|15th October 2020, 12:52||#1|
Mahindra Thar : Official Review
Mahindra Thar Review
Mahindra Thar Pros
• Fun, fun, fun! A loveable car that will bring you loads of laughs & smiles
• Handsome Jeep styling & brute character. Tough build too
• Far more user-friendly than the ol’ Thar due to superior interiors & the amenities
• Very competent, refined turbo-petrol & diesel engine range
• Butter-smooth 6-speed Automatics available with both engines
• 4x4 hardware, offroad capability & 226 mm GC. Get ready for slush, muck, deserts, jungles & the mountains!
• Practical hard-top or fun convertible available in the Thar – take your pick
• Features such as removable doors, ESP, cruise control, hill hold / descent, TPMS…
• 4-star rating in the GNCAP crash test (more information)
Mahindra Thar Cons
• Very bumpy ride quality. The Thar is never settled, no matter what the road or speed
• Poor road manners at high speed. Best to cruise at 100 - 110 km/h only
• Impractical due to the 2-doors, 4 seats (not 5) & difficult access to the back seat
• Laughably small boot simply isn’t enough for holiday luggage
• Petrol AT is thirsty due to its hefty weight, 150 BHP & torque-converter AT
• Premium pricing for the higher variants. Lot of money for the Thar's limited usability
• Sad feature list for a 17-lakh car. No reversing cam, auto-dimming IRVM, auto headlamps & wipers, electrically-folding ORVMs, rear wash & wipe…
• Apprehensions of niggles & Mahindra's hit-or-miss after-sales service quality
The 1st-gen Thar was rather controversial. Those used to old Jeeps & Gypsys appreciated the fact that it was more liveable, but there is no doubt that it was a crude hack-job full of many jugaads. The only real competition it had was the vintage Maruti Gypsy, which didn't offer a diesel engine, power steering or decent ride quality, so the 1st-gen Thar did okay. Mahindra realised the potential of a Jeep like the Thar and has gone all out with this 2nd-gen machine. It is significantly more modern, better equipped, well-finished and even comes with Automatics to expand its appeal!
The Thar is available in 2 trim levels - AX (Adventure Series) and LX (Lifestyle Series) with 4 variants - AX Standard, AX, AX (Opt) and LX. You can choose from three different types of roofs – a fixed soft-top, an innovative convertible soft-top and a hard-top. It is also available in 4 and 6-seater configurations. The Thar is still not at par with similarly priced cars and crossovers in many departments. Who then will be impressed with the Thar? Anyone who compares it to the earlier Thar, or old Jeep & Gypsy owners. Who will be disappointed with the Thar? Anyone who cross-shops it with same-price C2 segment sedans like the City / Verna or crossovers like the Creta / Seltos.
That said, there isn't a doubt that this 2020 Thar is a lot easier to live with than the earlier car. It will greatly expand the Thar's appeal & market. The Jeep is not for everyone though. PLEASE test-drive it for a long duration before cutting a cheque. PLEASE test-drive multiple times, with your family too. You don't want to end up like so many Harley-Davidson owners who are selling their bikes within 1 - 3 years at big depreciation losses.
Mahindra Thar Price & Brochure
As we had predicted, Mahindra has gone for profits & that was expected, if you consider the way such stylish 4x4s are positioned worldwide (e.g. Wrangler in the USA). The top ATs cost 16 - 17 lakhs on the road in many cities, which is a lot of money for a vehicle with limited usability due to the 2-doors, difficult ingress to the rear seat, poor high speed manners etc. Still, while we won't say that the Thar is value-for-money, it's certainly not overpriced either. IMHO, Mahindra has given it a premium of 1 - 1.5 lakhs over what it should have been. The Thar's official brochure can be viewed here - 2020 Mahindra Thar Brochure.pdf.
Design & Styling
Full marks here - the Thar is an absolute head-turner that screams style. It retains the classic, heritage styling of Jeeps of the past and is, in fact, a xerox copy of the Jeep Wrangler! Despite its sub-4 meter length, the Thar oozes character and grabs the attention of other road users easily. Cab drivers, bike riders, pedestrians, old, young – it does not matter, this is one car that makes everybody smile. Other cars don't mess with you at junctions, and give way when they see the Thar approaching in their mirrors. Interesting colours (e.g. red), a well-designed hard-top, 18" rims and goodies such as LED DRLs / tail-lamps make it even more attractive. The sole complaint we have is with the design of that radiator grille. Thankfully, it can be swapped for a 7-slot Jeep-style unit in the after-market easily. We appreciate how chrome is minimal on the Thar.
Build Quality, Fit & Finish
The Thar has a sturdy body-on-frame construction and is built on Mahindra's Gen3 platform that also underpins the Scorpio. Its build quality is tough & can withstand offroading abuse. When you're driving it in the city, you sure feel like you're driving a “tank”! The bonnet, doors & tail-gate have a good deal of weight to them, and there’s not much flex in the body panels. The doors shut with a good, solid sound (especially when compared to the 1st-gen Thar), but need to be pushed firmly to close. While the paint quality is acceptable, panel gaps & the likes cannot be compared to same-price cars like the Creta. Still, overall fit & finish are very acceptable and lightyears ahead of the outgoing Thar. Mahindra hasn't shared the kerb weight; companies usually don't do that when the vehicle is excessively heavy!
Wheels & Tyres
The LX variant gets smart 18” gun-metal alloy wheels with 255/65 Ceat tyres which look big & fat! On the other hand, the AX Standard, AX and AX (Opt) variants come with 16” rims and 245/75 section rubber. Some offroaders prefer their rides to have smaller wheels and taller tyres like this Thar. This kind of a swap will also improve the ride quality due to the 30 mm taller sidewall height.
The Thar LX has an unladen ground clearance rating of 226 mm, while the AX gets 219 mm GC. Forget on-road bumps & speed-breakers, the Thar will climb mountains. And I mean that literally.
Standard & Extended Warranty
The Thar comes with a standard warranty of 3 years / 1 lakh km. Extended warranty is available upto the 5th year. We strongly recommend this warranty extension as brand-new Mahindra cars are known to suffer niggles & issues. We faced 2 in our test cars, while this post points to many more.
The 1st service is at 1,000 km (basically a checkup). Post that, the service interval is 10,000 km.
