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Old 28th July 2011, 11:26   #106
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar: How I made sure I didn't lose the forest for the trees !!

Engine and Gearbox

My very first impression as I drove out of the dealership in my new Thar were noticing the almost explosive response of the engine. The very next minute I noticed what a wonderfully smooth and crisp gearbox it had.

The 2.5 litre turbo charged CDRe engine used on the Thar is an absolute gem and so is the gearbox.

It revs quite freely although on a new engine I've been extra gentle on the right foot to know where its upper limits of comfort are.

Was surprised to discover the throttle is by wire ! Possibly explaining the instant response.

The turbo on this engine emits a whistle which is more a hiss and I kind of like it. Its an audible cue that the turbo is on song and the accompanying thrust you feel lets you know you are getting an extra shove. I enjoy modulating accelerating the Thar with bursts of turbo boost, its all rather enjoyable when driving around town. The look on fellow commuters who catch up with you at a traffic light is of puzzled wonder as to what kind of a machine this is. You see the Thar turns people's notion about Jeeps completely on its head. Other than the body nothing else is Jeep like. The way this thing takes off is crazy. It feels like some bull on steroids amongst sheep ! All the more reason why I also appreciate its suspension as it seems to handle all that power so well.

On cold start it ticks over on one crank and idles smoothly. When cold it doesn't like to be revved suddenly so you need to be a bit gentle on the throttle till the engine warms up. You can tell as it protests by way of a clearly audible change in sound, more a clatter of the injectors. But once it warms up you don't hear that protest.

As its a turbo charged engine and a yellow sticker warns me to I am developing the habit of idling the car for a minute just after starting and before switching off.

Very interestingly the Thar feels very nimble and agile. It just doesn't feel ponderous and nose heavy, which actually surprises me. There are no obvious surprises or sudden weight shifts that take you offguard. But ofcourse being a tall car you must never push the car into corners at higher speeds as you risk unsettling the car, as you would any with high GC.

In city driving on my first tankfull it gave me 11 + km/l which is decent mileage I reckon for a 2.5 litre car. My Punto gives me 12 with a/c and 14 without in city.

As mentioned by another owner elsewhere, on occasion, the reverse gear doesn't engage freely. I need to either release the clutch and press in again or move the car slightly forward and engage reverse. I think its a case of gear teeth not meshing, but this is hardly an issue and its again not a constant issue, happens only once in a while.

But overall the gearbox is really crisp and I love the way it blends with the engine. Third could have been a tab bit lower in ratio as the lugging ability is marginally lower especially on inclines and you have to change down to second but this is a very very small issue and not a major drawback. Its not like 3rd is toothless and simply can't lug. Its okay, could be better !

In summary the engine and gearbox of the Thar are absolute gems. So much of the car's character is on account of this brilliant duo and I know an owner will get to love the car more and more purely on account of the way the engine and gearbox lends a distinct character to this car
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Old 28th July 2011, 12:01   #107
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar: How I made sure I didn't lose the forest for the trees !!

Note from Mod : This thread is about DKG's Thar & his experience, so lets stick to that. If you want to have a generic discussion on Thars, please use Khan Sultan's test-drive thread.
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Old 28th July 2011, 16:23   #108
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar: How I made sure I didn't lose the forest for the trees !!

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Originally Posted by pjbiju View Post
And stop posting these awesome pictures DKG. How can you keep tempting someone? Very unfair.
actually most are rushed and not very good quality pictures. Once I am back from Ladakh will photograph it in some nice surroundings and tempt you more
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Old 28th July 2011, 16:58   #109
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actually most are rushed and not very good quality pictures. Once I am back from Ladakh will photograph it in some nice surroundings and tempt you more
Sorry I do not know the travel plans, but the Thar isn't going to the Big L? That would give rise to best photoshoot of the Thar if it were to happen.
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Old 28th July 2011, 17:23   #110
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar: How I made sure I didn't lose the forest for the trees !!

Interiors and miscellaneous other aspects

When I first saw a new Thar when it was launched in Hyderabad I don't recall being as impressed by the interiors as this time when I took delivery of my car. Could they have improved? I don't know. Even Milecruncher who saw my car commented about the same thing.

The other day when I went to the dealer to check on a rain guard for the windows (as the glass fogs up without a/c) the accessory incharge after admiring what I did with the wheel caps and side step asked "Did you re-upholster the seats?" I said I didn't but it appears more than one person is feeling the interior looks smarter now. Maybe I just keep it clean? I don't know but overall for the Thar the interior now looks inviting and smart.

The thick padded carpet does give the car a more luxurious feel than the usual rubber with jute backed stuff you find in Jeeps. The only down side to this carpet is it gets soaked very easily and takes ages to dry as its thick. On the Thar there are many holes in the floor that come without plugs. I am still working on figuring out where some water comes through from as most of the time, and I wash the car regularly, some water gets in from under and my driver side carpet is getting wet. I tried finding rubber plugs in the market but to no avail. I hope the factory starts fitting rubber plugs to all holes in the floor to prevent this on future production cars. Also they've bolted the driver side seat over the carpet so you can't pull it out and dry it. I plan on having a flap cut into the carpet where it meets the driver seat frame so that I can pull the front mat out at will and dry or even take out when offroading and put rubber mats as invariably water will get in somehow.

