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Old 21st June 2023, 10:30   #1
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My Modified Mahindra Thar 4x4 Review | Red Turbo-Petrol AT Convertible

What I Love

• The style, the charisma, the iconic Jeep design, the brute image. Especially of a Modified 2-Door Soft-Top 4x4 in this shade of red. It's a fashion statement

• A car in which you will always take the longer way home! Delivers a "kick" and driving satisfaction equivalent to many cars costing 5X more

• Indisputable winner of the "how a car makes you feel" award. Greatly punches above its weight in driving & ownership happiness

• 4-star rating in the GNCAP (Jeep Wrangler got a single star in the Euro NCAP!) & a host of safety aids such as ESP with rollover mitigation, hill hold / descent, TPMS, Isofix mounts etc.

• A 150 BHP Jeep! 0 - 100 acceleration time of ~10 seconds in an offroader. Can out-accelerate cars like the Honda City & Toyota Fortuner ATs. Enjoyable performance & superb low-end torque too

• Turbo-petrol is impressively refined - no noise or vibrations. Will pleasantly surprise you

• Smooth, well-tuned 6-speed Aisin automatic gearbox. Tuned for driveability, not economy. Enthusiasts will appreciate

• 4x4 hardware, offroad capability & 226 mm GC. Ready to have fun in slush, muck, deserts, jungles & the mountains!

• Brilliantly-engineered Convertible top. Open-top in <10 minutes, closed in ~10 minutes. The flexibility of opening & closing on the go is priceless. No water leakages either

• The sheer joy of open-top cruising with cool wind in your hair, rock music playing, the beautiful stars above, moonlight in the cabin and being one with the elements

• Modification & personalization options are limitless! No 2 modified Thars are the same. Terrific after-market support

• Tough, solid build. In typical Mahindra fashion, the Thar can handle lots of abuse. Rough roads or no-roads don't pose any problem at all

• Compliant ride quality by Jeep standards. Far less bumpiness than the stock car, thanks to the after-market AVO suspension & 30-31 PSI tyre pressure (I drop it for city use only). These 2 points have made the Thar more liveable

• Improved road manners due to the aftermarket suspension (although my Thar is still a poor handler). "Improved" is the key term here. Expressway bobbing & bounciness have noticeably reduced

• The overall quality, fit, finish & paint job are very acceptable by Jeep standards

• I love the dapper interiors! Purposeful, stylish & with the essential features. Lightyears ahead of the 1st-gen Thar

• Enough space for 4 adults. Room at the front is excellent. Rear legroom is healthy, once you bend + climb to get there. The rear seat can recline to a very relaxing angle as well

• Tall, commanding driving position makes you feel like a king! Towers above other cars on the road

• Adjustable lumbar support is swell! Unlike some Thar owners, I'm a fan of the stock seat upholstery. Great looking & offroad-friendly

• Super easy to drive in the city. No one cuts you, other vehicles give way, bad roads aren't an issue, no worries about dents or scratches, great frontal & lateral visibility, torquey motor, smooth AT

• Am satisfied with the performance of the Maxxis Bravo AT 980 tyres. 15 - 16k price is fair for the 285 mm size. BF Goodrich alternative is double the price

• Chilling air-conditioner! Satisfactory performance, even in the soft-top convertible. No rear AC vents, yet passengers won't complain

• The reliability of the 2nd-gen Thar has generally been good, going by the ownership reports on Team-BHP (BS6 Diesel DPF issues aside). Most turbo-petrol owners have had a fuss-free ownership experience

• An offroader that I can actually go road-tripping in! It's a rare 4x4 Jeep which you can drive 300 km non-stop. Try that in the yesteryear Thars, Gypsys & MM550s

• W-I-D-E appeal. Everyone falls in love with it, whether enthusiast / layman, old / young, man / woman, Indian / foreigner, urban dweller / rural farmer, PhD / illiterate and rich / poor. To many, it's the sole car of the house. To many, it's the 3rd or 4th car of the house, confidently sharing garage space with luxury cars (like this BHPian's Thar & Lamborghini)

• All the modifications have greatly enhanced the daily useability, practicality & user-friendliness of my Thar. All the stuff on the outside has made it irresistibly s-e-x-y

• This is the car that pushed Maruti into finally launching the Jimny here. Maruti's been sitting on the fence for a decade; it is the Thar's eye-popping success + fat profit margins that woke up the Vasant Kunj boys from their slumber. God bless competition as it makes things better for us customers

• Am receiving excellent after-sales service quality from NBS International (Mahindra-owned sales & service outlets)

What I Hate

• Expensive for a 2-door Jeep. 20-lakhs (4x4 variants) can bring you proper 5 / 7 seaters with way more on-road capability, practicality, family-friendliness and daily useability

• Convertible soft-top offers zero security & flaps heavily above 80 kmph (jugaad solution available)

• Gosh, does the Thar Turbo-Petrol AT guzzle! I see merely 6 kmpl in the city. My enthusiastic driving style & fat 285 mm tyres don't help either

• Did I mention that she suffers from a drinking habit? Drive hard on the expressway and you'll see merely 8 kmpl on the open road (on one fast drive, I saw 7)! Probably has the aerodynamics of a brick

• 2-door body is stylish, but impractical. Ingress & egress of the rear seat are impossible for the elderly, saree-clad women & those with bad backs

• Poor handling & dynamics. Although on-road behaviour has improved with my after-market suspension, the overall handling is still awful. Best to drive it conservatively on the expressway. The turbo-petrol motor can propel it to really high speeds, so be careful. Above 100 kmph, the rest of the car cannot keep up with the powerful engine

• Road dips & big undulations taken at highway speeds can dangerously unsettle the car. Very scary

• Tempo-like turning radius has only gotten worse with the fatter tyres. 3-point turns are a frequent affair...even where you least expect them!

• Horrible steering feel. It's akin to moving a stick through wet clay

• If you are a family man, the Thar cannot be your primary car. It is best as the 2nd or 3rd car of the house

• Puny glovebox cannot even hold my sunglass case!! Mahindra took the "glove" part too seriously (all it can hold are gloves). This is disappointing as the glovebox is the only lockable storage area in this open Jeep

• Short urban tank range. In the city, you'll need to fill up petrol every 300 km or so. Turbo-petrol's tank range can be a liability when offroading, compared to the diesel variant

• Laughably pathetic boot space. Worse still, Mahindra hasn't given the Thar a full-folding rear seat (I've added the same through the aftermarket)

• A 4-seater, not 5. Rear seat is good only for two. Legally too, it's classified as a 4-seater

• Appalling noise insulation. Soft-top lets any & all exterior sounds in. I can hear bikers conversing...or more likely, they can hear the lyrics of my songs!

• Excessive feedback from the steering - onroad and offroad. Every bump, stone & unevenness on the road is transmitted back to your hands via the steering. On bad roads, the steering is constantly moving, dancing & shaking!

• Phone call volume on Bluetooth is too low when driving, due to the soft-top letting all the outside noises in. Most times, I have to pull over & park to complete a telephone conversation. So much for in-car telephony!

