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View Poll Results: Which one would you choose?
Soft-top 24 4.74%
Hard-top 352 69.57%
Convertible 130 25.69%
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Old 1st September 2020, 18:42   #1
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4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible

Note: This thread is ONLY for discussion on tops. Everything else related to the Thar should be discussed in the main thread.

4x4 offroaders can be had in various configurations. There are varying wheelbases, different body styles and even different types of roofs. Mahindra unveiled the second-generation Thar on August 15, 2020. The offroader is available with a choice of 3 roof options - fixed but removable soft-top, hard-top and a convertible soft-top.

Here's a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the various types of roofs. Which one would you choose?

Soft-Top:
4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible-gurkha1.jpg

Purists used to the MM550 & Gypsy might prefer this. It'll be the cheapest in the line-up. However, this version will come with some disadvantages. The soft-top lets more outside noise into the cabin. At speed, the top will flap like crazy. As the soft-top ages, odds are that rain water will get to the cabin & leave you wet. The air-con might not be as effective as with the hard-top, and security is missing (forget about leaving any valuables inside).

Hard-Top:
4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible-dsc00886.jpg

With the hard top, you have the most security, and it will be the most weather-proof. Security is comparable to a regular car, and the NVH will be controlled. The air-con will be the most effective too. On the flip side, the hard-top will be the most expensive of the three roof options. It makes the interiors feel less airy than other versions. You can't open your 4x4 up (at least not easily), and rearward visibility while offroading might be lesser than in the soft-top in which one can easily remove / roll the rear flap up.

The hard-top is more or less for owners who would never cruise with an open 4x4. Because even if you spend lots of hours removing it, few owners will have the space to store that massive hard-top!

4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible-dsc00891.jpg

4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible-dsc00897.jpg

4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible-dsc00911.jpg

Convertible:
4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible-thar2.jpg

Uniquely, the 2020 Thar gets a soft-top which can be easily folded down. Owners of the old Thar / Gypsy / Gurkha will tell you how long it would take to remove the soft top. With the convertible, owners can fold the top quickly (5 minutes) and enjoy acres of blue sky! This version will be an attention grabber.

The disadvantages will be similar to the soft-top. We also don't like the look of it lying at the back (versus a completely removed soft-top), but there is no denying the value of opening up the top in the early morning, and covering it up when the sun gets too hot.

4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible-thar1.jpg

4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible-thar0.jpg
Image source: CarDekho

Last edited by Aditya : 2nd September 2020 at 11:06.
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Old 2nd September 2020, 08:46   #2
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Re: 4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the 4x4 Section. Thanks for sharing!

I have always been a soft-top guy for 4x4s because none of the older ones (Classic, Gypsy, MM550) were suited to long-distance highway driving. This is how my Jeep usually looks in the summer & monsoon seasons...
4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible-1.jpg

...and from October to March (although, since 2 years, it's been open 100% of the year):
4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible-2.jpg

As of now, I am a 50:50 between the soft-top & hard-top for my 2021 Thar. The soft-top looks more badass, is easier to remove (than the hard-top) and effortless to store (you can simply fold it up). On the other hand, Mahindra has done a fabulous job with the new hard-top - it looks great & is well insulated. Sirish Chandran said in his video that it's removable & I don't see why it shouldn't be. I don't have a problem with storage - have lots of it for the hard-top & the doors too. Plus, a good network of contacts to whom I can send the Thar for removal & re-installation. Will see once I drive both.

Last edited by GTO : 2nd September 2020 at 12:23.
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Old 2nd September 2020, 09:09   #3
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Re: 4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible

I have never been a fan of soft top vehicles. I did a TD of Thar in 2017 and within 5 minutes I made up my mind not to go with soft top. It was flapping so hard I was not even able to hear the radio.

I also do not have parking space at my home and have to park on road 24/7. The rains will do no favours for a soft top vehicle.
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Old 2nd September 2020, 09:10   #4
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Re: 4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible

I get that it is too much to expect a hardtop convertible. But is it so hard to mechanise the opening and closing of the soft top? No fiddling with zippers, no cumbersome window sections. Just press a button to open the roof, press it again to close it shut. Just like any proper soft top convertible sold in Europe. Most importantly, it should be well engineered with top quality canvas, no air gaps and no water leakage when closed and no flapping at speeds. Basically, built for English weather conditions.