The dashboard as we all know is a cut and paste job and lets the car interior down badly. I guess now that I have bought the car it may be well worth my while to have it all reskinned with the seat material so that it looks smarter and the cut and paste job gets hidden. Actually they could have done the same at marginal cost as many aftermarket dashboard coverings enhance the interior ambience. Actually the dash is okay, just the way it terminates on the sides and the front upper edge near the windscreen leaves much to be desired. Also the quality of plastic used is poor and the glove compartment lid is held in place when open by a flimsy plug which simply can't hold on when there's more weight inside. I replaced it with a sturdier stronger plug and now its marginally better in staying in place when open.

A lockable toolbox under the passenger seat is a most welcome feature although no thought was given for clips to hold the jack lever or jack for that matter in place. While the jack can be turned up to lock itself under the toolbox floor and roof the lever is left loose and although interestingly they don't rattle under normal circumstances when going through a ditch you can hear the tools make a sound.Need to fix this issue as I like my car to be "reasonably" silent even on rough roads I also noticed there's a hole inside the box on the floor that came unplugged. Does anyone know where I can find simple hole rubber plugs?

The headlight spread on low beam is decent for city driving. On highbeam the spread I felt was inadequate. I rarely use highbeam and its only when I need to see a wider view of the road at night when not facing oncoming traffic that I use highbeam intermittently. At such times I would like the car to light up the entire road and sides. The Thar high beam doesn't and so I plan on replacing these with KC headlight replacements which may offer some improvement although they too seem inadequate with the stock 55/60 watt bulbs. Actually the reason why I really liked the KC headlamp replacements its the gorgeous clear lens design. It would enhance the look of the Thar while looking stock

I appreciate the wiper setup which does a decent job and value having the intermittent wipe. I did notice the right wiper rides a bit onto the windscreen rubber frame and will try to have the dealer set them lower so that on max wipe it doesn't run off the screen

The quality of plastics like window winder, door lock knobs and even the material of the dash are substandard. A friend sat in the passenger seat and his elbow knocked the door lock knob into pieces. The dealer didn't have it with them so I bought a set from Maruti, stronger, nicer finish and costs only Rs 5 !!

The driver door lock required the handle to be lifted a bit too much to open so had to have that adjusted, now its fine.

The rear tailgate lock is temperamental and sometimes simply refuses to open from outside. When once you open it from inside then on further tries it opens perfectly from outside.

The softtop on the car is a fabulous job. Its taut and gives the car a neat appearance. Really liked the material used for it and the metal frame structure for it.. Rather elaborate, I love the fact that there's not a sound emanating from it in terms of rattles except for a hushed ruffle of the fabric which is fine. Great job done on the top and it doesn't flap at speeds either.

Its interesting how our perceptions can change. I was determined to take the top off the minute I brought the Thar home. But when I saw how well the top was made and installed and the smart finely finished metal frame underneath I actually ended up liking the Thar with the top on. So I've decided to keep the top on. That said I know the Thar would be a riot with the top off and eventually someday I will take it off perhaps once the novelty of a closed Thar wears off.

Something else that is emerging through my ownership is a respect for the identity of the Thar. I thought I would mod the car to make it look like a Wrangler but when I looked at one done here in Hyderabad I was actually disappointed and felt the car looked too dated post mod. I also felt the engine and drive of the Thar with its IFS lends a distinct character and flavour to this vehicle. I have come to respect the Thar for what it is, A Mahindra Thar !! So I decided the Thar will conintue to remain stock and not lose its identity through mods.

I really do like the look of the stock Thar. Its really very smart. I was and remain a very huge fan of the army 550 look. So at the most my mods would take it closer to what the 550 detailing does for its handsome looks.

So a decision has been made that any change made to the Thar must at best remain within the purview of what could come out of the factory on stock Thars.

So the wheel hubcaps went from silver to matt black and the side step wall went from aluminium to matt black. The license plate went from white to matt black.

The theme of rocky beige and black appealed to me when I saw the car prior to PDI. In black rims the car seemed more appealing that another car I saw with hubcaps on. So I decided to maintain the rockybeige matt black theme with minimal accents through chrome badging and aluminium side steps.

I think I will buy the new Scorpio alloys and either powder coat them matt black or paint them so and install them on the car. I know it would look a killer combo. I think I'll do that once I come back from Ladakh

I like the horn and intend keeping it that way. I plan on adding some really smart matt finish warn fog lamps and driving lights, pictures of which I posted earlier

Last edited by DKG : 28th July 2011 at 17:38.
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Old 28th July 2011, 17:31   #111
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar: How I made sure I didn't lose the forest for the trees !!