• Front seat seriously lacks under-thigh support for tall drivers. You better be fit for those long highway drives

• Long list of missing features for the 20-lakh pricetag (dead pedal, reversing cam, auto-dimming IRVM, auto headlamps & wipers, struts for the h-e-a-v-y bonnet, electrically-folding ORVMs…)

• Mahindra's sly & silent feature deletions leave a bad taste in the mouth - related thread. Unpardonable to indulge in such practices for what is a premium-priced product. Locking rear diff has now been deleted from the Thar Petrol (can be added back at dealer level for extra $$$)

• The extremely irritating engine idling start / stop system. My tuner hasn't been able to disable it through the software (although he did it for my 530d). Have to remember to press the disable button each time I start the Jeep

• 1,715 kilo kerb weight is too heavy for a 2-door sub-4 meter Jeep. Fat weight brings its own penalties, on the road as well as off it

• My smaller 1,245-kilo 1997 Classic feels way more agile, light & chuckable when offroading. It can squeeze into gaps the wide Thar cannot. The Classic has a pure mechanical feel that's missing in the Thar. Also, when offroading, I prefer the Classic's MT gearbox to the Thar's AT

• Too easy to steal. You have to park safely & use anti-theft devices. What's worse, the Thar doesn't really get a security system

• The AC compressor cuts off when you shove the accelerator pedal all the way in. This is extremely annoying if you are driving hard on a hot summer day. Either go fast or stay cool?! Reminds me of Marutis which needed this due to puny 796cc engines - Mahindra didn't have to do this in a 150 BHP Jeep with ample power on tap

• Glaring blind spots toward the rear (including the side-rear) due to the soft-top's design and spare wheel location

• Petrol Thars suffer poorer resale value than the Diesel Thar, as 80 - 90% of demand is for the latter. Petrol with a Convertible top will be even worse as 80% demand is for the hard-top variant (petrol hard-top is now available in a cheaper 4x2 version as well)

• The keyhole on the fuel lid sticks out like a sore thumb on this good-looking car. I understand a lock on the fuel lid is necessary for an open Jeep, but Mahindra should have fitted the lock on the fuel cap instead, like the Wrangler. Would have looked so much cleaner

Stuff I'm lukewarm about

• The ride quality is still extremely busy! Improved due to my after-market suspension & lower tyre PSI levels, but it is still very busy. This doesn't drive like your typical monocoque crossover at all. Owners of the 2023 Thar are commenting that ride quality is more compliant than in earlier builds, so drive your Thar for 5,000 km, then decide if you want to spend big bucks on after-market suspensions

• Soft-top convertible isn't that bad to live with. AC is still very powerful. Haven't faced any leakages. No one has attempted to break in. Period. Flapping can be significantly reduced with jugaad. The hard-top might be 100% more practical, but the Convertible is 1,000% more fun. The Thar is anyway a heart-over-head purchase, so might as well get the Convertible & have a blast!

• Diesel-like max revs of the turbo-petrol. ~4,800 rpm in AT kickdown mode and just 5,500 rpm in manual mode. I wish it went to 6,000 - 6500 rpm

• The stock audio system has decent sound quality for an open Jeep. I don't mind it even as a guy who lives on music, although it's not what you would call impressive at all. The only modification I have pending is a speaker + subwoofer + amplifier upgrade. Intentionally spacing it out so as to spice things up later

• The 6-speed AT's kickdown response time can be slow when driving hard on 2-lane highways. Better to use "manual" mode for a downshift, to prepare the car before your overtaking move

• The hydraulic power steering has gotten a bit firmer due to the fatter tyres. Not heavy, but firmer than stock

• Fair brakes for a Mahindra offroader. I appreciate this. Anyone who has driven the MM550, 1st-gen Thar & early Scorpios will know what I'm talking about

• Mahindra's Android Auto implementation sucks. 3 years since launch & it still has disconnection issues. Although, I personally prefer Bluetooth due to the louder volume levels & ability to continue using voice typing (disabled in Android Auto)

• 5-year warranty (with extended coverage) is alright, but many other manufacturers are now offering extended warranties up to 6 & 7 years. Mahindra should increase the extended coverage period. A 5-year warranty is so yesterday

• Merely 2 airbags feel paltry in today's scenario for a 20-lakh car. Side airbags are essential. Most same-price cars come equipped with 6 airbags. In a frontal collision, you have all that crumple zone ahead of you. If you get T-boned by a truck, you don't have much of a crumple zone and it's here that side airbags can be lifesavers

• BS6 exhaust & DPF issues aside, you should get the diesel if your running is high. It is very refined, quick enough, way more fuel-efficient & offers 50 - 75% more tank range on highway drives. The diesel is also the preferred choice for offroading = better crawl, locking rear diff (although you can add it to Thar Petrol at dealer level) and longer tank range

• Innumerable panel gaps & inconsistencies, especially on the outside, yet you won't find any Thar owner complaining about the same. It's all part of the "brute" Jeep package

• No driving modes are offered. This is one car that could actually use Eco & Power modes because the petrol engine has extremes (quite fast, major drinking habit). Power mode could further come in handy when offroading, as would an "S" mode on the gearbox to hold higher revs & keep the engine on the boil (useful for fast highway drives & offroading alike). Thar turbo-petrol AT owners who drive in an easy manner see 7 kmpl in the city; an ECO mode with lesser horsepower and 8 kmpl would boost the petrol's reputation

• The head-unit doesn't remember the last played source (it always restarts in radio mode) or volume selected by the driver. Who uses FM radio in today's streaming times? Such a usability failure. Another one = if I have chosen "track display" on the ICE screen and someone calls me...even after the call ends, it remains on the phone screen (in other cars, the screen goes back to displaying song info)

Like the Wrangler, Mahindra should have given a removable hard-top for the Thar. Now, that would really give Thar owners the best of both worlds - practicality and security, along with the joys of open-top cruising. I hear from reliable sources that it's being considered for the 4-door Thar

• The surprisingly competent, peppy, fuel-efficient & well-priced Thar 1.5L RWD variant has effectively killed the demand & resale value of 4x4 variants

5 reasons I bought the Thar

1. Fun

2. Laughter

3. Creating unforgettable memories

4. Joy

5. Style

Happy to say that the Thar has exceeded my expectations on all 5 points

Ownership Updates:

Link to ~500-km road-trip report

Last edited by GTO : 11th August 2023 at 11:55. Reason: Adding link to road-trip report
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Old 21st June 2023, 10:30   #2
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My Garage

The diversity is by design = a fast turbo-diesel sedan, a fast turbo-petrol limousine, a modern turbo-petrol Jeep, an old Jeep with a naturally-aspirated diesel and the beater car of the house. One of the reasons I chose the Thar's mStallion engine is to balance out the petrols & diesels in my garage (else the Superb 2.0 TSI would be the sole petrol). The diversity is such that the garage gearbox line-up now includes a 4-speed, 5-speed, 6-speed, 7-speed & 8-speed! No two colours are the same either. All this garage needs now is a fast 2-door sportscar

Remember how I said the Thar punches above its weight? Believe it or not, the running of my 530d has dropped by 50% since the Thar arrived. Driving the Thar is such a special experience. But what surprises me more is my family insisting on taking the Thar out so much, bumpy ride & 2-door practicality be damned:

To understand the magnitude of this upgrade, consider this = I am going from a Jeep that does 0 – 100 in 40 seconds, to one that does 0 - 100 in 10.2 seconds!

When I park my '97 Classic & '22 Thar side-by-side, they are illustrative of how far the Indian car scene (overall) & Mahindra (as a company) have come in 25 years. The Classic is very representative of how things were in the 90s, while the Thar shows you what really works in the Indian market today:

The Classic 4x4 has a pure-mechanical feel that is missing in the Thar. It's also the more agile when offroading. The smaller size + lighter weight + MT gearbox make it a whole lot of fun:

Due to its barebones basic nature, the Classic is a Point A -> Point A car; you take it out for a drive, then park it back. The Thar, on the other hand, is a proper Point A -> Point B car, because of the enhanced space, amenities, power & comfort. I drive it, the better half drives it (she loves it to bits actually) and not just within the city, we even take it out on road-trips:

Before we deep dive into the Thar again, one fantastic shot of the full garage...

