Off-roading, there is something about this sport that just pulls you in, no matter how old you are, what your profession is, or how much you earn, somehow we just find a way to get to it. From college kids with used Hero Impulses doing trails to retired citizens taking on dune bashing in a decked out Toyota Fortuner. The flying slush, meaty tires, dune bashing-Oh it’s just amazing.
If you were to ask even a non-car nut about taking up the off-road hobby, which vehicle do you reckon they are going to pick?
9 times out of 10, All you are going to hear is the name - Mahindra Thar.
That is exactly what the Thar is to the off-roading community, people buy them, mod them, off-road them, break them, fix them and off-road again, the loop is constant. The Spiritual Successor to the MM540 and MM550, the Thar took the off-roading scene by storm when it first debut and since has developed a cult following.
The Thar not just became an off-road icon but also a lifestyle vehicle for many, there is rarely a moment when you’ll see a stock Thar, every inch of most examples are customized to the owner’s taste, and that is the beauty of the Thar.
The Retro Jeep Charm
Great Power and Torque
Ease of Maneuverability
Decent Ride Quality
4x4 Manual Shifter with 4L –Shift On Fly
Abysmal Fit and Finish
Impracticality in Day to Day Usage
Nervous Ride while doing triple-digit speeds
Inconsistent Mahindra Support
Lack of Safety Features
The Mahindra Thar is as basic as it comes in terms of its variants. The current model year of the Thar only comes with the CRDe engine and two variants. One that is the base CRDe and the other which is the CRDe ABS. The DI engine that was earlier offered on the Mahindra Thar has been discontinued due to poor sales as most buyers went for the more powerful and frugal CRDe.
Rs. 11.29 Lakhs
Rs. 11.45 Lakhs
Air Conditioning with Heater
All CRDe features +Anti Lock Brakes
Manual Crank Windows
Tubular Side Steps
Lockable Fuel Lid
Driver Seatbelt Warning
Black and Beige Dashboard
Since the Thar anyways has a very simple variant portfolio, our recommendation is just as simple-Get The ABS one. The Thar already is as bare-bones as it can get in terms of safety and equipment, it would really be unwise to spend all this money and skimp on the ABS as it potentially is the only safety barrier in this very unsafe brute of a machine.
Since the company has started bringing the updated BS6 model into a bigger picture, there's an exclusive offer on the available BS4 Mahindra Thar models.
Cash Discount/ Offer
Ex-Showroom Price (Pan India)
Rs. 11.29 Lakh
Rs 30K Cash Discount
Rs. 11.45 Lakh
*Terms apply. The discount is available on select model variants in Delhi, NCR
The Mahindra Thar features the renowned 2.5 Litre CRDe engine that produces 105 Bhp at 3800 rpm and 247 Nm of torque at 1800 rpm. The diesel engine on the Thar is extremely refined for what it is designed to do. It is punchy and capable, making it a complete all-rounder. It has great driveability for in –city cruising and decent enough punch for the occasional highway runs.
Price (Ex-Delhi) in INR
Rs. 7.05 Lakhs
Rs. 5.53 Lakhs
2.5 L CRDe Diesel Engine
2.1L Diesel Engine
5 Speed Manual
5 Speed Manual
On the other hand, the Force Gurkha comes with a 2.1-litre diesel engine that propels 140 bhp at 3800 rpm along with 321 N-m of torque at 1600 rpm. Comparatively, the Force Gurkha generates larger power and torque figures than the Thar.
The Thar was designed to haul butt across any terrain conditions you throw at it. The acceleration figures were never a concern for the engineers at Mahindra and it shows in the Thar’s dig to ton runs as it clocks 100kmph at a very slow 17 seconds.
2.5 L CRDe Diesel Engine
2.1L Diesel Engine
Pretty piss poor but if drag times are what you are after, there are better avenues to spend your money.
