My Thar experience

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At first sight it looks very  butch. And the impression doesn’t quite change after driving it for 3days. The Thar is a good looking rugged automobile( if you’re into retro looks).

I was taken aback by how peppy it is. With a  2.5L crde engine( a variant of the Scorpio’s) I was sure it wouldnt be sluggish- but it’s pick up took me by surprise. It is lighter than it’s big cousin the Scorpio, and feels so. It also doesn’t have the latter’s tendency of ‘leaning’ on the corners.

I liked the way the Thar dominates the road. A lot many cars, autos didn’t ‘cut-in’ ahead of me seeing it. Many bigger cars driving on the wrong side of  the road from the opposite direction obediently went to their lane. Not bad. The standard issue  (Bridgestone 235/70/r 16 HT) radials give it a surprisingly good ride and the suspension too is better than what I expected from an ‘off-roader’.

Despite having a hydraulic power steering the , I feel the Thar is let down by it’s turning radius. I would expect it to turn in 4.25 meters owing to it’s size. I think the problem is that the Thar is a lot bigger than it feels and thus one has such ‘mini’ jeep type expectations.Another big let down is the quality of the plastics, door panels AND the MM 540 style archaic gear shift( even though it has the Scorpio gearbox) Why?? Like the 540, finding neutral ,first  gear and reverse is an effort:(

I think Mahindra have delivered a surprise with the Thar(even though it’s  a tad pricey**).  Will it attract the urban buyer? Not sure. Maybe the weekend off roader who will buy it to indulge his passion. It is likely to be a second vehicle for those. I don’t see it being the primary car for most. This IS packaged as 80% off-road and 20% road.  And it definitely denies you all the comforts one would like in the city but can do without while off-roading.

Whatever your reason for buying the Thar- one thing is certain- you will be the cynosure of all eyes when on the road.

** the crde version is Rs 6 lakhs ex showroom.

17 Comments on “My Thar experience”

  1. Pushpinder

    Well, its always a welcome treat to find some pictures along an article Gul 😉

  2. umesh_k_derebail

    Good to read your description of THAR, i hope you will load a pic of the same. All the best for owning the vehicle.

  3. Awini Ambuj Shanker

    with those tyres i wouldnt expect a narrow turning circle. And at that price it should have been much better finished, an off roader need.nt be finished like a tractor! The dash etc is really crude, it reminds me of the Armada! With the lack of driving and parking space in the cities, i dont see much of a market there, but it could appeal to the upwardly mobile punjab “farmer” and the rajasthan thakur “hotelier” who still have open spaces to enjoy this car. Oh, and i hate that horribly ugly bull bar up front, i just hope its not simply just bolted on to the front bumper!

  4. vyankatesh

    Me not buying the same but i liked the thought the way u have explained and experienced…nice to see u dear !!!

    How is u and how r the things overall…do u suggest me to watch turning 30 by any chance…though I am ur fan, i m not able to make for weekends for movie watchin etc…completely busy with home front end work all the time !!! u take care and enjoy !!!

  5. Sanjay Vedula

    Lovely post! Expecting more posts on automobiles.


  6. Ajith

    thats a nice review :)!! Truely good fr passion n adventurous ppz!

  7. mohit

    Ahh..thts totally Off-road car for passionate ppl , on totally cretor indian roads…! though Driving surely this wud be pleasure..waiting soon for its test drive…! good post Gul !! vrroooommmmmmmmmmm

  8. wssws

    Thar is you Gul!

  9. Aditya Panda

    A fresh lease of life for the iconic Jeep. More power, more refinement, significant improvement in ride quality. One could easily ignore the shoddy plastics over the Thar’s other virtues, considering it is meant for serious off-roading. But I doubt if it can beat the Gypsy when it comes to that department. And I doubt if any 4X4 in near future will achieve that feat. I’m bringing this up because I was hoping against hope that the Thar would set right everything the Gypsy lacked. Well, it almost did… except that it couldn’t escape the laws of gravity. The Thar weighs nearly twice as much as the Gypsy and will always get stuck in sand and muck where the light and nimble Gypsy just glides through. Also, for those who, like me, are seriously into wildlife, the Gypsy will still be quieter and more discrete, not to mention less polluting in the forests.

    But all said and done, the Thar is a fantastic set of wheels and excellent for those who enjoy their off-roading and don’t have very specific needs.

    And may I say that it’s a brilliantly written review!


  10. Awini Ambuj Shanker

    that i agree, nothing beats a gypsy, and its unlikely that anything diesel can because of the inherent extra weight of the diesel engine, i would have prefered the old lightweight short wheelbase CJ with uprated modern mechanicals preferably with an all aluminium petrol engine. That would be an offroader i would really enjoy with the windscreen down. Btw i learned to drive on an army disposal swb petrol jeep 🙂

  11. samir

    thar is 2 drive but will not buy .some cool feature r missing like looks,turning radius,yuck front bar,looks like BIG JEEP….

  12. midhun

    Hi Gul,

    As for the heading, it was almost an anticlimax, because I thought you went on a trip to Thar desert, and had written about your experience there!!! Yes, it made an enjoyable read – a car review after a book review.

    It seems to me that the chassis is a mix of Bolero and Scorpio, and of course the 540.

    You are absolutely right that it will be the cynosure of all eyes. I remember when I visited Delhi once, I was clicking away photos and I noticed a Mahindra (not sure if it was a 540, but it looked dominant), with its roof and windscreen down. There were about 4-5 guys in it. As the auto overtook it, I clicked a photo of it. They saw the camera and waved their hands for me!

  13. Jahangir Yar Khan

    Hi, Gul,

    I have been commneting on the that for over a month now, Your comments mirror my sentiments and comments. Mahindra & Mahindra still feels they can cheat people into buying underrated tech. and cars. Barring the engine and teh scorpio gear box this is indeed teh same 540 ( old sheep in wolves clothing). Buyers now are very smart. there is no dearth of new technology and car variants. Well written indeed.
    cheers !

  14. Vijay Tiwari

    Your post is bang on! i literally cancelled a cheque written for a Silver Thar, i know off roaders are for OTRs but come on we deserve better interiors,the stuff looked shoddy inside .hope your comments will ring the bells for M&M to please do something about the dash an Aircon wont be a luxary too. you doing great babe have fun.

  15. Syam Krishnan R

    I envy you panaag… I still hav to drive a jeep. Also i feel that the interiors haven’t improved a bit frm the old 80s days.

  16. rajkumar doss

    I have a Thar , may the first person to get it in karnataka, Bangalore been driving for about a month, it is easy and fun to drive.

  17. Sanjeev Rana

    As per my 26 years of offroading experience initially with the Jeep and later with the Gypsy, the latter has a rather underpowered engine which can in no way match the offroading mobility of a 540 Jeep and especially with the crde engine(107 bhp)the THAR will reach where no automobile has reached earlier.

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