The Thar is equipped with safety features such as 3-point seatbelts even for rear occupants, a very solid roll cage, airbags (but just 2), ESP with rollover mitigation (pat on the back to Mahindra ), ABS, hill-hold, hill descent control, ISOFIX child seat mounts, TPMS (very useful on-road & offroad) and rear parking sensors. Sadly, because the rearward visibility is pathetic, a reversing camera is sorely missed (available as an official accessory though). The AX variants further gets 'snow chain provision' for tyres! While there is no NCAP rating for now, Mahindra claims that the Thar meets global crash test safety norms. We'll believe it when we see its GNCAP rating.
Cabin Design & Quality
You will be pleasantly surprised once you "climb" into this Jeep. We like the cabin’s design; it’s far more modern and SUV-like compared to the old Thar's rural-taxi nature. Nothing flashy or curvy in here, but the interior is very functional & likeable. The all-black theme does make things a little "dark", as does the limited greenhouse, but the black interior will conceal any signs of soiling way better than a lighter theme (offroaders will love this). There are some stylish elements too, like the aircraft style switches & indicators on the center fascia. There are hard plastics used everywhere, yet part quality is acceptable & the cabin does feel very durable. There are a few rough edges, but they are not too prominent or visible (unlike the old Thar which was a disaster…this new one is lightyears ahead). In the hardtop, you will find many exposed bolts which are used to attach the top to the body. Some folk will dislike this, but GTO thought it added character.
Space & Comfort
The Thar's floor is a long way off the ground and one needs to properly climb into the cabin. It's not senior-citizen friendly. There is enough space in the front. Cabin width is healthy and headroom is abundant. The driver’s seat is good overall & slides back sufficiently even for 6+ footers to feel comfortable. We used the lumbar adjustment and found back support to be perfect, as is the lateral support. While short to average-height drivers will be fine with the under-thigh support, taller occupants (even me @ 5’10”) will find it to be less. I felt that the seatbase doesn’t extend out long enough to support my thigh. The passenger seat too gets lumbar adjustment - your spouse will be pleased. The fabric upholstery is of average quality & the seats are firm enough to be supportive over longer drives. I wish Mahindra had given armrests bolted onto the front seats, like in the Scorpio. Would be super useful in the ATs. On the right side, the top of the doorpad is thick enough to be an armrest. You can easily rest your right arm there while driving.
The 2-door Problem
The fact that the Thar has 2-doors and ingress to the rear seat is impossible for the elderly makes it an impractical choice. Rear seat comfort is compromised (bumpy ride quality too) & the boot is tiny. This 2-door Thar will appeal to a small market, after the initial euphoria dies down. While enthusiasts will love the 2-door style, the regular Anand won't. In hardly any Indian home will the Thar be the primary car; in most cases, it will be the 2nd or 3rd ride of the house. We have a confirmation that the 4-door Thar is coming, but it might be a long wait.
Driving Position & Ergonomics
Ergonomically, we found the Thar to be user-friendly. The steering has thumb contours and is good to hold. The hornpad is a stretch for your thumbs, but it isn't hard to press. The horn itself is a nice, dual-tone unit. On the flip side, it is way too loud on the inside!! The steering wheel is adjustable for height, but it doesn't get reach adjustment. The instrument cluster is clear and easy to read - we'd still like it a size bigger. Coming to frontal visibility, you sit tall and have a lovely, commanding view of the road ahead (you can even see the bonnet). Short drivers will feel that the dash is on the higher side. Rearward visibility is absolutely pathetic. Even the side-rear view (area above the rear wheels) has major blind spots. The useless IRVM is too small, although the ORVMs are okay. They are tall & very Jeep-like (again a Wrangler copy). Another complaint we have is that the driver footwell is narrow, a dead pedal is missing and there is a prominent protrusion from the center fascia. This plastic bit protrudes into the footwell and will rub against your left shin area / knee. Not much of an issue in the AT as you can adjust the resting spot of your left leg, but it might be bothersome in the MT. Because the footwell is too narrow, in the MT, you'll have no proper place to rest your left foot on long journeys.
The Thar does alright in terms of cabin storage. There is a spot to park your smartphone at the base of the center fascia & practical cupholders on the center console for holding your coffee mug (a must for highway runs IMHO). The door pockets can hold a 1L bottle and other small items. On the flipside, the lockable glovebox is laughably small. It doesn't have a cooling vent or illumination either. Coming to the rear, both front seats have seatback pockets and there is a foldable bag hook on the left seatback. Additionally, there is some space underneath the rear seats where one can keep slim items, such as a laptop bag.
The Thar gets an old-school HVAC unit (no climate control). The air-conditioner will chill you to the bone! The air-con’s power is more than enough for this limited-length cabin. Blower level 1 itself is powerful (more powerful than it ought to be IMHO). We didn’t find the need to engage blower level 2 at all, not even when it was hot & sunny outside. Besides, at level 2 and above, the blower gets noisy. No rear air vents for the two on the backseat.
Unique & Noteworthy Features
The new Thar comes with most of the necessary features (including a touchscreen head-unit with Android Auto), but nothing over the top like wireless charging. Some features that stand out are the convertible soft-top (truly unique), washable floor with drain plugs, removable front doors, cruise control, drizzle-proof ICE & some controls, altimeter, compass, roll & pitch meter and Blue Sense App. You can also receive notifications about Mahindra Adventure events!
Audio System & Sound Quality
The LX variant gets a 7" touchscreen head-unit with 6 speakers, navigation, voice commands, Bluetooth and Android Auto / Apple CarPlay. The size of the touchscreen is adequate and the interface is user-friendly. Visibility is good even under direct sunlight. Two speakers and tweeters are mounted on the roof, while two more are on the lower corners of the dashboard. Sound quality gets a 6 / 10 rating. SQ is quite basic, yet I have to say, it is remarkable what Mahindra has achieved with the unconventional speaker placements above the driver (under the roll bar). It sure takes some getting used to, receiving sound from above your head, and the driver’s left ear is filled with a lot more sound than the right ear. A complaint we have is that the audio system always starts on zero volume + the radio. When you restart the car, you have to crank the volume up and switch back to your preferred input (Bluetooth in my case). This bug needs to be fixed. An Aux-in, 2 USB posts and a 12V power outlet have been provided. The system also displays adventure statistics, power and torque meters etc.
