The new Mahindra Thar is a hot-seller; here’s why

Ever since Mahindra launched the latest-generation Thar, it has had customers end up putting up with waiting periods for months together and that only goes to show good a product it is. The Thar has definitely evolved, making it so much more desirable than it once was. The question is, can you have a Thar as a daily-driver, and now that it comes with a petrol engine and an automatic transmission, does it make more sense buying one?

Thar’s hammer

The Mahindra Thar has the looks to turn heads, and it most definitely has the presence of an SUV. The new Mahindra Thar is not only longer but wider as well; it also sits a bit lower to the ground and is far more proportionate and modern compared to the Mahindra Thar it replaces. You can’t mistake this ‘jeep’ for anything other than, maybe, a Wrangler. The Thar apes the Wrangler in a lot of ways, but still looks quite different. The front grille has been styled differently in order for Jeep not to have any issues with its seven-slat signature grille. The Thar also gets exposed side steps, bonnet clips and door hinges, all giving it a very raw and rugged appeal. It comes fitted with huge, 18-inch wheels wrapped by all-terrain rubber, plus a full-sized tyre mounted at the rear. At the rear, it sports very simple looking LED tail lights. Customers have three roof options to choose from: a convertible soft-top, a hard-top and a fixed soft-top. If we had to put the old Thar right next to the new one, it would be easy to compare cars and find the new one looking a lot bolder.

Basic, but built to last

The interior has a lot of familiar bits, and the finish of plastics has improved by leaps and bounds. However, the design is quite basic; nothing too modern about it. The exposed screws are left there on purpose, hinting at its utilitarian appeal. There’s a chassis plate on the dashboard as well. When you’re seated inside the Thar, you get to look over most vehicles; you feel like you’re leading on the road. You get a wonderful view from the driver’s seat; the pillars don’t create blind spots and the ORVMs are nice and huge. Rear visibility isn’t good because of the spare wheel and the rear headrests. However, you do have parking sensors. The seats at the front are sized to fit average-sized adults, but thigh support could’ve been better. Getting into the cabin requires you to climb up a little and access to the third row isn’t comfortable at all. However, once you’re seated behind, it’s nice and comfy with decent headroom and legroom. The width of the back seat is enough for two passengers and the backrest can be reclined.

Petrol and diesel muscle, both

The second-generation model is powered by a 2.2-litre mHawk diesel engine producing 128bhp and 300Nm of torque. The refinement of the engine is what impressed us and diesel clatter seems well contained even when you push the engine to its limit. It doesn’t get particularly vocal and this is something buyers are going to consider when buying their Thar. The responsive motor picks up pace from a standstill in a linear fashion. The motor feels effortless in nature and the engine picks up momentum without a fuss. Low-speed drivability feels best off the road, plus it has a strong mid-range as well, making overtaking on highways a breeze. Anything beyond 3800rpm and the motor starts to run out of steam. The 6-speed manual gearbox shifts smoothly and the clutch being light, makes it easy to drive in the city. It also comes with a new 2.0-litre, turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine, developing 147bhp and 320Nm of torque. We found the petrol engine to be the better of the two as it is stronger and smoother. The Mahindra Thar has no direct rivals to compare cars with.

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