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Old 4th February 2023, 11:00   #1
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Mahindra Thar 1.5L RWD Review

Mahindra Thar 1.5L RWD Review

Mahindra Thar RWD Pros

• 1.5L diesel engine is surprisingly competent (for city driving) and refined too!
• The 1.5L's fuel efficiency will be noticeably higher than that of the 2.2L diesel
• Very well priced. Value-for-money price tag
• 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
• Features such as ESP, cruise control, hill hold / descent, TPMS…
• 4-star rating in the GNCAP crash test (more information)

Mahindra Thar 1.5L RWD Cons

• No automatic available on the diesel, and no manual available on the petrol
• No 4x4, even as an option with the 1.5L engine. This is no offroader
• Available only with a hard top; owners will miss the convertible! Petrol is available in a single variant
• 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
• No reversing cam, auto-dimming IRVM, auto headlamps & wipers, electrically-folding ORVMs, rear wash & wipe…

Since the Mahindra Thar has already been reviewed by Team-BHP, this report will only focus on changes made to the RWD. To read the full test-drive, click here.


The second-generation Thar was launched in 2020. It was a lot better than the first-gen car in terms of quality, fit and finish, safety and performance. This made it an instant hit in the market. Such was the demand that waiting periods stretched into years. For a niche vehicle, the Thar has been extremely successful. Mahindra has been consistently selling 3,500-4,000 units every month.

However, the Thar was available only with four-wheel drive whether it was in petrol or diesel versions. Now, to cater to customers who do not want four-wheel drive, but would like to still own a Thar for its looks and image, Mahindra has launched a rear-wheel drive (RWD) version of the car.

Another market for this car will be in the self-drive rental segment. You can expect to see a lot of 9.99 lakh–rupee Thars in places where self-drives are popular like say, Goa.

The RWD Thar is available in petrol and diesel versions. While the petrol version uses the same 2.0L engine from the 4x4 variant, the diesel version uses a smaller 1.5L, 4-cylinder motor that we have seen under the bonnets of the XUV300 and Marazzo. The RWD variants are only available with a hard top. The petrol version comes only in the LX trim level and with a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the diesel is available on AX (O) and LX variants, but only with a manual transmission.

For the RWD variants, there are two new body colours - Blazing Bronze and Everest White. Other colours available include Aquamarine, Red Rage, Galaxy Grey, and Napoli Black.

Mahindra Thar RWD Price & Brochure

As expected, the Thar RWD is priced lower than the 4x4 variants due to the missing 4WD equipment. Besides, the diesel, since it's a 1.5L unit, also gets tax benefits. The Thar LX petrol AT RWD is priced at Rs. 13.49 lakh (ex-showroom), which is Rs. 2.33 lakh cheaper than LX AT 4x4. Coming to the diesels, the AX (O) MT RWD is priced at Rs. 9.99 lakh, while the LX MT RWD is priced at Rs. 10.99 lakh. These prices are a whopping Rs. 4.22 lakh and Rs. 3.88 lakh cheaper than the equivalent 4x4 variants respectively. This has made the Thar more affordable and this means that it has become accessible for many more people.

You can download the Thar brochure here – Mahindra Thar Brochure.pdf

Last edited by Aditya : 4th February 2023 at 11:01.
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Old 4th February 2023, 11:00   #2
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2023 Mahindra Thar RWD Exterior Review

The MY2022 Thar saw a few feature deletions. One of which was the shift from a dual-tone bumper to a single-tone black bumper that you see here:

Similarly, the only change at the rear is the single-tone bumper:

Side profile is unchanged. The 4X4 badge has obviously disappeared:

No engine badge on the front left body panel either:

18" gunmetal alloy wheels remain the same, but get the company's new logo in the middle. 255/65 section tyres have been retained. Mahindra has however shifted from the Ceat Czar AT tyres to Ceat CrossDrive AT tyres:

RWD is available only with a hard top. No convertible soft top here:

The 1.5L diesel engine gets a smaller fuel tank capacity of 45 litres as compared to the 57 litres on the 2.2L variant. CRDe engines get a 20L diesel exhaust fluid tank:

