The new-generation Mahindra Thar is finally all-set to go on sale in India today and it's one of those launches that we have been looking forward to ever since we saw its first spy pictures. It is completely revamped inside out and is bigger, bolder and looks even more rugged while at the same time feels more premium as well. It's pretty well loaded with creature comforts and is likely to have wider acceptance, especially with those who want an SUV to complement their active lifestyle. The 2020 Mahindra Thar will be offered in two variants- AX which is the base trim and LX which is the top-end trim. There are three body styles- a four-seater hard top, a six-seater soft-top and a convertible top with a collapsible soft-top mechanism that can be manually folded down in case you feel like enjoying the wind in your hair. Here's everything we know so far about the new Mahindra Thar.
Exterior & Platform
Mahindra is changing the image of the Thar brand by very aptly positioning it as a lifestyle product and its looks completely justify that. It looks a lot more desirable now and hasn't lost its butch and robust demeanour. It has built up on that front with its gigantic and bulbous dimensions and it sits 226 mm high from the ground. It is based on Mahindra's third-generation body-on-ladder platform which gives it a much wider track and a longer wheelbase making for a really solid stance. The boxy silhouette does keep the Thar DNA intact but it will remind you more of the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon than its predecessor, and is safer for pedestrians. That is quite a statement to make as it has taken a big leap in terms of premium appeal. The even finish of the body panels, the paint-job, sharp and clean shut lines, matte finish on the hard top, tinted glass, single-unit side steps or the fender cladding among others, quality of everything looks up by several notches.
Talking about the design itself, the subtly sloping hoodline falling onto the wide facade looks so well in place and the chunky bumper with silver skid plate add to its sturdiness. People may have different opinions on the grille but Mahindra is working on a more conventional grille that is likely to appeal to more buyers and public in general. Other elements like the fender mounted daytime running lights (DRLs) integrated with the turn indicators and the circular headlamps do relate a lot to the Wrangler. The profile does have slight resemblance of its predecessor but step towards its rear and the flat tail with centre mounted spare wheel and hexagonal elements like the LED taillights, overhang cladding and tight overhangs again look inspired from the Wrangler. Moreover, Mahindra has retained the massive squared wheel arches at the front and circular ones at the rear. The sizeable 18-inch black alloy-wheels shod in 255/65 section tyres with substantially tall side wall and enough rubber too do a good job in filling these wheel wells. The base variant of the Thar gets 16-inch steel rims.
The new Mahindra Thar is not only meant for hard-core off-road enthusiasts, but also offers pretty decent comfort for commuting and the interior plays a vital role in making it more user-friendly. The front seats are really well-bolstered and the ergonomics too is nearly on point with all controls within easy reach. Given the expected price tag, upwards of ₹ 12 lakh for the range topping LX trim, the plastic quality isn't exactly premium but is definitely up few notches making it feel quite upmarket compared to its predecessor. You get faux carbon-fibre finish around the air-con vents and a big update inside is that you can hardly see any exposed sheet metal, which gives the cabin a much better feel than the previous model. Even the doors are properly done, with bold and square-ish pads on them having the 'Thar' engraving. You get similar treatment in the foot wells as well. You also get to see some stylish elements like toggle switch controls, piano black finish on air-con vents and updated steering wheel with audio and telephony controls like you see on other new-age Mahindra models.
That said, the biggest update is the forward facing rear seats in the top of the line LX trim and as far as our first impressions go, the space at the rear is adequate for an adult with reasonable knee room and the seats too are well cushioned, have reclining backrest, get three-pointy seat belts and are accessible with a single touch on the front passenger seat. However, the ingress at the rear is tight and the wheel wells eat into the space, strictly restricting it to four passengers only. The roll cage in the cabin is exposed as these removable hard top panels are fixed above it. The floor rubber is washable so you are not much bothered of getting the mud in while off-roading and there are roof mounted speakers so that you don't harm them while washing the floor. The soft-top AX trim comes only with side facing bench at the rear and can sit seven.
We are actually discussing creature comforts while talking about a Thar is a big development in itself. Yes! The cabin has been reasonably upgraded in the features department as well and gets a touchscreen infotainment system for the very first time. It's a new 7.0-inch unit which has in-built navigation and smartphone integration like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It even shows stuff like articulation angle, tilt-angle, direction compass and water wadding depth while off-roading and has dedicated on road display as well. In fact, the screen can be customised as well to display exactly what you need from both set up- off-road and on-road and that's quite practical we must say. Other features include manual HVAC, power windows, two USB pots, one 12 V power socket, remote locking, central locking dual front airbags, rear parking sensors and speed alert system among others.
The Mahindra Thar is now offered with two engine options and for the first time a petrol engine and an automatic transmission as well. The 2.0-litre mStallion turbo petrol engine belts out 148 bhp and 320 Nm of peak torque. The diesel Thar is powered by the 2.2-litre mHawk BS6 engine that churns out 128 bhp and 320 Nm of peak torque. Both engines are paired with a six-speed manual transmission as standard while a six-speed torque converter automatic is also on offer.
The 2020 Mahindra Thar gets a mechanical 4x4 transfer case as standard with four-wheel low, four-wheel high and two-wheel drive modes and has a low crawl ration of 42:1 which can multiply the low end torque by 2.48 times. It is equipped with an independent suspension at the front while the rear gets a multi-link unit. The rear axle comes with a mechanical locking differential as well and the electronic stability program (ESP) helps shift traction to the right wheel, precisely when needed. It has a water wading ability of 650 mm with and as already mentioned, an unladen ground clearance of 226 mm, which will differ in the variants equipped with 16-inch wheels. The approach angle of 42 degrees, ramp-over angle of 27 degrees and a departure angle of 37 degrees should be reassuring to take on steep obstacles.