The second generation version of Mahindra’s no nonsense Thar has made its debut in India after an extensive spy shot spree of over two months.
Following the automaker’s recent banning of selling the Roxor in United States over disputes with Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) over its design being a direct copy of that of the Jeep Wrangler, a surprising outcome since Mahindra’s licence with FCA over the production of jeeps has remained intact since the 1940s, the new Thar takes this a step further by being more reminiscent of the previous generation JK Wrangler.
Unveiled over the weekend in order to celebrate India’s 75th independence anniversary, the Thar’s evolutionary design still includes the Wrangler’s trademark seven-slot grille, but the headlights with integrated daytime running LEDs are new as is the thicker front bumper, repositioned indicators and fog lamps.
As well as riding on a new platform, the biggest transformation to the Thar is its interior which has been modelled on that of the JK and with much less of a utilitarian feel and look than before. To this end, the Thar, for the first time, boasts a touchscreen infotainment system measuring seven-inches, complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Forming part of Mahindra’s decision to make the Thar more mainstream, two trim grades are offered; the LX whose features list includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a tyre pressure monitor, a hard-top or fabric roof, climate control, a water resistant multi-function steering wheel and Electronic Stability Control, and the AX that adds electric windows, dual front airbags as well as ABS, a reverse camera, a mechanical as opposed to an electronic locking differential, a fixed roof and standard side steps. Other features are keyless entry, rear seats, an optional a roll cage, a height adjustable driver’s seats, cruise control, Hill Descent Control and water resistant speakers.
Offering a wading depth of 650 mm, the Thar has a rated ground clearance of 226 mm, approach angle of 41.8 degree, departure of 36.8 degrees and breakover of 27 degrees, and, also for the first time, powered by a choice of two engines. Replacing the archaic 2.5-litre turbodiesel is a variant of the familiar 2.2 mHawk used in the Pik-up and Scorpio, tuned to produce 96kW/300Nm instead of 79kW/247Nm, while the petrol option comes in the form of the new 2.0 mStallion T-GDI that outputs 110kW/320Nm.
Transmission-wise, the previous five-speed manual has been dropped in favour of a six-speed ‘box on the former, with the option being a brand-new Aisin six-speed automatic that comes as standard on the petrol. As before, both are fitted with a low range transfer case.
Unlike the Wrangler, the Thar will only be available with two doors and in a choice of six exterior colours; Rocky Beige, Galaxy Grey, Mystic Copper, Napoli Black, Red Rage and Aquamarine. Going on sale next month in India, the new Thar’s arrival on South African shores has so far not yet been confirmed, but if approved, expect it to arrive possibly towards the end of this year.