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Old 16th April 2011, 14:18   #1
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Default Mahindra Thar CRDe - An owner's honest perspective. EDIT : Now returned back!!

It has been almost one and a half months since I brought my Thar home. I have been wanting to post the ownership thread for quite a while but I was just being lazy and also I wanted to try out the Thar to a certain extent that made the post commendable. So, Here goes, my humble and an honest opinion regarding the vehicle.

Alternatives considered -
I have been in love with the looks of the MM540 since forever. I did not have the time or the expertise to build a Jeep or to get one refurbished. Only ones readily available were the ‘Landi’ Jeeps of the kinds sold in the ‘Jeep Mandi’s’ of Moga, Bhatinda, Dabwali et al. I found these to be an absolute rape of the original vehicles and also they are too gaudy and loud for my taste. I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole, if I had the opportunity to do so.

Then I came to know that M&M is planning to launch a 4x4 Jeep based on the MM540 platform. That got me excited. I used to gather as much information regarding the development of the Thar on the internet as I could. Team-BHP was right up there on my research links. There were no alternative vehicles for me to consider in reality. It was just the Thar for me.

Booking and delivery experience –
Booked – 20th January 2011
Delivery – 2nd March 2011
So, when the Thar was officially launched, I was overjoyed to know that Mohali was one of the cities chosen by M&M where the Thar would be launched initially. I rang up Goel Motors, Mohali in the first week of January and was pleasantly surprised to know that the display Thar and the TD Thar were already available with them. That same day, I along with my elder brother, my nephew and my kids visited the dealership to check out the Thar. I took the test drive and was immediately hooked. Surprisingly the sales executive Jaswinder Singh was very knowledgeable about the product and the TD was a great hit with us.

I so wanted to book the Thar then and there but prudence demanded that I sleep over the idea. I took one whole week to think the whole thing over and then finally booked the vehicle on the 20th of January. I was informed by the dealership that I could expect the delivery of the vehicle by the 20th of February.

A couple of days prior to the tentative date of delivery, I called up the dealership to enquire about the status and was informed that they had no information as to when the vehicle would arrive. I was also informed that M&M had sent an email to the dealership asking them not to take any further bookings for the Thar. The next day, Jaswinder, the Goel Motors executive called me up to tell me that the dealership had been granted permission by M&M to sell the Red Thar on display at the showroom and that he would get the vehicle ready if I was interested to buy it. Since I only wanted the Rocky Beige Thar, I refused (Thanks for the advice Behram Sir).

Just a week after that, the dealership called and told me that three Thar’s had been delivered and that I should come and do the PDI. I was overjoyed and that same day, went to the dealership. I saw three Thar’s parked in the parking lot. Two were Rocky Beige and one was a Silver. I was asked to choose any one of the two Rocky Beige Thar’s parked there. Here, I proceeded absolutely according to the PDI thread on Team-BHP. Checked the vehicle thoroughly for any untoward finding and finalized one of the Thar’s. The odometer reading on the vehicle was 44 Kms.

Thereafter I went in to complete the formalities. I was taken to the accessory section of the dealership to choose any accessory that I wanted. Mr. Shanky the man in-charge of the modifications came across as a man who knew his job. I was shown several pictures of the various modifications carried out by his department on the various Scorpio’s and also one Thar. But, I knew I just wanted the light grills, indicator grills, radiator grill for the intercooler and the radiator and a cigarette lighter (for the GPS & charging the phone). The dealership just had the light and the indicator grills to offer other than a lot of stuff that I didn’t want and I was told that the radiator grill and the cigarette lighter would be available within a week.

After having satisfied myself to the best of my ability, I gave them the demand draft so that the formalities could be completed. I also informed the dealership that I would be taking the delivery of the Thar the next day (Shivratri).

On Road Price -
Ex-Showroom price – Rs 6,09,000
Insurance – Rs 17,804
Vehicle Registration – Rs 18,640
I was not offered any discounts or things like mats, etc. I also opted not to go in for the extended warranty for the Thar.