...and a huge shoutout to Omkar for the photography & making all the modifications happen!

Last edited by Aditya : 21st June 2023 at 10:45.
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Old 21st June 2023, 10:30   #3
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The Buying Decision

I am usually very decisive with my automotive purchases. I don't buy a car unless I absolutely love it. And if I fall in love with a car, I don't consider any other options. With my Classic 4x4, 1st-gen City Vtec, Civic, 530d & Thar, there weren't really any other models that were seriously considered. When I test-drove the 2nd-gen Thar for the Team-BHP Review, here's what I said:

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Just like my 1997 Mahindra Classic, I decided to buy the 2020 Thar without a test-drive. Within the first km of driving it last weekend, I knew this is the Jeep for me. Buying it in 2021-22 so that the beta testers (aka early customers) can clear up all the bugs.
"Fallen in love in 5 minutes". See the message date & caption. This is what I WhatsApp'ed someone very senior at Mahindra, the first time I drove the Thar:

I stuck with my own rule and waited 2 years before buying a fresh new launch, giving Mahindra ample time to iron out all the major teething bugs.

Where is your full review?

I have directly worked on both Team-BHP Thar Reviews:

1. My 1st-drive report after spending some time with it (Mahindra Thar Review : First Drive).

2. The Official Review (Mahindra Thar : Official Review).

Whatever I want to say about the Thar - from the review point of view - has been said in those two reports. Hence, this thread of mine will focus more on the experience of owning such a special Jeep & the modifications. The Thar has always been close to my heart because Team-BHP played a role in its birth. In fact, the Father of the Thar was a friend & Distinguished BHPian on the forum.

For all of my driving life, I've always been a Jeeper. Jeeps make a strong case in a country like India, especially because they're so stylish and so practical at the same time. Unmatched road presence, no worry about rough roads or people cutting you or dents & bangs, towering seating position, tough build...IMHO, every house should have 1 Jeep. I've had a Jeep in my garage for over 25 years in the 1997 Classic. However, at the age of 26, my Classic is mechanically worn out and too barebones by current standards. I don't think Mahindra ever imagined a nutjob would keep the Classic for 25 years; back then, cars were designed to last 5 - 7 years tops.

The Thar's appeal is like no other. I know some BHPians who use it as their daily driver, while some others use it as a hardcore offroader. I know a lot of millionaires & billionaires who have a Thar in the same compound as their S-Classes and Porsches, and I know of many Thar owners who saved up for it & it's their only car. The Thar has gotten incredibly w-i-d-e appeal.

A safe car is mandatory:

One thing I was very clear about is this = I'll never buy an unsafe car. It's remarkable that the Thar managed a 4-star GNCAP rating. Not only is it safe, but it's also a phenomenal rating for an open-door Jeep (the Wrangler barely managed a 1-star rating in the Euro NCAP). Even as a family, we decided only to buy safe cars. This was why we'd dropped the Seltos and gotten the Superb home in 2021.

Note = While the Thar did well in the crash tests, please remember that it is an extremely dangerous car at high speed. The handling is scary and it easily loses composure at speed. While you can drive it aggressively <100 kmph, on the highway, it's best to drive like your grandmother would. You'll usually find me cruising in the middle lane on the expressway. In a Jeep, it's better to cruise at 90 - 110 kmph and enjoy the experience, scenery & drive.

Why the Soft-Top Convertible, and not the Hard-Top?

My family and I love open-door cruising, which is why the convertible soft-top was an easy choice. Mahindra has engineered the convertible brilliantly! Once you get the hang of it, you can open the soft-top or close it in <10 minutes. It's such a revelation as taking the soft-top on or off in my '97 Classic 4x4 takes several hours & multiple hands. There is simply nothing that comes close to the experience of cruising with the top down in the evening, late nights or early mornings. We enjoy it way too much to even consider a hard-top! If it's a bit warm outside, I keep the top open with the AC blowing cold air on my face. Whether senior citizens or children, male or female, petrolhead or average Joe...everyone loves the open Thar!

A BHPian did post about removing his hard-top and making his Thar completely open. It is possible and I was tempted for a second, but it has too many disadvantages vis-a-vis the convertible if you want to drive open-top.
1. With a soft-top, I can drive to a destination during the day with the top on and come back in the late evening with the top off.
2. The hard-top can only be removed at a garage or the dealer.
3. I'll have to store that massive hard-top someplace safe in terms of weather, theft, etc.
4. The transportation to and from the workshop. Have to move the Thar and also arrange for a tempo to carry the hard-top back to its storage location.

What about the 4-door Thar?

Did I consider waiting for it? Well, the 4-door Thar is not going to come with a soft-top convertible, so that eliminated it immediately. Also, the 2-door version just looks & feels sexier than a 4-door. This car is more of a "want" purchase than a need-based one, so I didn't want the 4-door. 2-doors & open-top = badass.

Why a Petrol Thar and not a Diesel?

1. Avoiding DPF Troubles: This is the no.1 reason. My running is too low (weekends, nights, 5 km drives to Bandra or Worli). When even the mighty Toyota suffers BS6 issues, it illustrates how horribly complicated the BS6 diesel exhaust system has become. To place an analogy from the gearbox world here, the BS6 diesel exhaust system is like a DSG, while the BS6 petrol exhaust system is like an old-school 5-speed MT. I like my cars to be fuss-free and the list of dos & don'ts for a BS6 diesel vehicle seemed like too much of a headache. Clearly, the exhaust system of the diesel requires more attention than the rest of the car itself!!! There are just too many steps involved, like avoiding bumper-to-bumper short commutes, manual regen (what on earth??!!), keeping the revs high on the hills, open-throttle highway runs once in a while etc. I read on the forum how a Thar owner's DPF failed and Mahindra was rejecting his warranty. He was quoted Rs. 70,000 for the DPF! If brand-new BS6 diesel cars are facing so many issues, I have to say, am not at all convinced about the long-term reliability of these complex exhaust systems. And that's without getting into the DEF system which is a maze in itself (more information). A senior auto industry executive half-jokingly told me that the BS6 Diesel exhaust system is now close to costing as much as the engine itself. Go figure.

That being said, I do think the diesel Thar is better suited for someone who drives more often (my usage is once or twice a week) and on the open road. The Thar diesel offers better crawling in 4x4, along with a far longer tank range too.

2. Gotta keep it running: My running is 400 km / month tops. We have 5 cars in the house & I frequently have test-drive demos of all newly launched vehicles with me on weekends. This is a night & weekend toy. My short-distance running is the perfect recipe for a BS6 DPF disaster. The car will be driven once / twice a week, and even lesser when we have media test-drive cars for reviewing purposes. Further, like Delhi, I fully expect a 10-year diesel car ban to come to Bombay.

3. A Balanced Garage: Three of the four cars in my house were diesel. I only had one petrol, the Superb 2.0 TSI L&K. Now, with five cars, I have three diesel engines and two turbo-petrols. A better-balanced garage for sure. Hope to add a fast electric car to replace one of the diesels in the future.

4. The impressive Turbo-Petrol itself! Believe it or not, the turbo-petrol Thar dismisses the 0 - 100 kmph run in 10.2 seconds! That's mighty fast for a 4x4 Jeep and quicker than many same-price AT cars. I enjoy the turbo-petrol's acceleration, mid-range punch and extremely refined nature. The sole downside = it's a damn guzzler. I see merely 6 kmpl in the city. Worse still, on a relatively heavy-footed highway run, I saw just 8 kmpl! My fatter 285 mm tyres & heavier right foot don't help the FE cause at all.

Bonus = With the petrol, I can get a freeflow exhaust later with a subtle, muscular sound.