The ride comfort on a Mahindra Thar in all fairness is not as bad as it may seem. The ride is pretty comfortable due to the independent suspension and will leave you pleasantly surprised. The IFS makes easy work of potholes and bad roads and would see you crossing it all with ease. The handling is also pretty remarkable for what the Thar is, the responsive and light steering sees you whizzing past city traffic with ease. The steering though has a tendency of not self-centering after a turn which one might have to get used to.
The in-city driving characteristics are admirable and the end-user wouldn’t have much to complain about-make no mistake though, it is in no way comparable to a car of a similar price bracket.
Put the Thar in its natural habitat - the offroad, and the Thar is ready to put everything else to shame. It truly is an experience to take a Thar out for a spin on the terrain, you will definitely laugh like a little kid.
The braking system on the Mahindra Thar is just on par with what you expect from it. There is just enough feedback and just about an average bite, the progression levels could have been better but maybe that is a result of the Thar being more of a serious offroader. If you listened to our recommendation and got the ABS model, you would be pretty pleased with the Thar’s in city braking performance- that is if you get used to its steep nose-dive under heavy braking. Out on the highway as well, the Thar is able to shed speed pretty quickly for its dimensions.
Curb Weight (kg)
The fly in the ointment though comes in the form of a very big error which is Inconsistency. Many users of the Mahindra Thar have reported of the brakes not bein adequate either right from the factory or losing their potential even before the first service. This issue has been doing rounds around quite a couple of forums making us believe there might be an issue here.
Braking being a very crucial part of the vehicle as a whole to keep you safe, is something Mahindra should keep more strenuous checks, making sure what leaves the factory is definitely up to spec.
We certainly don’t believe that a Thar buyer is even looking at what the Thar is going to return in terms of Fuel economy because if you are off-roading, you can kiss double-digit averages goodbye. If the City and Highway are where you plan on driving your Thar CRDe, then one can expect the Thar to return a moderate 13 kmpl which is pretty great in our books. Going by the ARAI reports though, the Thar is rated at 16 kmpl, which might be difficult but is still pretty achievable if you have a light right foot.
Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres)
The Thar with its huge 60 Litre fuel tank can see you crossing 900 km in a single tank out on the highway with ease. That coupled with the Thar’s highway manners could really make the Thar a transcontinental machine if you so desire.
The Mahindra Thar is a big retro JEEP at heart, and isn’t that exactly what is so charming about it?
The retro charm is something that is really after a car enthusiast’s heart and really takes you back to the hayday of the Willy’s and the MM’s.
The Thar’s width was increased by a couple of mm(16 to be precise) when it was facelifted in 2015 and it has stayed the same. The Approach angle is rated at a very commendable 44 degrees and the departure angle is set at 27 degrees- People buying the Thar for serious mudding, take note.
Kerb weight (kg)
Ground clearance (mm)
The Thar’s plastic bumpers might appears to be brittle and flimsy but are quite sturdy with their thick and chunky design and can always be swapped out for a pair of heavy wrought iron bumpers and wider fenders if serious off-roading demands.
Some of the notable exterior features are:
Soft Top canopy
Tubular Side Steps
Lockable Fuel Lid
Rear Mounted Spare Wheel
Clear Lens Retro Headlights
Metal Unobstructed Front Vertical Slat Grille
The Mahindra Thar’s cabin features a beige and black dashboard with chrome accents around the AC Vents and the Speedometer. The current dash design was introduced in 2015 and really transformed the cabin to Urban Chic from the otherwise dreadful cabin of the earlier model. The New Steering wheel with thumb contours looks good but feels hollow to hold, in fact, most of the material quality throughout the cabin is sub-par, to put it into perspective, a normal hatchback at half the price would have better quality to offer than what is available in the 2020 Thar.
The Instrument cluster does a neat trick of doing a needle swipe every time you turn over the Auxillary power which comes of cooler than it really is. The Indicator and Wiper Stalks are particularly noticeable due to their weight and a higher quality feel-which can’t really be said about a lot of other materials in the cabin. The Circular AC Vents are also neat looking and are supported by a great Air Conditioning unit that will actually chill the cabin in no time.
A couple of things such as the window winder, door cards, door handles among others have received some TLC from Mahindra and feel a little better in terms of quality than before.
