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Old 11th June 2012, 01:10   #1
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Default Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe

Prelude:
My faithful steed for the past five years had been a 2006 Model Maruti Swift VXi.
Subtle upgrades, by way of a Remus Exhaust, Iridium Spark Plugs, K&N Filter, Exedy Racing Clutch, Plati Alloys, ICE comprising a superb combination of Sony/Pioneer components and strictly fed on a diet of Shell Super and lubricated with Mobil1.
It was a pleasure to drive my Swift, silky torque, the deep-throated roar of the Remus when revving all the way upto 6500 rpm!
The sky-rocketing Petrol prices did not bother me, like a genuine Bhpian, I live to drive!

I then chanced upon the Mahindra Thar website! But was thoroughly disappointed that the Thar was not available in India. A day would probably come...someday!

Lady luck smiled on me in 2011. I switched jobs and was provided with an SX4 VDi in my new assignment. A comfortable car to drive/be chauffered in, ample boot space, good fuel economy, and last but not the least, an SUV challenging ground clearance.
Though it lacked the handling of my G13BB engined Swift, the torque available between 1500 to around 3000 rpm is delicious! If the engine is kept within the torque band, it is a very enjoyable drive and a very rare automobile may overtake a diesel SX4! And back-seat comfort is superb for a car in its price range!
What was the point maintaining two cars, a petrol-engined hatchback and a diesel engined saloon?

Circa 2011 - Launch of the Mahindra Thar:

My childhood fascination for Jeeps was aroused, once again!
Alas, as a replacement for my Swift, the Thar was no comparison! NO basic creature comforts (read: air-con), Mahindra's lackadaisical approach to quality, was it worth it?
Long reviews on Team-bhp, the pro & cons of the Thar, lack of a,b,c in the Thar. Was it worth buying a Thar or should I wait for the Renault Duster?

February 2012 was when a close friend of mine proposed to buy my souped-up Swift, at a price I felt was reasonable. Withing a week, my Swift was sold, and I needed a replacement vehicle. Juicy rumours were floating around of an air-conditioned Thar with 'many' upgrades. I decided to wait.

When Vinod Nookala announced on Team bhp that bookings for the new refreshed That were open, I just decided to take the plunge. I overlooked ALL the Thar's shortcomings, I needed it as a vehicle for my week-end use, the occasional trip to Coorg, and generally to drive around town 'top-less'!

On 06-April-12, I paid the deposit of Rs. 50 k at India Garage Bangalore and booked a Rocky Beige Thar. Promised period of delivery was 4-6 weeks!
I approached my local Bank (HDFC) for Finance/Insurance. The Bank was most helpful in approving my loan at an attractive rate of interest. The Insurance premium quoted by HDFC Ergo was very reasonable, compared to the dealer's quote.

By the end of five weeks, when I enquired at India Garage, there appeared to be no sign of my Thar landing in Bangalore in the near future!

I approached the local Mahindra office at Bangalore where the concerned executive was very helpful. Exchanged mails with Vinod Nookala.
To cut a long story short, I received confirmation that my Thar had been invoiced/despatched from the factory and I could take delivery by the first week of June.

Wow! I could not believe that I was so close to nirvana.

The D-day arrived (07-June-12)
Went to the showroom with my family, rushed through the formalities and was soon driving my Rocky Beige Thar out of the showroom.
I had decided to go in for the head-light and rear light grills and the chaff-guard as accessories for the time being. However, India Garage was busy with many vehicle deliveries during the week. I have therefore postponed the fitment of these accessories until the next fortnight.

As I have mentioned in another thread, Syed Anjum, the executive handling my file was most helpful from the point of booking until the time of delivery. Hats off to him!
Completed the customary Pooja at the Kasturba Road temple and drove home.
I spent the next day replacing the steel wheels with Alloys (at Madhus) and upgrading the headlight with brighter bulbs (90/100 w) using a standard relay kit.

First impression:
I tanked up and drove to Coorg during the week end.
On the highways, I learnt what the word 'respect' meant!
After spending decades behind the wheels of Jeeps, the Thar was a different cup of tea!
The unstressed nonchalant way the Thar devours miles is to be experienced!

Handling however, is not its forte`. But that can be easily excused since the Thar never pretended to be an F-1 wannabe!

Bangalore-Mysore-Hunsur was a breeze. Not wanting to drive at a constant speed, I varied speeds from 60 kmph to 120 kmph (short bursts). All the time, the engine was its calm best, a slight blip of the throttle was all that it required.
The ride though slightly bouncy, was managable.
This NEF CRDe engine is light years ahead of the MD2350 or XDP 4.90 engines.
The air-conditioner, though effective, was causing a chattering noise to emate from its relay. I suspected a problem with the relay and wanted to have it checked at India Garage, Coorg.