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Originally Posted by manolin View Post
Sorry I do not know the travel plans, but the Thar isn't going to the Big L? That would give rise to best photoshoot of the Thar if it were to happen.
No its too new to make a marathon journey like that rightaway. Besides the real reason for skipping the drive up from Hyderabad is I have limited leave left and only the Mahindra Adventure trip will fit in, which entails using their car from Delhi. Will head up north next year so very soon the Thar will get photographed in the Himalayas. The rate at which time flies next year is just around the corner

In the meantime till December end I plan on doing small trips to local forests and destinations near Hyderabad so this thread will have loads of material flowing in over the coming months !
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Old 28th July 2011, 17:43   #112
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar: How I made sure I didn't lose the forest for the trees !!

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No its too new to make a marathon journey like that rightaway. Besides the real reason for skipping the drive up from Hyderabad is I have limited leave left and only the Mahindra Adventure trip will fit in, which entails using their car from Delhi. Will head up north next year so very soon the Thar will get photographed in the Himalayas. The rate at which time flies next year is just around the corner

In the meantime till December end I plan on doing small trips to local forests and destinations near Hyderabad so this thread will have loads of material flowing in over the coming months !
to your enthusiasm. Look forward to your travels.
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Old 28th July 2011, 17:48   #113
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar: How I made sure I didn't lose the forest for the trees !!

A very nice looking and tempting Jeep there, especially after that black coat at the relevant places.

Personally what I find amazing is, in spite of the shortcomings like plastic quality, dash, lack of an immobilizer etc, inexplicably the thar appeals to the heart. I think therein lies the success of its creator
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Old 28th July 2011, 21:57   #114
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar: How I made sure I didn't lose the forest for the trees !!

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I like the horn and intend keeping it that way. I plan on adding some really smart matt finish warn fog lamps and driving lights, pictures of which I posted earlier
Hi Deepak, wow, a rather elaborate ownership experience-I like your detailing. BTW Is the OE horn single or dual tone? Just curious.

And please do some long road trips - Chennai aint far away - Just a days drive now
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Old 28th July 2011, 22:45   #115
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar: How I made sure I didn't lose the forest for the trees !!

Congrats Deepak, your thar looks good. Are you planning to do the mods we had discussed the other day?

The Thar performed very well in AKC/EXAM with 33" Tyres.
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Old 28th July 2011, 23:47   #116
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar: How I made sure I didn't lose the forest for the trees !!

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Is the OE horn single or dual tone?
Its a dual tone like what a Civic has.

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And please do some long road trips - Chennai aint far away - Just a days drive now
Once the a/c is installed will definitely make it over to Chennai.
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Old 29th July 2011, 00:30   #117
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar: How I made sure I didn't lose the forest for the trees !!

Brakes

For a car with a powerful engine and effortless acceleration the brakes on the Thar seem a tad bit vague. They lack a reassuring bite and force you to plan your stops by maintaining more distance from the car ahead of you.

Its not a big problem that makes me want to rush to the service station with a request to improve braking asap but eventually a booster upgrade (I am told) will solve this problem so I am not overly concerned about addressing this now.

Upgrades/Mods planned in the near future

1. I really like the new set of alloys that have recently been released for the Scorpio VLX. They come only in silver so will have them coated in matt black and install with the current tyres or AT's. If I opt to change tyres I will go up to 255/65's

2. Install the Warn fog and driving lamps.

3. Install a air compressor on board

4. GPS for the car

5. Audio

6. Modular hard top which is a faux soft top ie external will remain the softtop but on the inside its all aluminium panels.

7. Later when I start using the car regularly for offroad use will install a Warn winch

8. Install airconditioning
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Old 29th July 2011, 11:05   #118
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar: How I made sure I didn't lose the forest for the trees !!

Excellent Report DKG!

One request was that could you post snaps of all the small mods you have done till now. Changing the door lock knob, Glove box clip etc

Thanks!
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Old 29th July 2011, 11:57   #119
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar: How I made sure I didn't lose the forest for the trees !!

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6. Modular hard top which is a faux soft top ie external will remain the softtop but on the inside its all aluminium panels.
Ditto..
When I saw the Thar -this is exactly what came to my mind as well. An aluminium/steel frame inside but covered by the same old soft top on the outside. Will address the security concerns at the same time maintaining the beauty of the Jeep. No had-top comes close to the soft-top when it comes to looks.


BTW, nice photos - the traditional JEEP look is unbeatable. The solid black steel wheels look perfect. I liked the idea of skipping the wheel caps. Why do you want to go the alloy way?

Cheers!
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Old 29th July 2011, 12:26   #120
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar: How I made sure I didn't lose the forest for the trees !!

Hi DKG,
Thank you for a delightful review of the Thar. Very informative indeed.
Was looking at the Thar sometime ago but what spoilt the party for me was the lack of a factory fitted hardtop and AC. Tried talking to folks at M&M - but no joy.

The colour of your Thar is very nice indeed and fits the image of a tough off roading vehicle.

Wishing you miles and miles of wonderful experiences with the Thar...and if I may add - with the HD too !
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