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Old 29th January 2010, 11:00   #1
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Default THAR: My test drive experience.

Note from Mod : The Thar's full test & review has been uploaded at this link (Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review). Thread closed. Please continue the discussion over on the review thread.

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Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
My final comment - Fazalbhai has driven it. Fazalbhai, thanks for waiting patiently all these months, you may please give your comments now.
Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar

MAHINDRA THAR - "GO ANYWHERE".
Mr. Fazalbhai --- Can we know your comments?? If you have posted elsewhere, can you reply with the link please?
Thank you,
Friends,

Communication with the Mahindra head office, and a final approval from Mr. Behram himself ( as his floor in the factory is out of bounds for all visitors at the Mahindra plant in Nasik) I was fortunate to be invited to test drive the THAR. On 18th April 09, on the dot of 12:30 pm I was at the gate of the plant, time of appointment with Mr. Behram (Parsi's are known to be very punctual and methodical) so I did not want to make a bad first impression.

Mr. Behram recevied me at the gate and took me in his 'Special Application Scorpio', first to his office where I was introduced to the proud team behind the THAR, all youngsters under 35 years... beaming with confidence and wearing a very confident smile. After coffee we all moved to the place where two gleaming THAR's were parked, one left hand drive and the other right hand drive.

I am omitting all the technicalities and just narrating my experience driving the THAR, here.

The neatly packed engine bay was enough to make me speechless, then the team of 6 including Mr. Behram and I moved on with the jeeps to the ramp to inspect the under carriage of both Jeeps. Had a first hand feel of the suspension, chassis, gearbox and engine, after which I was first given the right hand drive prototype on the oval test track, did not know what to expect but expectations were very high. The vibration free engine was the first feel and engaging it in the 1st 2nd and 3rd was smooth as silk and the Jeep was accelerating menacingly ahead but with unimaginable control and within a minute I was doing +90kmph, then came the first left turn on the track as this was my first lap I slowed it down and took the turn and was surprised as the body roll was very very minimum (compared to 540/550's) due to the advanced suspension.

Mr. Behram had clearly instructed me not to comment until I test drive both left and right hand prototypes for about 2 hours.

All this while on-board were the 6 persons THAR team , who were I think initially nervous about my driving, with kind permission of Mr. Behram who was on the front passenger seat I was free to drive it as I wanted,,, took it at 100+ as by the time I wanted to go higher it was time for a left turn again, now gaining in confidence at the way it handled I took tight turns at about 80kmph and each time the way THAR controlled amazed me (we would have rolled out of control had it been a 540/550).

I was then asked to drive the left hand drive and comment if there is any difference apart from the driving position. What I first noticed was the left hand had faster acceleration and handled far better on tight turns.

Later I was told by Mr. Behram that the left hand drive THAR's ECU had been manipulated and also suspension was different from the other version.

On the straight part of the track both jeeps were taken up to +90kmph ( I had forewarned the on-board team that I would test the Brakes by jamming them at high speed so brace yourselves). When I hit the brakes as hard as I could for sudden braking, at this speed it came to a dead halt between 12-15 feet. Further hit the brakes at tight turns too and experienced a never before control in a Jeep.

The last test I did was, driving in the tightest possible figure '8' at the highest speed I could. Here I did not notice the speedometer as I was thoroughly enjoying the very superior control, the new found turning radius, the screeching tyres and very in control body roll.

Two THAR's test driven on track, but a Jeep is supposed to be more of an off-road vehicle, Mr. Behram and I moved on to another location about 10 kilometers from the plant, where a black THAR was running on a "TORTURE TRACK" for months, a vehicle that runs on this track for a 1000 kilometers equates to about 50 000 on-road kilometers. It had all kind bumps, ditches, steep inclines, 2 feet deep water filled trough's and is used for torturing Mahindra commercial vehicles.

Now the legendary driver Mr. Behram was in the drivers seat as we took the black THAR out of this test area on to the open Trimbak highway, he was driving at +110 kmph for about 12 kilometers until we reached a mountainous area,
we took a left and at high speed drove upward to a very high incline (real time off-roading) it was shocking to notice that the THAR was never engaged in the 4X4 mode all through. The sheer burst of power was enough to take you upwards over a 30 degree incline for more than a kilometer.

We headed back to the 'torture track' and Mr. Behram was driving at the same speed we came, his driving skill and the THAR complimented each other.