Exhaust pipe is located on the right:

Last edited by Aditya : 4th February 2023 at 11:01.
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Old 4th February 2023, 11:00   #3
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2023 Mahindra Thar RWD Interior Review

Dashboard design is unchanged. The only change is the relocation of some switches:

While the steering wheel remains the same in design, it gets the new Mahindra logo in the middle:

Instrument cluster is carried over from the larger engined petrol and diesel variants:

Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) gauge is displayed in the MID:

Traction control and hill descent control switches have been removed from the switch panel located on the RHS of the steering wheel. The 1.5L diesel variant gets an idling start/stop feature:

Both front seats lose lumbar adjustment. Upholstery remains the same as earlier:

A, B, and C pedals are well spaced out. However, the footwell is not very wide and cannot accommodate a dead pedal. There is no place to rest your left foot which can get tiring on long drives:

Except for some minor changes, the center fascia remains the same:

7-inch touchscreen head-unit has been carried over:

It gets Ecosense that provides average and instant scores for your driving based on various parameters such as speed, gear selection, acceleration & idling time. It also takes into consideration traffic conditions and the gradient of the road. The score starts from 100 when you start driving. At the end of the trip, the higher the score, the more economically you have driven. Not for guys like us who have a heavy right foot. If you so wish, you can share your score on social media (the Facebook, WhatsApp & Twitter icons):

Custom option in the Adventure Statistics function has been deleted:

Adventure Statistics provides a list of upcoming Mahindra Adventure events:

Traction control, hill descent control and central locking switches are now placed on the center fascia. Ergonomic flaw = everytime you change to 3rd or 5th gear, your hand hits these switches and in some instances, traction control or hill descent control are engaged / disengaged unintentionally:

One USB port has been deleted. The Thar still does not get wireless Android Auto / Apple CarPlay or wireless smartphone charging:

Leather-wrapped 6-speed gear lever has a glossy black top with a chrome border and a leather boot. It's good to hold, but the throws are long and the gearshift action is notchy:

The 4X4 lever has disappeared. In its place is a cubbyhole...

...that can accommodate a smartphone:

Foldable bag hook on the seatback of the front passenger seat has been left out:

Keyfob gets the new Mahindra logo:

Last edited by Aditya : 4th February 2023 at 17:26.
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Old 4th February 2023, 11:00   #4
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Driving the Thar 1.5L Diesel MT RWD

1.5L CRDe engine is carried over from the XUV300 and Marazzo. It puts out 117 BHP & 300 Nm:

The Thar RWD's 1.5L, 4-cylinder, D117 CRDe diesel engine has a variable geometry turbocharger. This engine is only offered with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The engine is shared with the XUV300 and was also plonked in the Marazzo. However, in the Thar, the state of tune is different. Here, it develops 117 BHP (@ 3,500 rpm) against the 115 BHP (@ 3,750 rpm) of the XUV300 and 121 BHP (@ 3,500 rpm) of the Marazzo. Its 300 Nm of torque is identical to its siblings. It is produced at 1,750 - 2,500 rpm, which is identical to the Marazzo, but slightly different from the XUV300 (1,500 - 2,500 rpm). What's interesting to note is that the 1.5L diesel develops only 13 BHP lesser than the 2.2L diesel of the 4x4 and the amount of torque produced is the same!

Unlike the four-wheel drive petrol and diesel variant, this RWD diesel does not have an automatic variant at the moment, which is a big miss in a market that's shifting towards ATs.

Let me start off by saying that this 1.5L diesel is not bad at all. In fact, it’s quite competent and those of you who are going to use it only in the city will have no complaints. To start the Thar’s 1.5L diesel engine, engage the neutral gear and crank the engine. The clutch is quite light, which owners will appreciate. However, it has an annoyingly long travel range - a real bummer in traffic. The gear shifter is light, but again, it has long throws for a car of this class and has a notchy feel to it. Release the clutch gradually and the car moves forward without any throttle input. In fact, with mild accelerator inputs and clutch assistance, you can even move off from a standstill in 2nd and 3rd gears without much effort!

