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar-dsc_0140.jpg  

The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar-dsc_0141.jpg  

The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar-dsc_0142.jpg  

The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar-dsc_0143.jpg  


Last edited by GTO : 20th November 2013 at 15:39. Reason: Formatting
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Old 12th October 2013, 19:56   #2
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Default re: The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar

Dhabar Bhai, as per your instructions I took pictures of the canopy to the best of my ability for your reference.
Attached Thumbnails
The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar-dsc_0152.jpg  

The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar-dsc_0150.jpg  

The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar-dsc_0151.jpg  

The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar-dsc_0149.jpg  

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Old 12th October 2013, 19:59   #3
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Default re: The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar

More Canopy pictures from either side
--------------------------------------------------------------------

What is Intrepid Explorer - The name :Twelve years ago in 1999 this was the name conjoured up my Janbaz Ali Khan, an ex British army map reader and the founder of self drive off road events in Dubai, the Gulf News Fun Drives.

An Elephant during its lifetime covers great distances on the continent, often thousands of miles in its life of 80 to 90 years. In Africa and when forest corridors existed at the turn of the 20th century then from Assam to Kerela in India too!

There were two Intrepid Explorers, IE 1 was a Landcruiser 80 series owned by Jum and IE 2 was a Landcruiser 90 Series Prado LWB which I had. Jum had arranged for couple of spare wheel covers that we used to sport, marching into the deep deserts on route exploration trips and Marshal run trips for these fun drives or the UAE Desert challenge rally.

With time came more commercialzation and the I E wheel cover had to give way to the sponsorors wheel covers, first Western Digital, then Toyo and finally Dunlop tyres.
Attached Thumbnails
The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar-dsc_0154.jpg  


Last edited by desertfox : 12th October 2013 at 20:05.
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Old 12th October 2013, 20:10   #4
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Default re: The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar

This not the new cross member canopy. the new one has 2 bars in cross in the front section. This definitely is something different or the older version.
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Old 12th October 2013, 20:10   #5
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Default re: The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar

Some more pictures of the new door trim and dashboard.

The THAR Experience.

I have driven it for about 160 KM now.

Yesterday it rained cats and dogs in Gurgaon, took it to office which is about 9 Km from home. There were absolutely no leaks.

Temperature dropped down to 26 Deg C here today, the AC did fine at speed II and 1.

I took the Gurgaon - Faridabad expressway on my way to the shooting range today.

As they used to say in those approved showroom sold BMWs second hand car ads in the late 1980s a BMW gets you there about 10 % faster !

Well compared to the Bolero this CRDe engine is better and gets you there 10 % faster, but compared to my Scorpios MHawk engine it is a damp squib.

It is sluggish when accerelating in 2nd gear, why dont they make 2nd gear ratios about 1 : 2.20 to 2.26 any longer I wonder.

Wind drag is significant, well Jeeps are not exactly aerodynamic. They are boxy.

The canopy beating about added with wind through the canopy will upset any non jeeper, I dont know how to improve this.

Noise from canopy, noise from rear seats, noise from front seats, squeak squeak and inheritence from Bolero and a VERY NOISY SUSPENION.

I will drive it a bit more than this needs a serious look over.

But overall I am satisfied with the drive experience. I am sure this engine has torque, and plenty of BHP.

I was careful with the new engine, never crossing 2500 rpm and driving at speeds to 80 to 90 kmph at most.

Overall driving experience - Just about OK, not genuienly good like a Scorpio, better than a Bolero, less than Xylo or XUV.
I have mentioned earlier that this is not the best buy, but in a monopolistic situation with no other suitable options available I bought this. Mentioned earlier - it is important that a sporting enthusiast have a Jeep or two in his stable. It is just that, not an enthusiastic buy.

The MM 550 was sold for lack of creature comforts like AC and Power steering and this has that with inferior off road capability but will fill in for now.
Attached Thumbnails
The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar-dsc_0162.jpg  

The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar-dsc_0161.jpg  

The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar-dsc_0160.jpg  

The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar-dsc_0145.jpg  

The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar-dsc_0146.jpg  

The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar-dsc_0147.jpg  


Last edited by desertfox : 12th October 2013 at 20:27. Reason: More text - drive experience.
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Old 12th October 2013, 20:30   #6
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Default re: The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar

Quote:
Originally Posted by navpreet318 View Post
This not the new cross member canopy. the new one has 2 bars in cross in the front section. This definitely is something different or the older version.