The next day being a holiday, the whole family was super excited and eagerly looking forward to taking the delivery of the Thar. I was informed by Jaswinder Singh that I should come around noon time and that the vehicle would be ready for delivery. We did likewise and reached the dealership on time. Our Thar was all ready and decked up and post all the paper work the dealership manager came out with a couple of guys holding Mahindra flags to where the Thar was displayed for delivery. We all were requested to pose for photographs, but the dealership camera went kaput at that very moment! No pictures. I took out my phone and asked my brother to click photographs, which he did with gusto.

I had bought a small gift for Jaswinder Singh since he had been really helpful and gracious throughout the booking and the delivery experience. After wishing everybody well, we finally drove out of the dealership with the new Thar. The feeling was sublime indeed. We went straight to the Gurudwara and paid obeisance to the Almighty to bless the car. Thereafter, I took the family out to lunch to celebrate the acquisition of the new Thar.
All in all it was a very pleasant day that ended well. View of the Thar parked in our driveway was one of total disbelief. I had waited so long for the vehicle that it was difficult for me to comprehend that finally the vehicle was actually parked in our house ready to be driven at my beck and call.



Modifications/Additions –

- I had already talked to Bansal Auto Zone in Sector 28 regarding the exchange of Bridgestone Dueller- HT 235/70 R16 tyres for 255/65 R16 Yokohama Geolandar AT-S. Drove straight to Bansal Auto Zone after lunch and got the tyres exchanged. I paid Rs 15,000 for the same.

- I removed the ‘carpet’ matting (OEM) and got custom made rubber mats. They are easily removable and easy to clean. Also the heat emanating from the engine is easily disseminated. Cost incurred Rs 1800/

- A Pioneer CD player and Hertz speakers cost me Rs 10,500.

- Map My India Vehicle Tracker VT-1 cost me Rs 15,000.

- Head lamp and the indicator grills (OEM) cost me Rs 3000.

- Radiator Grill and Cigarette Lighter are still to be installed. Goel Motors have both of these available now (Not available at the time of the delivery) and when I go for the first service, I will get these done.

Engine type & variant –
Mahindra & Mahindra Thar CRDe, 4x4

Kms done till date –
3000+


My usage pattern –
My daily usage is around 80 Kms. Out of that 60 Kms are on the highway and 20 Kms are in the city. Of the 20 Kms in the city, maximum 5 Kms are in dense traffic. I drive the Thar daily to my place of work. Household chores are also accomplished with its help. In fact, I have been using the Thar as my primary car. Absolutely no issues till date, but real summers are yet to set in, in Chandigarh, so I don’t know what my position will be say, in the month of May/June. But at present, it is the most enjoyable ride to say the least.


Exterior design and style –
I don’t think that I can say anything fresh regarding the exteriors. MM540 platform is well known to most BHPians. The finish on my Thar is excellent indeed. There are areas where the finish is uneven and these only become apparent when light falls at a specific angle on the vehicle. Try hard as I might, I did not find a single area of rust. I got the spare tyre removed when I got the tyres exchanged. I would have gotten the rear bumper and the side steps removed too, if my family was not using the Thar so much. In time maybe, once everybody gets over the ‘new car’ feeling and don’t use the vehicle so much, I would remove them too. The feel of the build does feel a lot on the ‘lighter’ side and I wish it was sturdier. The sound of the doors closing doesn’t instill any confidence in me as they sound very ‘tin’ like, clank clank…
Interior design and quality –
Well I have some issues here but I am not complaining because I knew beforehand that these niggles would crop up. I am saying this because I had taken a thorough TD and even more thoroughly gone through the Thar review on Team-BHP, courtesy Khan_Sultan and Tejas ( It was comprehensive and on the button).
But still, to give a balanced view about the vehicle, I have to list what I like and what I dislike about the Thar –



What I like about the Thar -
- Leg room. More than enough for tall guys. I am heavyset and 5’11” and have no issues space-wise. But the correct, comfortable leg position still eludes me. One day I like one position and the next day I have to change it. I guess teething problems are at the root cause of this problem.

- The off-center steering wheel is a non-issue for me. I got used to it within the first couple of minutes of driving the vehicle. Ergonomically absolutely comfortable for me.

- Seats are really comfortable.

- The big windshield gives a commanding view of the road ahead. Absolutely love it.