From Hunsur, I headed towards Nagarhole, the first 15 kms have been recently re-asphalted and is buttery smooth. Only when I passed the new road and and headed towards Murukhal did the ancestory of the MM540 emerge! The doors started rattling as though the hinges had come off! I cut down my speed to a modest 40 kmph for the rest of my journey home. The rattling was subdued, but never stopped.

Post lunch, after my parents 'appraised' my new Jeep (my Dad comparing the Thar to his 540), I took the Thar to the local India Garage to have the doors set. The mechanic there 'advised' me to strengthen the frame (with additional strips running from the front windshield to the rear) to avoid rattling. I politely requested him to set the doors which he did.
The chattering from the air-conditioner relay was checked. I was informed by the electrician that he had faced a similar complaint earlier and on investigation it was that the thermostat was faulty (a loose-contact in the switch causes the chattering). I kept the thermostat in ONE position and the chattering has stopped, for now!

On my return home, the rattling on one of my doors re-started after 15 minutes! I gave up and went home, I shall get it done at Bangalore later.
Did not have a chance to go off road, but briefly drove into the paddy fields.
Preliminary impression (again comparing to an International/Peugeot engine) is that there is oodles of (un-controllable) torque. What I have read in the earlier reviews rang in my mind, probably a lower reduction would be nice!

Today was by journey back to Bangalore. The journey was uneventful except for the mind-numbing rattle from the left door (until I reached the main highway in Hunsur) and a tryst with a wild elephant who refused to share the road with me!
I patiently waited for 15 minutes, but boy, was he adamant! I ran out of patience and much against my wife's pleading, switched on my high beam and slowly moved towards the elephant. Thankfully, he (grudgingly) moved away from the road. I have recorded the elephant crossing on a video.

Braking is managable (by Jeep standards), but BD's upgrade is top on my list. I reckon it will add to the peace-of-mind factor.

The drive from Hunsur to Bangalore was an absolute pleasure. At a steady 80-100 kmph, I overtook almost every vehicle on the road and reached Bangalore late in the evening. The mere sight of a Thar in the rear view mirror I guess in intimidating and menacing!

I topped up the Diesel tank at Bangalore. The average fuel consumption (66% highway, 33% village roads; 50% air conditioner use; 66% of the time average 90 kmph and 33% of the time average 40 kmph) was 11 kmpl, which I feel is very respectable. I suspect that the clutch (cable?) has worked itself loose, I found the gear shifts slowly getting stiffer and requiring more time for synchronizing.

After my initial 600 km drive I would list the pros and cons as follows:
Pros:
1) Jewel of an engine, unstressed across the rev range, begging to have its neck wrung.
2) Menacing looks, has 'mean' written all over it, and sadly attracts more looks from men than their better halfs!
3) THE macho vehicle for use in the high-way and city.
4) Overall fit and finish is one IOTA better than the first generation Thar

Cons:
1) Mahindra seems stuck in the WWII period in terms of basic design. Whilst it is easy to blame 'lack of structural rigidity' for the rattling, I am yet to see a Gypsy's doors rattling like that of an MM/Thar! (The soft-top Gypsy has the same door/half-cabin design)
2) Suspension squeaks ought to have been a thing of the past! Though an under-body wash after my return to Bangalore helped.
3) The horn in the Thar is a disgrace! I am sure even the Nano has a better horn, the horn on the Thar squeaks like a mouse on heat!
4) My journey to Coorg was early morning, felt the air conditioner was adequate. However, during my return, the air conditioner had a 'local anesthesia' effect, it cooled only those parts of my body that had a direct draft from the blower! In my opinion, a (removable/un-removable) hard top is a necessity and a priority, both to improve the effectiveness of the air conditioner and to have some basic security!
5) The front seats lack lower back support. Over long drives, one gets a pain in the lower back. I am planning to relegate the FF front seats to the rear and fit new Swift/Verna seats in the front.

I have attached a couple of pictures taken during my journey to Coorg and return.
Attached Thumbnails
Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe-front.jpg  

Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe-lh-rear.jpg  

Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe-close-up.jpg  

Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe-left.jpg  

Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe-rh-front.jpg  

Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe-rh-rear.jpg  


Last edited by cpbopanna : 11th June 2012 at 01:15.
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Old 11th June 2012, 03:32   #2
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Congrats Bopanna , wish you miles of fun and safe drive . The Thar just looks macho as it can be .
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Old 11th June 2012, 08:54   #3
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Default Re: Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe

Congrats on the Thar. A nice color you got for the Thar there. This one has got the got any where attitude in the looks for sure.

Enjoy many more happy miles with the THAR!
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Old 11th June 2012, 09:48   #4
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Default Re: Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe

Congrats Bopanna,

It really looks macho with 'mean' written all over Wonderful ride you have got there and yes, there will be more men than fairer complexion turning heads. Settling with each of those things will take sometime and it requires you to spend sometime with the vehicle, it will get only better, I'm sure. Please share the video link if you decide it to share on public web, will be interesting to some.
Wish you many more happy miles ahead!
Drive safe!

