2020 Mahindra Thar Brief Drive Review: Strength, Flaws and Changes

The all-new Mahindra Thar has finally made its India debut today, on Independence Day. The iconic off-roader is not only bigger & better than before but also has some modern features up its sleeve. We recently spent some quality time with the new Thar and here is what we think about it!

By:Updated: Aug 16, 2020 2:14 PM

Over the last few months, the internet has been flooded by spy pics of the all-new Mahindra Thar, which was finally unveiled today. Fortunately, we also got a chance to drive the new Thar briefly as part of the Mahindra Freedom Drive to celebrate our Independence Day. While this is not a detailed review, we will tell you about the key changes in the new Mahindra Thar and also about the pros & cons of the new version.

All-New Mahindra Thar Design

Now this is the part I like the most about the new Mahindra Thar because it looks absolutely amazing. The Thar is based on a new platform and is longer, wider and in general considerably larger than the earlier Thar. Also, if you find it similar to one of the much expensive Jeep models then you aren’t wrong and that’s a good thing because the Thar will cost a fraction of the SUV it looks like. The familiar Thar grille and round headlamps have been retained but with some updates that along with a wider body give the Thar a beefy look. New bits that give it a modern look include LED DRLs and neatly housed fog lamps.

The flared wheel arches and the 18-inch wheels with 265 section rubber lend the Thar with a commanding road presence and the old-school boxy yet simple design from the hood to the rear ensure the Thar will turn heads all around. The rear is simple and the tailgate-mounted spare wheel along with good-looking tail lamps is sure to leave onlookers impressed as they see the Thar drive away.

All-New Mahindra Thar Interior, Cabin & Features

If you’re someone who’s familiar with the interiors of the older Thar the new Thar is bound to shock you in a good way. Gone are the days of basic and bare-bones interiors as the new Thar features a modern cabin. The centre of attraction is the touchscreen infotainment system but more on that later in our detailed review. The new centre console now looks modern and houses manual AC controls and two USB sockets and an AUX-in along with a charging socket. The new multi-function steering wheel has audio, Bluetooth and Cruise control buttons and feels good to use with its chunky design.

The new instrument cluster sports analogue Tacho and speedometer flanking a digital Multi-Information Display. Simple and effective! Space for front occupants in much better than the older Thar and the door pockets can easily carry a water bottle and some small items. The bucket seats are a big improvement over the previous Thar and now offer better support and cushioning.

Now on to the things that could have been better. The rear seats are strictly for two people but do not offer commendable comfort as not only are the seats small but getting to them and getting out is quite a task. That said, who buys a Thar to ferry people or for family usage, right? Also, the interior lighting is inadequate for an all-black cabin and feels like a candle in a dark room. Power window buttons are oddly placed where one would expect the driver armrest to be, which by the way isn’t there.

The tailgate gives access to a space that is termed the boot and can at best accommodate a few small bags only. So if you’re planning to drive down your wife to her home for a few days the Thar isn’t the right vehicle as she’ll be back quite soon.

All-New Mahindra Thar Engine, Gearbox & Ride Quality

The new Mahindra Thar will sport both petrol and diesel engines but it’s the diesel one that we got to drive. The 2.2 L mHawk engine develops 130 hp and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. There’s a low-range transfer case also for the times when the going gets rough and tough. Get in the driver’s seat and people familiar with the older Thar will instantly be glad to see that the skewed pedals have finally been rectified. Crank the engine and it’s quickly evident that Mahindra has done a good job in the NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) department with little vibrations creeping inside the cabin.

The clutch is also quite light so driving the Thar despite the larger dimensions should be an easy task. On the go, the engine feels much smoother than the older model and has enough punch to keep drivers happy. The gearbox also offers easy throws and is well-paired to the engine resulting in good drivability. With only a few kilometres of driving, we weren’t able to get any data but I can assure you that reaching an off-road location is going to be quicker and more interesting now. As for off-road performance, we’ll tell you later as we drove on the tarmac only today.

Ride quality has improved in leaps and bounds on the new Thar and it tackled potholes and rumble strips much better than the earlier model. This means that if you do plan to go out on an adventure trip the drive is no longer going to shatter your spine and hips anymore.

Conclusion

The new Mahindra Thar is a massive improvement over the earlier version and checks most boxes for a modern buyer looking for a lifestyle vehicle with serious off-road capabilities. The attention-grabbing design and a modern and comfortable cabin along with improved ride quality will please all potential buyers. The powerful and refined powertrain was much needed and delivers well on expectations so the engineers have done a good job in all departments. As for the price, Mahindra will launch the vehicle on 2nd October and that is when we’ll get to know the price.

We expect the new Thar to start at a retail price of about Rs 10 lakh and if Mahindra can competitively price the entire range then the Thar is surely bound to be a winner not only for enthusiasts but in the sales book also. There is nothing else in the market that can deliver like the Thar in this price range and quite frankly no SUV even comes to looking as cool as the new Mahindra Thar does!

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