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Off-roading with Mahindra Thar

Last updated on: February 20, 2019 16:53 IST

Off-road driving allows you to get to remote places which are likely to be less visited and unpopular. It's also fun and a challenge and will give a rewarding experience. Rajesh Alva recounts the unique opportunity he got to drive Mahindra Thar in off-roading territory and Thar, he says, came out with flying colours.

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Modern 4WD vehicles are actually part time 4WD.

Most of the time only two wheel drive is used for regular road driving, where the engine power is transferred only to front or rear wheels.

If four-wheel drive is needed, the driver can switch to 4WD mode using a button or lever.

Driving a four-wheel drive vehicle is different from driving a normal vehicle, even on a tarmac road.

Photograph: Courtesy, Mahindra Adventure

It is recommended to take some four-wheel drive training before actually going for it.

Basic training will make your life easier while off-road driving.

There are driving academies that will teach you the basics of off-road driving.

Mahindra adventure is one of them.

They have two off-roading courses available with them.

First is Basic (Getting Dirty) and the other is Intermediate (Trail Survivor).

Mahindra Thar and off-roading do seem to go together very well and Thar is the most capable off-roading vehicles from the Mahindra stable, even in their stock showroom condition.

I got the unique opportunity to drive Mahindra Thar into off-roading territory and I must say Thar came out with flying colours.

Photograph: Courtesy, Mahindra Adventure

This was my first off-roading with the M&M (Mahindra and Mahindra) Adventure, Camp Out Kolad.

Camp Out is a new property started by Mahindra Adventure.

It gives you best of both world's off-roading and camping under one roof but only Mahindra vehicle owners can participate in it.

It was a two-day event at Kolad, a village in Raigad district, Maharashtra.

The reporting time was 3pm at Panvel highway.

The Thar was also accompanied by Mahindra XUV, TUV 300, Bolero, of which some were even two-wheel drive vehicles.

There were women participants too.

Photograph: Courtesy, Mahindra Adventure

We were all given a quick crash course in four wheel driving by the Mahindra Adventure team. There was lot of discussion on weight distribution of the vehicle and some mandatory accessories for off-roading.

Photograph: Courtesy, Mahindra Adventure

We were urged not to add too much metal to the vehicle.

Weight distribution in four-wheel drive vehicle is primary factor.

The centre of gravity in four wheel drive is higher than normal vehicle.

They are more likely to roll over on high speed curve.

One can customise one's off-road vehicle in many ways.

Some of these are genuinely useful others are largely for visual purpose.

Photograph: Courtesy, Mahindra Adventure

After having a brief discussion we took the Express highway for Kolad, following our lead car.

The Mahindra Thar passed through hills and lush greenery nearing our destination.

The scenery made me turn off the AC and down the windows.

We were allowed to stop by and admire the nature around us.

Some of us indulged in soaking the beautiful scenery and others were busy with selfies and photos.

It was a three-hour drive from Panvel to Kolad.

After reaching our destination we were provided with tea and snacks.

Later we went for soft off-roading through rough patches, bushes and fields where all the vehicles were allowed to participate, even the two-wheel drive vehicles.

Some of the two-wheel drive vehicle was struggling for grip in those bushes and fields.

Thankfully, no vehicle was seriously stuck.

But not to worry, the Mahindra guys were well prepared with their winches, high-lift jacks, hydraulic jacks, shovels, pulleys, ropes straps etc.

Soft off-roading was followed by camp fire and dinner.

Sitting around a campfire in the dark is a perfect time for singing and story-telling.

Most of us were sharing our experiences with our vehicles and previous off-roading trips.

Photograph: Courtesy, Mahindra Adventure

The next morning we started of for off-roading, where only Mahindra Thar was allowed to participate.

The non Thar owner occupied the available vacant seats in the SUV.

Photograph: Courtesy, Mahindra Adventure

The Mahindra team had instructed us to lower tyre pressure for better grip and traction.

Reducing tyre pressure increases the footprint of the tyre as more area comes in contact with the surface.

Another advantage of lowering tyre pressure is less possibility of getting a puncture.

We did as instructed and also engaged our Thar in four-wheel (4X4) drive mode.

Photograph: Courtesy, Mahindra Adventure

Mahindra Thar is equipped with 2-speed gear reduction, 4H(Four wheel high) and 4L(Four wheel low).

The 4H mode is to engage 4X4 for normal or moderate off-road usage.

The 4L mode increased traction on all four wheels.

Having a low ratio allows you to have more torque and power but it lower the speeds of the vehicle.

This helps in climbing obstacles, steep incline and decline on rough terrain without the wheels spinning away and causing slippage.

The path towards the lake was not easy.

The stubborn branches had to be pushed away manually as there was always a risk of breaking the windscreen.

Driving through the bushes too had its own hurdles.

The tree cutting wires fixed on some of the Thars came in handy here.

And for others, the Mahindra team were always around to help.

The Mahindra Thar effortlessly cruised through the bushy ground.

The Mahindra Adventure team also made certain that no one was hurt.

With the help of some basic knowledge and preparation from the Mahindra guys, we managed to complete our trip without any mishap.

Photograph: Courtesy, Mahindra Adventure

Off-road driving allows you to get to remote places which are likely to be less visited and unpopular.

It's also fun and a challenge and will give a rewarding experience.

Text & Photographs: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com

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Rajesh Alva / Rediff.com
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