5. Life comes a full circle: In 2006 or so, my 1997 Classic 4x4's 2.1L XDP engine failed. I got lured by the idea of a fast petrol Jeep and made a failed attempt at shoehorning a 1.8L ISZ motor (from a Contessa) under the Jeep's hood. It was quick in a straight line, but a disaster in every other way. The same Jeep today runs reliably with a Bolero 2.5L NA diesel sourced straight from the Mahindra factory. But the quest for a fast Jeep lingered on since then...

6. Did I mention performance? More than happy to pay 1,500 - 2,000 bucks / month extra in fuel costs, for a car that is over 3 seconds faster in the 0 - 100 sprint than the Thar Diesel. To put things in perspective, 3 seconds is the acceleration difference between a 530d and a Passat 2.0 TDI! 3 seconds is the difference between an Octavia RS 245 and an everyday L&K 2.0 TSI variant. 3 seconds is the difference between a fast Polo 1.0 TSI and a lazy Brezza 1.5L NA. I really enjoy the Thar turbo-petrol's acceleration as it is unlike any Mahindra Jeep I've driven.

Delivery experience:

Took delivery from Mahindra NBS International, Andheri which is a Mahindra-owned dealership, so I trust them fully. Mahindra built my car very quickly and it reached the stockyard in a matter of days. But there was a delay in delivery from my side as I was travelling for a week, then had a family function and finally, my bhabhi insisted on a "good day" for delivery. Very frankly, those two or three weeks of the car standing in the stockyard and me waiting for delivery were very difficult. I was dreaming of a red Jeep every night! Such is life, you got to wait for the good things.

God blesses the Thar:

As I said before, life indeed comes a full circle. The last brand-new personal car bought was the ’97 Classic. All the others (1st-gen City Vtec, Civic, 530d) have been pre-worshipped. It’s literally from a brand-new Jeep in 1997 to a brand-new Jeep in 2022:

Somehow, that first "full tank" in your brand-new car is very satisfying. It's like a heavy meal after a long workday. Just very satisfying in some peculiar way & every new car owner compulsorily follows the "full tank" ritual after delivery:

In typical Mahindra fashion, this is the only car that I have owned which had 2 niggles within 24 hours of delivery. One is the Android Auto that keeps on disconnecting. It happened two years back when I had originally driven the Thar for the Team-BHP Review, and I'm surprised Mahindra hasn't solved this issue yet. BHPians are still complaining about it on the Thar review thread. The second niggle is the reversing camera display that had a mind of its own & wouldn't fire up every time I engaged reverse gear. Mahindra updated the software at the 1,000 km checkup service visit & that has solved the problem for good.

I am using Bluetooth now instead of Android Auto for the following reasons:

1. No unpredictable disconnection issues as every Thar owner faces. Zero disconnections.

2. The volume level in Bluetooth is higher than in Android Auto. Not sure why, but I checked them both back to back. In a Convertible Jeep with a whole lot of exterior noises coming in, you need those extra decibels.

3. In Bluetooth mode, I can still use voice typing on my phone. This is disabled in Android Auto. Voice typing is something that's important to me as I use it to make notes for myself & collect random thoughts.

I anyway use the ICE just for music and phone calls, so Bluetooth mode serves me perfectly fine:

Last edited by Aditya : 22nd June 2023 at 13:11.
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Old 21st June 2023, 10:30   #4
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One of the best things about Jeeps is that no two modified 4x4s are the same. This is also the only car that I've modified in 25 different ways before I started using it! The Thar is special too = the last Jeep I bought was in 1997, it served me well for 26 years and is still part of my garage. I look forward to a similarly beautiful ownership experience with this new Jeep too:

End of the day, a 2-door is a 2-door and nothing can match its sexiness! Ditto for the soft-top which looks sexier than the hard-top. This beast is a head-turner wherever it goes (have to always park it in safe, monitored spots):

In terms of pleasure & sheer joy, this is a car that greatly punches above its weight. I have as much fun in the Thar as I do in some 1+ crore SUVs! Whenever we're stepping out socially, my family insists on taking the Thar over the 530d M-Sport:

Shot at a recent Team-BHP Moderators' Meet in beautiful Pawna:

Suspension Upgrade

I can't live with bumpy cars & comfort is super important to me. The stock Thar's ride quality is extremely bumpy & unsettled, no way I could handle it on a day-to-day basis. Hence, a suspension swap was top on the list. Moreover, I didn't want my family's first impressions of the Thar to be that of a bumpy car, because first impressions stick.

.anshuman vouched for the AVO suspension, as did many BHPians on the Thar review thread. We got in touch with Arka Motorsports @ Coimbatore & I bought the suspension without even testing it, and even before my car was delivered! The testimony from BHPians was enough for me. Within 2 days of delivery, the Thar & AVO suspension were sent to Redline AutoHaus for installation.

She had some good company at the workshop:

Arka Motorsports gave an important piece of instruction = Please ensure while installing that, in order to tighten the top mount nut, some people may end up holding the shaft through a plier which is not the right way.

A look at the rear modified suspension:

The suspension has a wide range of adjustment clicks where level 1 is the stiffest and 15 is the softest. Arka says most users have set it to 11 clicks at the front and 12 or 13 clicks at the rear. I'm currently running 13 clicks on the front + rear and find it more comfortable than stock. You can quickly bend under the car and change the setting with your fingers, it's easy. For instance, within a minute, Anshuman makes the suspension softer whenever his wife is taking the Thar out:

So, how much of a difference has the AVO suspension made? If you need a frame of reference, you can read about the stock Thar suspension in the official review. Being a short-wheelbase BOF 4x4 means that it inherently has busy & bumpy ride quality. Even on a flat straight road at 80 - 100 kmph, the ride is jumpy. With the AVO suspension, things have gotten a lot more liveable. The suspension is noticeably softer & compliant now @ 13 clicks (my preferred setting). I also keep the tyres at 30 PSI in the city (highways see an increase to 32 PSI). My family, my woman, the kids & friends have all found the Thar's ride quality to be acceptable now (mind you, it's not plush from any angle). Just to be clear though, this suspension doesn't transform the bumpy Thar into a soft MG Hector. It is still a very busy ride. Even with the modified suspension, Manson said he cannot live with the Thar (he spent a day with my car). But the suspension does make things significantly softer & settled. If the stock car's ride quality rating is 5.5 / 10, this suspension improves it to 7 / 10 (by Jeep standards). Don't think of it like a cushy Duster AWD; with the AVO, it's a more liveable offroader.

If you get the AVO on your stock tyre setup, your ride quality will be better than mine as my Thar has the upsized Maxxis 980s.

Cruising at 100 kmph, there's a noticeable improvement in stability over the stock car. I was never comfortable driving at 100-110 kmph in the stock Thar. With the AVO suspension, I find myself cruising @ 110 - 120 kmph in the fast lane. High-speed ride quality is also more comfortable, and less jumpy. That being said, it is no Creta, and the ride is still busy (no escaping the inherent qualities of a short-wheelbase offroader). And while AVO improves the handling, that's really not saying much when the subject is a tall body-on-frame offroader from Mahindra. The Thar has inherent limitations. The handling still sucks, it's very easy to lose it and I advise you to drive in a conservative manner at speeds of 100 kmph and above. Unexpected road dips & undulations significantly unsettle the vehicle, while surprise fast corners can land you in trouble. Take it easy with the Thar.

Exterior Mods

I wanted to really do up my Jeep as the style & personality are a big part of the Thar ownership experience, but not overdo it. Wanted to keep it meaty & classy, not overdone or blingy. For example, I didn't like the after-market rock sliders (yet), after-market tail lamps (because they will inevitably leak or fade), or the after-market wheel arches. Rejected all of them. I wanted to do the mods stylishly and aesthetically, without going overboard. It's a fine line between the two.