The front seats on the Thar are decently comfortable as they feature improved thigh support, but on a longer journey, the lack of lower back support might cause issues.
When it comes to the Mahindra Thar, Mahindra gives u a great 2 Din Audio System SLOT for all your infotainment and audio needs.
Yes! You read that right, in 10 lakh+ vehicle, Mahindra refuses to provide you with an audio system, let alone an infotainment screen. The Thar comes with a 2 Din Audio slot where the THAR branding is embossed for you to be able to retrofit an Audio System of your choosing.
The Thar might be one of the last vehicles in India that doesn't offer an audio system invariant what so ever and that is one of the things Mahindra expects you to either live with or plonk more money to get sorted on your own accord.
The most popular “modification” then amongst the Thar owners that tend to drive their Thars around and no just off-road it, is to go and get a decent head unit with a coup[le of speakers to at least fool your heart into believing that Mahindra isn’t robbing you at a knife’s point.
12 Volt Power Outlet
Bench Arranged Rear Seats
Grab-Handle on Dashboard
The Thar by virtue of its design has no dedicated cargo area in the form of a trunk or a hatch but if you wanna test what it can haul, then you are in for a real treat.
Fold the rear bench seats of the Thar and you open up a humongous 600 liters loading bay which can be used for taking around all of the luggage you can throw at it, or even all of your camping equipment and more.
Cargo Volume with rear seats folded (Litres)
The Thar thus is going to make you very popular among your social circle especially if someone wants to shift homes or needs a ride to the train station .
The safety aspect of the Thar might be one of the biggest reasons for the current generation to be receiving a farewell this year as the 2020 Mahindra Thar is a far cry from modern safety standards.
The Thar comes with no airbags thus leaving only the tank-like body as the only line of defense between you and certain death if an accident may occur. The Thar from our point of view can never be recommended as a safe buy and would really urge the end-user to be fully aware of what he or she is committing to. The Lack of standard safety features in a 10 plus lakh vehicle in the name of keeping it retro is never going to fly past.
On the reliability front as well, Mahindra really has mixed reviews as some customers adore their service experiences while others are simply horrified and vow to never by a Mahindra and Mahindra product ever again.
If serious off-roading is what you are after, then the Force Motors Gurkha is certainly worth a look. The Gurkha is a heavily underrated vehicle in its class and the only real competition to the Thar. Yes, the Thar sells more, much more in contrast to the Gurkha but that is because most Thar buyers buy it just for its Brute charm and that is where the Gurkha loses out.
The Sales numbers of the Gurkha have kept it as rare as exotics but it is a very capable and tough off-roader that has decent on-road manners as well. With the new 140 bhp engine, the Gurkha also churns out more power and torque that sees it wade through terrains that the Thar in its stock form can only dream of.
The Isuzu V-Cross is definitely not a direct comparison to the Mahindra Thar due to the price gap, but if you can extend your budget to get the V-cross then get the V-Cross.
It is more powerful, practical and lifestyle-oriented than the Thar and it certainly is easier to justify buying and living with. The V-Cross has a great fit and finish, great level of interior features to the tune of Automatic Climate Control, Cruise Control, Powered Seats among others and healthy off-road pedigree with a leaf spring setup and a proper transfer case with shift on fly 4WD.
The V-Cross is amazing to drive anywhere be it on or off-road and can do highway runs at triple digits for days. It really is the best of both worlds and a lot of car for your money. It is also much safer because of modern construction, Airbags, ABS, EBD, Traction Control and all in all a safer feeling cabin. It is much more an SUV experience than a single trick pony.
The V-Cross in our opinion is the most practical vehicle to buy and live with if you are an adventurer at heart because the V-Cross will definitely take you places.
Yes, the Thar is still every bit of that macho machine that we have grown to love but recommending it to someone is really tough because it is really overpriced for what it offers. The Thar as it now stands can never be the only car in your garage and ideally just shouldn’t be the only vehicle in your garage because it isn’t practical and safe enough.