The Mahindra Thar has been around since 2010, and there's no doubt the car had a cult following – despite being crude and limited in its appeal. Now a new one has arrived, and we have put it through its paces. It very obviously surpasses the old car in numerous ways. The new car becomes plusher, more practical and more universal, and yes, comparing it to the old one is something all of you were looking forward to. So, here it is.
Think of the old Thar as John Rambo! Raw, brutal and with an almost overwhelming amount of machismo. He took on all problems via the old-fashioned blood and guts route. In comparison, the new Thar is like Captain America. Sophisticated, uses modern technology but still as lethal and effective as Rambo. Captain America dresses better too, so does the new Thar!
There are nice touches like the ‘Thar' name embossed into the mirror. You've got the mHawk badging and this particular car has 18-inch wheels which tells you it's on the LX trim. But you can see that the similarities are quite a few in terms of looks. There's no doubt that this car has been inspired by all the heritage that resides in the previous gen. But there are changes like the raised hood, for pedestrians crash safety. The wheelbase is much tighter too. You still have the exposed hinges and some elements that have been carried over and those big fenders, all the cladding and of course all the really wide bumpers add to the stance.
But put the old and the new beside each other and you get to see the evolution. The new Thar retains the boxy silhouette but the front grille is extremely different. That's a whole separate conversation. But the retro round headlamps, the Mahindra Badge moves down, as against on top in the previous generation. But on the whole, you'll know straight away that this is a new Thar and the good part is that it's very recognizable as a Thar. It's the finish; it's the metal work. You can straight away tell that in terms of quality, Mahindra has taken it up a notch.
The big difference besides styling is the interior. We will get to that. And then there's the addition of a petrol too for the first time. And what's more, automatic options on both fuel types. The 2.2 diesel is the mHawk and that means you know it from before. It gives 130 bhp and 300 Nm of torque. The petrol side of things is the new mStallion range. A 2-litre GDI I was talking about earlier, that gives you a little bit more power, gives you actually 150 bhp and 320 Nm of torque. Both have the option of 6-speed manual or automatic.
The old Thar used to have just the 2.5-litre diesel with a 5-Speed manual gearbox. It had tonnes of grunt, yes! But no refinement! And that's where the two models yet again, are as different as can be. Mahindra has also appealed to a variety of potential buyers with the new car by offering rugged and lifestyle versions of it. The new Thar will have two variants LX and AX. The AX or adventure series is for the purists, with 16-inch wheels, side-facing benches at the rear and will sport a little less equipment. The LX or the lifestyle series gets more features, front-facing seats at the rear and optional 18-inch alloys. You can choose between a hardtop, a soft-top or a convertible roof with removable panels. In comparison, the old Thar had just side-facing bench seats at the rear, a soft-top only, and was on sale in just a single variant.
Now the cabin on the new Thar feels a lot better in terms of refinement and materials used. There is a 7-inch touchscreen that displays adventure stats and has modern smartphone connectivity too. The top-spec models get a part digital multi-information display and steering mounted controls too. The speakers in the car are mounted on the roof, so that it is safe from water and dust, in case you want to really go into the wild! All this is a huge step up from the spartan and crude interior of the old model that had a 2-din audio system, bad seats and tough plastics.
So many people loved the idea of buying the old Thar, but never did, because it was impractical for daily usage, not family friendly and quite tacky on the inside. The new gen model attempts to change all that! So the new Thar is a massive leap and finally becomes the car that many had always wanted the Thar to be.