One of the USPs of the Mahindra Thar is the fact that it’s the only lifestyle vehicle in the mass-market passenger car space in India. The first-generation model served its role perfectly, and with a lot of charisma too. Living with it, though, was another story. The second-generation Thar is a quantum leap over the previous model, as almost everything about it – from the chassis and body to front and rear suspension to its petrol engine and automatic gearboxes – is new.
For the first time, the Thar comes with a hardtop roof from the factory, while soft-top versions are also on offer. The interior of the new Thar is a huge step up as well, with a new dashboard, seats, and equipment, which even include a touchscreen infotainment system. The rear seats are now forward-facing and are available in higher-end variants. What’s more, now you also get convenience features, such as remote central locking and power windows.
And, for the first time, there are even automatic-transmission equipped variants on sale. All variants feature four-wheel drive as standard.
All of this makes the Thar more practical and comfortable than ever before. The vehicle we tested was the diesel manual model, which is perfect for off-roading. The BS6 spec powertrain feels excellent in terms of refinement. Although, things like the long-throw manual gearbox, lack of a dead pedal, and other ergonomics do leave room for improvement.
The Thar has quite an imposing appeal and an excellent road presence – while driving it, you’ll often find people turning around for a second glance. However, its off-road spec suspension results in a bumpy ride. Of course, the Thar doesn’t belong on a racetrack, which is why it turned out to be the slowest on the track – but that’s not at all surprising. But, given the off-road credibility of Mahindra vehicles, like the 4WD Scorpio and previous Thar, there’s no doubt that the new Thar, too, will be excellent off-road. Whatever little bit of rugged terrain we showed it was dispatched without so much as a second glance.
While off-road buyers will surely accept the new Thar, its wider powertrain options and convenient nature will also help bring it even more lifestyle buyers! And, more than ever before, it’s got X-Factor in spades. This is a vehicle that you simply want, even if you have no real need for it. Why, then, didn’t it make it into our top-ten? Well, if you take the price of the new Thar into account, the competition simply offers far more refinement, on-road performance, features and quality than the Thar. But, that’s not what you’re buying the Thar for – because this is a machine that you buy with your heart. And there’s simply no arguing with that…