Rear Seat Comfort & Space
As mentioned earlier, ingress & egress into the rear are only for the fit & healthy. It is impossible for senior citizens. Besides, you have to climb in and keep your back bent to prevent your head from hitting the roof. The seat is well-sized for 2 (not 3, mind you) and there is enough head + knee room. It has a comfortable backrest angle that's adjustable & the headrests are adjustable too. Rear passengers will sit close to each other, while taller ones might find the under-thigh support to be less. There is enough space under the front seats to slide your feet into, but the rear seats aren't located exactly behind the front ones. This means one of your feet can be slid under the front seat, and the other one will be toward the center, making things awkward. There are no rear windows in the hard-top, just fixed glasses on the sides. On the convertible though, the side windows can be easily removed, in case you want to enjoy the fresh air.
Note that the AX variant gets side-facing bench seats.
If you laughed at the tiny glovebox, you'll be laughing harder after seeing the boot. Luggage space is sad, comparable to a small hatchback. For driving holidays, the Thar is best for 2 – 3 onboard and their luggage. You can forget about going for a road-trip if you have 4 occupants because their bags simply won’t fit! You’ll either have to do some jugaad by squeezing smaller bags on the sides of the rear seat (on the wheel arches) or hope for someone to design a carrier / temporary storage net hanging out from the back (like the old hunting Jeeps). Yes, the rear seat’s backrests split in a 50:50 ratio and fold down for when you need to haul larger cargo. We're left scratching our heads as to why Mahindra couldn't make the Thar just a wee bit longer to give it a useable boot.
Last edited by GTO : 26th November 2020 at 06:10. Reason: Updating with GNCAP stars
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|15th October 2020, 12:52||#2|
Driving the Thar 2.0L Turbo-Petrol AT
Turbo-petrol produces 150 BHP @ 5,000 rpm and 300 Nm @ 1,250 - 3000 rpm (320 Nm @ 1,500 - 3,000 rpm for the AT):
Smooth, sprightly & refined are the 3 terms I’d use to describe the Petrol AT. Sprightly, but not F-A-S-T like a Creta turbo-petrol, mind you. Mahindra’s mStallion is a likeable motor. Petrol lovers, Delhi-NCR BHPians & those who don't care about FE will appreciate this offering. The engine is smooth & quite city-friendly. Throttle response is acceptable, driveability good and turbo-lag if any, is masked well by the automatic transmission. In bumper-to-bumper traffic, the 2.0 petrol crawls forward (without accelerator input) at 9 km/h which is slightly more than I would have liked though. Power delivery is overall nice & linear. Your passengers will be comfortable as there is no jerkiness or sudden “turbo whoosh”. Because of the turbo-charger, even the midrange power delivery is satisfactory (with n/a petrols, midrange is usually a hit or miss).
With this butch body styling, tall seating and tough body-on-frame build, you feel like you are driving an indestructible tank; other cars give you way at junctions. The Thar AT is easy & stress-free to pilot in the city. The w-i-d-e turning radius is a bummer though, and u-turns on tighter roads will entail 3-pointers. Because of its sub-4 m length, you can squeeze it into tight parking spots. But a reversing camera is especially missed because the rearward view is so poor.
On the open road, the turbo-petrol’s 150 BHP is more than enough for a Jeep like the Thar. It is sufficiently quick on the expressway. Anything over this power rating would be outright irresponsible & dangerous for the Thar’s dynamics (or lack of). The turbo-petrol revs nicely to the redline, although it isn’t a high-rpm petrol at all. Even in kickdown mode, the Petrol AT shifts up at ~4,600 - 4,800 rpm which is rather diesel-like. In manual mode, you can take it to a max of 5,500 revs only (again, diesel-like). The mid-range is strong and there is enough power on tap to pass slower traffic. In terms of cruisability, the Thar will do 100 & 120 km/h in top gear at a relaxed ~1,650 rpm & 2,000 rpm respectively.
The 6-speed Aisin torque-converter AT is butter-smooth in its operation, and only the slight change in engine pitch tells you when an upshift happens. When it comes to shifting speed, the transmission is not the fastest we’ve experienced, but it’s not too slow either. The response time is acceptable and we don’t see owners complaining. However, we did notice the AT gearbox getting confused in some situations – like when driving hard with varying throttle input – but these incidents were few & far between. The Aisin gearbox does a satisfactory job for the most part. Within the city, you’ll observe the Petrol AT being more downshift-friendly than you’d expect. When slowing down, we noticed it frequently downshifting to bring the revs to ~2,000 rpm, where other ATs would usually freewheel to maximise fuel economy. We think Mahindra has done this to prevent the rpm needle from dropping too low and to improve driveability / engine responsiveness. We personally prefer this as it leads to superior throttle response, although the FE-loving customer won’t. The AT does have manual mode - no use on-road, yet will be very functional offroad.
Driving the Thar 2.2L Turbo-Diesel AT
2.2L, 4-cylinder mHawk turbo-diesel makes 130 BHP @ 3,750 rpm and 300 Nm @ 1,600 – 2,800 rpm:
The diesel is very smooth & peppy. In fact, after spending time with it, we were hard-pressed to think why anyone would buy the petrol over this (main market = Delhi-NCR & its 10-year limit on diesel cars). Not like the Thar Petrol is substantially cheaper to buy either. The diesel will give you higher FE than the petrol, a longer tank range (important for highways & offroading) and durability (going by Mahindra's long expertise with diesels). Crank the engine and there is a slight shake of the body. On idle, minor vibrations are felt on the pedals. The mHawk though is refined and quiet - you will be pleasantly surprised at what Mahindra has achieved. Shift to D and the Thar moves forward almost instantly. It crawls at 9 km/h which is slightly more than I would have liked. Throttle response is good & overall driveability is superb. Here too, power delivery is linear in nature.
On the open road, the turbo-diesel’s power & torque-pull are adequate. You'll be a happy cruiser on the expressway. Its mid-range has sufficient punch for your overtaking moves & passing traffic is easy, thanks also to the terrific visibility & vehicle presence. Even by diesel standards, the mHawk isn’t a high-revving motor. Bury the accelerator all the way in & the diesel AT shifts up at just ~4,000 rpm. Only in manual mode can you take the engine to ~4,800 rpm - these extra revs will be useful while offroading. Another compliment on smoothness = the diesel doesn’t sound harsh even at 4,000 rpm!!! When it comes to cruisability, the Thar will calmly do 100 & 120 km/h at ~1,700 rpm & 2,000 rpm respectively.
