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First Drive: The New Gen Thar

By Rajesh Karkera
August 18, 2020 08:30 IST
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A blend of traditional as well as contemporary features, the All-New Thar exceeds expectations by far, says Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com.

A rain-soaked Mumbai on Independence Day, and a first drive of the All-New Thar. A drive which was so full of excitement that few words can describe it. The video below captures some of the mood and thrill.

SEE: The first drive of the legendary Thar in its latest avatar. Video: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

The Mahindra Thar, which has always been a vehicle for the pure outdoors enthusiasts, a lifestyle vehicle which was a second or third vehicle in your parking lot, has now gotten a new avatar and hopes to appeal to all kind of car lovers -- first-time owners as well.

 All New Mahindra Thar

The Imposing front grille and skid plates of the All-New Thar. Photograph: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

Freedom Drive, organised by Mahindra and Mahindra on August 15, was to celebrate the spirit of Independence with The All-New Thar.

 

A car which carries with it a hoary past which not many vehicles can boast of.

The Exterior

The all new Mahindra Thar

The lineup of the All-New Thar at the M&M Kandivali facility in Mumbai. Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

Love at first sight, is all I can say on looking at this beauty.

The front grille has distinctly far-spaced horizontal slats, the bonnet slopes to the front and the redesigned bonnet ties are a fantastic touch in retaining the vintage look and yet making it modern.

The headlamps are the same round ones with traditional halogen bulbs but the All New Thar gets LED DRLs which also house the indicators under them.

A large chunky bumper which holds the fog lamps makes this look like a beast that means business.

This Thar is also much broader than its predecessors and the Ceat Czar All-Terrain tyres on the large 18-inch wheels make it look imposing.

The Thar 2020

The placement of the antenna is a pleasant surprise. Retaining the WWII look, it imparts a sense of military-like pride.

The engine variant badgeing is prominent on one side but does not intrude with the overall look and the external hinges on the doors push the ruggedness of this vehicle to another level.

The New Thar 2020

The LED tail lamps are newly designed and the iconic tail-mounted spare wheel is in the centre.

With 226 mm ground clearance and a short departure angle along with a water wading capacity of 650mm, you can just about put the All-New Thar through anything.

The Interior

The infotainment system along with the touch screen is drizzle-resistant IP54, and the All-New Thar gets well-built door cladding along with bottle holders. Creature comforts like cruise control, among other things, are also now available. Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

Enter the New Gen Thar and you are welcomed by a whole new look inside. A soft-touch, thick steering wheel with mounted controls.  A 7-inch infotainment touch screen.

And for the first time in a Thar, this one has height-adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support!

SEE the interiors of the Thar soft top. Video: Courtesy, Mahindra & Mahindra

The 2nd-row seats are now front-facing and there is surprisingly a fair amount of room at the rear.

But the wheel well does intrude into the rear seat which makes this really a two-seater rear and not three-. One more thing, getting in and out will be a sort of a pickle for elders in the two-door vehicle.

Roof mounted speakers in the Thar 2020

The roof-mounted speakers are a welcome touch and the sound quality is adequate. Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

The Drive

Our drive, which started on the rain-splattered highway in Mumbai from the Mahindra & Mahindra plant in Kandivali, was a foretaste of the All-New Thar.

On the highway, the Petrol AT that I drove, which packs a whopping 150 bhp, felt refined and ever ready to jump ahead when you put your foot down and accelerate.

Performance is one thing on which the Mahindras have not compromised.

The NVh levels are also quite low. In spite of being a soft top, there was barely any sound creeping into the cabin.

The only thing we heard as we drove was the rusting wind that made the canvas top flap up and down. But that is to be expected in a soft top.

The Hard Top 2020 Mahindra Thar

The All-New Thar is also available in a hard top version. Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

The Thar took on the broken tarmac roads and potholes of Mumbai with ease with its 18-inch CEATs and the new ladder-frame chassis has made a big big difference in the ride and handling of the vehicle.

The high up seating and the wide windscreen gives fantastic visibility and makes you feel like you own the road.

A thought that I had when I saw the car for the first time was that there would be a blind spot due to the thick A-pillar, but as I drove this beast I saw no hindrance to the view at all -- not even from the huge ORVMs on both sides. What a fantastic design and engineering mix the folk at M&M have done!

Even though it is big, the SUV felt nimble and was quick in navigating through traffic. And of course, everyone gives way on spotting it.

We also had many high-end cars and bikes driving up beside our convoy and giving us the thumbs up.

The All-New Mahindra Thar 2020 has exceeded my expectations, and a big thank you Dil Se!

As we now wait for the price reveal on October 2, keep your eyes peeled for further Rediff.com updates.

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Rajesh Karkera / Rediff.com
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