So we had our brief encounter with the All New Mahindra Thar at the Special Independence Day Drive when it was unveiled. Now we have spent a good lot of time behind the wheels of the 2020 Thar to get you our detailed on and off road review of what could easily become the benchmark in its class, oh but then the All New Thar does not have any competition. Read our experience with the brute yet very loveable true blue SUV.
Food for thought
2010 saw the 1st generation of the Thar that was based on the legendary MM540. The SUV since it’s launch has gone on to become a cult in its own way with enthusiasts across the country and beyond. Now in its latest incarnation the Thar enters its 2nd generation. Mahindra is into the SUV building business since ages and they know it well. Apart from the legendary MM540 the Thar also owes its lineage to the Classic, Armada, Bolero to a large extent in terms of its no nonsense and go anywhere attitude.
First look at the All New Thar and trust me you cant look elsewhere or miss it. It oozes tons of road presence, had loads of dominating stance and instantly grows on you. If you compare it to the older Thar there is not much similarity. The overall appearance is boxy, wide, tall and over powering. The Thar now stands at 3985mm in length, has a width of 1855mm and a overall height of 1844mm (hard top) with a wheelbase that of 2450mm. The overall wheelbase stands at a mammoth 226mm.
The New Thar gets a wide rectangular grille with black surrounds and six vertical slats defining it. The typical classic Jeep style front end is further highlighted with round halogen powered headlamps placed slightly into the body line. The other neat highlight on the face is the rectangular shaped white DRL cum turn lamps on the extended styled fenders that jet out of the bodyline completing the rugged SUV look. The front bumper is in dual tone shade finished in silver and black. The front bumper extends itself way ahead making a platform to place a winch if needed, also it be noted here is that this bumper can take good amount of load on it and I tried just that by literally standing on it. There also is a big bold THAR branding on the winch platform. Going lower you have the large round halogen powered fog lamps placed on the extreme corners. The bonnet is flat and large with some character lines on it that define it. The Mahindra logo in chrome sits proudly in the middle of the grille. The bonnet also gets these retro looking lock holders in black on the corners. If you bend down a bit you can also see the large skid plate placed, this is an all practical plate that can withstand some good abuse emitted to it.
On the sides you instantly notice the large 18 inch dark silver alloys mounted on Ceat Czar All terrain tubeless tyres along with large fenders and the wide metal heavy duty step board. The front wheel arch is squareish while the rear one is rounded. Both of them getting nice chunky fiber cladding. The wing mirrors are door mounted and XXL in size which also gets Thar branding on its housing. Door handles are lift type and come in unpainted black fiber finish. The right fender gets Thar branding while the left fender gets the specific engine branding if it’s a Diesel then MHawk 130 and if it’s the Petrol then MStallion 150 TGDi badge in chrome with a radio antenna. The windshield is placed at a upright angle and is slim in height but wide in length giving that typical SUV feel. The LX Thar that we drove comes with a fiber hard roof top that can be fully or partly removed if and when needed you also have the option of the retractable soft top version on the AX trim. And yes the doors on all the trims can be got off when needed.
The rear end on this brute looking SUV is mainly dominated by the huge rectangular LED tail lamps with Thar badging one them that would surely go on to become iconic with time. The spare wheel mounted on the back door comes with full sized tyre and alloys that looks imposing here. The rear windshield is openable upwards supported with gas shocks once you pull open the rear door. The rear bumpers like the front bumpers are imposing. The Thar from the outside looks very muscular, very chunky, very desirable and extremely high on fit and finish. The paint quality on the body panels are of top quality and so are the body color options.
For getting into the Thar you have to climb on to the step board first due to its real SUV height. Once inside you instantly notice the typical flat SUV like dashboard in all black and the upright front wide windshield. You also get a grab handle placed here for the front passenger the round AC vents come with faux carbon fiber surrounds and glossy black inserts. The centre dash gets a 7 inch touch-screen infotainment unit that is also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This highly customizable display unit can read out a wide range of vital readings of the SUV which also includes a unique adventure statistics display. You can see vital off road statistics like vehicle incline angle, 4WD status, tyre turn angle, engine temperature, G-Force, engine torque reading, speedo reading etc. This mode can be further customized and also shared on the social media if and when needed.
The Thar gets Bluetooth audio connectivity and also gets AUX, USB ports. You get speakers placed in the dash and also in the roof area rather uniquely. The sound quality played through them is excellent and due to them being roof mounted the overall fell is very different and very immersive surround like.
The Thar gets a single zone climate control that was extra cooling and powerful even at the first fan speed setting. You don’t need AC vents for the rear passengers at all as the main unit is more than enough. The instrument cluster comes with easy to read dials and also a tft display placed in the middle again reading out lots of information at all times of the drive. You are welcomes with a neat looking Thar graphics in color when you switch on the car. The steering is a three spoke design with metal aluminum inserts and neatly laid out multi function buttons on it. This steering is manually adjustable for height. The cabin is ip54 rated for dust and water resistance and the cabin can be literally washed using a hose pipe with the water drained out from the provided drain points on the floor. There are neatly laid out Thar branding on the door panels, windshield, rear windshield etc.
