After scores of spy photos and a seemingly endless wait, the all-new Mahindra Thar has finally been revealed in full. It’s no coincidence Mahindra chose India’s 74th Independence Day to unveil its next-gen off-roader, as it wants its new 4x4 to be viewed as an icon of freedom.
- New Mahindra Thar retains familiar silhouette
- Debut of brand new turbo-petrol and diesel engines
- Gets an automatic transmission for the first time
With the new-gen Thar, Mahindra is looking to further the legacy of the off-roader, which traces its roots all the way back to the CJ3A that emerged in 1949. Over the years, the baton was passed on to the CJ3B, then the MM540, the Classic, Major and Legend, before the Thar arrived on the scene in 2010. A full decade later, the second-generation Mahindra Thar is here.
What are the highlights of the new Mahindra Thar?
As a concerted decision by the design team, new Mahindra Thar retains the recognisable shape of its predecessor, itself a throwback to Mahindra's classic 4x4s, along with its signature design cues – circular headlights, a seven-slot grille, chunky wheels and boxy tail-lights – all upgraded to look suitably modern.
Given their shared heritage, it was inevitable that the Thar would resemble the Jeep Wrangler and its overall proportions are similar. Interestingly though, it’s clear to see that Mahindra has worked hard on the grille design, as Ramkripa Ananthan, head of Design at Mahindra said, “The grille was a tough choice”. The Thar grille is a seven-slot design, like Jeep's, but the big difference is that, on the Thar, the grille is an insert into the front cowl, rather than the cowl itself having the slots integrated, as on the Wrangler.
Another important thing to know is that the 2020 Mahindra Thar is built on a new ladder-frame chassis and also has all-new suspension, including the dramatic shift from a rigid, non-independent leaf-spring rear suspension to a multi-link setup, which should do wonders for ride quality. There will be six colours to choose from - Red Rage, Mystic Copper, Napoli Black, Aquamarine, Galaxy Grey and Rocky Beige.
What about the new Mahindra Thar’s interior?
Mahindra has previously stated its desire to make the new Thar more of a mainstream vehicle without compromising on its off-road abilities, and to that effect, has added more creature comforts to the new-gen 4x4. A 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, roof-mounted weather-resistant speakers, a colour multi-info display for the instrument cluster, steering-mounted controls and cruise control will be part of the package.
There’s a forward-facing rear bench seat with a 50:50 split folding function, and the new Thar can be had with a factory-fitted hard top or an optional soft-top. Safety kit will include dual airbags, ABS with EBD, Isofix child seat mounts, hill-start and descent assist, ESP with roll-over mitigation and three-point seatbelts for four passengers.
What about the new Mahindra Thar’s engine and gearbox options?
While the original Thar was on offer only in diesel-manual configuration, the new Mahindra Thar will come with multiple engine and gearbox options, including a petrol engine and a choice of an automatic gearbox for the first time. The Thar debuts a new 152hp, 320Nm, 2.0-litre 'mStallion' petrol engine that gets a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard and also the option of a 6-speed automatic.
The new Thar’s diesel engine is a 132hp, 300Nm, 2.2-litre mHawk unit, which will be available with a 6-speed manual gearbox as well an Aisin-sourced 6-speed torque converter automatic.
A part-time four-wheel-drive system will, of course, come as standard with both, the petrol and the diesel versions, as will a manual-shift trasfer case. Mahindra claims an unladen ground clearance of 226mm, a maximum water-wading depth of 650mm, and approach, ramp-over and departure angles of 42 degrees, 27 degrees and 37 degrees, respectively. This bodes well for its off-roading capabilities.
When will the new Mahindra Thar’s India launch take place?
After its reveal today, the new Mahindra Thar will launch on October 2, 2020. It will face competition from the new Force Gurkha, which is also expected to arrive in the coming months.
There will be two versions of the new Thar that will go on sale - AX and LX. The Thar AX is geared towards serious off-road enthusiasts and offers the basics, like a fixed soft top, side-facing rear seats as standard, 16-inch white steel wheels, a mechanical locking diff, power windows, power steering, a manual air-con, central locking and rear parking sensors. The 2020 Thar AX will get both engine options, but will only be available with a manual gearbox.
The Thar LX targets more lifestyle-oriented buyers with more creature comforts. You get the choice of a convertible or hard top, the 4-seat layout with a front-facing bench is standard, you get dual-tone bumpers, 18-inch alloy wheels shod with 255/65 R18 all-terrain tyres, LED DRLs and fog lamps, an eight-way adjustable driver's seat, the 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a tyre pressure monitoring system, and ESP. This version will come in petrol-auto, diesel-manual and diesel-automatic form.
Our review of the new Mahindra Thar will go live tonight at 9pm, so make sure you check back for our first impressions!
What do you think of the new Mahindra Thar? Let us know in the comments.