Mahindra recently teased the Thar EV concept, which will see a global debut on August 15 in South Africa. Officially known as the Thar.e, the design is a radical departure from the evolved CJ-like look of the current Thar. This is significant for two reasons – the fresh design allows Mahindra to future-proof the Thar brand and keep it current; and what’s equally important is that Mahindra will now be able to export its offroader to the other parts of the world, without legislators in certain markets squinting their eyes and seeing something else.
Mahindra Thar.e concept: the new look, clean-cut elements
Though teaser images of the new Thar.e reveal only bits of the car, look close and you can see a lot more. Initially, your attention is drawn to the square headlight at the upper right of the frame. To its left, the low-angle shot reveals a rectangular black grille with the words ‘THAR.e’ emblazoned across; note that the letters for THAR are now in a new ‘modern’ font. And what you can also see clearly, protruding out lower down, is part of a black bumper. Not sure how pedestrian safety has been taken care of.
Once you see the headlight, grille and bumper as a single unit, it is not difficult to imagine what the face of the new Thar.e looks like. Whereas the current Thar still has an upright grille and fenders that pop out, the Thar.e is a clean break, with nothing apparently carried over. What also makes it stand out is that the skinning is clean and the surface is made up of ‘flat’ panels’ with neatly defined edges – the fresh but friendly look not too dissimilar to that seen on the Honda E. But where the Honda has a rounded form, the Thar.e has flat sections.
Mahindra Thar.e concept: fresh details
The Thar.e is also full of interesting details. The square and sectioned LED headlight has been provided with some visual depth, the chamfered section between the bonnet and fender (top right) adds some muscle, and then the Thar.e even has some sort of hook or towing eye in red. One thing’s for sure, Mahindra designers must be complimented for arriving at the hard-to-attain simplicity the design exudes. The design even manages to offer some rugged appeal, despite clearly conveying a high-tech impression.
There’s still a lot to see on the Thar.e – such as whether the wheel arches will be squared or rounded – and while we still haven’t seen stuff like proportions and volumes, the first clean sheet design of a traditional Mahindra nameplate under ex-Tata Motors’ designer Pratap Bose’s watch seems to be off to a great start. The best bit, Mahindra will have the freedom to sell it wherever it likes. Can’t wait to see the whole Thar.e concept on Independence Day.