The all-new Mahindra Thar has finally shown itself and will go on sale in India on the 2nd of October, 2020. In its new avatar, the off-roader will be offered in two variants – AX and LX, where the former will appeal more to the serious off-roader, while the latter is already tugging at the hearts of buyers who always wanted a Thar but shied away due to reasons related to practicality. So much so, a friend of ours is already enquiring about a second parking lot for her new apartment.
The new Mahindra offers the choice of a brand new petrol engine and an improved oil burner where both are offered with either a 6-speed manual or a torque converter automatic. Four-wheel-drive is standard across trim levels and there’s a choice available for the kind of roof you like above your head. The new Thar has definitely improved on many fronts, however, there are some who aren’t impressed with a few things. Thankfully, these have nothing to do with the running gear or fundamentals of the machine.
No Four-Door Version
While Mahindra has done well to make the rear seats face the right side, reaching that area is a workout and could be tough for the elderly. Adding to that is the fact that the rear seats are placed right above the rear wheels and although those leaf springs have been replaced with a multi-link system, rear-seat ride comfort might not be as good as a four-door machine. The hardcore offroad fan or someone who will buy the Thar as a second vehicle would be happy about the shorter wheelbase but for a family man considering the Thar as a primary tool for mobility, it’s a genuine concern.
Hardtop Isn’t As Hard
Urban dwellers are happy about the fact that the Thar now offers a hardtop which is sealed to keep the cabin weather-proof and allow the AC to function properly. However, many aren’t convinced about the toughness of the material and are sceptical that the vehicle could be easily broken into when left unattended with some valuables inside. Although there’s a strong roll cage inside, many wish for a metal roof to cap things.
The Front Grille
Those iconic seven slats couldn’t feature on the new Thar in the same manner as they did on the older model for reasons which aren’t unknown to us. The new grille design hasn’t gone down well with many but it’s not something a simple aftermarket mesh cover won’t fix.
Fuel Lid Operation
The new Thar decided to get a lot of modern things for itself and probably forgot something very simple. Its fuel lid isn’t of the remote type, which means that every time it needs to be filled with fuel, the driver must step out with the ignition key, unlock and open the flap and wait until the attendant fills it up to lock the lid again and then walk back to his seat.
More Power From The Diesel Engine
The 2.2-litre mHawk engine has been updated to meet BS6 standards and now makes more power than before. However, 130 hp and 300 Nm from that kind of displacement are a little short on expectations and we feel about 50Nm of more torque wouldn’t have gone amiss. But hey, there’s always a facelift which can do with a bump in power.
No Dead Pedal
The new Thar offers an automatic transmission and cruise control, things which help the driver to relax when he/she isn’t in the mood to control everything. However, a missing dead pedal means that the left foot stays flat on the floor throughout a long journey.
The split tailgate once opened offers very little space for luggage unless the rear seat backrest is folded down. For someone who has been dreaming about exploring the outdoors with friends will be disappointed that if all four seats are occupied, finding space for the luggage will take some planning.
This one’s a little debatable. Because LED lights found on mainstream cars are yet to prove themselves as better than halogen-lit headlights, especially when it rains. Also, the white light gets easily washed out against oncoming glare. However, it’s what most buyers want these days.
Speakers for the audio system are placed right above the driver’s head, which means that sound travels directly into the driver’s ears. For those who have sensitive ears or like the sound source to be kept at a distance, could find this annoying. Goes without saying, if rear passengers want the volume to be turned up, the increment will first affect the front passengers’ ears. And if it’s bass-heavy music, the vibrations may or may not result in a headache depending on the driver’s tolerance levels.
Fixed Rear Windows
Some have been complaining that in the place of the fixed rear glass, Mahindra could’ve installed a butterfly-style sliding mechanism for the windows which would’ve resulted in some added fresh air for rear occupants. But doing so would’ve also spoiled the neatness in the aesthetics. Some who wish to enjoy open-top motoring with the practicality of the hard roof intact, want the front section of the hardtop to blow and then fall in place to be secured by clamps when the weather isn’t pleasant.
Even after considering all the above though, there’s no denying the fact that the all-new Mahindra Thar is an extremely desirable vehicle and all they need to do is price it well for those converts to run to the dealerships on October 2nd. We’d be really happy if a proper SUV becomes the bestselling UV in India.