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2021 Mahindra Thar Review – A Desirable All-Terrain Conqueror

03/02/2021 | by Harish Kumar

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Launched in October 2020, the new-gen Mahindra Thar has witnessed a revolutionary change in its entire package, turning the bare-boned true-blue off-roader to a dreaming all-terrain conqueror. Here’s what the new Mahindra Thar has to gain ground.

1. Mahindra Thar: Prologue

First launched in October 2010, the Mahindra Thar has managed to keep its nameplate well-appreciated by the Indian off-road enthusiasts for more than a decade now. Over the years, the Mahindra Thar has penetrated into the Indian customers’ life thanks to its ever-evolving practicality and usability. While we’ve seen a lot of iconic vehicles’ discontinuation due to the country's monumental shift in terms of emissions standards and safety, the Mahindra Thar makes it through the test of the time and surpassed people’s expectations.

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However, there’s no denying the fact that the previous-gen Thar attracts polarizing opinions about itself. While the off-road challenges were its greatest core strength, the older Thar was found wanting in the city driving and on the fast track. Excitingly, the new Mahindra Thar launched in October 2020 have succeeded in curbing the problems and converting the staunchest haters into the fans. What does the 2020 Mahindra Thar bring to offer? Is it true to call the new Thar a desirable all-terrain conqueror? Let’s find out in our detailed review.

2020 Mahindra Thar front three quarters image 1

New Mahindra Thar Variants List:

The all-new Mahindra Thar is available in two main trims – AX and LX which can be further broken down in the following variants:

No

New Mahindra Thar Variants

1

AX Opt 4-Stre Convert Top

2

AX Opt 4-Str Convert Top Diesel

3

AX Opt 4-Str Hard Top Diesel

4

LX 4-Str Hard Top

6

LX 4-Str Convert Top Diesel

7

LX 4-Str Hard Top Diesel

8

LX 4-Str Convert Top AT

9

LX 4-Str Hard Top AT

10

LX 4-Str Convert Top Diesel AT

11

LX 4-Str Hard Top Diesel AT

2. Mahindra Thar Dimensions: Length, Width, Height & Wheelbase

There has been a quantum leap in terms of dimensions in the second-gen Mahindra Thar in comparison with the previous Thar models. Based on a new platform, the new-gen Thar gets a big increase in terms of size with the length, width and wheelbase measured at 3,985 mm, 1,855 mm, 1844 mm and 2,450 mm, respectively. From this, the new Mahindra Thar is longer, wider and generally larger than its predecessor by a good level. The height of the new-gen Thar (hardtop) is tweaked down a bit to 1844 mm while that of the first-gen Thar was at 1,930 mm.

Dimensions

Thar AX

Thar LX

Length

3985 mm

Width

1820 mm

1855 mm

Height

1844 (Hard Top)

Wheelbase

2450 mm

Ground Clearance

219 mm

226 mm

Seating Capacity

4

4

Wheels & Tyres

245/75 R16

Tubeless All-Terrain Tyres

255/65 R18

Tubeless All-Terrain Tyres

Approach angle

41.2 deg

41.8 deg

Departure angle

36 deg

36.8 deg

Rampover Angle

26.2 deg

27 deg

Water Wading

650 mm

 

To make it compliant with the latest safety norms, the new Thar gets a revised front end which reduces the Thar’s approach angle by a small margin. Meanwhile, the ramp over and departure angle have been widened. The new Thar gets a set of bigger wheels which seem to fit its squat stance very well, thus help enhance the off-roading capabilities.

3. Mahindra Thar Exterior Review

In its latest-gen avatar, the new Mahindra Thar has successfully transformed itself into a contemporary urban SUV without upsetting the off-road enthusiasts. In fact, it’s always a tough job to re-design an “ageing” vehicle without compromising on its iconic characteristic but Mahindra has mostly done it so well. Of course, there are still some dividing opinions on the new Thar design in this point with some saying the 2020 Thar is a copycat of the Jeep Wrangler. However, we can’t deny that the second-gen Mahindra Thar looks totally more modern with better road presence than before.

Front View

2020 mahindra thar front view

The SUV gets a newly-upscaled and refreshed front end that deviates greatly from the older-gen Thar’s unit and this is the part which I like the most. It gets a modernized front fascia. Yes, it packs some Jeep-like design elements like round headlamps and a functional radiator grille which has become a talking point among the forums for months. There’re some lines and creases on the bonnet of the Thar. The metal fenders are now the part of the body and house the LED DRLs and turn indicators that help differentiate the Thar from the distant American sibling.

