Machine with raw power
H. Kishie Singh
TO look at, it
looks like any other Mahindra 540 on the road. Yes, it does have
a Thar badge on the front side panels. Thatís the old bottle.
The new wine is what is inside, under the bonnet and out of
sight. This is what sets the Thar apart from anything Mahindra
has put on the road in the past.
A usual once over
is unimpressive, and as a test drive was not available, I
managed to talk to Behram Dawar over the phone. Behram was the
head of the team that has put the Thar together. He is
passionate about what he has put together and his excitement and
enthusiasm bubbled out of the phone. This is not a run of the
mill Mahindra. The Thar looks like a jeep but that is where the
similarity ends! It is a Scorpio in disguise. Sixtynine per cent
of the Thar is from the Scorpio and Bolero. The product
introduction had a strict order. "Donít change the shape
The Thar comes as an open vehicle. A soft top is available as an option
The front six
vertical slats and drooping front fenders scream Mahindra. As do
the park lights (you could have had flush-fitting ones, Behram.
These get pulled off at the first encounter with bushes while
off-roading). And off- roading is what the Thar is made for.
The Thar uses the
Scorpio's ladder frame chassis, which has been strengthened, and
the Scorpion engine and drive train have been shoe-horned into
the MM 540, which means that the front independent suspension
and power steering is the same. The rear end, chassis,
suspension, et al, are from the Bolero. Howzat? It is a terrific
mix and match.
It helped cut down
on production time and costs. Most important.`A0While off-roading,
the suspension takes the worst bashing. It will be easy to
repair, replace and service at any M.M. dealer.
clearance is 200 mm with an approach angle of 46 degree and
departure angle of 30 degree. This will enable the Thar to climb
over anything without scraping its belly.
To help its
climbing ability, the CRDe engine has been tweaked to pump out
105 bhp at 3.800 rpm and a torque of 182.5Nm (25.18 kgm) at
1.800 rpm. This gives the engine a very flat torque curve. Good
for grunt and fast acceleration. Both statistics are almost
double of the previous engine. The engine is 2.498 cc,
turbo-charged and mated to a 5-speed gearbox. The engine is
BS-IV compliant and advance engineering makes sure it can move
into BS-V without too much trouble.
The CRDe version
is available only in 4-wheel drive. The driver has an option of
2-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive high or 4-wheel drive low. The
selector lever, however, is placed almost in the foot-well
rather inconveniently. Not ideal for quick shifts from high to
low or back.
Slide into the
well driver's seat and anyone who has ever sat in a Bolero will
feel at home. The dashboard is from the Bolero parts bin. The
front seats are comfortable. The rear seats are side facing, a
jeep trademark, and very uncomfortable. Any serious off-roader
will remove them for off-roading. Ideally, an off-roader should
be a two- seater.
The Thar comes as
an open vehicle. However, a soft top is available as an option.
A hard top will be available sometime in the future. Standard
offering is a heater. But who needs a heater in India where
temperatures are only hot and hotter.
An A/C will be
available as a dealer option. Behram describes the heater as A/C
friendly. Translated, it means the A/C can be incorporated into
the heater. You will have the option of disconnecting the heater
(Why would you want to do that?) and adding the A/C. The heater
is housed in the passenger foot-well. Remove it and fit the
cooling coil for the A/C. Provisions for the A/C compressor
pulley are already incorporated into the engine.
The Thar is shod
with 235/70R16 Bridgestone H/T Duelier tyres. One of the best
choices available. Suspension upfront is independent MacPherson
struts, leaf springs at the rear. Disc brakes upfront, drums at
The Thar CRDe
comes in fancy metallic colours, cherry, rocky beach, silver,
black and white. The CRDe is priced at Rs 6.08 lakh.
If you want off-roading
kicks for less, there is the DI engine version. The 2-wheel
drive costs Rs 4.46 lakh and the 4-wheel drive costs Rs 4.94
lakh. The DI is available only in white.
price there is nothing to compare. It is the best off-roader in
the country," says a confident Behram (watch out Gypsy).
Despite the many
Mahindra dealerships in the areas, the Thar is on display at
Goel Motors only in Mohali.