We love how well Mahindra mates the outsourced ATs to its engines. The 6-speed Diesel AT has very smooth gearshifts. Its response time is acceptable - like the petrol - but not super fast. Surprisingly though, under varying + aggressive levels of throttle input, we noticed the diesel AT getting confused more frequently than the petrol. It was not too often, but definitely more noticeable. To put things in perspective, on a 150 km drive, the Petrol AT probably got confused thrice...the diesel chose the wrong gear five times. We like how, when slowing down, the gearbox readily shifts down and doesn’t freewheel excessively like some other FE-obsessed automatics. It leads to superior throttle response, engine braking & control. Because the AT's logic is good, we wouldn't bother with manual mode on tarmac, although we'd heavily use it while offroading.
Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH)
Big step ahead of the old Thar. Both the engines offer good levels of refinement. Even at high revs, they are refined like you don't expect a Mahindra UV to be. Exterior sounds are controlled well in the hard-top, but not in the soft-top / convertible where outside noise is excessive. And yes, we mention again that the horn is too loud inside the cabin. In the hard-top, wind & road noise get excessive at 110 km/h; in the soft-tops, they do at 90 km/h itself & the canopy too starts flapping. These excessive noises can get tiring on long journeys.
Mileage & Fuel Economy
The Petrol AT is a guzzler in the city! Factors like the weight + power + torque converter AT make us believe you should expect 6 – 8 km/l tops in the city (lower if you drive hard). Consumption on the highway remains high (9 – 11 km/l) if you constantly drive at 110 – 120 km/h. Be sure to get a full tank of petrol before you venture off the road in 4x4 mode. IMHO, the Petrol should have gotten an "ECO" mode for when owners just want to cruise with a light foot. Mahindra shared the ARAI rating of just the Diesel MT (15.2 kmpl), but not for any other variant (just like they refuse to share the kerb weight). What's to hide, Mahindra?
The diesel offers more acceptable fuel economy, as most Mahindra diesel UVs do. In any kind of situation - be it the city, highway or offroading - the diesel will deliver FE that's 2.5 - 5 km/l higher than the petrol.
The Thar comes with an independent double wishbone suspension at the front and a multilink suspension with coil-over dampers and stabiliser bar at the rear. This is a body-on-frame offroader with a short wheelbase. You know what's coming, right? Ride quality is sad, whether in the city or on the highway. It is liveable though. If you have driven Jeeps, Gypsys, Scorpios or even the 1st-gen Fortuner before, you should be okay. For those used to contemporary hatchbacks, sedans & crossovers, this bumpy ride will be the biggest deal breaker. You feel each & everything on the road – literally! Even on a clean expressway, the Thar is continuously pitching and moving up & down. Big bumps come in strong. And if you drive slowly on broken roads, you can expect a lot of side-to-side swaying. The single time that the Thar is settled & flat is when it’s standing in one place .
It’s not just the suspension, but you feel the unevenness of the road through the steering also. The steering is constantly moving & shaking on bad roads. This excessive feedback will turn off many.
It must be noted that the LX variant we tested was equipped with 255/65 R18 tyres. Lower variants with their 245/75 R16 section rubber should be a little softer.
Handling & Dynamics
The Thar is awesome to drive in the city. It's so easy & effortless that the fairer sex will take to it as well. On the highway though, the Thar's behaviour is poor. For the sake of your safety – and that of your passengers – this is not a vehicle that you drive hard at speed. The Thar is a tall offroader, NOT a corner-carving machine. While I found the grip levels from the fat 255 mm tyres to be satisfactory, you must take corners cautiously. The height & weight are felt. Just to put things in perspective, a fast sweeping expressway curve that I would take in the Duster AWD at 120 km/h, I’ll take in the Thar at 80 km/h as an expert driver (70 km/h for a layman driver).
At 120 km/h, the driver & Thar are both “too busy”. Also, any sudden road dips taken at 120 km/h badly affect the Thar’s composure. Remember, you are driving a vehicle that is an offroader, as much as an on-roader. Don’t push the limits or go near them. After testing its behaviour at various speeds, I’ll recommend a maximum cruising speed of 110 - 120 km/h on expressways and 90 – 100 km/h on old school 2-lane highways. The shorter wheelbase is responsible for the poor high speed manners too. Stick to the middle lane of the expressway, cruise at 100 km/h and enjoy the view. You'll be comfortable & safe this way. Don’t get us wrong, the Thar can do speeds higher than this. However, it won’t be able to handle an emergency manoeuvre or big road dip above 120 km/h. Happy to see ESP being provided for additional assistance if & when required : thumbs up.
This is not a vehicle we would do a Mumbai - Goa run in; the steering is constantly giving feedback, the suspension is busy, there is a lot of wind noise etc. The Thar can get tiring on those super long journeys. We’d be alright with a 5 hour Mumbai – Mahabaleshwar drive, but that's our upper limit.
The Thar's hydraulic power steering is user-friendly. While not one-finger light like some EPS units, we have no complaints. It is nice in the city with a decent amount of weight to it. On the highway, at times, its reaction time can be slow, but we actually prefer it this way in a Jeep that is a poor handler (sharp steerings are best suited to low slung, tight handling cars). At high speeds, the steering does get vague. But again, we’d rather have vague than sensitive in a tall 4x4.
All variants of the Thar come with 303 mm disc brakes at the front and 282 mm drums at the rear. ABS + EBD and Brake Assist are standard. The stopping power is adequate, even for those highway runs. That said, the brake pedal sure feels spongy and like most body-on-frame UVs, the Thar nosedives under braking.
4x4 & Offroading
This shall be covered in a separate, dedicated thread. We are going to spend a full day offroading with the Thar, understanding it & analysing the offroad capability. From what we hear, it's damn capable in stock form itself. Offroading goodies include a rear locking diff, brake-locking diff & water-wading rating of 650 mm.
Niggles & Problems
We faced 2. In one instance, GTO unlocked the car, started it and the anti-theft alarm went off! Another time, it went off after switching the motor off. Then, in the petrol AT, the smartphone was continuously disconnecting from the system while running Android Auto (the cable & phone are both okay). Another reviewer & BHPian saw warnings light up like a Christmas tree. Lastly, a dealer Thar ended up with a starter issue.