Alloy Wheels:

Just like legs make the model (male & female, both), I believe wheels and tyres transform the look of the car. Any car. From all the mods, the rim design is where I spent the most time (this has been the case with my other cars as well). I wanted something that would give the Thar a wide stance, with the tyres sticking out slightly on the side. I honestly would have been happier with 16" or 17" rims with taller side profile tyres, but getting AT tyres of 285 mm in that size was almost impossible. Finalized on the combination of 285/60 R18 AT Tyres as these are freely available in the market. Two brands are the most prominent in this size, Maxxis & BF Goodrich. To my surprise, more experts recommended the Maxxis over the BF Goodrich. Keeping in mind that the BF Goodrich tyres were also obscenely priced, Maxxis was an easy pick at about half the price. After using them for 2000 km, I am satisfied with their performance.

Do note that a whole lot of dealers from North India have 20" rims available for the Thar in some amazing designs. They look HOT! But I'd have to rearrange my teeth with the resultant lower profile tyres & stiff ride quality. Plus, those 305 - 315 mm tyres would be overkill for the Thar. It would actually hinder performance. After researching a lot, the answer was clear = 285/60 R18 is the best upsize for the Thar.

Started looking at alloys and that's really a whole new world. So many designs from so many brands! I think Omkar and I would've gone over a minimum of 350-400 alloy wheel designs from different brands (local and international) looking for that "1 design" that clicked. Many of you will know that I'm a sucker for 5-spoke rims from the days of the Ferrari F355, and a lot of my cars have worn 5-spokes (City Vtec, Civic, 530d). When I saw these rims, it was love at first sight. The search was over. Added bonus = these are 9.5J and have a negative offset, so they lend a lovely meaty stance to the Jeep. The rims were finished in silver, so I obviously got them painted in matte black from Redline Autohaus:

These rims & the white-lettered fat tyres look mega:

After spending so much time and effort on the alloy wheels, protection from theft was paramount. I got anti-theft wheel nuts in black colour (black rims with silver lug nuts look very off). Also got an extra unlocking key for the rims, just in case the primary one gets damaged or misplaced:


I got 285/60 R18 Maxxis 980 Bravo A/T tyres from Anand Tyres (he also runs Jeep Tyres India which has lots of 4x4 stuff). Crucially, he agreed to buy back the stock rim and tyres. Since a lot of Thar owners are upgrading their wheels and tyres, dealers now have a surplus of OEM Thar wheels. Hence, a lot of tyre shops actually don't want to take them in exchange.

Here's something I learned the hard way. As the wheels arrived early, I got them painted in matte black first, then sent the wheels to the shop for tyre fitting. However, since the flange and mounting hump of the rim were also painted, these areas were super smooth and slippery. This posed a big problem while fitting the tyres as the beads at the bottom of the sidewalls weren't gripping the hump of the wheel! It took 3 dudes almost 5 hours to fit the 5 tyres onto the rims! Tip = If you've painted your wheels and want to get them balanced, you'll have to roughen the surface with sandpaper before sticking weights on its slippery surface.

Jeep-branded valve caps:

After going through a few aftermarket bumper options, I liked the Prad design the most. .anshuman gave a thumbs up to their quality, while BHPian vvb8530 was also happy with his Prad bumper. Look closely and you'll notice that, just like my 530d, a classy clear sticker has been pasted on the corner:

Went with the Arka underbody protection finished in matte black as BHPians raved about its quality on the Thar thread. It extends all the way to the back and provides A+ protection. There are mild steel options available in the market, but since I stay right on the beach, it was out of the question. This one is an aluminium unit; from their website:
Aircraft grade 6000 series of aluminium alloy. It is a medium to high-strength heat-treatable material with improved corrosion resistance and medium fatigue strength. Typical applications include the manufacture of high-speed motor boats, aircraft structures and shipbuilding.
The underbody protection matched the bumper perfectly. In a sea of omnipresent body-coloured bumpers, I love the Thar's black bumpers. Akshay1234 gifted me a small-size number plate that looks absolutely fantastic!

Arka's protection extends all the way to the back, covering the entire underbody:

The stock Thar grille is sad IMHO & was only chosen so Mahindra doesn't get a "Wrangler Clone" lawsuit from Jeep. It was an easy decision to go for a Wrangler-style grille & this is perhaps the most common modification for the Thar. Here's when things can get a little tricky. There are two styles of Wrangler grilles based on the international model's generations - JL and JK. The differences between the two are pronounced.

This is the grille that I liked where the 7 slots are taller and the headlight doesn't cut off the side slots as much. Many designs are sold in the market with small & big differences, so choose carefully. Black mesh pattern looks delicious!

The famous duck test says "If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck". As mentioned in my Trivia Thread, Mahindra can't call their Jeep clone a Jeep anymore (as they did for the MM540), but you & I can! It's also officially a class of vehicle in India (link)! "Jeep" badge not really for the watered-down brand that it is today with use on FWD cars, but because of the kind of vehicle that it is. GP = Jeep, get it? Mahindra lost the rights to the "Jeep" nameplate in the early 90s, which is why they renamed the CJ340 to the CL340. I tried sourcing the JEEP-style badges that Mahindra used back in the day (check the style out in my Classic 4x4), but was unsuccessful as they're long out of production. Got these instead:

Compulsory Team-BHP sticker at the rear. Unlike my other cars which proudly wear a Team-BHP sticker on the left, I thought I'll go different with the Thar and pasted it on the right. The rear is otherwise completely debadged:

The silver stock exhaust can & pipes look so ugly! I gave them some matte-black love:

A car that looks good when clean...and when dirty!


Wanted headlights that are more powerful than the stock units. Am a sucker for aesthetics & functionality both, so can be a bit hard to please. Opened a query thread on Team-BHP, had a great discussion and chose Stedi Headlights from Australia. These are also fitted on Land Rover Defenders, Wranglers, G-Wagens etc. and are a top-class product. Expensive too @ 35 - 40k. But I'd rather pay 35k for good quality headlights, than 15-20k for the cheap Chinese junk LEDs floating around in the market:

These Stedis change the look of the Jeep completely & their performance at night is fantastic! A special shoutout to Rajan who is the importer of Stedi headlights in India. He's very transparent in terms of the costs involved & proactive when it comes to giving updates after your order is placed.

The headlamps are a direct plug-and-play. No need to cut any wires, just plug into the stock circuit and you're good to go. Important to mention that the fitting isn't 100% flush. I'd say it's at the 90% level, but considering the fact that these are aftermarket headlamps fitted on stock headlamp brackets and placed inside an aftermarket grille, I can live with the 10% tolerance. Anyway, if you go looking, the Thar is full of imperfect panel gaps all around the exterior & interior. It's a Jeep thing and Jeep owners don't bother with these imperfections that come from the factory. Equally, because of the low bar set by the 1st-gen Thar & MM540, all traditional Jeep owners (like me) who upgraded to the 2nd-gen Thar are super impressed!