Throttle response is good and the power delivery is acceptable. While there is a hint of lag at the absolute bottom end, driveability is very satisfactory and the smaller 1.5L motor moves the Thar’s bulk quite well in the city. It pulls well once the revvs cross ~1,750 rpm and when the turbo spools at 2,300 rpm, you'll experience a surge of power. This smaller 1.5 does not feel underpowered in the city at all. Keeping up with the traffic is easy. You can potter around in town doing 40 km/h in 4th gear with the tachometer reading ~ 1,300 rpm. The engine feels quite comfortable at this rpm. Even closing gaps to the vehicles in front doesn't require frequent downshifting. The engine can pull from as low as 800 rpm even in 3rd gear.

While the Thar has a tall seating position and good frontal visibility, it has some drawbacks that don't allow it to be an ideal city car. These include the long-throw gear lever, long travel clutch pedal, and not-so-good all-round visibility.

On the open road, the Thar's performance feels strong & there is ample grunt available. Work the engine hard and you can make brisk progress. The mid-range is where the 1.5L diesel is at its best. It feels strong in the 2,000 - 4,000 rpm range. When pushed, the engine will revv to 4,500 rpm. However, there is no point in taking it beyond 4,100 rpm as the power delivery tapers off. The top-end isn't strong, with the engine getting noisy above 3,500 rpm too. In terms of cruiseability, the Thar will do 100 km/h in 6th gear at ~2,450 rpm. Honestly, it's pointless taking the car to higher speeds due to the bouncy ride and mediocre driving dynamics. It's best while cruising at 80 km/h in 6th gear with the engine spinning at ~2,000 rpm.

The car is equipped with an idling start/stop system, which switches off the engine when it's idling to save fuel. However, this can be tricky in stop & go traffic. The car was caught on the wrong foot a few times & we had to restart it manually! While FE-conscious users will keep the feature engaged, most people will switch it off. We found it terribly annoying.

Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH)

The 1.5L diesel offers good levels of refinement. Even at high revs, it is refined like you don't expect a Mahindra UV to be. The diesel fires up with very little noise, and without transmitting any noticeable vibrations to the cabin. For a body-on-frame vehicle, there is negligible body shake on start-up and shutdown. In terms of refinement, the motor is not bad at all at idle. While the engine is always audible inside the cabin, it sounds refined and not tiresome. Above 3,500 rpm, the engine gets loud, but it's nowhere as bad as the Mahindra diesels of yesteryears.

Exterior sounds are controlled well in the hard-top. And yes, we mention that the horn is too loud inside the cabin. In the hard-top, wind & road noise get excessive above 100 km/h. These excessive noises can get tiring on long journeys.

Mileage & Fuel Economy

Mahindra has not shared the ARAI rating of the 1.5L diesel MT. However, we expect it to be better than the 4X4 diesel MT, which has an ARAI rating of (15.2 km/l).


Ride Comfort

The Thar comes with an independent double wishbone suspension at the front and a multilink suspension with coil-over dampers and a 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 high speeds 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 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.


Coming to offroading, obviously, the Thar RWD will not be as capable as the 4X4. Still, with a ground clearance of 226 mm, chunky all-terrain tyres, and an electronic brake locking differential, this car will still outperform most crossovers on the rough stuff.

Last edited by Aditya : 4th February 2023 at 11:03.
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Old 4th February 2023, 11:00   #5
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re: Mahindra Thar 1.5L RWD Review

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line.

Last edited by Aditya : 4th February 2023 at 11:03.
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Old 4th February 2023, 13:34   #6
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re: Mahindra Thar 1.5L RWD Review

Booked the Thar RWD (RED RAGE) on Jan 9th at around 5.00 PM at the dealership. The vehicle has arrived at the yard about 3 days ago.. Will be taking delivery late next week as I am travelling for work. Pretty happy with the delivery timeline given that I had booked the N on the 1st day within 20 mins them opening the online booking and the tentative delivery date was Nov 22- Dec 25th 2022. Glad, I am not having to wait for 5 months..
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Old 4th February 2023, 14:29   #7
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re: Mahindra Thar 1.5L RWD Review

Mods and others: is there any information on E20 compliance for the petrol automatic. As in, is it already compliant as per the manufacturer, or do buyers need to wait for it?