Indeed, the Thar is an extremely special vehicle that many of us have fallen in love with. At the same time though, you need to understand that several compromises have to be made because of the 2-doors, 4 seats (not 5), bumpy ride, poor highway manners and tiny boot. We suggest you think long & hard, read this review again & again, take many l-o-n-g test-drives and wait for BHPian ownership posts before UPI'ing a deposit to the Mahindra dealer. The Thar will bring a whole lot of smiles to your life; it will also bring many frowns.
If you absolutely don't need a car right now, we'd further recommend waiting for the 2021-22 Thar. Almost every fresh Mahindra / Tata launch comes with a list of bugs. GTO has also decided to buy the Thar, and is waiting for v2. Generally, with Mahinda & Tata, you have to give them time to sort out teething issues with brand-new cars. The more you wait, the better the product gets.
Last edited by GTO : 15th October 2020 at 13:39.
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|15th October 2020, 12:52||#3|
Mahindra Thar Exterior Images
If looks could kill...! The Thar wears traditional Jeep styling and oozes character. It has incredible road presence:
Full size spare worn proudly on the robust tail-gate. Exhaust end can is too visible on this Petrol AT & looks ugly. We recommend painting it matt-black:
Sure seems like Mahindra put a Jeep Wrangler through a xerox copy machine! Hard-top looks fantastic. Overhangs are short; Thar has an approach angle of 41.8 degrees, departure angle of 36.8 degrees, and ramp over angle of 27 degrees. Wait for our offroading report
Thick black plastic cladding on the sides enhances the rugged stance. Front fenders are narrower than the old Thar's over the tyres, but this plastic cladding makes them appear wide. Flat & upright windscreen is "classic Jeep":
Yes, the hard-top can be removed at a Mahindra workshop, but it will be a day-long affair to remove / refit. You'll also have to arrange for a tempo to carry it to your place, and then have a storage area big enough to store the top:
Clear lens halogen headlamps are set deep inside the radiator grille panel. Turn-indicators and LED DRLs are placed on the front fenders:
The radiator grille is the only part of the Thar's design we dislike, but thankfully, Jeep-style replacement grilles are already available in the aftermarket. Notice the stylish "THAR" lettering on the bumper, directly below the grille:
While fit & finish are acceptable, this is no Creta or Seltos. Notice the uneven gap between the fender & bumper on the left side. Also compare it to the right! Dual-tone bumper adds character:
Sturdy skid plate provided at the front. Unlike the crossovers with their fake plastic skid plates, this one actually has a purpose! Towing point is located on the right. No solid axle front, yet we feel that an independent suspension is the right choice for the Thar:
There is no underbody protection behind the skid plate, which is disappointing for an offroader. Still, the critical components appear to be out of harm's way:
Bonnet sits slightly lower compared to the old Thar. It also has a wider central dome. You can see it while driving (some people like that):
Exposed bonnet hinges scream style! Wiper spindles are placed in shallow depressions:
The 2020 Thar gets bonnet latches, just like old Jeeps:
Front windshield gets interesting detailing with a Jeep, camels, a cactus plant and sand dunes. Perhaps Mahindra is depicting the Great Indian Desert, which shares its name with the Thar. Don't miss the awful finishing below the windscreen - there is lots of this if you go looking for it:
Short radio antenna, again, screams style! We like how Mahindra has restricted the use of chrome to just the badging. Minimal chrome on the car apart from these:
Black ORVMs have "THAR" embossed on them, as do innumerable other parts. They are electrically adjustable, but have to be folded in manually. The Thar is w-i-d-e-r than you'd expect & you will realise this in narrow lanes:
Black flap-based door handles look horribly outdated, as does the keyhole on the metal panel:
The doors are removable and have external hinges, which look fantastic. LX variant gets these moulded side foot steps (you'll need them to climb in), while the AX gets tubular steel units:
Fuel lid can only be opened with the key. Thereís no release lever inside the cabin. Reason? Security from vandals in the soft-top / open Thars:
LX variant gets great-looking 18" gunmetal alloy wheels with 255/65 Ceat all-terrain tyres. Check out the white lettering - we love it! AX variants come with 16Ē rims and 245/75 section rubber:
Thereís a good deal of cladding in the front and rear wheel wells:
Factory fitted hard top is offered on the AX (Opt) diesel and LX variants only. Hard-top gives you superior security, practicality & weather insulation, but is nowhere as much fun as the convertible!
Rain gutters on the sides:
Rear windshield is stylishly hinged at the top. It has a defogger, but no wash / wipe (good luck in the rains & while offroading) and the HMSL is placed on the inside:
Smart tail-lamp clusters have LED pilot cum stop lamps with - you guessed it - more THAR branding:
Tail-lamps aren't wraparound units like you see in modern cars, but sport an oldschool design with a black plastic casing:
Notice how the creases of the tailgate are not perfectly in line with those on the side panels. Now that I told you, you won't be able to "unsee" it. Two parking sensors at the rear, but no reversing camera:
The 57L fuel tank is well-sized:
20L DEF / AdBlue tank is located just behind the number plate. Notice the protection provided under it:
Thereís no denying that the convertible soft-top looks more badass compared to the hard top, but sound insulation from outside sounds is terrible. While wind noise is better controlled than soft-top jeeps, it is still excessive, even at 90 km/h. This will give you a headache after a 250 km drive:
You can open up the top in just 5 - 7 minutes & put it back in the same time! This is truly a unique offering that people will love. Conventional soft-tops are a pain to put on / take off. However, itís a disappointment that the windscreen canít be flipped down like in classic Jeeps:
This lump of canopy at the back looks ugly. Parking is also impossible due to the in-existent rear view. Get that parking camera!
Here's a short video showing how to open the roof...
...and how to put it back on (voiceover by friendly mod Vid6639):
On the day that Mahindra unveiled the new Thar, the 1st-gen Thar aged by a further 10 years. It feels like a vintage car now. GTO was a big fan of the 1st-gen Thar, but he won't even go near one now:
Last edited by GTO : 15th October 2020 at 12:54.