The seats get all black upholstery in leatherette and fabric while the driver’s seat gets height adjusts as well. Lumber support is available on both the front seats. These seats also get the Thar branding on them. The front seats offer extra padding probably keeping off roading in mind. Getting in the rear is not as difficult as it might seem, just tumble the front passenger seat over slide it ahead and you are in. Rear seats come with adjustable headrests too and can be also individually adjusted for back rest angle.
The entire cabin of the Thar feels very roomy and spacious. The rear passengers get loads of legroom and knee room. The wheel well does intrude into the rear foot area hence the rear seating is strictly for two. The large glass area on the front windows, front and rear windshields and the fixed glass enhance the overall airy feel inside the all black sporty cabin area.
You get storage bins, bottle holders etc placed in the door pad and center console adding to the overall convenience factor. Speaking of storage the Thar gets its boot area that is pretty ok but then this SUV was never meant to be a luggage carrier. You can still fold sown the rear seats to extend the boot area if needed.
The entire cabin area including the seats etc can be washed with a hose pipe, the water gets out from the drain plugs that can be opened after some muddy outing. The cabin feels very well appointed with acres of space spread all across the cabin area, materials used is of good quality and the fit-finish level is also very good. The comfort level inside the New Thar is at par to any other car or Mini SUV of todays age.
Engine – Transmission – Drive
Powering the Thar are the two engine options, you have the 2.2L BS-6 Turbo Diesel mHawk 130 unit that makes 130hp and 300Nm of torque. For petrol lovers you have the 2.0L BS-6 mStallion 150 motor that has 150hp of power and 320Nm of torque. Both the engine have been developed in house in India by Mahindra. Transmission options to go with these engines include a 6-speed manual and also a 6-speed Torque Converter Automatic.
We drove the Diesel Manual during our drive and the overall feel is very positive. The Thar now feels very nicely engineered; this engine is immensely refined with just the right power delivery available across the powerband. The suspension is also very well laid out and we glided over some huge Mumbai potholes even without feeling them. The Cabin is well insulated and you have a immensely dominating view from the driver’s seat, you feel invincible. After driving this one the older Thar seems just obsolete and out of time. You can easily compare this new Thar to probably any SUV in its class or even above it in terms of drive quality, drive feel, convenience and refinement. While the older Thar was mostly for off roading and weekend drives our of the city you can drive this latest SUV for your daily commutes very conveniently and comfortable. The suspension setup is surprisingly very very well tuned for the tarmac too.
Coming to the off-road drive department it is here that the Thar always feels very much home and the New Thar just takes its off road capabilities to the next level. For the records the off-roading gadgetry the All New Thar includes 4W Drive With 4-High And 4-Low Range, Electromechanical Driveline Disconnect (Front Axle), Mechanical Locking Rear Differential (MLD), Brake Locking Differential (BLD) On Front and Rear Axle to name a few. The New Thar has a water wading ability of 650mm and a ground clearance of 226mm with the 18 inch wheels. The SUV is rated with an approach angle of 41.8˚ and 36.8˚as it’s Departure Angle it also has 27˚ Break Over Angles With R18 Wheel And Tyre Combination.
In simple words the All New Thar can glide over rocks, drive across streams and rivers, cross wet muddy terrain and conquer any off road terrain that you can imagine of. We experienced just that with our off road spin that the New Thar was ever responsive and took every terrain that we put it in with a smile and just crossed them with extra ease. Yes I had a big wide smile permanently planted on my face while I happily, confidently and boldly took the Thar across the terrain with ease. The basic design of the Thar and its engineering makes it a champion off roader. The 4WD comes to the rescue if and when needed perfectly balanced with the engine power, tyres supporting it and the overall character of the SUV that is built to provide you with loads of pleasure for a long time.
In terms of safety features the All New Thar now comes loaded with all the latest safety features that include dual airbags, 3 point seat belts, crash safety complaint structure, ESP with roll over mitigation, Hill hold control, hill descent control, ISOFIX child seats anchors, Tyre pressure monitor etc.
What we missed
Well to be just to the New Thar, it is a complete revelation as compared to the older generation. Still if we have to do some nit picking on what we missed well the biggest feature would be the absence of auto open of the fuel filler cap, you have to either step out yourself or shut the engine off and give the fuel station guy the key to open the filler lid manually using the key lock. The other thing that we missed was the rear wiper tho the glass gets a very powerful defogger that removes the mist instantly. Also would have loved to have the rear view camera along with the rear parking sensor that the Thar comes with but then we very much Love the New Thar just the way it is.
They say it is difficult to better something that is already good but The All New Mahindra Thar has just done that and done that very well. The Thar is now more capable, it gets a lot practical for usage even as your daily vehicle. The Thar has gotten premium, more tech loaded, has all the desired safety levels, looks damn good, drives like a dream, gets good engine and transmission options and a lot more. If you ask me the All New Thar would be topping my list of most desired cars currently and I would buy it if given a chance.
Words – Ritesh Madhok
Photography & Video – Govind Gadekar