Any inputs would be much appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 4th February 2023, 15:18   #8
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re: Mahindra Thar 1.5L RWD Review

No intention of hurting anyone's sentiment but why should this car be on a buyer's list? People who purchase Thar do it for its off road capabilities and review mentions thats not what this car is for.
Comfortable and spacious were never its strong point. Not loaded with features as well. Comes with a big maintenance demand.

Last edited by GTO : 7th February 2023 at 10:44. Reason: Let's not demean buyers of any vehicle
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Old 4th February 2023, 15:55   #9
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re: Mahindra Thar 1.5L RWD Review

Test drove the petrol version today which comes only in the AT trim! It was a brand new vehicle with about 500 kms on the odo.

Coming from a Tiago JTP, I found both the power and ride quality to be very good. I was also pleased with the convenience of the automatic. However, the premium of about three lakhs and the fuel efficiency is what is holding me back.

I drive about 30kms daily. I'm inclined towards booking the diesel LX which is currently about fourteen lakhs.

Has anyone booked the petrol version?
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Old 4th February 2023, 16:51   #10
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re: Mahindra Thar 1.5L RWD Review

I just cannot wait for my diesel Thar to arrive! Waiting for April as that is where the tentative delivery date is!

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 4th February 2023 at 18:39. Reason: typo
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Old 4th February 2023, 16:54   #11
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re: Mahindra Thar 1.5L RWD Review

The transfer case++ will be little over a lakh - the transfer case itself is under a lakh. The MLD is under 50k. The 1.5 liter D117 engine itself should still be competent enough for almost all 4x4 use cases vs. the 2.2 mHawk.

Let's see who ventures into building a 4x4 jeep now, with this 1.5 RWD manual as base
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Old 4th February 2023, 17:16   #12
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re: Mahindra Thar 1.5L RWD Review

Curious as to why the diesel requires DEF?
The same engine in the XUV3OO doesn't have a DEF requirement.

Does this have anything to do with BS6.2?
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Old 4th February 2023, 18:26   #13
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re: Mahindra Thar 1.5L RWD Review

RWD? Aren't front wheel drive vehicles more fuel efficient? Can someone please shed light on why M&M might have opted for RWD in a 2WD vehicle?

I get the lack of 4WD. The pricing has made it more attractive for those, who might want wheels for city/highway drives.
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Old 4th February 2023, 19:01   #14
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re: Mahindra Thar 1.5L RWD Review

Originally Posted by RedTerrano View Post
RWD? Aren't front wheel drive vehicles more fuel efficient? Can someone please shed light on why M&M might have opted for RWD in a 2WD vehicle?

I get the lack of 4WD. The pricing has made it more attractive for those, who might want wheels for city/highway drives.
Because the engine and drivetrain was designed to be RWD with 4x4 lock. They got rid of the 4x4 hardware which means only the RWD remains. Same in the lower spec Scorpio-N.

Same reason why some AWD crossovers/sedans are available as FWD in lower trim but not RWD. Because they were not designed to be RWD nor can they send 100% of the power to the rear wheels despite what the salesman tells you.

FWD cars are more fuel efficient because they were designed that way from the ground up.
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Old 4th February 2023, 19:53   #15
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re: Mahindra Thar 1.5L RWD Review

Originally Posted by RedTerrano View Post
RWD? Can someone please shed light on why M&M might have opted for RWD in a 2WD vehicle?
Traditional Jeeps are all 4WD. M&M has made and sold lots of 2WD RWD Jeeps too since the 1970’s as has been covered on this thread and elsewhere on the forum. Makes better sense for a 2WD Jeepy thing to remain RWD and this is in keeping with Mahindra’s own DNA as well. The modern Crossover vehicles are usually FWD and some of them may have AWD at the max.
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