More affordable Mahindra Thar 2WD spied ahead of launch
The Thar has been an incredible success for Mahindra. Despite having a long waiting period, the Thar is still selling like hotcakes. Mahindra used to sell a more affordable version which came with side-facing seats but that has been discontinued. Currently, the Thar is sold with four-wheel drive as standard so there is a lever placed on the left side of the gear lever to control the four-wheel drive system. However, it seems like Mahindra is working on a two-wheel drive version of the Thar which will become the new entry-level variant of the SUV.
In the spy shot, it can be seen that the four-wheel drive lever is missing. It only has a 6-speed manual gearbox. In place of the four-wheel drive lever, there is a storage place that can be used to store a wallet, mobile phone or other knick-knacks.
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As of now, the Thar is offered with a detuned version of a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine and a 2.2-litre diesel engine. Both these engines are also doing duty on the Scorpio N and XUV700. To reduce the entry-level price further Mahindra can also end up using the 1.5-litre diesel engine that they are using in their other vehicles. If Mahindra uses the 1.5-litre unit then the SUV will be able to take tax advantages that would further help in reducing the cost. The two-wheel drive version of the Thar is expected to be rear-wheel drive.
The biggest advantage of offering a version without a low-range gearbox is that the starting price of the Thar should come down. As of now, the Thar starts at ₹13.59 lakh (ex-showroom) and goes up to ₹16.29 lakh (ex-showroom).
The two-wheel drive Thar would attract people who just want a lifestyle SUV which has a good road presence and they would not take the SUV for off-roading. This is where the two-door Thar makes a lot of sense. People who want to go hard-core off-roading would still be able to opt for the four-wheel drive version of the Thar. Moreover, Maruti Suzuki is all-set to launch the Jimny next year in the Indian market which will be competing directly with the Thar. So an entry-level variant without four-wheel drive does make sense.