It is not easy to meet your expectations when they are already high, but for me the THAR proved this theory wrong.

The IFS suspesnsion doubts by many can be laid to rest should they see THAR on the 'torture track' and off-road, the 1700kg power to weight doubt will fade away should they drive the THAR on the road and off-road.

My conclusion was however or whatever we do to our 554/ 550's they will be no more than vintage or fossils in comparison to the THAR, its engine, suspension, ride quality and all.
Finally there is no parallel to a brand new jeep with a world class engine, new generation chassis, warranties, after sales service and finance options.

I have been maintaining all along without revealing my experience with the THAR that, when a Major sells at 4.8 lakhs, how can you expect a THAR to sell at 5-6 lakhs? The leap in technology is incomparable!

The THAR will change the complexion and standards of Indian off-roading is my conviction.

It was a pleasure meeting the man and the machine.

This post could not be shorter than it is, pardon me for that.

p.s. In 2006 I had been also invited for the test drive of the LEGEND and gave it a loud thumbs down.

Regards,

Last edited by GTO : 5th January 2011 at 18:44. Reason: Adding link to review
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Old 29th January 2010, 12:02   #2
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Default THAR: My test drive experience.

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Originally Posted by fazalaliadil View Post
I have been maintaining all along without revealing my experience with the THAR that, when a Major sells at 4.8 lakhs, how can you expect a THAR to sell at 5-6 lakhs? The leap in technology is incomparable!

The THAR will change the complexion and standards of Indian off-roading is my conviction.
Finally, someone who agrees with my rambling at the OTR and in the forum. Thanks Fazal bhai.
I now proudly repeat myself, the Thar will sell enough commercially profitable and more numbers if sold the right way.
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Old 29th January 2010, 12:23   #3
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Finally, someone who agrees with my rambling at the OTR and in the forum. Thanks Fazal bhai.
I now proudly repeat myself, the Thar will sell enough commercially profitable and more numbers if sold the right way.
Dev,

You are missing the point here. It might be a good off-roader/cruiser etc but in the end it is Jeep. How many people actually will buy one? There's no denying that the cost is at par with most of the hatches and also cheaper than some of them as a matter of fact, but an average family person will buy a hatch or a sedan right? Again, how many people will think the way you think?
I hope the sales are good and I am not complaining about the jeep since I hardly know anything about it, but it is not a car which is what an average indian family would want to buy! Forget thar, how many Gypsies are sold on an average? Enough said, let the numbers to the talking.

Tejas
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Old 29th January 2010, 12:27   #4
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@FazalBhai: Thanks for the first hand independent non Mahindra report. But it leaves a feeling of it not being enough... Forgive me, chota muu badi baat.

On an OTR the best machine does not score the best driver does. And having heard of Mr BD sir's exploits he can make a CJ run rings around any of the newer machinery.
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Old 29th January 2010, 12:53   #5
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Originally Posted by fazalaliadil View Post
Friends,

Communication with ------ me for that.

p.s. In 2006 I had been also invited for the test drive of the LEGEND and gave it a loud thumbs down.

Regards,
Thank you very much for your view of Thar.

Questions:
1. Have you driven Thar off the road, i.e, engaged 4x4?? If yes, how did the mechanicals and transmission work?
2. This may be a stupid questions, but how do you rate the handling of Thar Vs Scorpio? I am asking this to get an idea of how Thar handles.
3. Now the million $ questions, Thar Vs Bangalore OTR (Jan 2010), If you were not present at the event, I understand.

Originally Posted by Samurai
a) Completed with ease.
b) Completed with difficulty.
c) Failed to complete the event.


Once again thank you for your comments, would be glad if can write few more lines
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Old 29th January 2010, 13:05   #6
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How well Thar is doing overseas, any idea? In which all markets it has been launched, btw?
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Old 29th January 2010, 13:23   #7
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@FazalBhai: Thanks for the first hand independent non Mahindra report. But it leaves a feeling of it not being enough... Forgive me, chota muu badi baat.
On an OTR the best machine does not score the best driver does. And having heard of Mr BD sir's exploits he can make a CJ run rings around any of the newer machinery.
spitfire,
The feeling of "not being enough" can only be fulfilled by driving it.
The best machine need not translate into a win, but a skilled driver and a better machine will have an edge over all else, a lethal combination.
Give Mr. Behram or any other skilled off-roader/s this machine and the advantage will be huge, the right tool only enhances the craftsman's final produce.

