The Thar is a basic, rugged, soft top SUV from the stables of Mahindra. It is currently the preferred choice for off-road enthusiasts who don’t have a lot to spend but want a capable and decent mountain-goat for passing the trails. There aren’t too many vehicles like the Thar in the Indian market, and as of writing there seems to be only three such vehicles that ace at off-road drivability, namely the venerable Suzuki Gypsy, the Force Gurkha and this. Although Jeep has officially introduced the Wrangler, it is an expensive option and not really as popular as these three.
Coming back to the Thar, it is easily the most capable and popular off-roader among the three, and although the Gurkha has slightly better kit, it is also more expensive than the Thar. There is a lot to be said about this Indian off-road hero, so I’m going to break it down a bit and discuss as to why the Thar is a better overall off roader.
- Exceptionally barebones: The Thar gets a lot of off-road kit that gives it good driving dynamics when straying off the path, but sadly it also gets a rather basic and barebones interior. But in a way, it could prove to be a good thing for those looking to take it off-roading or staying in areas where the networks of roads is mostly potholes as there are less chances of it going wrong. The barebones nature also means that it is easier to work around in case something does need a quick repair.
- Ladder on the frame chassis: Most off-road experts will tell you that a Ladder frame chassis is actually good for off-roading. It allows easier mounting of off-road kits and modifications and provides that little extra flex to the entire frame which improves stability off-road.
- Lots of customisation kits: The Thar has options for lots of local 3rd party off road customisation kits. This makes it a popular choice among off-road enthusiasts who want their Mahindra thar modified to go on off road events. Also because it has a rather barebones kit, 3rd party accessories can be adjusted to retrofit the Thar without causing the vehicle any collateral damage.
- Mahindra Reliability: Mahindra is one of the top most SUV and Commercial vehicle manufacturers in the country. It is present in almost every state which makes a good case for itself in regard to service and maintenance. Mahindra’s are built to last and tolerate a lot of abuse, which translates into the Thar as well. And even if you have a modified Thar, you might just be able to get the car serviced with 3rd parties with low costs because of its easy to work around barebones nature.
- Ground Clearance: Ask any off-road specialist and they will immediately tell you that off road cars require a good amount of ground clearance. The Thar gets about 200mm worth of clearance right out of the factory so even if you don’t modify it, you still have fairly good amount of space under the vehicle for clearing big obstacles.
That was my take on the Mahindra Thar. They are big, imposing and absolutely brilliant when the going gets tough. You can’t really go wrong with this.