Strictly within the options at hand, I’ll say hardtop. The soft top and convertible options involve too many compromises and are simply too cumbersome and impractical. The style statement is not worth the loss of utility and safety.

Last edited by Shreyans_Jain : 2nd September 2020 at 09:17.
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Old 2nd September 2020, 09:16   #5
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Re: 4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible

Hard-top. But I would honestly pick a convertible hard-top had that been an option. With the second gen Thar, Mahindra made a much better daily driver, compared to the original. A noisy canvas top that is no good for the air con, will eventually just be pain in the long run. Although it is a different story if the new Thar is used only on the weekends. But with price speculations ranging all the way from 15-20 big ones OTR for the fully loaded trim, I doubt that will be the case for the vast majority of buyers.

A hard-top will also give you a bit more peace of mind if for any reason you forgot your phone or wallet inside that vehicle or if you need to leave something in the car for a short while. That will never be an option with a soft top.

Last edited by Keeleri_Achu : 2nd September 2020 at 09:24.
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Old 2nd September 2020, 09:49   #6
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Re: 4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible

Agree that the hardtop looks good and will be comfortable, but I am inclined to find some way to easily find a way to quickly latch-unlatch the hardtop like the front buckles of convertible. It may be modular combination of 2-5 pieces. That way the front and/or rear can be modular and independently removable. And stow a soft top for unplanned weather when the hardtop is left back.

Maybe some workshop or hardtop manufacturer will surely do it.

Have not voted yet
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Old 2nd September 2020, 09:52   #7
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Re: 4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible

For a vehicle that is as such impractical for everyday, multi-purpose use, a slightly more inconvenience may well be worth the joy of riding an open top. Storing the hard top may not be straightforward, even if it is removable with considerable ease since most of us lack a garage or basement storage. So, soft top or convertible, for me.

Just curious. Shouldn't safety be a major point of comparison as well? Regular use, and especially during off-roading.
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Old 2nd September 2020, 09:57   #8
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Re: 4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible

If there was an option of Convertible Hard Top, then it would have been my choice. My belief is that when Iteration 2 or 3 comes out, Mahindra may find a way to give convertible hard top.

IMHO true offroading scenarios will be around 20% of the overall usage of the vehicle. Hence I have opted for Hard Top considering that it could be a primary usage vehicle as well.
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Old 2nd September 2020, 10:07   #9
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Re: 4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible

I've sat in an open top Gypsy, a soft top one and a hard top one. My observations are based on that. There is no question about the feeling in an open top or convertible 4X4, driving with wind in hair. But when it comes to practicality, I guess a hard top would be better. Thar is an aspirational vehicle for many, but there would be some who would have it as their only vehicle.


Pros :-
Soft top :-
  • Wind in hair feeling.
  • Can enjoy the natural weather.
  • Flexibility of seating.

Hard top :-
  • Protection from natural elements like rain, dust etc.
  • AC would work better.
  • Safety of internals and luggage when parked.


Cons :-
Soft top :-
  • Exposure to natural elements.
  • Chances of getting wet when installing the soft top if there is sudden rain.
  • No safety of internals. Needs a gated parking/garage.
  • AC may not be that effective.
  • Cleaning the interiors once it has got wet. That carpet would smell.

Hard top :-
  • Not so flexible seating.
  • Lack of luggage space.
  • Ingress and egress.

If I have to buy a Thar, it would be a hard top variant. I just hope that there is no water ingress through the hard top joints.

Last edited by BoneCollector : 2nd September 2020 at 10:18.
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Old 2nd September 2020, 10:50   #10
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Re: 4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible

My vote goes for the hardtop. Being an owner of the Gypsy Hardtop, it offers a lot more practicality for someone who drives in the city a majority of the times. I would surely love a soft top and open roof experience in the countryside.

Also, in terms of having even a basic stereo system etc, the hardtop makes more sense to me.
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Old 2nd September 2020, 10:52   #11
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Re: 4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible

I have dreamt of having a convertible car since I was 15. Now that I am 43, staying in Mumbai, I have second thoughts even about buying a bicycle!