Last edited by Ketan : 11th June 2012 at 09:49.
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Old 11th June 2012, 10:24   #5
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Default Re: Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe

Dear Bopanna,
Many congratulations once again. And thank you very much for sharing your review on the Thar.
As a Gypsy owner, i can definitely say that the Gypsy doors have not been rattling.
Regarding your observations, specially the negatives:
* The rattles and AC effectiveness would have to be resolved. Infact I am surprised with your observation on the AC not being effective. I've read other members from NCR who claim that the AC was effective even in Delhi summers.
The rest of the negatives like the seats and the horn can be corrected with after-market options. I also see that you've gone in for a 16" alloy. So you're all set to get that brakes upgraded to 521 spec, eh?

I see that the hood latch on the left is also out in one of the pictures and you also complained about the rattle from the left. Could it be from the hood?

Anyways, have a wonderful ownership experience with your Thar.
Please do keep updating the thread with your next upgrades (bumpers/rock-sliders/snorkel..).
Also, about how effective is the soft-top from keeping dust/rain away

Cheers,
Deepak
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Old 11th June 2012, 11:20   #6
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Default Re: Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe

Congrats on mean Thar 4x4.

For improving braking can you post the link to BD's brake upgrade?
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Old 11th June 2012, 11:38   #7
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Default Re: Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe

Many congratulations. Also thanks a lot for this informative review. I have been toying with the idea of getting a Thar too but I am not feeling very hopeful reading about all these niggles. Sure it is a sturdy off roader at a low price point. The price is kept low by having an equipment list which can shame a skimpy bikini. But then why does the vehicle suffer from so many quality issues. From what I read, you have not even pushed the vehicle in proper off-roading trails and within 600 kms it seems to have started squeaking and failing in so many parts. The vehicle has tremendous potential if M&M can stick to some basic quality standards. Seriously two thumbs down to M&M for shortchanging Thar customers for this. Frankly I am feeling discouraged now reading this. Customers can perhaps throw in accessories and replacements for certain things in a car. It is daylight robbery on the part of M&M to expect customers to rebuild the vehicle or reinforcing almost the entire vehicle after having paid full price of it. Very disappointing.

On another note, IMO you did take a great risk trying to engage a wild elephant. Your wife was right in stopping you. Believe me it is very dangerous and there is no way you can predict how an animal in the wild will react. I have had a close shave once when one alpha male charged the vehicle I was in because it felt we were too close for its comfort. The Thar CRDe might be mighty but a wild elephant can crush it. Do be careful in future in such situations since the safety and security of your family comes first.
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Old 11th June 2012, 13:04   #8
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Mod Note : Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another on the SAME THREAD!

Quote:
Originally Posted by brraj View Post
Congrats on mean Thar 4x4.

For improving braking can you post the link to BD's brake upgrade?
Attached details in an Excel format!

Quote:
Originally Posted by starter View Post
Dear Bopanna,
Many congratulations once again. And thank you very much for sharing your review on the Thar.
As a Gypsy owner, i can definitely say that the Gypsy doors have not been rattling.
Regarding your observations, specially the negatives:
* The rattles and AC effectiveness would have to be resolved. Infact I am surprised with your observation on the AC not being effective. I've read other members from NCR who claim that the AC was effective even in Delhi summers.
The rest of the negatives like the seats and the horn can be corrected with after-market options. I also see that you've gone in for a 16" alloy. So you're all set to get that brakes upgraded to 521 spec, eh?

I see that the hood latch on the left is also out in one of the pictures and you also complained about the rattle from the left. Could it be from the hood?

Anyways, have a wonderful ownership experience with your Thar.
Please do keep updating the thread with your next upgrades (bumpers/rock-sliders/snorkel..).
Also, about how effective is the soft-top from keeping dust/rain away

Cheers,
Deepak
Thanks Deepak.
The rattling was not because of the bonnet clamp not latched, I noticed that!
Even after clamping it, the rattling continued.

When the doors were set, the rattling stopped, and again start on ONE door!

Guess it's too early to conclude on the air-con's effectiveness, will drive it some more and let you know. Probably there IS a problem with the thermostat!
Attached Files
File Type: xlsx Thar Brake Upgrade.xlsx (12.5 KB, 2960 views)

Last edited by GTO : 11th June 2012 at 13:50. Reason: Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another!
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Old 11th June 2012, 13:14   #9
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Default Re: Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpbopanna View Post
I needed it as a vehicle for my week-end use, the occasional trip to Coorg, and generally to drive around town 'top-less'!
This is exactly what the Thar is meant to be and few other vehicles have the oomph factor that it has while performing showbiz and weekend duties.

