Mahindra’s next-gen Thar has been caught testing on the outskirts of Chennai. The grounds-up new design includes new body panels, front and rear bumpers and an all-new soft-top. The test car looks much wider and has a broader stance when compared to the outgoing Mahindra Thar. And what makes it look wider still is the fact that M&M designers have chosen to go with prominent wheel arches. The body panels and fit and finish of the test model look much better and the model seems to be quite close to production. An interesting point to note is that Mahindra insiders say that they could alter the design of the nose, if it is deemed to be too close to the Jeep Wrangler’s front-end.
Interior shots of the test car also confirm that the cabin of the next-gen Thar will be less utilitarian and more comfort oriented. The all-black dashboard has the provision for a large touchscreen or a 2-Din music system, set at dead centre. Two large, round AC vents take position right below it, with the controls for HVAC placed below them. The instrument cluster looks all new and has two large dials for speedometer and tachometer, along with a decent-sized multi-info display placed between them. The test mule’s steering looks similar to the one on the TUV300, including the steering-mounted audio controls, and quality levels inside the cabin look similar too.
The pictures also show that the four-wheel-drive and low-range selector is still manually operated. A padded shelf above the glovebox can be used to store various odds and ends safely. There are also two cup holders ahead of the gear lever and, as the central console runs all the way between the front seats, expect there to be stowage available in this bit as well. Even the seats are nicely bolstered, so they can hold you better in off-road conditions. Mahindra also seems to be taking feedback from owners seriously; the insides are wired with multiple microphones, which indicates the new Thar could be much more silent and refined on the move. This will increase the appeal of the vehicle tremendously.
What Mahindra seems to have kept unaltered are the bench-type seats at the rear.
As reported earlier, the new Thar will sit on M&M’s Gen3 chassis that is derived from newer Mahindra models like the Scorpio and TUV300, and will feature front suspension that’s more suited for road use as it has less suspension travel. It will also feature a wider track than the outgoing model and will not come with an independent rear suspension. Unlike the outgoing model, the next-gen Thar will comply with crash test norms and get at least a driver airbag, rear parking sensors and speed warning.
Under the hood, Mahindra will use its all-new, BS-VI-compliant, 2.0-litre diesel engine that is likely to churn out 140hp. Expect more details on the Thar to surface closer to launch, which is set to take place only next year.