Mahindra Thar 2020 seeks to offer the best of both worlds and while it has always been a capable off-road beast, is it now also a thrilling daily commute option?
Mahindra Thar 2020 has managed to generate a whole lot of buzz since it was first unveiled on August 15. Now while the Thar has always been renowned for how it manages to make a mockery of any on-road and off-road challenge, it wasn't much on counts of cabin space and comfort. Mahindra has sought to change all of that as it looks to make Thar 2020 appeal to a wider set of audience instead of being a very capable niche player in the Indian automobile market.
HT Auto extensively test drove Mahindra Thar 2020 recently and here are the five biggest takeaways in favour of the SUV and five points that may compel a re-think:
Five - Thar has always been a rugged machine to look at and the 2020 edition stays true to the macho appeal of this machine. The robust design cues have been accentuated with the addition of DRLs and a new front grille while LED tail lights at the rear give it a contemporary style. It is still as mean to look at as ever before - and with the same robust road presence but does benefit from certain updates to the exterior that helps its cause.
Four - The off-road capabilities of Thar is second to none and the 2020 edition stays true to the genetics of taming the wild with a sense of casual confidence. Slush, rock, sand or anything at all is just no match for the Thar as it tames a wide variety of conditions.
Three - One of the biggest complaint against the previous Thar was that while it does tame the wild, it is pretty bare for occupants in the cabin. Well, not anymore as Mahindra has clearly emphasized on improving the cabin comfort level while also offering a whole lot of amenities. An infotainment screen, roof-mounted speakers, air conditioning, splash-proof buttons, steering-mounted controls and several other additions make the cabin of the Thar more premium than ever before. True, some of these features are rather common in cars in other segments but that these are also present in a machine built for the outdoors is great.
Two - The sheer plethora of options available for the prospective buyer of Thar 2020 is impressive. Thar is offered in an LX and an AX version. The former is oriented more towards the urban lifestyle while the AX is a hardcore off-road workhorse. There are certain features common between the two while some are unique.
Additionally, Thar can be had with a diesel or petrol engine option, an automatic or manual, a hard-top, soft-top or convertible and as many as six colour choices. One can also choose between front-facing rear seats or parallel bench seats.
One - The on-road drive dynamics of Thar 2020 deserve a special mention. Yes, the Thar has always been a capable off-road vehicle but is also a more planted car on regular roads. As such, it can make a strong case for itself as a daily commute option.
Five - The forward-facing rear seats are a little too difficult to reach. The front seats have to be reclined and pushed forward before making way into the second-row and this clearly will take a whole lot of getting used to. The family-oriented buyer may not want to recommend the rear seats to the elderly or to those who may not be physically fit.
Four - Sticking with the rear section of the car, the large windows on the hard-top version are generous enough to let light seep in but are fixed. This means that anyone with a sense of claustrophobia or suffering from motion sickness won't want to be found in this section of the vehicle for too long. Plus, there are no rear AC vents either.
Three - Point three is about three people abreast in the second row. While decently spaced for two, the forward-facing rear section seats do not offer much in terms of shoulder room for three. Additionally, while knee room and under thigh support is decent, the wheel wells eat into leg space here.
Two - The Thar is an eager machine and will hit the triple digit speeds with ease. But once one does hit higher speed levels, the steering tends to wobble noticeably which can be a bit unnerving.
One - An off-road machine needs brakes which are nimble and light but the same factor means that braking from high speeds on regular roads feels a bit spongy. Although not a deal breaker, a bit more bit, a tad more grip from the brake pedal would have been ideal.
Mahindra Thar 2020 will be officially launched in the Indian market on October 2.