If you’re looking for an adventurous weekend solution that can climb rocks, craters, and possibly even buildings, keep reading because the 2015 Mahindra Thar edition of Mahindra’s renowned off-roader Thar has arrived in our test garage. They’ve been creating it for a long time and have a lot of fans who rave about it.
Many parts of the 2015 Mahindra Thar have improved, not only the looks, which have been revised with a tiny bit of increased toughness. With tidier bits and pieces, the cabin feels more metropolitan. But who cared about it because the Thar is a tool for digging in dollops of muck and then rising triumphantly above it. With the addition of a locking rear differential, trust levels are boosted significantly this time around.
Is the original character of a macho soldier desiring to march on untested tarmac still present? We discover the truth.
Yes, it is a 2015 model with a facelift, but upon closer inspection, many may scratch their heads as to what is new. For increased illumination, the new Mahindra Thar has clear lens headlamps. The front bumpers have been extended up to the front wheel fender to comply with new CMV regulations that prohibit any panel gaps. It now resembles a full-grown moustache, evoking authentic Indian pride.
The word ‘THAR’ is also engraved on the front bumper, with the rest of the design remaining unchanged from the previous model. The rear canopy has been updated with a new material and a tilt on the back to make it appear more compact. There is a side step for easier access to the cabin because it is positioned at a height. These side steps are sturdy and can easily support big items. The alloys have been redesigned, and the tyres have been increased in size for added uniqueness.
The wheel arches have also been expanded to accommodate the mud kicked up by larger aftermarket all-terrain tyres. With manually adjusted ORVMs, minimal door handles, and a spare tyre proudly displayed on the rear tailgate, things are quite simple.
If you choose all-terrain tyres like the ones in our test car, be aware that opening the gate will take more work. The Thar is a wonderful looking off-roader, especially with its vintage features, but there is no central locking and the canopy can only be zipped up, so it’s not a good idea to keep anything inside because the effort required to rob is minimal.
I’ve always admired the Mahindra Thar for its look and performance, but the interiors are clearly an acquired taste, similar to sushi. The interior of the new Thar has been altered to make it more civilised, as Mahindra may have realised that even ordinary people who live ordinary lives and drive ordinary cars would consider buying one if the cabin includes amenities and conveniences that are appropriate for the average person. It won’t constantly be on its way to Ladakh or the Rajasthan deserts.
What has changed on the inside? Mahindra has experimented with the interiors by incorporating elements from its other portfolio models, such as the brand new steering wheel borrowed from the Bolero. The three-spoke steering wheel is really comfortable to hold. Except for a minor flaw, the instruments cluster now has a three-pod display with chrome rings; it appears to be more premium than previously. The needles are so large that you can’t tell how much petrol is left in the tank, how fast it is going, or what engine rpm it is running at.
Ignoring the above, the front dashboard adds a lovely touch to the cabin by sitting higher and covering any gaps that may have been earlier. The THAR logo is engraved on the central console, which can be utilised to install an aftermarket music system. The modest AC vents are encased in aluminium and have basic retro-styled controls.
The front seats were acquired from a Mahindra Scorpio and are almost as comfy as the Mahindra Scorpio’s, but only if your commute is very short, as they can cause major problems on longer travels. Furthermore, if you are taller, you may opt to slice your legs off because the front knee and legroom is severely limited. However, if space is a priority, head to the rear passenger compartment, where you’ll find plenty of it thanks to the front-facing two bench seats, which may make you feel like you’re being hauled to the legal offices for doing something heinous.
In the name of convenience, the two cup holders on the central carpet area are pretty much what one gets. The door trims are clearly flat and are incapable of holding anything. The spacious rear zone provides incredible boot space, with enough room to fit a full-sized motorcycle inside.
Driven by Results
Clearly, the interiors of the Thar do not fit into my ideal world zones to be in, and there are better cocoons that can cater to my queenly needs, but the area where the Thar marks its own unique territory and does not allow any trespasser of a vehicle intrude is its ability to drive on impossible terrains.
I’d driven the Thar before, and all my eager kiddish doubts about whether it would endure rough surfaces had been addressed in a slam of a jump from one crater to the next. They’ve now included a locking rear differential in the new Thar, which is a good thing if you plan on spending your weekends digging muck and travelling across terrain that ordinary designed vehicles avoid.
The 2015 Mahindra Thar is powered by a 2.5-liter diesel engine that produces 105 horsepower at 3800 rpm and 247 Nm between 1800 and 2000 rpm. A 5-speed manual transmission is paired with the engine. A Borgwarner transmission case with low reduction gear is also included. The rear differential lock is a new feature that was included in response to a demand for climbing surfaces.
The motor’s behaviour hasn’t changed because it hasn’t been touched. When the enormous displacement engine is revved up, a steady rattle may be heard inside the cabin. When you keep revving the engine, you’ll notice a tiny movement in the cabin. The shifts are still not the finest in duty because shifting requires more than a little effort. However, only the first gear appears to be stubborn, while the rest of the ratios appear to be evenly dispersed.
Because all of that torque is released at once, the first gear appears to be too tall. Because of the increased torque, it is also possible to start in second gear. Because the cabin is semi-closed, the NVH levels are high. The rear canopy clings to the upper structure, the back seats have their own set of acoustics, and the squeaky noises from everywhere make it uncomfortable.
If you don’t want to throw and demonstrate physical force on other citizens, driving it in city conditions is not recommended at all. The engine takes its time gathering and delivering momentum, and it requires pepping at every shift to ensure that there is enough power available across the band. When used on less-traveled surfaces, though, the Thar feels right at home. Climb mountains, drive on peaks and troughs, or just do doughnuts in the sand; it can do it all with ease. It’s an excellent off-roader thanks to its high approach angle of 44 degrees and departure angle of 27 degrees.
The installation of a rear lockable differential provides better traction when manoeuvring through such difficult terrain. Even on slick terrains, the rear wheels function in tandem with the front wheels and do not lose power. It is a terrific addition to the Thar, and enthusiasts will appreciate it.
After all is said and done, the Mahindra Thar attracts more attention than any other vehicle. Its retro modern styling, which is built on straight lines without curves, makes it look old school. It has the feel of a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, which is high praise for a car with a price tag of Rs 8.16 lakhs.
Other manufacturers still do not believe in such a fun vehicle and are only busy producing cars that can drive longer and longer for every litre of petrol, giving Mahindra an unrivalled domination in this segment. I would highly recommend the Mahindra Thar to anyone looking for a fun way to spend an otherwise boring weekend.