Saturday, 1 October 2016

Mahindra Thar Chapter 4 - 'The Thar is born'

The Mahindra Thar is a compact and mid-size four-wheel drive off-road and sport utility vehicle (SUV), manufactured by Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Limited. The vehicle was launched in the Indian market on October 4, 2010 to fill the void left by its predecessor the Mahindra MM540.

The Thar has the promise of bringing an "adventure experience" to customers at an affordable price point. The only real competition to this Mahindra is from the Gypsy. But then, the Gypsy doesn't offer a diesel engine, power steering or decent ride quality. Mahindra is casting the net rather wide in terms of the potential market for this enigmatic 4x4. The target segment includes
1) Offroaders who couldn't buy a new Jeep earlier.
2) Those who want a suv which does well both offroad and on the highway.
3) Those who need a rugged workhorse for farms, bad roads and jungle trails.
4) Youth who dream of a lifestyle vehicle
5) Adventurous folk who need a seperate car for weekend trips.
6) Those whose first crush was a Jeep.

The Thar is actually quite versatile and would be perfectly at ease anywhere....

It is city driving, highway runs & bad road conditions that this vehicle truly excels in, it puts a wide grin on your face. It is an extremely powerful, rattle free, vibration free, silent Jeep on the road.

The under body is pleasantly clean. Not too many unnecessary bits protruding out. Fuel tank is protected, Ground clearance is 200mm

There is no doubt that the best part of the Thar lies under the hood. The engine is a gem churning out 104 BHP and 247 Nm of torque (starting from 1,800 rpm)

 Interestingly, the cubic capacity & the bore / stroke of the NEF engine block are the same as that of the XD3P (2498 cc and 94 / 90 mm). However, this is where the similarities end. The two are as different as chalk and cheese, this is evident the moment you switch the CRDe on. The Thar's common-rail diesel is smooth and silent. Little engine noise is audible inside the cabin despite the lack of sound damping under the bonnet. Over regular city / highway driving, the engine is barely audible to the driver. The Thar is one of the very few open vehicles that you can have a conversation in, comfortably, without shouting yourself hoarse.

2498 cc
Engine Description
Maximum Power
105 Bhp @ 3800 rpm
Maximum Torque
247 Nm @ 1800-2000 rpm
Bore x Stroke
94 x 90 mm
Fuel Type
5-Speed Manual Gearbox (BORGWARNER (Manual Shift) with Low Reduction Gear)
Front Axle
Full Floating Hypoid Ratio 4.3:1 Capacity: 1100 kg
Rear Axle
Semi Floating Hypoid Ratio 4.3:1 Capacity: 1700 kg (Mechanical Locking Rear Differential)
Shift on Fly 4WD
Manual Shift On Fly 4WD with Low Ratio
Mileage (Certified)
16.55 kmpl
Departure Angle (degrees)
Approach Angle (degrees)
Overall Length
3920 mm
Overall Width
1726 mm
Overall Height
1930 mm
2430 mm
Ground Clearance
200 mm
Kerb Weight
1750 kg
Turning Radius
5.75 metres
Front Track
1445 mm
Rear Track
1346 mm
Seating Capacity
6 Seater (2 Forward Facing and 2 Side Facing Rear Bench Seats)
Number of Doors
2 Doors
Fuel Tank Capacity
60 litres
Front Brakes
Hydraullic with Tandem Master Cylinder with LCRV 226 mm Disc
Rear Brakes
Hydraullic with Tandem Master Cylinder with LCRV 282 mm Drum
Front Suspension
IFS With Torsion Bar And Stablizer Bar
Rear Suspension
Semi Elliptical Leaf Spring
Front Tyre
P 235/70 R16 Tubeless
Rear Tyre
P 235/70 R16 Tubeless

Running a length of 3,920 mm & width of 1710 mm, combined with the 104 horses, endless torque and minimal turbo lag make it a super fun-to-drive city car. The NGT 530R V4 gearbox slots nicely, while the nifty and responsive power steering makes maneuvering in traffic a breeze. Plus it is BS 4 compliant.
The front IFS soaks bumps and potholes nicely. Even the handling is not something you will complain about. The whole mechanical package of the Thar seems to come together beautifully, working in harmony towards making your daily driving a pleasure. 
On the highway, the Thar can eat tarmac whole day long without complaining. Yes, you can even cruise at 3 digit speeds for hours on end. The 1st gear is good till 40 kph, 2nd 60, 3rd 80, 4th 120 and the 5th will max out at 140 kph. The steering is light & overtaking is a breeze, with power available at the slightest tap of the accelerator as long you are in the power band (~ 1800+ RPM). Body roll, though present, is negligible & very controllable. We tried to induce body roll by moving the steering aggressively at speed. Still, the Thar stayed reasonably firm. 

The Thar is a superb platform to build your great cross country tourer . It will allow you to do things you couldn’t have dreamt of in the older Jeeps. For example, traveling without fear (of breakdowns & overheating) or fatigue over long distances. The Thar will encourage you to travel to far flung places without having to perform an endless list of preventive checkups (as in the case of previous generation Jeeps). Just take the keys, get a full tank of diesel and you are ready for your adventure in the countryside. We drove quite a lot on dirt roads, gravel tracks, broken interior village roads and the Thar was shining in all of these conditions. The Thar's braking ability is par for the course and does the job.
If you are a Jeeper, the first thing you will notice after engaging 4x4L is the absence of the old school Jeep's "torque wall" hitting you. The Thar doesn't feel like a diesel Jeep in 4x4L mode at all. It actually feels like a stock gypsy with lot more power. The crawling speed of the Thar is a lot faster than the MM540.
In fact, the Thar is such fun to drive (by Jeep standards) that you will have a tough time keeping your right foot off the accelerator pedal.

**Next post**:   Chapter 5 - 'Mahindra Thar Review'