The 2020 Mahindra Thar has been the talk of the town since its launch. Being the successor to the previous-generation model, the new one has some big shoes to fill. Fortunately for Mahindra and its prospective customers, the new Thar has done a brilliant job at keeping its gene pool free of contamination. In fact, the Indian automaker announced that it has successfully delivered well over 2,500 Thars to waiting customers in the two months since its official unveiling. In a forest full of small soft-roaders, the arrival of a new body-on-frame SUV is such welcome news. And if Mahindra keeps its end of the bargain for quicker deliveries, the new Thar will have no trouble attracting more buyers.
Some of the appeals of the new Mahindra Thar lies in its butch exterior styling. Unlike most crossovers these days, the Thar isn’t designed to slice through the air with the least amount of resistance and drag as possible. It doesn’t give a toss about smooth aerodynamics or complex air-flow management. A tough, no-nonsense 4×4 such as the Thar is all about unhindered off-road capability, masculine persona, and practical functionality over outright stylistic details. Having said that, the new Mahindra Thar is not some ungodly sight that you would want to run away from. On the contrary, its bold yet retro styling gives it a justifiable sense of purpose and flair.
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The front-end of the new Mahindra Thar features a small but functional grille with 6 vertical slats sandwiched between a pair of old-school circular headlamps. Then there is the muscular hood, which continues to use clasps to keep it locked in place – such a retro and cool touch. Finally, a beefy and protruding bumper along with a wide side extension and flared front fenders round off this strong-looking fascia. Moving on to the sides, you will right away notice a few more design details of the new Thar. There are the pronounced wheel arches, nearly flat A-pillars and roofline, exposed door hinges, and distinctly high ground clearance over regular crossovers. Of course, the flat windows and large door mirrors are very noticeable as well. The top trim also gets large 18-inch alloy wheels and fixed side steps.
Coming to the rear of the new Thar, there are a few things of interest that will surely catch your eye. For example, a flip-up glass panel, a tailgate-mounted spare wheel, pair of boxy tail lamps that jut out of their housing, and thick bumper side extensions. On a boxy three-door SUV, all these design details come together rather neatly without being out of context. The new Mahindra Thar is a strict four-seater, only. So if you want an SUV that can go mud-plugging and rock-crawling while also being able to transport five people or more, look elsewhere. For what it is intended for, the interior of the new Thar isn’t some barren landscape that is devoid of modern features and conveniences. Obviously, this isn’t some premium high-end car either, so you will not get all the up-to-date gizmos that some crossovers offer.
Having said that, Mahindra has given the new Thar some decent pieces of kit. As an example, there is a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment head unit that comes with built-in navigation and voice commands, plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This is trailed by features like front power windows, tilt-adjustable multifunction steering wheel, adjustable lumbar support, cruise control, and electrically-operated door mirrors.
Being a proper off-roader, equipment such as tire-pressure and tire-direction monitors, a factory-fitted roll cage, Brake Locking Differential (BLD), and a lockable center differential is available on the Thar. These are further bolstered by other safety add-ons like dual front airbags, Anti-Locking Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with Roll-Over Mitigation and ISOFIX anchors.
The new Mahindra Thar can be had with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that outputs 130hp and 300Nm of torque. It comes as standard with a 6-speed manual gearbox and four-wheel-drive. There is also a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine that produces 150hp and up to 320Nm of torque. This motor can be optioned with 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic gearbox, and comes with four-wheel-drive, of course.