I have also seen some pictures of a new AC control panel and a different canopy support.

Trust Mahindra, I guess there are a few versions going around right now or this is the older version shipped out.
Attached Thumbnails
The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar-dsc_0159.jpg  


Last edited by desertfox : 12th October 2013 at 20:32.
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Old 12th October 2013, 20:54   #7
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Default re: The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar

Yes yours is the older version. I checked out a few Thars at the Nashik assembly line. All had the new AC control knobs and the cross members in the front roof.
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Old 20th November 2013, 15:50   #8
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Default Re: The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to 4x4. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 20th November 2013, 18:27   #9
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Default Re: The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar

Dear Shahidbhai - so, finally I get to see pictures of your Thar, thanks. Congratulations once again. As your vehicle is one of the last "old" ones, can you please confirm whether you have the tandem booster and the auto locking hubs or not. Another suggestion (from one hard core off-roading enthusiast to another), please remove those silly wheel caps and relocate the rear number plate. Then the vehicle will look much better and beautifully eye-catching! You are not constrained by CMVR, so you can do it! .

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 20th November 2013, 21:42   #10
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Default Re: The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar

This is the older version.
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Old 21st November 2013, 16:46   #11
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Default Re: The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
Dear Shahidbhai - so, finally I get to see pictures of your Thar, thanks. Congratulations once again. As your vehicle is one of the last "old" ones, can you please confirm whether you have the tandem booster and the auto locking hubs or not. Another suggestion (from one hard core off-roading enthusiast to another), please remove those silly wheel caps and relocate the rear number plate. Then the vehicle will look much better and beautifully eye-catching! You are not constrained by CMVR, so you can do it! .

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
Thanks Dhabhar Bhai.

I will click pictures of the tandem booster and post it here. I repeat I am satisfied with the brakes, but I don't drive rash on the highway at all.

Auto locking hubs are there. But believe me I have never taken it off road. All of last week I was in patiala for the All India GV Mavlankar shooting championships, went in the Scorpio and at work this week.

Yes of course I will relocate the rear license plates and these wheel covers. Will use OE size alloy wheels. Told somebody to buy a set of five already and I am no longer bothered about the canopy because I will buy a Hyderabad soft top or from Bimbra if he has one with opening panels front and rear like HHT.

Prabhu from Hyderabad told be that he has a facility in Delhi where the HHT will be shipped and installed.

Besides HT he has created an expansive list of all mods and accessories that a Thar owner can think of.
Seats, Side steps, bash plates, central locking, modified leaf springs, central locking options, supply of tyres, winch of a few types, winch plate, bumpers our Thar boys have a one stop solution.

Soon these guys will be selling isolator kits, optima batteries, arb lockers god knows what all. A Thar is like a wrangler in shape wrangler mirrors and tail lights are already on offer, so fender flares, bikni tops, hood cladding, chrome mouldings, Jeep decals expect a lot more.
For good measure he should start stocking lightforce or Warn lights as well.

Last edited by desertfox : 21st November 2013 at 16:55.
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Old 22nd November 2013, 11:18   #12
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Default Re: The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar

For most new vehicles the first service at 1000 KM is an important time to check up the manufacturing snags and service it after it has run in a bit.

Toyota recommends a 1000 KM first service. However Mahindra recommends 4000 to 5000 KM for the first service for Thar CRDe.

When I turned the Thar in for headlight adjustment and to fix the windshield spray water sparaying inside the passenger footwell, I asked the service advisor to give the engine bay a look in.

As with a lot of other Thars the coolant level was low and it was topped up.

The engine oil level was normal, it did not fall during the first 1000 KM as is the case in some vehicles, particularly Mitsubishi Pajero with the V6 3500 engine.

After running in for 1400 odd kM the Thar CRDe engine sounds and feels a bit smoother now and the vehicle drives well.

I continue to drive it to the office almost everyday and to the shooting range on weekends.

With this schedule, and tournaments lined up till the middle of December, there has been no opportunity to take it offroad or attend to its modifications.

Does the Thar CRDe come with some kind of a carpet under the rubber liner mats ? Mine had none.