Congrats on the new acquisition Bopanna, enjoy it safely.


OT: Why have a poll for your initial ownership report? You can write what you feel like, passionately, and keep it as a diary of your ride in the years to come.
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Old 11th June 2012, 13:18   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
This is exactly what the Thar is meant to be and few other vehicles have the oomph factor that it has while performing showbiz and weekend duties.

Congrats on the new acquisition Bopanna, enjoy it safely.


OT: Why have a poll for your initial ownership report? You can write what you feel like, passionately, and keep it as a diary of your ride in the years to come.
Thank you, Devdath

On the OT - just wanted to cross-check if my literary skills are what they used to be!!
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Old 11th June 2012, 13:28   #11
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Default Re: Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe

Congrats on the new buy! Nice choice of color too! Subtle yet classy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpbopanna View Post
Alas, as a replacement for my Swift...
Not sure how many have thoughts about such a replacement!! But I have heard that once hit by the Jeep bug, its hard to come out of it. Wishing you thousands of happy miles behind the wheels!

Have a good one!

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Old 11th June 2012, 13:48   #12
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Default Re: Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe

Great colour & the wheels look simply stunning. Congratulations Mr. Bopanna.

The beauty of Jeeps is that they are immensely customisable. I hope you plan to do yours up. I like how most enthusiast' Jeeps are unique in their own little ways.

When are you going off-roading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpbopanna View Post
After spending decades behind the wheels of Jeeps, the Thar was a different cup of tea!
You can say that again. The highway cruising ability is unlike any other Jeep sold in India. It's also easy to live with; in that lies the superiority of the Thar.

Quote:
The air-conditioner, though effective
You can further improve the air-con's effectiveness by plugging all the soft-top holes up. Trust me, there are a lot of gaps.

Quote:
The doors started rattling as though the hinges had come off!
Rattles are OEM fitment with any Mahindra. Don't sweat over it. Just turn the music up . An iPod, cheap amplifier, cheap speakers and a custom speaker box is all you need.

Last edited by GTO : 11th June 2012 at 13:49.
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Old 11th June 2012, 16:50   #13
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Default Re: Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpbopanna View Post
The rattling was not because of the bonnet clamp not latched, I noticed that!
Even after clamping it, the rattling continued.
When the doors were set, the rattling stopped, and again start on ONE door!
Guess it's too early to conclude on the air-con's effectiveness, will drive it some more and let you know. Probably there IS a problem with the thermostat!
Aha! finally your review - and a well written one- Well for the rattling of doors - I guess I had that issue as well at first, after visiting the service center couple of times speaking to the body repair guy, I had it fixed - What really fixed it was - getting the rubber beading replaced - you might also find that the beading may be inadequate or missing at places where the door makes a contact with the body - have a closer look. Of course, I also got the doors set and all.

Also just spraying WD40 at the hinges ( at the points on door hinges and bonnet hinges and bonnet locks / clamps) will keep the vehicle quiet.

Mine seems quiet enough now - or maybe I've got used to it..

On the AC, you know, whenever you are driving in the hot afternoon- just touch the soft top (the rear portion) from inside or the center and side support bars - you will find it really hot. What will really help is putting some insulating material under the soft top (some 6 or 9mm sponge kind of material, available at some AC stores in Blr.) - That should make the AC far more effective and there must be open area on the sides of the soft top just near the B Pillar - find a way to plug them.

I think the Thar becomes much more smoother and quiet after the first service - That's what happened with mine at least - So you need to find ways to put that 5000 Km soon on the odo quickly -Enjoy doing that - so trips to Nandi Hills and other getaways should be on your weekend - "to do" lists . .. Have Fun! And while you are at it - Drive it under 100 kmph - Don't think one should push the Thar over that with family - Remember - No Air bags and No great brakes. I myself keep it under 90 or so, especially when traveling with family.

Last edited by carrot_eater : 11th June 2012 at 16:57. Reason: -
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Old 12th June 2012, 14:34   #14
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Default Re: Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe

Hi Bopanna

Can you please post pictures from the inside - the new rubber mats and also if there is an improvement on the gear boot for the 4 wheel lever.

Cheers
Carrot
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Old 13th June 2012, 12:07   #15
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Default Re: Call of the wild - Mahindra Thar CRDe

Congratulations Bopanna!!! Very nice color and a great writeup.

I hope to be doing the same in the future. I have kept my desire for this Jeep controlled for long enough. Now I think I should plunge in!

Keep us updated with the AC effectiveness and the rattle issues. I am hoping this should be sorted out with some good door beadings. Can the beading from other vehicles be installed on the Thar? I am sure there would be far better options from companies like Honda etc. Would cushion the door as well as seal the door better.

Also are you planning for a hard top?
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