As part of our 21st Anniversary, we have created a special supplement celebrating the new Mahindra Thar. The celebration would, of course, be incomplete without ample references to its past, what it means to its fan club, the widespread opportunities for adventure it creates and, finally, just what goes into making it an icon. To read the full version, get your hands on the September 2020 issue of Autocar India. Meanwhile, here are a few key excerpts:
Mahindra Thar: The History
We retrace the foundation generously laid down by the Mahindra Thar’s predecessors, starting 71 years ago with the Willys CJ3-A, making it an icon in India’s tryst with automobiles. Having grown in stature from a trusty workhorse to a cult icon, the new Thar is the embodiment of how honest engineering principles and good design can remain eternally relevant. The Thar’s is a history lesson you just can’t miss.
Mahindra Thar: Design Philosophy
Stays true to its genes in the outdoors. Capable as ever, but now a lot easier to get along with as well
While minimalism is key to the Thar’s design language, a modern interpretation of its classical lines needed to be as traditionalist as it had to be arresting. The evolution of the Thar, therefore, had to be a ground-up exercise, shedding everything but the familiarity of its silhouette. It’s a daunting task, to improve upon a reverential design, but the results are out there for you to see.
Mahindra Thar: Versatility
Unlike any of its predecessors, the Thar feels perfectly at home in the city.
A huge challenge with the new Thar’s development direction was to evolve its audience perception, from that of an off-road focused machine to an inclusive, approachable everyday vehicle. Thus, while it was a fundamental prerequisite for the new Thar to be better off the road, it also had to deliver a premium and memorable cabin experience for each of its occupants. Sounds tough, but the Thar makes it look easy.
Mahindra Thar: The New Chassis
Since the all-new Thar was required to do a whole lot more than just mud-plug, it was decided to completely replace its underpinnings and go with a balanced modern approach. Thanks to the Gen-3 hydroformed chassis, the Thar now gets a coil-sprung, independent double-wishbone front and a coil-sprung, multi-link live axle at the rear. On the whole, the new Thar has certainly achieved what its brief had intended to and the result is a balance you will genuinely revel in, on the road, and off it.
Mahindra Thar: Cabin Design & Comfort
Modern but understated interior feels decently premium. Ergonomics on point.
As an off-roader that can also double up as an everyday vehicle, the Thar transitions seamlessly to even its future beholders from Generation Alpha. Let yourself into the Thar and you are greeted by a muscularly styled interior layout, all layered in a sinister black for the most part, with great fit and finish levels. The Thar does really well in terms of the ‘touch and feel’ experience although the visual execution can still be termed understated.
Split rear row is amply comfy; ingress a tad challenging and intruding wheel arches eat into room.
Mahindra Thar Engines - Petrol & Diesel
A significant revolution has taken place under the high bonnet of the Thar, in the form of two promising engines. You can finally own a Thar in petrol guise courtesy the 2.0-litre turbo-gasoline direct-injection (TGDI) mStallion petrol engine, while the diesel option continues in the form of a strong mHawk 2.2-litre common-rail diesel engine. You can have either engine option with either a 6-speed torque converter automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission from Aisin.
Mahindra Thar Off-road Ability
With a name like that and its impressive lineage, you wouldn’t expect anything less than spectacular performance from the Thar - and you get more of it than you could have asked for. Named after the enchanting Thar Desert that engulfs all of Rajasthan in its charismatic golden sands, the Thar has a lot to live up to and it delivers with ease. When you do engage 4H or 4L (high/low-ratio), the Thar digs its hooves deeper and displays admirable poise. The transfer case actuation is a fairly simple procedure, too, with the lever now offering a straightforward throw and being ergonomically positioned on the centre console.
Wider track, fatter rubber add to overall stability and manners
Mahindra Thar Customisation
The new Thar may have everything you could ever wish for right off the production line, but it still is an enjoyable canvas for you to paint your customisation fantasies on. With the new Thar, Mahindra will make available a wide range of personalisation options, catering to every niche, be it the road-biased owner, the off-road enthusiast or even just someone who wants to spruce up its visual appeal. Best of all, every accessory offered with the Thar will be homologated, which means you won’t be bending the rules or voiding your warranty.
Like an extra dose of adventure? Don’t just stop at buying a Thar, go wild with it! To help you with just that, Mahindra Adventure, the brand’s off-road and expedition initiative, has a staggering calendar of events with events for every kind of enthusiast. Whether you are a rookie or a toughened pro, Mahindra Adventure will let you push the limits of skill and physics, all in a fun, safe and impeccably-organised setup.
2020 Mahindra Thar review, test drive
2020 Mahindra Thar interior: Your questions answered
2020 Mahindra Thar image gallery