The all-new Mahindra Thar is one of the most important launches of 2020. Not only it holds massive importance for the indigenous automaker, but also for the initiative started by our PM about self-reliant India called the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. And that’s exactly what the Mahindra Thar promises – a product Made-in-India, for India, with pride. We recently drove the new second-gen SUV to check if there’s actually any pride in the all-new Mahindra Thar.
Mahindra Thar has managed to reach a wide audience with the new model thanks to a design that’s looks modern, powerful yet maintains the typical Jeep silhouette. Thanks to the larger dimensions and body cladding with large wheel arches, the new Thar looks butch as well. The massive 226 mm ground clearance and 18-inch rim ensure the SUV has a road presence like none other.
At the front is a new squarish black colored grille, round headlamps and a massive bumper unit. At the side is the trademark boxy design and large ORVMs. The rear gets a gate mounted wheel, low placed rectangular tail lights and a large rear window to make the SUV look bulky.
Mahindra Thar side view. (Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)
The Thar is available with a choice of hardtop, fixed soft top and a convertible soft top basis your need. Overall, the new Thar is as appealing as the best of SUVs in the market today and is a sea change from the previous gen model.
If the exterior was evolutionary, wait till you see the cabin, which is nothing short of revolutionary. The quality and design of the new Mahindra Thar is light years ahead of the previous model and has everything that you desire from a city urban SUV. The theme is all-black with silver accents.
Mahindra Thar cabin. (Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)
Right from the fit and finish to equipment and the design, you can see the hard work put by Mahindra to make the Thar look more approachable and urban dweller. It gets features like 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and navigation, Cruise control, among others. I also liked the toggle switches and carbon fibre touch on the dash. The material quality at some nooks and corners is still questionable.
While all these features are basically for urban buyers, the real fun lies for those who still prefer Thar as a off-roader. The central tunnel mounted window buttons mean you can remove the doors easily to have an open air experience. Further, the cabin of the all-new Thar is equipped with IP 54 dust and water protected switches. Even the all-weather floor mats are easily washable.
Mahindra Thar rear seat. (Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)
The front seats are exceptionally comfortable and provides ample all around cushioning. The high set seats also means you get a maximize visibility while driving the Thar. There’s an option to get either 4-seater cabin or a 6-seater cabin by replacing front facing rear seats with removable side facing seats.
You have to access the rear seat by adjusting passenger side seat which is a one touch operation. The large wheel arches means they the footspace at back seat can be a bit of problem. But the headroom and legroom is generous for 2 full grown adults. Practicality wise, the boot it not as big as a city car and you have to fully access it in two steps, by opening boot door and then lifting the rear window.
Mahindra Thar boot door. (Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)
Mahindra is offering the new Thar for the very first time with a petrol engine option which is a 2.0-litre unit producing 152 bhp. There’s also a 2.2-litre diesel motor producing 132 bhp. Both the engines get the option of a 6- speed manual as well as 6-speed automatic gearbox. Then there’s a standard 4×4 system for your off-roading hunger.
There are 2 variants AX and LX on offer and various powertrain gearbox options to cater to a wide audience. We got a chance to drive the petrol motor with automatic gearbox and for the kind of size Thar has, the powertrain was amply powerful and refined. There’s a 4WD knob to select between 2-high, 4-high and 4-low modes. A dedicated torque split transfer case provides 50-50 split on the both the axles.
Mahindra Thar gear and drive 4WD selector. (Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)
The supreme ride quality thanks to ladder frame chassis ensured smooth ride quality and easy handling capabilities. Even the steering felt like a regular city car unit with ample feedback and agility. While we drove the car mostly on highway, few rough patches helped us understand the kind of off-roading prowess this car offers. Optional R18 tyres, 650 mm water wading depth and high approach and departure angle means you don’t have to compromise on off roading, even though Thar now has added urban SUV charm.
In terms of safety, the new Mahindra Thar gets dual airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP, TPMS, Hill start assist among others. There’s also a Roll cage for the off-roading loving audience. Not only this, the Thar has been tested extensively to match the best off-roaders in the country and gets wipe down interiors and Tyre Direction Monitor as well.
Mahindra Thar rear profile. (Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)
Being an auto journalist, we have to be pragmatic and neutral about cars to give you an honest review. But then, we are also hardcore car lovers like you and I have to say, the new Mahindra Thar instantly made me a fan of this SUV. In all fairness, Mahindra has hit the ball out of the park with this new SUV. It’s time to save some extra money if you are planning for your next car anytime soon.