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|15th October 2020, 12:52||#4|
Mahindra Thar Interior Images
Nothing flashy or curvy in here, yet the cabin is smart & "Jeep like". All-black theme will be loved by offroaders for its ease of maintenance. Part quality is very acceptable:
Commanding driving position gives you an excellent view of the road ahead & makes you feel like a boss! This is one of the rare cars in which you can see the bonnet while driving - many people will appreciate this:
Major blind spots between the B & C Pillar areas. Also, the black colour does lead to a "dark" ambience which might put some people off:
Steering is soft and has thumb contours. It is perfectly sized and good to hold. Hornpad is a stretch for your thumbs if you have average-sized hands:
Controls for the ICE and telephony are placed on the left spoke (with a separate button provided for the very useful mute function). Buttons for operating the cruise control and voice commands are on the right spoke:
Steering can be adjusted for height only, not reach - even in the top spec! This is a major omission as a reach-adjustable steering greatly contributes to the 'perfect' driving position:
Standard illuminated keyhole. So many cheaper cars get an engine start button + smartkey! I missed it, but GTO prefers this conventional arrangement in Jeeps:
Black flippy key with a dash of chrome. Long-pressing the center button sounds the SOS alarm & can also be used for locating your car in a crowded parking lot:
Tachometer on the left and speedometer on the right (the arrangement we prefer) with a coloured MID in the middle. Both dials get red outlines with white needles. Instrument cluster is easy to read, despite being a size smaller than we'd like. While the petrol's redline begins at 5,500 rpm, the diesel's starts at 5,000 rpm which is quite silly because it doesn't even touch 5k revs:
Two trip meters with average speed and driving time. Happy that Mahindra has retained the temp gauge (many modern cars are dropping it); will be a useful tool when offroading in hot summers or dune-bashing in Rajasthan:
Other information displayed includes average and instant fuel efficiency, distance to empty (you'll need it in the guzzling petrol) and a digital speedometer. With 4WD engaged, the MID will show you the wheels the power is being transmitted to:
Upon switching the car on - if the front wheels are in a turned position - the system warns you accordingly. There are also displays for other stuff, like hill descent control:
Seatbelt reminder for both front seat occupants . Service reminder too:
If you haven't engaged 4x4 in a while, the MID reminds you of the fun you've been missing!
Stalks feel durable, but not premium. Foglamp controls are on the light stalk itself. While a lane change indicator has been provided, auto headlights and auto wipers will be missed by owners of the 16-17 lakh rupee top variants. Rear wash / wipe is also a sad omission - good luck on highway drives in the monsoon & while offroading in dirt. It's not easy, but there are cars with an openable rear glass that have wipers:
Round air-con vents have glossy black borders. The vents get flow direction controllers and the airflow volume can be controlled by rotating the central knobs of the vents:
Buttons for operating the traction control (off), hill descent and MID, along with the headlight leveler are to the driver's right. These switches are hidden from the driver’s view by the steering wheel and the MID buttons should have been more conveniently placed. Weird to have MID controls here:
Front speakers are housed in the lower part of the dashboard. The doors are removable, hence a departure from the usual placement:
Bonnet release and OBD port (with a black cover) are below the dashboard. The piece of exposed metal on the top looks horrible!! Seems like the fit & finish department forgot to look here:
Like the dashboard, the doorpads get an all-black colour theme which is perfect for offroading. The doorpads are well-finished, with no sharp edges anywhere:
Stylish silver insert with Thar branding looks fab! Black door handles are okay, but at this price, we would expect something more premium. Importantly, do note that the top surface of the doorpad is wide enough to serve as an armrest while driving (for your right hand):
LX variant gets electrically-adjustable (though not foldable) ORVMs. Adjustment knob feels sturdy and durable. The Thar is a wide car & offroaders will miss the ability to quickly fold in the mirrors when driving through tight spots (e.g. gap between trees):
Door pockets can hold a 1L bottle and some knick-knacks:
Doors have a free-hinging open & closing action. This strap prevents the door from swinging out too far. They shut with a nice, solid feeling:
Front doors open wide enough, but the Thar’s floor is high off the ground, which means you have to "climb" into the cabin. No grab handle here is a shocking miss & makes ingress even more difficult for the unfit:
Foot step is ribbed for grip:
Seats are upholstered in fabric and fake leather. Driver’s seat offers good support with bolstering on the sides, and has height + lumbar support adjustments. Taller drivers though will find the under-thigh support to be less. We wish a Scorpio-like armrest was bolted onto the seat. It would be very useful, particularly in the AT variants:
Levers look and feel robust. Height adjustment for the driver's seat is available on all variants, except the base:
Lumbar support can be adjusted via this rotary knob. Both front seats of the LX variant get it. Your spouse & those with a weak lower back will appreciate this. Passenger seats seldom get the feature:
Good news is, even driver’s over 6’ in height will be comfortable in the Thar. An important consideration as not all offroaders can accommodate 6+ footers:
Zooming in on the design pattern of the fabric upholstery:
More "Thar". Mahindra is clearly vainglorious about this brand:
Very thick B-Pillar means tall drivers will find the side-view to be somewhat restricted. Seatbelts aren't height-adjustable, but their positioning will suit most drivers:
Front seatbelts get pretensioners. Like the Marazzo, they are exposed in the Thar:
Footwell is very narrow and it's quite sad that there’s no dead pedal. Not as much of a problem in the AT as it is in the MT where there is no space to rest your left foot! Besides, there is a protrusion from the side of the center fascia which many drivers (particularly larger ones) will find interfering with their shin / leg area - check it out on the top left of this image. The floor area is washable & Mahindra has provided drain plugs to get the water out:
ORVMs are tall & very Jeep-like. While I found them to be alright, GTO would have liked them to be a little wider:
IRVM is too small and should have been two sizes bigger. The view through it is poor due to the small size & the spare tyre + rear headrests obstructing it. Watch out for people behind you; a reversing camera add-on is mandatory. Worse still, in this 17-lakh car, the IRVM doesn't get auto-dimming! You have to manually select night mode:
Rearward visibility is terrible. There was a Dzire parked right behind us at one time & it might as well have been invisible. Quite irresponsible of Mahindra to not give a parking camera as standard:
Smart center fascia. There is a glossy black border surrounding the gear console and carbon fibre finish between the air-con vents:
Leather-wrapped AT gear-shifter with manual mode; push the lever up to upshift and down to downshift (just the way we like it). "Fun mode" 4x4 lever on the left:
7.0" drizzle-resistant touchscreen head-unit comes with Android Auto & Apple CarPlay. Physical buttons below include quick access to "car info", a screen-off button and star (shortcut to anything of your choice):
2 speakers + 2 tweeters are located on the roof. Audio quality gets a 6 / 10 rating from us and it sure is weird receiving sound from the top-left of your head, but its still remarkable what Mahindra has achieved, given the limitations they had. Don't miss the single cabin light:
TPMS displays the exact PSI & temperature of each tyre. System monitors spare tyre too:
The Adventure Statistics function has “On Road”, “Offroad” and “Custom” options. The On-Road option shows you power and torque meters, a compass and G-meter:
"Offroad" displays which wheels the power is going to, roll and pitch meters, a temperature gauge, gear indicator and the direction in which the wheels are turned:
All variants get a very powerful air-con, but this is one of the rare cars costing over Rs. 10 lakhs to not get a climate control system. Blower level 1 itself will be strong enough for most owners. We love the stylish button & light arrangement below it. Am sure Thar owners will find a way to utilize the 3 dummy slots on the right:
Backlit USB ports, Aux-in port and 12V charging are located at the base of the center fascia. USB 2 can be used for Android Auto and the rubberized parking spot for your smartphone is conveniently placed right below:
Bird's eye view of the center console. A pair of useful cupholders, power window buttons and coin holders have been provided:
Passenger side of the dashboard gets a sturdy grab handle:
Stylish touch! Metal plate riveted on the dashboard says the Thar is made in India with pride:
Glovebox is laughably small. It is lockable - that's a must in open Jeeps - but not illuminated. The finishing of the plastic is not smooth:
Sunvisors are economy-grade in design & feel. Driver-side unit merely gets a flap to hold tickets & slips, while your better half has a vanity mirror (no cover or light though):
Dual airbags are standard on all variants of the Thar. We feel the top variant should have been given 6 airbags and yes, it is possible with open offroaders. The Wrangler offers seat-mounted airbags, while the new Ford Bronco has curtain airbags too. IMHO, 2 airbags are less when you are shelling out 17 big ones!