Ended up upgrading 3 lights - the DRLs, foglights and headlamps. These dual-strip DRLs from Bimbra look fab! The foglights have switchable colour modes (including yellow colour for dense fog). My default driving is on pure white lights:

Another look at the dual-strip fender lights. They're good looking & powerful too (clearly visible on the road during the day):

I absolutely love the sequential turn indicators on them. Very tastefully implemented:
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The Bi-LED foglamps have a healthy throw. While shopping for the Thar & also house renovation projects in recent years, I realised that if you are willing to spend a premium rupee, India now has extremely high-quality products in the aftermarket. There is a lot of cheap stuff in the bazaar, yet there are also a few A+ grade offerings. All the aftermarket fitments I got are either OEM-grade or....better than OEM quality! I was very firm that if anything goes on the Thar, it had to be built well. The first image is of pure white LED mode, the second is the yellow light mode (for driving through dense fogs) and the third one is a mix:

Here's a look at the throw of the headlamps and foglamps (low beam above, high beam below) combined:

Last edited by Aditya : 22nd June 2023 at 13:10.
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Old 21st June 2023, 10:30   #5
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Interior Mods

For an offroader, I must say that the Thar's interiors are well-sorted. User-friendly, high seating, acceptable part quality and with all the necessary amenities. I am perhaps more impressed since I am coming from an old, traditional Mahindra Jeep. There wasn't much that the cabin required, so I got just a few subtle upgrades to the interiors. Primarily for adding comfort with a touch of style. Have not touched the audio system yet as I believe it's got fair sound quality for an open Jeep. That being said, I do plan to upgrade the speakers & add an amplifier + subwoofer next year (just to spice things up later):

The stock AC vents are okay, but are known to be fragile. I loved the styling of these AMG-inspired vents. Their quality is fantastic, and the feel of the material & movement is properly premium. You can opt for LED backlights in the vents, which draw power from the cigarette lighter port. I didn't like the backlighting effect at all, so haven't connected the illumination:

A peek at the central AC vents. Eagle-eyed BHPians will notice that the "Om" sticker matches my Thar's exterior colour:

Specifically chose a black braided charging cable to match the all-black interiors. God is in the details, right?

Probably one of the most underrated add-ons to the interior. This knee padding not only looks like OEM, but it also greatly elevates the comfort factor! The padding is a must-have because, without it, your knee will be resting on the center fascia's rock-hard plastic. The fit, finish & colour will make you think it's part of the standard equipment list:

Huge thanks to BHPian ph03n!x for this gift! As of now, there are no aftermarket pedal options for the Mahindra Thar. I liked the design of the XUV700 pedals; while the brake pedal is a direct fit, the accelerator pedal doesn’t fit the Thar. To make it happen, you have to bend the pedal to match the curvature of the Thar's A-pedal (which is a task in itself). It has to be done on the vice and needs a lot of patience. The metal of the pedal does deform slightly, but you can manage to slide it on and I really love the way it looks. All thanks to a fellow BHPian's efforts & generosity:

I sorely missed having a centre armrest during my first test drive of the Thar. This Bimbra unit is bolted onto the centre console and is extremely comfortable to use. What's more, it is wide enough for both, the driver & passenger to use simultaneously. On the flip side, the handbrake is impossible to engage and disengage when the armrest is in place. Furthermore, I need to keep the armrest flipped up when I'm driving with my black coffee mug in the mornings. No seat covers as I love the stock Thar's purposeful, good-looking & rugged fabric seats:

There's a storage area under the armrest. Small, yet appreciable since the Thar's glovebox is the tiniest one in India:

The rear armrests are comfortable too. They get two cupholders & a phone holder. I didn't want to touch the stock wiring, so haven't activated the USB charging ports. Shortly after the launch of the Thar 1.5L, Mahindra introduced rear armrests as an official accessory (link), I still like the Bimbra ones more:

Any additional storage in the Thar is welcome. This area is frequently used by rear passengers to store the odd item. We once even stuffed a kiddie sweater in it:

I am happy with the look & functionality of these GFX car mats, but there are mixed reviews from BHPians. Didn't want any kind of fabric matting due to water & muck - these are rubber & easy to wash. Didn't want mats that are too expensive either as I park my Jeep open-top and attractive ones will get stolen. The rear floor mat needed to be cut as it's designed for a stock Thar floor and the Bimbra armrest protrudes out. Otherwise, it’s a perfect fit:

As recommended by BHPian ph03n!x, we fitted a seatbelt cover here to eliminate the soft-top's flapping noise. Only recently got it, so haven't tested it yet, although I have a hunch that the furry-style cover used by other BHPians might work better. Will check after an upcoming highway drive & swap as needed:

Team-BHP keychain . Added a Spigen openable clip so I can quickly hand over the gate keys to the security guard & put them back (with the engine running). Unlike my other cars, I don't keep the gate keys in the Thar as it's a soft-top. No point in locking the gate if its key can be easily accessed by a thief:

For airport runs & cargo hauling, I absolutely needed a full-folding rear seat. Got it from Bimbra (full post with more details at this link):

Must say, the Bimbra accessories (exterior & interior) were well-packed and the coordination process was seamless. They have an excellent sales & support team. The owner is a BHPian & my compliments to him on running a tight, well-oiled organisation. The Bimbra team was so good that I didn't even need to reach out to the owner:

Superb packaging:

Last edited by Aditya : 22nd June 2023 at 13:29.
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Old 21st June 2023, 10:30   #6
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The Convertible Soft-Top

One of the chief reasons I got the Thar is that it's a soft-top (like my '97 Jeep). Better yet, it's a convertible that is brilliantly engineered. Once you get the hang of things, the convertible takes ~10 minutes to open or shut. So simple that these 10-year-old girls were able to operate the convertible top:

Whoever said convertibles don't make sense in India had absolutely no clue what he was talking about:

I gave them the "project" with a promise of a fun evening drive + dinner if they succeed. The two watched YouTube videos, came armed with written notes & had clearly done their homework. They even fitted the top back at night, perfectly!

Doing my bit to inculcate the passion for cars in the next generation:

This has become the favourite car in the family by a mile. There is no family event or get-together I go to, without requests from kids for a drive:

Nothing quite like open-top cruising on a Bombay evening:

Soft kebabs, spicy paneer & fluffy roomalis as a reward to the kids !

I wasn't kidding about the handwritten notes that the kids came armed with:

Last edited by Aditya : 22nd June 2023 at 13:32.
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Old 21st June 2023, 10:30   #7
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Fun, Joy, Pleasure, Laughter & Happiness with the Thar

A Jeep like this is all about the special memories it creates for you, so I'm going to share a few stories below. Here's a sneak peek of the fun times we've had with the Jeep in just a few months of ownership! Greatly looking forward to creating more in the coming years....the Thar is truly "The King of Good Times".

Always coming back home with stories to tell:

Got this very dapper camo body cover from Mahindra's official accessories website, M2All. Great looks + fit + quality + price:

This is the most Instagrammable car on the planet! It's the car that made it to the feeds of all my family members & friends. Every single person who has experienced my Thar (whether as a passenger or driver) has put it up on social media:

Both my sisters absolutely love the Thar... does my girl. Don't miss the all-denim look above, or the white + blue and blue + white coordination here:

The modified Jeep has quite a big personality! Holds its presence even against far more expensive machinery:

With a buddy's beautiful Land Rover:

Owners of old Mahindra Jeeps (like me) & the 1st-gen Thar are astonished by how the 2nd-gen Thar can be used on open roads. Mind you, it's still a terrible handler and should be driven only at 90 - 100 kmph (I cruise at 110 - 120 with my modified suspension). But overall comfort levels & amenities have drastically improved. The fast engines, smooth ATs, powerful air-con, good cabin, essential features, factory hard-top etc. all make it more highway-friendly than its predecessors could ever aspire to be. This is indeed a Jeep that you can drive 550 km to Goa, have some offroading fun, party for a few days, and then drive back home in. Try that in the yesteryear Jeeps:

I've already taken it on the expressway a few times...

...and road-trip holidays!