One addition that I did was I installed 3M material carpets as a liner in the vehicle, front and back for a price of Rs. 3,900 on the inaugral day of the 3M detailing centre on GOlf Course Road, Gurgaon.
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Old 22nd November 2013, 22:18   #13
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Default Re: The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
Thanks Dhabhar Bhai - Besides HT, this is an expansive list of all mods and accessories that a Thar owner can think of.
Seats, Side steps, bash plates, central locking, modified leaf springs, central locking options, supply of tyres, winch of a few types, winch plate, bumpers our Thar boys have a one stop solution. Soon these guys will be selling isolator kits, optima batteries, arb lockers god knows what all. A Thar is like a wrangler in shape wrangler mirrors and tail lights are already on offer, so fender flares, bikni tops, hood cladding, chrome mouldings, Jeep decals expect a lot more. For good measure he should start stocking lightforce or Warn lights as well.
Dear Shahidbhai - you have hit the nail 100% on the head by naming 20 accessories. Thar as a platform (or any Jeep for that matter) lends itself completely to accessorization. This class of customer wants to play with his vehicle and he loves paying for it. This opportunity always existed as a major business model. Somebody else is now doing (and benefiting, best of luck guys, go for it) out of the business space left unexplored due to "obvious reasons". This business should have been developed and tapped to perfection, instead of trying to sell "grills on lights" which any self-respecting fabricator can make for around 100 bucks in about an hour, and just look at those horrid "chromed bent pipes"! HaHaHa! Actual rollover bar is a different proposition altogether. After so much continuous hammering, at least customers now have a choice to fit the SA rollover bar (I hope I am not wrong here)! When the deliverable is to see how much money (simple to see on paper) is made in the year instead of seeing what VFM and delight the customers got (requires underatanding), this is the only result. Sad! .

Be very careful on coolant level in the radiator. Change the pressure cap if the phenomenon persists. Carpets were there in the BOM, they were to be removed because they attracted water. After a lot of totally non-value added activities on material, quantity and procurement and testing any sane person's level of patience, they were somehow made by a vendor in Nasik. I Just remembered the experience, now I can't stop laughing! .

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 23rd November 2013, 12:46   #14
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Default Re: The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar

The coolant issue could also be hoses not fully fitting onto the radiator. Please check for signs of any leakage at the edge of the radiator and the hoses. Tightening or if required replacement of the hoses should reduce coolant consumption. It has done so on my Thar.
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Old 25th November 2013, 11:04   #15
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Default Re: The Intrepid Explorer III - Rocky Beige Mahindra Thar

THE THAR GOES OFFROAD

Saturday night we had a campfire and party at an off road location close to Gurgaon in the Aravalli hills.

I went in the Thar. These are hill tracks much depleted by the constant traffic of stone quarries that operate in this area and some earth slides due to dynamite explosions.

On a particular section of about 2 KM of serrated ruts i tried the 2nd gear crawl but it did not work in this vehicle but slipping it in 4 H and 1st gear it works fine. The Thar can steadily and very comfortably slide over the ruts in this mode one can take his foot off the gas pedal it will slide by just controlling the steering like an Auto transmission vehicle.

The ground clearance is adequate no problems in this mild sort of off roading where the terrain was mud tracks, ploughed fields, jungle scrub, bad rutted hill tracks, a bit of dirt top not sand really mud finer powder mixed with clay, and some slush.

The 3M mats are great for off road situations. The vehicle will go to a wash station.

What I missed most was a 12 volt DC lighter socket to run my spotlight. Need to install one in it.

Dhabhar Bhai through which circuit should I take this with a Minda relay installed or should I pull it direct.

The Spotlight is 3 million lux with a 100W Krypton DC bulb.
The smaller one is 800,000 lux with a 55 W bulb.

As for the Thar fitments. Well I keep on quoting to people buying a Thar is like getting a bespoke suit stiched from Saville row.
When you buy a Thar its just the very fine suit lenght that you have purchased. The stitching starts now.

Even the local gurgaon business of Bimbra Auto is thriving. He too has the works. Hard top, soft top, alloy wheels, bull bar etc. etc.
Then there is an Azad 4x4 in Ghaziabad who is getting business.

Prabhu from Hyderabad has a liasion here for shipping and fitting his version of hard top.

Another guy makes a quarter top.

And as for me, besides my own Thar, i have made four other people purchase Thar on my recommendation. Three delivered, fourth one this week and recommended one more to a guy I just I met on the road yesterday who has an Italian wife who is a keen offroader!

As for me I kind of like it and drive it everyday, all my other cars are rested these days and the drivers free to play cards in my buildings basement.

Last edited by desertfox : 25th November 2013 at 11:12. Reason: more content on another issue
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