Here's a peek under the dashboard in the passenger's footwell. Certainly not as tidy or organised as same-price Japanese / Korean cars:
Fixed grab handle above the passenger's door. This, and the one on the dash, will be super useful for your spouse in "offroad" mode:
Plate bearing the vehicle chassis and engine numbers is riveted on a beam, under the driver's seat:
Oh boy, getting into the rear is only for the fit & young. Getting out is even trickier due to the car's height!
Gap between the front seat and B-pillar isn't wide at all. You can forget about your parents ever sitting behind:
Rear bench has a common seatbase with a reclineable backrest split in a 50:50 ratio. Two adjustable headrests, 3-point seatbelts and ISOFIX child seat anchors have been provided. Seat is good for 2 - not 3 - making the Thar a 4-seater at best:
Front seats get scooped out seatbacks, which help in freeing up some more legroom. Useful seatback pockets have been provided on both sides:
The rear seats aren't placed exactly behind the front ones. Rear footwells are tiny partly due to this and partly due to the wheel wells intruding into the cabin. As a result, your feet rest a bit awkwardly. The floor hump is not very high:
With the front seat in my 5'10" driving position, I have 4" of knee room to spare. With the front seat pushed all the way back, I still have some space left. Legroom is satisfactory:
You can slide your feet under the front seats. However, both your feet will end up too close to each other:
View out of the fixed rear glasses is fair, but since the seat is placed low, shorter ones will find the view restricted. Seatbelt is mounted on the rollover bar & there is a grab handle too!
Carpeting material has been used to cover up the rear wheel wells which protrude into the cabin. Good luck cleaning it if it gets wet during an open roof or off-roading session. As you can see, the carpet is also fitted in a rather crude manner:
Left seatback has a foldable bag hook with a load capacity of 3 kg. We find these extremely useful!
Space underneath the rear seats where one can keep slim items, such as a laptop sleeve:
A look at the roof section. Factory hard-top will get the Thar many fans:
HMSL wiring is exposed and looks bad. It should have been properly concealed:
Ugly bits like this demister connector stick out like a sore thumb. There's one on the other side as well. Plastic caps should have been used to cover them:
You'll find many exposed screws and bolts in the cabin. Jeepers won't notice these (GTO thinks it adds character), but the 2020 Thar wants to widen its audience and such things should have been taken care of:
Open the tailgate & lift the windshield to access the small boot. As the floor is high off the ground, placing anything heavy here means you'll have to make extra effort to lift it:
Boot space is too small and can be compared to that in entry-level hatchbacks. I tried fitting a large suitcase in here, but was unsuccessful. It gets worse if the backrest is reclined. 4 adults + their holiday luggage is impossible, unless you resort to keeping small bags beside the rear occupants (on the wheel arches):
Rear backrests can be folded down in a 50:50 split for carrying more cargo:
Tailgate gets partial cladding to cover up the door locking mechanism. It also gets a strap to prevent it from swinging out too far:
Last edited by Aditya : 16th October 2020 at 05:19.
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|15th October 2020, 14:03||#5|
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Re: Mahindra Thar : Official Review
Thread moved from the Assembly Line to Official Reviews. Thanks for sharing!
Just like my ’97 Classic, even the '20 Thar entered my purchase list…without a test-drive! You could say it was love at first sight. I’m going with the Diesel AT because its more in line with the character of the Thar, no real price difference from the petrol and the longer tank range (useful for highway runs & offroading). I’ll either get used to the bumpy ride (as I have with my ’97 Classic) or just drop the tyre pressure by 2 PSI in the city. I might also swap out the 18” rims for 16" ones for a cushier ride.
There isn't a doubt that this 2020 Thar is a lot easier to live with than the earlier Thar which now feels like a relic. It will greatly expand the Thar's appeal & market. As I said earlier, the Thar is not for everyone though. This is NOT your 'modern crossover' alternative or replacement. PLEASE test-drive it for a long duration before cutting a cheque. PLEASE test-drive multiple times, with your family too. You don't want to end up like so many Harley-Davidson owners who are selling their bikes within 1 - 3 years at big losses.
Adding a Petrol is a brilliant strategy and will straight away bring 500 additional sales a month from Delhi – NCR. Giving the Thar the new turbo-petrol is also smart as it helps Mahindra test & finetune its brand-new engine before releasing it in more important models like the next-gen XUV500 (whose customers will be less forgiving).
We’ll be driving the MTs soon and will update this review once we get our hands on them.
It is a full 10 years since I’m reviewing a test car that I’ve decided to buy. And it's always fun to review something interesting. After driving regular hatchbacks, sedans & crossovers week after week, we enjoy driving such "different" vehicles. 2020 sure has been a good year for enthusiasts = The Thar, Rapid / Polo TSIs, revv-hungry City, Octavia RS 245, Grand i10 / Aura 1.0 Turbos, well-mannered Creta 1.4 Turbo, the fast Duster Turbo, Superb 2.0 TSI & more. The best part is, we still have 2.5 months left in the year!