- Opening the rear door is a mammoth task. None of my kids or any of the ladies in the house are able to open the door on their own. I think of it as a security feature. It would take quite some time for a novice to open the rear door to gain entry into the vehicle. But then, one can always zip up the canopy and gain entry!

- Soft top is good. I have not removed it yet, nor do I intend to. There is not much fluttering on high speeds and the ride is very quiet indeed. Not much dust coming in too. All in all, I am very satisfied with the quality of the soft top. It is easy to clean too. Initially the soft top used to make a lot of noise especially the front top corners, but now the noise has subsided. Probably, it has breaking-in period!

- Now what can I say about the engine performance. It is simply mind-boggling. Its performance is as smooth as a baby’s bottom! I have driven the Thar at 140+Kms and it handles like a dream. Cruising at 70 Kms/hr is blissful indeed. Till date the only blemish that I can think of is that of a second or so of turbo lag in gear three and four. The engine is very quiet and performs superbly. I have been to Shimla and Kasauli in my Thar and its performance has by far superseded my expectations. There have been no splashes of coolant or engine oil in the engine bay of my Thar till date as has been reported by fellow BHPians. Cruising on Highways is most comfortable in the Thar, thanks to the IFS, I guess.


- I have not done any hardcore off-roading in my Thar, but I have been on the route that Mahindra Great Escape took last year in the Morni area and I can tell you first hand, I never once had to shift into 4H, needless to say 4L. The track was easily done in 4X2 mode. Thar had ample grunt left still, to overcome all the obstacles that came its way. I cannot comment about its performance in slush or sand, but I am pretty sure, the Thar will be more than competent for that kind of terrain too.

- My kids absolutely adore the Thar and love taking rides in it in the evenings. Whenever we come across another Thar in the city, they shout out with joy. They refuse to travel in any other car as of now. Once while returning from Kasauli both of them slept on the floor in the rear and were most comfortable on the way back.

- Not a day goes by, when I am not approached by people asking me about the Thar. It is a real eye-catcher for sure!

- I have no complaints regarding the headlights or the horn. Both are up to the mark if you ask me.

- There have been some posts regarding the body-roll of the Thar. Chandigarh is a city of traffic circles. I don’t think any other city in India has so many traffic circles and barring main roads, one encounters a traffic circle every 1 km in Chandigarh. So, I feel I am in a position to comment upon the body roll of the Thar. At normal speeds of up to 50Kms/hr, the body roll is minimal. I have tried to cross a traffic circle at speeds exceeding 60 Kms/hr and that is when the handling becomes a bit of an issue. Body roll at those speeds is definitely more but nothing that gives a scare that the vehicle will topple over. All in all, in a vehicle with such high centre of gravity, this amount of body roll is expected.

- The braking is pretty good. I had a very unpleasant chance to test the brakes fully last week. I was on the highway and suddenly a policeman jumped in front of me to stop a truck coming from the opposite side. I braked hard and the Thar came to a stop without a problem at all. I was probably driving at around 80 Kms/hr. Even though the wheels locked, the Thar kept to its course. Pretty good, I must say.

- I like the glow of the instrument panel at night. It is cool.






What I don’t like about the Thar –

- The right door handle knob came off in the first hour of my ownership. It was quite shocking.

- The clutch started making a squeaky sound, also within the first hour of my ownership. I will get it rectified when I get the first service done.

- The 4H and the 4L glow sings in the dashboard don’t work.

- The driver side door-handle starts biting into my right leg after about 10 minutes of driving. It really becomes uncomfortable after some time. I will have to do something about this if I am in for the long haul in the Thar.

- There is a nut just below the lock lever on the driver side that really hurts when I invariably bump my right elbow against it. It would have been a trivial issue, if my elbow had not become a tender point after about two weeks of driving the Thar. I dread the next jolt. I have to be conscious not to bump my elbow with that one nut.


- I noticed about a couple of days ago that the instrument panel has come loose. I have to push it in once in a while. I will get that checked when I go for the first service. Somehow, I find this hilarious and cannot stop laughing every time I have to push it in!

- The brakes make a grunting noise once in a while. That gets my heart racing. Will get it checked when I go in for the first service.