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Dev,
You are missing the point here. It might be a good off-roader/cruiser etc but in the end it is Jeep. How many people actually will buy one? There's no denying that the cost is at par with most of the hatches and also cheaper than some of them as a matter of fact, but an average family person will buy a hatch or a sedan right? Again, how many people will think the way you think?
I hope the sales are good and I am not complaining about the jeep since I hardly know anything about it, but it is not a car which is what an average indian family would want to buy! Forget thar, how many Gypsies are sold on an average? Enough said, let the numbers to the talking.
Tejas
Tejas,

THAR will never be a mass production vehicle.
Off-roading and owning a 4X4 is not a cheap hobby, it is meant to be an additional four wheeler which is a hobby tool in your garage and the ones who can afford and need it will buy it.
Any four wheeler can transport passengers from one place to other, then why are the very high end cars sold, priced between 30-80 lakhs and upwards? Status symbol for the ones who can afford them.
THAR will not be bought by people who want a family car, a hatch back or a sedan though it has all the creature comforts required for daily driving unlike its predecessors. An average family person will not be on the list of potential buyers of the THAR.
Gypsies are obsolete in design and technology like the 540/550's and are petrol driven (wallet) but still are good offroad machines due to their compact size and power to weight ratio.
Mahindra would love to but will not look at huge numbers should they launch THAR in the Indian market.

Regards,

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Originally Posted by GrayBerry View Post
Thank you very much for your view of Thar.

Questions:
1. Have you driven Thar off the road, i.e, engaged 4x4?? If yes, how did the mechanicals and transmission work?
2. This may be a stupid questions, but how do you rate the handling of Thar Vs Scorpio? I am asking this to get an idea of how Thar handles.
3. Now the million $ questions, Thar Vs Bangalore OTR (Jan 2010), If you were not present at the event, I understand.

Originally Posted by Samurai
a) Completed with ease.
b) Completed with difficulty.
c) Failed to complete the event.
GrayBerry,
1. I was in the front passenger seat when we were doing off-roading, the need to engage it into the 4X4 mode was not at all required as I have already stated. Reg. the mechanicals and transmission...it would only accelerate if Mr. Behram wanted to, never fell short of power in the 2nd and 3rd gear on the 30 degree incline.
2. It is a good question actually, I was going to give the same parallel in my earlier report. I have driven a Scorpio on road and in the jungles, Scorpio feels 30% heavier in handling compared to THAR, believe me.
3. I was not present at the Banglore OTR, but I will answer on the lines of this question, the one kilometer steep incline was covered with ease in 2WD mode.
Regards,

Last edited by Jaggu : 30th January 2010 at 00:33. Reason: Back to back posts, use Multi Quote (Quote +) or EDIT the original post instead. Thanks
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Old 29th January 2010, 13:38   #8
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Originally Posted by fazalaliadil View Post
I have been maintaining all along without revealing my experience with the THAR that, when a Major sells at 4.8 lakhs, how can you expect a THAR to sell at 5-6 lakhs? The leap in technology is incomparable!

The THAR will change the complexion and standards of Indian off-roading is my conviction.
How Sir, HOW? How does being able to attain 100 with ease and 26 kgm of torque make a vehicle with open differentials, no snorkel, no winch, no proper seats and rear bench seats change the complexion?

If the Major Sells at 4.8 on road, then the THar should be under 6.5L onroad.

The Display THAR revealed that the non standard parts were the Doors, Seats and tyres. So if we were to replace that by regular side facing rear seats and normal front seats, normal HT Bridgestone tyres and silly doors like a 540, would anyone pay 7L upwards?



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Originally Posted by GrayBerry View Post
Thank you very much for your view of Thar.

Questions:
1. Have you driven Thar off the road, i.e, engaged 4x4?? If yes, how did the mechanicals and transmission work?
2. This may be a stupid questions, but how do you rate the handling of Thar Vs Scorpio? I am asking this to get an idea of how Thar handles.
3. Now the million $ questions, Thar Vs Bangalore OTR (Jan 2010), If you were not present at the event, I understand.

Originally Posted by Samurai
a) Completed with ease.
b) Completed with difficulty.
c) Failed to complete the event.