So user-friendly that family members insist on driving it on the highway. With old Jeeps, it was a challenge to even make them sit in one for road trips. I see a lot of Thars in Bombay being driven by women. Mahindra's strategy of taking the Thar formula a full 2 segments above with higher levels of quality, performance, comfort & amenities hit the bull's eye. Who would have ever imagined a 2-door 4x4 selling 4,000 units a month in India? The 2nd-gen Thar's enormous success is what finally pushed Maruti into bringing the Jimny here:

It was love-at-first-sight with this alloy wheel design, but they were available only in a set of 4. That's a big no-no for me (I always go for a set of 5). So, I did the next best thing. Bought 2 sets, fitted 5 rims on the Jeep and placed 3 in my office as decorative items. For a petrolhead, this is better than a flower vase or painting, no?

The internet says "if you don't look back at your car after you park it, you bought the wrong one". The Team-BHP version is "if you don't go home, open your balcony / window & look down on your car after you park it, you bought the wrong one"

90% of Thar customers choose the hard-top and I say, 90% of Thar owners are wrong!!! The joy of open-top cruising in the evening, night or late-night around Bombay is simply unparalleled. Provides an unbelievable volume of laughs & giggles. Added bonus = if it's a warm summer evening, I drive with the top-down, but the air-conditioner is on. Keeps me comfortable with no complaints at all. Bet you've owned only "hard top" cars so far in life. Go on, get yourself a convertible & have some fun:

With the OG:

My parking area sure looked stunning with these two red beasts standing together. Am certain Wrangler owners get this a lot = when I was cruising around in the Wrangler, most friends & neighbours thought I am driving my own modified Thar. They didn't even notice the changes. It's like you & me failing to identify the different Mini Cooper generations, or laymen who really cannot tell a 2005 F1 car from a 2023 one:

At a Team-BHP Charity Drive, when BHPians went to the Shirole school (click here for the full report & more pics). Join us the next time?

Spreading the Jeep love:

A car that makes everyone smile:

Because she grabs a lot of attention & the soft-top's lack of security, priority parking is a must. Whether it's at The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel...

...or really cool restaurants like Silly:

Took her to the Drive-In theatre... watch Fast X with a whole bunch of supercars around (full report with pics here):

Always fun to see other modded 4x4s around:

Getting a post-offroading wash at XSEL MotorWorX (I highly recommend them for detailing & washing):

When my sister was visiting from the USA, she insisted on taking the Thar over the BMW for social outings. That's heavy indirect praise, when you consider she's only driven luxury cars in California for the last 15 years or so:

And kids...oh my God, they just flip when they see the Red Thar. If you drive the Thar to a family function, you have to take all the kids for a drive. It's compulsory & non-negotiable:

Late-night drives in Bombay are gorgeous:

A cool night shot:

At a recent Moderator Meet in Pawna. All the Mods had a go at it:

Viddy, of course, just had to get a new DP for his Bumble profile:

Moderator Navin who is usually happy being chauffeured around in his Camry and aftermarket audio systems fell head-over-heels in love with the Thar. He was driving it like a rally star in Pawna:

Super shot by Viddy at a camping & tenting site:

So many memories many more to create...a truly special machine built from the heart:

Some more exterior shots for your viewing pleasure. This car is so darn good-looking!

Last edited by GTO : 23rd June 2023 at 08:46.
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Old 21st June 2023, 10:30   #8
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Wow! That's one passionate review of something that you are absolutely smitten with. That the Thar is one head turner there's no two ways about it. And while I have not driven your probable duck I know how a certain Navin, who thinks only a Camry can quack, was totally floored while driving the Thar. His quacking has not stopped to this day!

It's a car you buy with your heart's desire rather than the mind's practical but cold analysis. For most people it's like the girl from the neighbouring high-rise who you know will not fit in to your lifestyle and yet you can't avoid taking those stolen, sideward glances whenever she passes by. In you that red soft-top has found the perfect master!

Quack quack...

Last edited by Aditya : 21st June 2023 at 11:17.
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Old 21st June 2023, 10:31   #9
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I'm no off-roader, even if you went all Elastigirl on the term.

I only got to drive this thoughtfully-modded specimen a short while around Pawna, but fortunately it involved some expressway, some twisty undivided mountain road, and a proper broken patch by the lakeside; so I got a proper feel for the car in varied terrain.

In many ways, it's akin to the badge Mahindra stick on the left fender; a Stallion.

Its 2 liter gas-powered turbo heart has power-on-tap like a thoroughbred, and it likes to be put through the paces gently, eased into it, just like you would your favorite equine companion. Take a 'What could possibly happen?' attitude to it, and you're toying with the automotive equivalent of getting tossed off your saddle and catching a swift kick from your mount's hind legs on your way down, for good measure.

The steering is labored - twisting a stick in mud is an apt description, and the oversized shoes don't help - the rear has a mind of its own and it's never quite going exactly where you want it, quite unlike my FWD daily driver which also has a twitchy butt, in an entirely different way, the sort you WANT to step out so you can catch it, giggling as you do it. On the Thar, you're fervently hoping it sticks every time you mash the G, but the thing just wants to wiggle & sway, daring you.

The stark contrast of the two cars, a go-kart & a stallion, contrasting worlds in every way you can imagine - except the red Mickey ears and a wild little turbo petrol under the hood of mine too - made me enjoy the Thar much more than I thought I would, enough actually to admit I find myself thinking if I should swap my wild little foal for the grown-up stallion.

I may never become an off-roader, but looking at everything on the roadside a foot or so off the ground as an obstacle as the legendary Sam Kapasi got up to once he inherited his Disco (YetiBlog® - My Land Rover Discovery), I think I may yet become a Jeeper.

It's W-I-L-D, the thought and the car that caused it! That's a Thar for you, in a nutshell, I guess.

The grin says it all.
My Modified Mahindra Thar 4x4 Review | Red Turbo-Petrol AT Convertible-img_76074.jpg

Two generations of Mahindra 'BUTCH' in one frame. The Scorpio's design was toned down gradually to keep up with modernity, but nothing can dilute that legendary silhouette.

My Modified Mahindra Thar 4x4 Review | Red Turbo-Petrol AT Convertible-20230312_172315.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 21st June 2023 at 11:14.
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Old 21st June 2023, 10:31   #10
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I had the opportunity to check out GTO’s new Thar during the recent mod meet and outing at Pawna. To give her company, we had some really nice cars - manson’s new A4 in that classy blue shade, SDP’s XUV500, Vid’s pet bear Kodiaq, Akshay’s Touareg in the steel grey shade and a few others. But the highlight was this convertible 3-door Thar which was very tastefully modded. I am not a 4x4/SUV guy but some of the mods on this one truly stood out.

My Modified Mahindra Thar 4x4 Review | Red Turbo-Petrol AT Convertible-img96841.jpg

My Modified Mahindra Thar 4x4 Review | Red Turbo-Petrol AT Convertible-img96851.jpg

Those massive AT tires with deep treads and the black 5 spoke alloys (I’d prefer steelies to go with these type of cars), the PRAD steel front bumper with the functional D-shackles, the thick underbody bash plate with a lovely black powder coating, the super-bright LED headlamps and the dual strip LED DRLs etc. All some lovely additions I’d say. It is also good to have an authorized service centre with some known contacts to have any issues sorted out quickly without inflated bills and long wait times. Man, I missed the fun in the evening the next day (had an early flight from Pune to Chennai) but this car is surely going to be fun with some nice company.

Wishing GTO loads of fun with this machine like he does with the other rides in his garage!

Last edited by Aditya : 21st June 2023 at 11:13.
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Old 21st June 2023, 10:31   #11
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After driving GTO's Thar I have now gotten the itch to get one. lol. I'm not usually an old school SUV guy but after driving this one, it grows on you like nothing else.