- A funny humming noise comes from somewhere in the engine if the blower fan is operated on 3. It ceases when brought down to 2 or 1. Will get it checked.

- The glove box is a pathetic excuse for one. You overload it a bit and it refuses to close up.

- No one has any clue about the Air Conditioner availability in the Thar. April has been cool in Chandigarh this time but come May and I would be cooked if I don’t get one installed. I am planning to ask Behram Sir regarding this. I plan to close the driver canopy (OEM) and get an AC.

- Lack of Cigarette Lighter – I feel it is a must for charging the phone, or using the GPS when on a long haul.

- The rubber capping on the 4x4 transfer lever has a very poor fit and comes off, try as hard as I might to fix it. Problem is that when the engine warms up after some running, hot air starts flowing into the driver canopy from the space where the lever goes through the floor. A bit of a nuisance according to me.


Engine performance & drivability in the city –

- I drove an Opel Astra for 7 years and driving the Thar reminds me of my old Opel. Superb torque delivery at a relatively low rpm range ensures that one does not have to frequently change gears when in dense traffic. Also even though the power steering in the Thar is of high standards, there is somewhat of a lack of steering feedback while driving. Driving the Opel was exactly the same!

- Steering is very nimble and the smaller turning radius makes driving the Thar in the city an absolute pleasure.

Engine performance & drivability on the highway –

- As implied by Khan_Sultan and Tejas in their review of the Thar, it is a true-blue mile-cruncher/muncher. Extremely comfortable to drive on the long haul (other than the door handle biting into my right leg) though I would have loved it if the Thar had a dead paddle to rest the left foot. I won’t say much here as enough has already been said about the performance of the Thar on the highways and by and large everybody on the forum concurs that Thar truly comes into its own on the highways.

Additional comments on the engine (outright power, refinement, turbo-lag etc.) –

- As I have already mentioned before, I feel there is a seconds’ turbo-lag in gear 3 and 4. Some people don’t agree with me. May be it is just a one-off thing in my Thar.

Overall opinion on the engine –
- I love the Thar CRDe engine. It is sublime. I could listen to it idling all day long and thereafter.


Gearshift / transmission quality, smoothness, response time etc. –

- I sometimes have trouble shifting into reverse. But I guess, since the vehicle is new, things will smoothen out. Other than that, I have no issues. Thumbs up from my side.

Fuel efficiency : City and Highway –
- City and Highway combined – 12 Kms/L



Suspension & ride quality –
- IFS makes all the difference in the ride quality on tarmac. Ride quality on roads is superb although OTR, I feel the ride is a bit too ‘springy’ for my taste. I guess the IFS is responsible for that too, but then one has to compromise on some aspect when the overall package is viewed in totality. Since 90% of my running is on tarmac, I am not complaining.

Handling, on-road behaviour and grip levels –
- I have already commented upon the handling of the Thar. As far as grip levels are concerned, I have faced no issues on this front till now. I shifted to Yokohama Geolandar’s from the stock HT-Dueller’s on the day that I took delivery of the vehicle and have mainly driven in good weather, so the ‘grip levels’ have not been put to test as of yet. Also, on the Mahindra Great Escape route, I did not face any issues with the grip of the tyres.



Review on overall practicality –

- I have been using the Thar as my primary vehicle till date. I drive it to work and complete the usual chores in it. But I have serious issues as far as its practicality goes.

- Soft top makes it very prone to theft. Even though I have a vehicle tracker system installed in my Thar, its safety is always of great concern to me if and when I park it in public parking places. I have yet to take my Thar out at night when I have to attend a dinner or any other function. I just don’t have the confidence. This is my condition after I have a VT-1 installed. I wonder if I would ever leave it in a parking lot if the vehicle tracker was not there.

- Summers in the North are real sizzlers. Till date, driving in the Thar has been a very pleasant experience, but come full summers, I wonder what I would do if an AC is not installed in the Thar. The dealership is at a loss as far as information regarding the AC is concerned.

- Other than the points mentioned above, I have no concerns. The Thar is ideal for me. Lot of space to do a lot of things! Physically less taxing to drive and with the Thar, I have the confidence to take it anywhere.


Any niggles, problems or part replacements faced –
- None so far. Fingers crossed!