Saying goodbye to my Classic soon:
Last edited by GTO : 15th October 2020 at 14:10.
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|15th October 2020, 14:12||#6|
Join Date: May 2020
Location: New Delhi
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Re: Mahindra Thar : Official Review
Great review! Detailed and unbiased as always.
Just like the market has moved from sedan to crossovers and SUV's same is the case with our MODS as well it seems.
Since, we have the review of Thar published before the Honda City 5th Gen which was launched way before the Thar.
|15th October 2020, 14:31||#7|
Join Date: Oct 2017
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Re: Mahindra Thar : Official Review
Rated 5*. Detailed review.
The fact that its a true copy of Jeep Wrangler, I feel Mahindra should have Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V it few years ago Nevertheless its better late than never.
Its a classic scenario that the student who copies from class topper, scores more mark than topper.
|15th October 2020, 14:47||#8|
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Re: Mahindra Thar : Official Review
I loved the previous Thar too & would have bought it if it had a factory provided hard-top. (Or if I stayed in Hyderabad .). Even today of course, the classic looks of the MM550/40 that the Thar had - are unmatchable. I like the old one's looks over the new ones hands down. Sparing a couple of moments for respect to our beloved late BD sir here. Just can't think of a Thar without thinking of the great gentleman.
When a car strikes the key chord one just doesn't care about any potential issues. And Thar probably strikes most chords for most out there! For example - I did NOT read the "Dislikes" list at all. Its a Jeep. The charm is such that even shortcomings are something to boast about. I just wouldn't care even if some electronic gadgets fell off! (The only thing I might get annoyed about in future would be the lack of foot space in the MT variant.)
It looks well put together. Gets a lot of things right & still maintains (not really praiseworthy) a lot of oddities and glaring misses associated with Jeeps. For now it is priced "correctly" in my opinion. For the machinery & equipment on offer + it being a niche area vehicle - it still is priced very well. Its overlapping run of the mill mass market crossovers in price. What more can one ask for?
Thanks M&M for continuing your commitment towards the enthusiastic motoring area. Afterall with the combustions engines slowly rolling towards sunset - we are looking at last ditch efforts to get some true mean driving machines. They've invested in something that everyone else is ignoring. And they have given us a realistically usable offroader. I just won't have the guts to find faults in it. Love it to the core. Those who buy one - enjoy it to the fullest.
A well rounded 5 star review @Aditya and team. Thanks for sharing. Although - the telling sign of impractical space on rear seat is the missing picture of Aditya from the side while seated in the back seat .
My pick would be the LX Diesel Manual Transmission with Hard Top.
Last edited by Reinhard : 15th October 2020 at 15:10.
|15th October 2020, 14:53||#9|
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Re: Mahindra Thar : Official Review
|15th October 2020, 15:20||#10|
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Re: Mahindra Thar : Official Review
Rated 5* - Excellent, crisp review.
It is interesting to see Diesel MT ARAI rating of 15.1 kpl - this is not too bad. Soft-roaders like the Duster and Seltos Diesels are rated at around 19-20 kpl. So a penalty of only 4 kpl for a much larger diesel and heavier body is not bad at all. I don't believe they can sell/invoice a car before the ARAI rating is published, so they would have to announce these numbers pretty soon for the other variants. My guess is the Diesel Auto will be somewhere between 13.5-14 kpl and the Petrol around 13 kpl.
Although tempting, I guess this is one vehicle where one can't run out and buy it as soon as the Team BHP review is out! The worry about the niggles on such an expensive car makes one pause. Hopefully, initial ownership reports will start coming in soon and bolster confidence.
|15th October 2020, 15:25||#11|
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Thanked: 1,706 Times
Re: Mahindra Thar : Official Review
Amazing review!!! This is like having a solid full meals after some starters from here and there!!
'Sure seems like Mahindra put a Jeep Wrangler through a xerox copy machine!'
Man! look how brands talk for themselves!! photocopy nahi! Xerox copy!!
|15th October 2020, 16:07||#12|
Join Date: Jul 2020
Thanked: 563 Times
Re: Mahindra Thar : Official Review
Man what a great review, clean crisp and well edited, just like a Raju Hirani movie, kudos to Aditya and GTO.
Thar is a jeep period, you somehow stuff yourself in, bugger the daylights out of it, come back exhausted just as a Clint Eastwood flick.
An encounter I had with the Thar, year 2012 my daughter's wedding and one of my Fauji friend had lent me his Thar for a week, I in my prime of early 50's grabbed the keys to ferry people/relatives around, you should have heard the abuses I got from my cousin especially sisters, when they had to literally do gymnastics to climb in and out, and crush their well ironed sarees.
|15th October 2020, 16:10||#13|
Join Date: Aug 2015
Thanked: 52 Times
Re: Mahindra Thar : Official Review
Wonderfully detailed review as we have come to expect from TeamBHP. Covers everything a potential buyer would like to know.
Hopefully we will get some details on the AX variant and what it is like to drive, considering the change in tires and ride height. Also how the lack of the Brake Lock Differential would effect offroading in the AX.
Am giving deep thought to picking up the AX and using the 3 lakh savings to modify it to my liking instead of getting an LX and still needing to spend more to make a few changes to get it touring ready.
Last edited by ask99 : 15th October 2020 at 16:30.
|15th October 2020, 16:18||#14|
Join Date: Sep 2018
Thanked: 679 Times
Re: Mahindra Thar : Official Review
Great effort by Mahindra in improving the Thar in every area over the previous generation. However, I'm majorly disappointed by the lack of ingenuity in its design. Sure, it's handsome, but it's a rip off (kind of surprised that Jeep hasn't brought any litigation). Sure the public won't care two hoots, but I feel Mahindra has been basking in Jeep's glory for far too long. Some originality in the design would've gone a long way in Mahindra earning additional brownie points amongst the enthusiasts.
|15th October 2020, 16:22||#15|
Join Date: Nov 2019
Thanked: 113 Times
Re: Mahindra Thar : Official Review
Superb detailed review ( as always )
Honestly after reading this review I lost some of my Euphoria but Iíll have to wait for my heart to regain over my head and this is going to take a while.