Mahindra’s hard core legendary off roader, the Thar, just got an upgrade in various areas. We got to experience this machine at Mahindra’s off-roading track at Igatpuri, near Nasik and came back pretty impressed.
In a country like India, there are very limited affordable options for off-roading enthusiasts, who are willing to go great lengths for an adventure. Mahindra has recognized this genre and has been working around it for many years now, with their ‘Great Escape’ property. The Thar has already created a huge fan base since its launch in 2010 and is the evolved version of the CL340 and the MM 540. It is the most favoured recreational 4×4 vehicle for enthusiasts, however, there were few areas where the vehicle lacked appeal, mainly in the interiors.
The new Thar has addressed those areas and now comes with several upgrades. The exteriors have now been enhanced to give a more contemporary look. New front and rear bumpers, new wheel arches, new side footsteps, a redesigned canopy and clear lens headlamps. The interiors have been spruced up like never before with new seats, dual tone dashboard, 3-pod instrument cluster, new AC vents, windshield demister, new steering wheel and gear knob, new door trims, new floor console with cup holders, lockable glove box and a 12V charging point.
The new Thar CRDe seems like a better proposition with a feature like rear differential lock which further enhances its off-roading capabilities. The Thar now looks more aggressive. I like the branding on the front bumper and also on the dashboard centre console. The new upgraded interiors do impart a much better feeling inside. The quality of interiors and the fit-finish have been improved remarkably. There are enough cubby holes to hold cans or water bottles or any other stuff that one might wanna place. The seats are not great but pretty supportive. The feel of the steering wheel and gear knob are a welcome change for good, though the gears are a bit notchy. The three pod instrument cluster has a speedometer, tachometer, fuel and temperature indicators alongwith a digital tripmeter. It also displays the 4WD gear that has been engaged. Clearly, Mahindra wants to increase its sales numbers for Thar and is now targeting the lifestyle customers who demand these features, which the earlier version lacked. It now comes across as a more rounded 4X4 which offers some creature comforts as well.
Experiencing the Thar on Mahindra’s off-road track gave an insight into the prowess of this machine, which can tackle almost any terrain with considerable ease. This is where the 4×4 Thar comes into its elements. The torque is enough to pull the vehicle out of mud and it climbs very steep inclines with ease. The mechanical differential lock provides additional assistance on slushy terrains and avoids wheelspin or the vehicle getting stuck.
Mechanically the only change is the addition of a rear differential lock and rest of the vehicle remains the same. The engine is a 2498cc CRDe producing 105bhp@3800rpm and having a torque of 247 Nm@1800-2000 rpm. It has a 5-speed manual transmission with a BorgWarner transfer case. The wheelbase is 2430mm and a ground clearance of 200mm. Approach and departure angles are 44 degrees and 27 degrees respectively. Brakes are 226mm discs in the front and 282mm drums at the rear. 235/70/R16 tubeless tyres do the duty in this off-roader and the fuel tank capacity is 60 litres. There are five colours to choose from, namely, Red Rage, Fiery Black, Mist Silver, Diamond White and Rocky Beige.
The New Thar CRDe is priced at Rs. 8.9 lakhs (on-road, Nasik). The Thar has been offered in a 63bhp DI avatar too and forms a major part of the sales figures of Thar, however, the upgrade comes only in the CRDe version. Does is make sense to buy this vehicle? Well, if off-roading adventure is mainly what you are looking at alongwith those added weekend getaway trips or picnics with friends or family and you do not wish to forego the comfort of an airconditoner, good seats and a tough built, then at this price it is a good proposition. In fact, the Thar is pretty good for your daily office commuting too and sets you apart from the crowd. The new Thar CRDe therefore, is a much more accomplished off-road vehicle with rear differential locks, the enhanced exteriors and the upgraded interiors.