Quality of after-sales service –
- I have an issue here. Before taking the delivery, I had asked Goel Motors, if they would help me in getting the vehicle registered and I was told that they had no policy to assist the customer getting the vehicle registered. Since I was so excited just to get my hands on the new Thar, I brushed this under the carpet. On the day that I decided to get the Thar registered, I went to the RTO office and got the vehicle inspection done and was told by the MVI to proceed and deposit the vehicle registration amount. Having done that, I was told to go to another window to submit my file along with the receipt so that I could be allotted a registration number. When I went there to submit the file, I was informed that the system was not taking up the registration as this particular make of the vehicle was not registered with the transport department! I was taken aback. I called up the dealership and informed them of my predicament. I received a call after about half an hour and was informed that indeed, M&M had not yet supplied the Chandigarh Transport Department with a ‘Code’ for the Thar and that as soon as the code is received by the department, I would be allotted a number.
It has been almost one and a half months and till date M&M has been unable to provide the Transport Department with a code for the Thar! Even today morning, I called up Goel Motors and they said they are helpless as only people at M&M HQ’s can do that and that the dealership had no clue when that would be done.
I wanted to make some changes in the Thar but I can’t do anything till I get the vehicle registered or else the MVI might put an objection. I wonder….


I know enough has been debated about the Mahindra Thar and my inputs regarding the same might come across as monotonous or repetitive but I strongly feel that everybody has a right to their opinion, ‘to each his own’, as they say. You might like it, you might hate it, but you certainly cannot ignore the Thar.
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Last edited by .anshuman : 16th April 2011 at 14:57. Reason: Formatted to removed tags, please do not post from external word processors. Thanks
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Old 16th April 2011, 15:49   #2
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar CRDe - An owner's honest perspective.

Congratulations Janjua and nice to see your Thar. The tyres do look very good.

The blower noise does exist in my Thar too and needs to be attended to as mentioned in my post. The turbo lag is something I noticed last evening, especially in low speeds in 3rd and 4th, need to watch.

Hope you are able to register it soon. Congrats again and drive safe.
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Old 16th April 2011, 16:11   #3
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar CRDe - An owner's honest perspective.

First of all a big congratulations and a great review. Do keep updating the LTR for all of us. One advice, whatever small plastic parts that come off, keep a tab and get after market better quality bits to put back.

For egs the winder handle, if you find a better quality one from another make that fits, use it. That is the easiest way to deal with the OE crap bits that gets pushed in these vehicles.
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Old 16th April 2011, 16:19   #4
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar CRDe - An owner's honest perspective.

Congratulations janja for your new Mahindra Thar. Your report is very good and covers all details. Few other Bhpians have also purchased Thar recently. Please keep the thread updated regularly and post some interiors and engine bay pictures.

How will you deal without AC and no hardtop as summer has already set in north?

Drive Safe.
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Old 16th April 2011, 16:53   #5
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Congrats on the vehicle.

Grills for 3000/-???!!!!! That's very very expensive.
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Old 16th April 2011, 18:32   #6
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar CRDe - An owner's honest perspective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tha'Red View Post
Congratulations Janjua and nice to see your Thar. The tyres do look very good.

The blower noise does exist in my Thar too and needs to be attended to as mentioned in my post. The turbo lag is something I noticed last evening, especially in low speeds in 3rd and 4th, need to watch.

Hope you are able to register it soon. Congrats again and drive safe.
Thanks Tha'Red. Congratulations to you too.
I just went through your ownership report and there are a few issues common with both our vehicles. Hope they are rectified at the earliest.

Regards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
First of all a big congratulations and a great review. Do keep updating the LTR for all of us. One advice, whatever small plastic parts that come off, keep a tab and get after market better quality bits to put back.

For egs the winder handle, if you find a better quality one from another make that fits, use it. That is the easiest way to deal with the OE crap bits that gets pushed in these vehicles.
Thanks Jaggu Sir.
I will keep you updated. Thanks for the advice. I will try and do as you have mentioned.

Regards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluevolt View Post
Congratulations janjua for your new Mahindra Thar. Your report is very good and covers all details. Few other Bhpians have also purchased Thar recently. Please keep the thread updated regularly and post some interiors and engine bay pictures.