I was surprised at how easy it is to manoeuvre and ease of driving like a normal car. When I took it on some really bad sections it just took them without even making passengers realise I was a noob at driving off road.

The engine and gearbox are perfectly tuned and I was amazed that it was an AT box I didn't get frustrated driving. My other 2 AT's are ZF8 and VW DSG so I don't like slush boxes that are slow but this was nothing like that. There is a gang of 3 series owners in Bangalore and 3 of them have a Thar to go along with the 3 series. It's pretty much the ideal garage combo.

The AVO suspension really makes it livable and I remember clearly how bumpy it was when I drove a stock one vs this one. This is a mandatory upgrade.

I got to sit with Navin McRae as passenger and when a camry chauffeur driven passenger gets behind the wheel of a Thar and is giggling like a girl it should tell you how much fun this car is.

My Modified Mahindra Thar 4x4 Review | Red Turbo-Petrol AT Convertible-20230312_120227.jpg

My Modified Mahindra Thar 4x4 Review | Red Turbo-Petrol AT Convertible-20230312_120120.jpg

If anyone wants to do a #YOLO purchase this is the car to get.

Last edited by Aditya : 21st June 2023 at 11:12.
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Old 21st June 2023, 10:31   #12
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Great review and its wonderful to see all the modifications in particular being fleshed out here. Just like the 530d thread has become the definitive guide for that particular model, I see this thread and the official review thread between them sharing similar honours for collating all things Thar, this one particularly for the petrol automatic / soft top variants.

So I’m one of the unlucky few who didn’t get a chance to drive the Thar since I left very early that Sunday morning of the Mod meet but I did get a nice close up dekko of the car. In fact, GTO and I coincidentally met on the highway in the last 15 - 20 kms so I was following his Thar for the last 30 mins of our journey.

Throwing in a couple of pics (excuse the poor res) that I had as the only vehicle sharing garage space with the red beauty. From a pure visual perspective, this thing holds its own in front of anything, whether its a German, a luxury softroader or anything else. The car looks like a million bucks and the fact that every single one of them looks a little distinct in its own way just makes it that much more special.

I can relate to what Viddy was saying of 3 series owners combining their garage with a Thar. I’d be lying if the thought of having a garage that tag teams a BMW / Camry like ‘nice to drive’ / ‘comfortable’ sedan with a Thar hasn’t crossed my mind. But I keep pulling myself back to reality and reminding myself that this truly isn’t a car for everyone and whether it would work for “me” specifically in a 2 car garage. If I could have a third car personal car in my garage, this would definitely be right up there in the bucket list - but for better or for worse, if I ever have 20L of discretionary spend for pure unadulterated fun, there’ll always a set of two wheels that’ll shout out louder to me than four!

I’m actively considering renting a 2.0 gen Thar whenever I hit Goa next. Even if I drive down in my own car. Nothing like Goa + a Thar to add that special feeling to the entire holiday.

Some pics from the mod meet below. Excuse the grainy pic quality.

My Modified Mahindra Thar 4x4 Review | Red Turbo-Petrol AT Convertible-img_8403.jpeg

My Modified Mahindra Thar 4x4 Review | Red Turbo-Petrol AT Convertible-1dec24920a934af4bf0e419cb1035e5e.jpeg

Last edited by Aditya : 21st June 2023 at 11:12.
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Old 21st June 2023, 10:31   #13
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I am neither new to driving a Mahindra, 4WD or to a Thar (D, AT, hard-top), but I was not prepared for the brilliant AT petrol 2.0 motor (kick down is amazing) and the suspension job takes the ride a couple of notches higher.

On way to lunch at Sunny’s, I was shotgun with fellow mod Aditya in his Corolla and the acceleration of the Thar petrol left us surprised, the way it used to pull strongly till 100 kmph or so. On my way back to Bombay from Pawna, I drove this and I knew, why all mods were after this red beauty. On the Bombay Pune expressway we were going with the flow of traffic, we weren't slow by any stretch of imagination. Ya, a bit of road noise, thanks to soft top and those beefy Maxxis tires, but it was enjoyable in a different kind of way. For 2 up touring, this can become a really good contender. Of-course your touring shouldn't involve just expressways.

My Modified Mahindra Thar 4x4 Review | Red Turbo-Petrol AT Convertible-41783bc607994033bb920c90357d5bf9.jpg

Wherever you go, you turn heads, the color, plus the subtle mods, plus those absolutely gorgeous alloy wheels complement each other to make it look drool worthy. I never believed, a red colour SUV will look good, till I saw this.
The subtle mods and those brilliant Stedi LED's and parking lamps enhance the attitude further. It's functional to, much better than what is OE in Thar.
Attached Thumbnails
My Modified Mahindra Thar 4x4 Review | Red Turbo-Petrol AT Convertible-img_1934.jpg  

My Modified Mahindra Thar 4x4 Review | Red Turbo-Petrol AT Convertible-img_19422.jpg  

Last edited by Sheel : 22nd June 2023 at 08:18.
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Old 21st June 2023, 10:31   #14
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And I was the one who didn't drive it but sat in the rear throughout................ and survived with no injuries at all

This was my first time in the new Thar and I was expecting it to be a rough ride at the back. But I was pleasantly surprised by the ride quality. The posts above have mentioned how Navin was quite fast on non-existent roads, but I felt much more comfortable than I expected at the rear. Of course, you cannot compare the ride quality to "regular" cars, but the suspension upgrade has helped massively.

I also quite like the functional tidbits that Rush has added, specially the knee padding and armrest. I am sure it adds a lot of comfort for the driver.

Overall - if I had to buy a Thar, I WILL NOT!!!

Why? Because I will never be able to decide between black and red!! Both look quite awesome, so I will have to buy 2

Signing off with my whatsapp DP, which has resulted in me getting a lot of congratulatory messages on my new car. I told some of them that it is not mine, while I let some others remain jealous #SadisticPleasure

Just wanted to add that Thar is the ONLY car that Mrs Eddy can identify on the road and has been salivating over it for a while. If only I can find Rs 40 lakh from somewhere (I'll have to buy two, remember)....
Attached Thumbnails
My Modified Mahindra Thar 4x4 Review | Red Turbo-Petrol AT Convertible-20230312_115533.jpg  

Last edited by Aditya : 21st June 2023 at 11:06.
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Old 21st June 2023, 10:32   #15
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This is a special car and I am always looking for reasons to get behind the wheel of this Thar.

When GTO and I had our first call on the Thar modifying project, it was quite overwhelming because of the endless possibilities. Scrolled endlessly through Pinterest, Instagram, and various blogs looking for ideas and inspiration. All in all, loved the whole process and it’s been fun throughout.

I had driven the Thar petrol AT hard top version with Aditya when the official review was worked on and the bumpy ride was a dealbreaker. And after having driven GTO’s Thar on stock suspension and then on AVO suspension, the difference is massive. It’s way more liveable now and makes the Thar a comfortable all-rounder.

Driving this Thar on Mumbai roads is quite an experience. It attracts eyeballs like nothing else and you get so many appreciation nods from car guys. Truly a car with loads of character.

Spent a whole day with the Thar clicking photos on the outskirts of Mumbai. Nothing surprising, but driving the Thar off the road is always a pleasure. Tried quite a few things with photographs and am glad they came out nice. Then in Pawna, Rehaan and I spent almost half an hour to get this one photo right:

It’s been quite a journey and every time I see the car, it’s like catching up with an old friend. Good times only.

Wishing GTO lots and lots of happy miles and unlimited fun with this special car.

Last edited by Aditya : 21st June 2023 at 11:04.
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