Side View

2020 Mahindra Thar side angle

The side profile of the Mahindra Thar doesn’t stray far from the previous model but it has been updated a bit. With the introduction of both hardtop and convertible soft top configurations, the sides of the Thar changes a little depending on the variants. As mentioned above, the new Thar comes with bigger 18-inch alloy wheels that fit its new wheel arches. Interestingly, while the front wheel arches are squared-off, the rear ones get a rounded shape instead. The side doorsteps look pretty nice and will make it easier for the ingress and outgress

Rear View

new Mahindra Thar rear three quarters

At the rear, one can notice clearly the old-school elements that Mahindra incorporates into the new-gen Thar model. The tailgate-mounted spare wheel continues to make it to the new Thar that helps maintain its old charm at the back. The new dual-tone bumper and LED tail lamps look pretty nice. The tailgate now opens sideways. Notably, the hardtop variants even offer a defogger on the rear windscreen.

Mahindra & Mahindra says that you look at their SUV and you’ll know what love at first sight really is. We agreed. Overall, the design of the new Mahindra Thar is a sea change from the previous-gen model. It is truly a great combination of retro and new-age suave. For us, the third-gen Mahindra Thar is among the most appealing SUVs in the Indian market today.

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4. Mahindra Thar Interior Review: What Does The New Thar Have To Offer?

Exterior wise, the new-gen Thar looks good. However, the biggest talking point about the new Mahindra Thar should be its new cabin which is essentially a notch higher from the earlier version. The all-new Thar interior impresses us with its modern design, fit and finish while the comfort and convenience are now raised to a greater extent. If it’s said that the exterior of the new Thar is evolutionary, its interior is revolutionary, to say the least. That said, Mahindra’s folks have succeeded in giving the new iconic off-roader – Mahindra Thar everything that one can expect from a contemporary city urban SUV.

Design and Comfort

The new Mahindra Thar boasts of a new dashboard design that has been modernized for a more appealing look. The all-black interior theme with silver accents rolls out a premium and upmarket feel.

The 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system compatible with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and navigation is standing at the centre of the attention here. The new centre console looks fresh enough in a new image. It features manual air-cons, an AUX-in with socket charging port and two USB sockets. It’s worth noting that the dashboard of the Thar features IP54 dust and waterproof rating while the cabin can be washable with drain plugs too. However, we strongly recommend you avoid washing your cabin with high power washes and resort to a good bucket wash with cloth instead.

new mahindra thar interior infotainment

There’s a set of toggle switches along with the climate control knobs below the touchscreen, which is one again, giving an old-school vibe. The steering wheel gets inspirations from that of the TUV300 sibling but it is updated with cruise control and audio controls. The instrument cluster behind the steering sports analogue Tachno and Speedo flanking the central digital MID that is very easy to read. There are some storage spaces like a tiny lockable glovebox at the passenger side. A pair of speakers have been fitted at the lower parts of the dash while two others are mounted on the roof, thereby offering a good sound quality. While getting into the older Thar might become a challenging task for some, the folks at Mahindra have nicely given the new-gen Thar the side steps for easier cabin access.

2020 mahindra thar interior dashboard

The 2020 Mahindra Thar is equipped with a range of comfort features such as power windows, tilt-adjustable steering wheel, tip& slide mechanism in co-driver seat, reclining mechanism, adjustable headrests and 50:50 split in the rear seat, height-adjustable driver seat, centre roof lamp, remote keyless entry, central locking, dashboard grab handle for the front passenger, bottle holders in the front doors, manual Day-night IRVM, tool kit organizer, illuminated key ring among others.

The only niggle we had with the Thar’s cabin is the position of the ORVM controls and the switches for power windows on the centre console that is a bit inconvenient. The carmaker claims that the doors of the new Thar are removable so the window switches have been moved to the centre console. However, the mirror controls are still there on the doors and that's interesting.

Space and Seating

When it comes to space and seating, the icing on the cake is the superior support with lumbar-adjustment at the front seats. Driver can easily find his perfect driving position thanks to the support of the tilt-adjustable steering column. Also, unlike the last-gen model that featured side-facing rear seats, the new Thar gets front-facing seats at the second row.

new mahindra thar cabin layout

However, ingress and egress in the rear seats are surely a bit tricky with a narrow entrance, even though the front seats fold to aid. Therefore, it’d better leave the second row folded for extra boot space. From this, the Mahindra Thar might not be a comfortable family mover in the long drive but still, it’s comfy enough for 4 adults on board in many hours.