The way Mumbai and most of our cities are, noise, heat and pollution have taken away the joy of even keeping the windows down on a pleasant January evening or a cloudy July morning. The constant blaring of horns and myriad sounds punctuated by my own coughing and sneezing due to the pollution makes me roll up the windows every time within 5 minutes of rolling them down. Even listening to music is a big problem with the windows down. I wonder what would happen if I got a convertible top!

Given that most of my driving would be in these conditions, at least in this particular matter, l ll let me head win over the heart and buy a Hard Top. I already let my heart win over my head in deciding to buy a Thar over a normal Sedan / SUV
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Old 2nd September 2020, 11:37   #12
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Re: 4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible

Just curious- people who use an open or convertible jeep, do you get affected by the sand and mud on off-road trails? Doesn't it affect the interior electronics like the AC and stereo? Or even the safety stuff like airbags and seatbelt tensioners?

It may have been okay in cars without many electronic fitments, but can one really wash an interior which has a touch screen audio system (irrespective of what the company says) and airbags?
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Old 2nd September 2020, 11:42   #13
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Re: 4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible

I have always liked hard top convertibles which sadly is not available in the new Thar. With regards to the new Thar my preference would be a hard top mainly because of security and peace of mind. Forget about valuable belongings, the entire vehicle can be stolen.

Preferred models of car thieves:

1. Pajero
2. Scorpio
3. Safari

It does not take a rocket scientist to guess which (upcoming) car may get added to this list.

Additionally, given the weather and air quality in the big cities I don't see the point of a soft top convertible. If I was in Goa, sure I would have got one but not in Delhi NCR.

Last edited by Pancham : 2nd September 2020 at 11:47.
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Old 2nd September 2020, 11:42   #14
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Re: 4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible

I've had the privilege of owning both soft-top & hardtop Jeeps.

I drove a doorless soft-top for 5 years regularly doing 200kms-400kms, once even 700kms both-ways. It is an amazing feeling that can come closest to horseback travelling from the pre-automobile era.

4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible-_7246398xl.jpg

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But what you give up is most of the modern benefits like physical safety, protection from elements (heat/rain/dust), escape from breathing diesel fumes of trucks/buses, isolation from beggars/hawkers and safety for contents of the Jeep.

The hardtop Jeep which I switched into, never gave me the same satisfaction, even though it addressed all the above concerns. It just gave a very low-quality SUVish feeling. I guess the new Thar finally addresses the low quality feeling.

4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible-pc040008.jpg

The doorless soft-top stands a separate category, you just can't compare it. It is absolutely impractical for anything other than fun or farm/estate work. It is not much different than comparing horse-riding to office commute in a city.

So the soft-top with door is neither here nor there. I would stick to hard-top instead soft-top.
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Old 2nd September 2020, 11:53   #15
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Re: 4x4 Offroaders like the Thar & Gurkha : Soft-Top vs Hard-Top vs Convertible

For me, a short wheelbase fun 4x4 == removable soft top! Period! All my vehicles in this segment - Bolero Invader, Classic, and now Gypsy - have been in the soft top avatar. Hence, if I go for the new Thar, it will be the convertible version. For all the cons associated with a soft top - crazy flapping at high speeds, security concerns, etc. - that feeling of open-top driving is simply unparalleled! Voted for the convertible. That said, if this is the only car in the garage - which implies that it will be used as the primary car - then hard top is a no-brainer.

On a related note - as far as I understood from video reviews and specs from Thar's official website, only the convertible top is "removable" per M&M. Both the other options - hard top and soft top - are "fixed". So, if one were to remove these, I have a feeling that putting these back on would not be a simple affair. Alternately, if the soft top is easy to remove and put back on i.e. is a matter of a dozen or so screws, I would prefer that as opposed to the convertible, given the not-so-aesthetic design of the convertible (all those rods and the canvas hanging about).

I am sure the market will soon be flooded with after-market options for hard/soft/half/full tops for the new Thar, and customers will not be restricted by the OE options. What remains to be seen is the impact, if any, on the warranty if one decides to go the after-market route for the top.

Outside of this poll, my preference for tops is a very basic half soft-top, something like shown below. This can be removed in less than a min and put back on, if need be, in less than 2 mins.
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Last edited by cool_dube : 2nd September 2020 at 12:04.
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