How will you deal without AC and no hardtop as summer has already set in north?

Drive Safe.
Thanks bluevolt. I will try and post regular updates.
You are spot on as far as the AC is concerned. Another 15 days and Thar would be akin to an oven in the afternoons. I have some serious thinking to do.

Regards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tejas@perioimpl View Post
Congrats on the vehicle.

Grills for 3000/-???!!!!! That's very very expensive.
Yes Doc, I know the amount is too much, but then I had already told the dealership that I want them, so I could not do much about it later.
I am thinking of getting the radiator grill from the motor market in Manimajra.

Regards.
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Old 16th April 2011, 21:50   #7
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar CRDe - An owner's honest perspective.

Wow! That was some review. Just could not put it down, had to read till the end.
First of all congratulations!
The Thar is one that pulls you by the collar, grabs the eyeballs and commands your attention.
Absolutely love it! Also read tha'red's review which scared me a bit, what with all those niggles croping up. But reading how much you enjoy your vehicle and have the confidence to take it anywhere. Again makes me confident about owning one in the future. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Wishing you many miles of joyful motoring with your Thar. Btw love the colour, glad you waited for it.
Drive safe!
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Old 16th April 2011, 22:26   #8
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Congrats on the THAR! Oh it so much reminds me of the willys my father used to drive way back in the 60's. I will try and post those pictures. He drove the left hand drive one
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Old 17th April 2011, 06:27   #9
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar CRDe - An owner's honest perspective.

I was wondering why there no ownership reviews on the Thar all this while, now we have two excellent reviews in one week. Thanks for thie comprehensive review.

Am I being unreasonable in comparing the Thar to the ISZ Ambassador that HM launched?
Compared to old Ambys it was a great step forward, but compared to its competition it was still way behind.

The Thar is similar, old body with new engine/GB engineered on a shoestring budget.

The key difference is that it has very little competition in its niche segment.
So M&M can can push its luck a bit more.

I guess the secret is to keep expectations low and then you are happy, if one expects a genuine new-gen vehicle, you get a dissapointed.

BTW, the tyres enhance the look of the Jeep greatly, really cool overall.
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Old 17th April 2011, 08:15   #10
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@Janjua: Congrats on the THAR! Feels good to know that you are using the vehicle as your daily drive and enjoying it to the fuLlest.

BTW doesn't the 255 profile tyre protrude out of the wheel well or foul anywhere?

Wish you many miles of happiness with the THAR.

Cheers
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Old 17th April 2011, 08:28   #11
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar CRDe - An owner's honest perspective.

Hey Janjua , comprehansive report and a realistic one too !

Great to know that you and your kids are in love with the Thar .

A couple of people have put 245 70 's which have a higher profile than the 255 65 yokos , and removed the fender extensions , is there a problem with the 255's touching the plastic fender extensions at any point ?

Have loads of fun with the Thar !
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Old 17th April 2011, 09:18   #12
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Congrats. Plan on any moderate/serious offroading anytime ?
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Old 17th April 2011, 09:20   #13
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar CRDe - An owner's honest perspective.

Very good report - good to see you liking it. I can see that like Royal Enfield, the vehicle still has its charm minus the quality! Let us know once you've gotten AC & hard top installed boss!
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Old 17th April 2011, 09:40   #14
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar CRDe - An owner's honest perspective.

Nice review Sir.
I have been noticing quite a few thar's in and around chandigarh,and few have already gone the bling way,Faaaaaaat rubber,no ST and Chrome alloys.
Hope to catch up with yours too sometime in chandigarh.
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Old 17th April 2011, 10:15   #15
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Default Re: Mahindra Thar CRDe - An owner's honest perspective.

Very good, detailed report. Mahindras do have a peculiarity. The mechanical bits are strong, but the cosmetic bits just keep falling to pieces. As Jaggu suggested, whenever some OE crap falls off, replace it with after-market stuff of better quality. Will look forward to your long term ownership views of the beast.

One question. Does a Pioneer HU and Hertz speakers have any effect on producing good SQ in what is basically a soft top vehicle? Can you post pictures of the HU and component installs?
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