LAST MONTH WE BROUGHT YOU our first-drive impressions of the new Mahindra that after spending a day with the new SUV on the highway and on the mean streets of Mumbai. this month we bring you a more comprehensive review after spending even more time with Mahindra’s latest, and seeing if it lives up to expectations when heading off the beaten track.
The year 2010 saw Mahindra returning to their off-road roots with the introduction of the original that. the Thar filled the void left after the discontinuation of the mm540 and mm550, descendants of the CL340 “Classic”, which, in turn, was derived from the willys CJ3a Jeep that Mahindra were licensed to build and sell in India back in 1949. although Mahindra were clearly focused on more road-friendly SUVs during the early 2000s, the Thar gave off-road enthusiasts something to cheer about, while bringing back the iconic design form and bare-bones, three-door SUV layout that we have known since childhood.
Although there have been a few updates over the past decade, 2020 is the first complete re-imagination of this model since its introduction. while the outgoing version featured excellent off-road capabilities, it wasn’t really known for comfort and on-road manners; the new that aims to change this. the 2020 version of India’s favourite off-roader gets a new look, modern features, powerful engine options, and a host of creature comforts never before seen in this class of vehicle.
The design is an evolution of the traditional form that we have known for decades, but has now been updated to take on the 21st century, taking modern design sensibilities and pedestrian safety norms into consideration. the front bumper is meatier, the bonnet isn’t as flat as it used to be, and the a-pillars and windscreen now slope back a bit more than before. while the outgoing Thar continued to sport the legendary seven-slot grille inherited from Mahindra's days building Willy's Jeeps, this grille design hasn’t been carried forward as it is now a registered Jeep trademark. the grille on the new Thar is now smaller with a few horizontal slats, thus differentiating it from the Jeep grille. this should keep Fiat Chrysler automobiles (FCA), owners of the Jeep brand, from raising any objections.
Moving over to the side, the doors aren’t as slab-sided as before, although it’s nice to see that the squarish windows, external door-hinges, squared-off front wheel-arches, and rounded rear wheel arches have been retained, and with them the Thar’s butch, no-nonsense profile. the wheel-arches get filled up by 255-section Ceat rubber on attractive 18inch alloys, while the rear gets a modern touch with the spare wheel mounted dead-center on the tailgate and those classy LeD tail-lamps sporting the Thar logo.
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