Safety Features

One should be noted that the all-new Mahindra Thar is a well-built vehicle that has scored a 4-star rating from the Global NCAP crash test. The safety quality of the new-gen Thar is taken care of by an array of safety features such as dual front airbags with passenger airbag deactivation switch, ABS with EBD and brake assist, ESP with roll-over mitigation (for the LX variants only), seatbelt reminder, ISOFIX child seat mounts, roll cage, 3-point seatbelts for rear passengers, snow chain provision for tyres, panic braking signal, over-speed warning, rear parking sensors and many more.

mahindra thar body structure

There is also tyre pressure monitoring system along with tyre position indicator that would come in handy for the off-road. It’s a little pity that the new Thar misses out on the rear camera which should have been equipped in such vehicles.

On the whole, if you have been familiar with older Thar’s cabin, you must have been awestruck by the new Thar’s unit. Gone are the days when the bare-bones interiors were chosen for lifestyle vehicles like the Thar.

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5. Mahindra Thar Engines Review: How Does It Perform?

Engine Specifications

Since the new-gen Mahindra Thar receives a comprehensive update, the engine options on the SUV are new as well. The new Thar comes with two engine options – including a 2.0-litre mStallion turbo-petrol engine and a 2.2-litre mHawk diesel unit. The new turbocharged petrol is capable of generating 130 BHP of max power against 300 Nm of peak torque while the 2.2-litre oil burner is tuned to produce 150 BHP and 300 Nm/ 320 Nm of torque. The transmission duties are taken care of by a 6-speed MT or a 6-speed torque converter automatic option. In its latest avatar, the new Mahindra Thar comes in a 4x4 configuration only and gets a mechanically-locking rear differential as standard in the package.

Engine Specs

Mahindra Thar

Engine Types

mHawk 130

mStallion 150 TGDi

Displacement

2184

1977

Max Power

130 BHP @ 3750 rpm

150 BHP @ 5,000 rpm

Max Torque

300 Nm @ 1,600 – 2,800

300 Nm @ 1,250 – 3,000 rpm (MT)

320 Nm @ 1,500 – 3,000 rpm (AT)

Transmission

6-speed MT/ 6-speed Torque Converter AT

6-speed MT/ 6-speed Torque Converter AT

How Does It Perform?

We are excited to say that the new Mahindra Thar will drive you to the off-road location faster than before. If driving on the fast lanes has been the older Thar’s Achilles heel, it’s no longer an issue with the new-gen Thar, to say the least. The engines feel smoother than those of the older vehicles and give the driver much fun with enough punch. Overall, the new Mahindra Thar is now a much more relaxed urban cruiser but never compromising on the off-road prowess. The engine delivers decent torque and it manages to propel the new Thar to handle the steepest climbs.

new mahindra thar performance

Ride quality has been enhanced a lot on the new Thar from which we found the speed-breakers no longer an issue. The new SUV deals with the rumble strips and potholes much better than its predecessors. Driving the 2020 Mahindra Thar is now very car-like. You will find the adventure trip so comfortable that you hardly find a thing to complain about. However, since it’s a body-on-frame SUV, you can feel the body roll quite apparently.

The steering wheel is quite lively to control although it feels a tad heavy at city speeds, especially when making the 3-point turns. The introduction of the 18-inch wheels aids much as well with adequate grip thanks to the 255-section Ceat CZAR all-terrain tyres.

6. Mahindra Thar Price & Verdict: Is the New Mahindra Thar Worth Buying?

Absolutely yes. The current Mahindra Thar is now going on sale within the price range of Rs 12.10 – 14.15 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). While many felt that the older-gen Thar prices were on the steeper side considering the bare-boned features it had to offer. However, that’s not the case for the new Mahindra Thar which is now truly a modern off-road SUV that can drive effortlessly on the tarmac. Of course, it might not on par with similarly-priced compact SUV when it comes to road manners and comfort. However, its excellent capabilities are something you’ll never find in other SUVs. There are some things we need to point out here, like the absence of a reverse parking camera, limited boot capacity with all seats in place. If you are still happy with these grouses, you can totally consider buying the new Thar. It is believed that Mahindra folks are working on the 5-door version of the Thar model, which might be one of the greatest hits in the coming time for sure.

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