The Mahindra Thar Is India’s New Totally Not a Jeep Wrangler

Sure, the grille has seven vertical slots, but there are some behind those that run the other way. Totally different.

To understand the size of India’s industrial conglomerate, the $19.4 billion Mahindra Group, consider that it has around 250,000 employees, operations in roughly 100 countries, and an automotive division producing both the humble classic Jeep copycat Roxor under the Mahinda brand and the $2.8 million hyper-EV Battista produced by Pininfarina Automobili in Italy. The Roxor may have lost a battle in the United States against Chrysler due to the fact that it’s literally a copy of a Jeep CJ-7, yet such a minor setback can’t slow Mahindra down. Upgraded for 2020, the Roxor took a few clues from Toyota’s Land Cruiser FJ as well, and life goes on.

Looking brightly into the future, on the occasion of celebrating India’s 74th Independence Day, Mahindra just announced its latest SUV, the mighty new Thar. According to the brand, its next-generation 4×4 is “a quantum leap in terms of performance, everyday comfort & convenience, technology and safety, as it stays true to its core promise of unmatched off-roading capability and builds on its iconic design.” Even if that iconic design happens to be the Jeep Wrangler’s.


Mahindra could always argue that the new Thar comes with a grid for a grille since its piece has horizontal slots as well behind its very Jeep-like seven vertical ones.

Representing a significant step up from the previous Thar, the new Mahindra SUV comes with either a 2.0-liter “mStallion TGDi” gasoline engine or a 2.2-liter “mHawk” diesel unit. Customers can also choose between a six-speed torque converter automatic or a six-speed manual mated to a lever-operated, shift-on-the-fly 4×4 transfer case. When it comes to body styles, the Thar can be ordered with a hard top, a “first-in-class” convertible top or an optional soft top, as well as in a four or two+four seating configuration.

The body-on-frame ride quality is refined by an independent front suspension and a multi-link setup at the rear. Meanwhile, the off-road capabilities are still guaranteed by having a mechanically locking differential on the rear axle, a crawl ratio in low, impressive approach (41.8 degrees), departure (36.8 degrees) and rampover (27 degrees) angles, a ground clearance of 8.89 inches and a water wading depth of 25.59 inches. To compare, the Wrangler JL’s fording depth measures 30 inches in Rubicon form.

Inside, those familiar with the Jeep Wrangler will feel right at home thanks to the layout of the dash, which features a “drizzle resistant,” 17.8-centimeter touchscreen infotainment system, smartwatch and phone connectivity, an “adventure statistics display” and roof-mounted speakers. Ready for the 2020s, the Thar comes with cruise control, ABS + EBD, dual airbags, ESP with rollover mitigation, hill-hold and hill descent control, and what Mahindra is calling “sporty front seats.”

Continuing with that sporty theme, Mahindra threw in 18-inch alloy wheels and faux carbon-fiber detailing around the AC vents, which is certainly justified by the gas engine’s 150 hp and 236 foot-pounds of torque, and perhaps even the diesel’s 130 horses and equal 236 foot-pound torque output. To highlight its all-conquering attitude, the SUV’s all-terrain tires will come with white lettering telling those left in the dust that you’ve got “the largest tires in (the Thar’s) class.”

Still not convinced? The images and specs, but mostly the action-packed promotional video below strongly suggests that the 2020 Mahindra Thar is the perfect fun 4×4 for Asian markets and beyond. Just don’t expect it to pop up anywhere near a Stellantis dealership, or anywhere in the United States for that matter. Even for a giant like India’s Mahindra, that could be a touch more than “exploring the impossible.”

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