Once again thank you for your comments, would be glad if can write few more lines
The THAR would not have completed the Bangalore OTR without scratches. The underbody would have fouled at a few places and the silencer would have come OFF.

Sorry for being critical
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Old 29th January 2010, 13:39   #9
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THAR will never be a mass production vehicle.
+1 to that Fazal Sir!
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Status symbol for the ones who can afford them.
Yup, and some of those wannabes who would want to buy a fun car, might also look at THAR as an option.
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THAR will not be bought by people who want a family car, a hatch back or a sedan though it has all the creature comforts required for daily driving unlike its predecessors. An average family person will not be on the list of potential buyers of the THAR.
Absolutely! My brand new 3 month old Gypsy has water leakage in the cabin when it rains. Mine is a HARD-TOP, by the way! So, a soft top THAR, inspite of all the frills will not qualify as a replacement for a sedan/hatch.
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Old 29th January 2010, 13:51   #10
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How Sir, HOW? How does being able to attain 100 with ease and 26 kgm of torque make a vehicle with open differentials, no snorkel, no winch, no proper seats and rear bench seats change the complexion?
If the Major Sells at 4.8 on road, then the THar should be under 6.5L onroad.
headers,
For jeeper's, building a jeep is as fun as driving it you know that.
The change in complexion is not rated by snorkel, winch, seating pattern but the performance of a vehicle. If the THAR was just given a demo ride at the Banglore OTR you would know what I mean.
Regards,
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Old 29th January 2010, 14:07   #11
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Originally Posted by fazalaliadil View Post
headers,
For jeeper's, building a jeep is as fun as driving it you know that.
The change in complexion is not rated by snorkel, winch, seating pattern but the performance of a vehicle. If the THAR was just given a demo ride at the Banglore OTR you would know what I mean.
Regards,
Hi,

I agree building a jeep is a passion. I do understand engine refinement performance et all, but, Will you buy a vehicle with Horrible Rear side facing Bench seats and pay upwards of 7L for it? Especially when it is NOT OTR ready.

I did ask to drive the THAR atleast 1 obstacle, but was declined the drive as the vehicle was not road worthy then..BUTTT,. My daily drive is a Bolero Storm, so I can understand the engine part

Did you look under the THAR especially the GB mounts as well as Silencer mounts. Definitely some are good and beefed up further and kudos to M&M for that. But they always come half distance only, WHY?

Why RACK & PINION Steering for a hardcore 4wd vehicle? You know the answer Sir.
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Old 29th January 2010, 14:10   #12
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Default Thar as an all-rounder

Guys, I am looking at Thar as an all rounder, city use, daily drive, family trips and OTR. I believe Thar pretty much covers most of the above needs to some or great extent.
I see Thar in an unique segment and cannot be compared with cars or even SUVs (how well would a car perform in an OTR??)
The only issue I see is on the safety on highways, like airbags, etc. but again we cannot ask everything for nothing, Actually in this segment we do not have a chioce in India.
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Old 29th January 2010, 14:22   #13
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Guys, I am looking at Thar as an all rounder, city use, daily drive, family trips and OTR. I believe Thar pretty much covers most of the above needs to some or great extent.
I see Thar in an unique segment and cannot be compared with cars or even SUVs (how well would a car perform in an OTR??)
The only issue I see is on the safety on highways, like airbags, etc. but again we cannot ask everything for nothing, Actually in this segment we do not have a chioce in India.
A Brand New Gypsy King MPFi takes the THAR head on all the issues. With Better Seats, better Gearbox. You can take your family trips as well as mild OTRs. THAR is not Unique Sir!

I cannot understand the issues like crumple zones, airbags, parachutes etc in these kind of vehicles.
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Old 29th January 2010, 14:34   #14
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Originally Posted by headers View Post
A Brand New Gypsy King MPFi takes the THAR head on all the issues. With Better Seats, better Gearbox. You can take your family trips as well as mild OTRs. THAR is not Unique Sir!
+1 to this.
Thar engineers should learn from Gypsy how to build specially underbody design, with Low GC only forest drive can be done.
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Old 29th January 2010, 14:41   #15
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Originally Posted by fazalaliadil View Post
Mahindra would love to but will not look at huge numbers should they launch THAR in the Indian market.
Now I am completely confused, is there still a question mark on its lauch in India?
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