No, this is not a new variant of the Jeep Wrangler. Despite having a similar look, this is actually the all-new Mahindra Thar, the Indian automaker’s latest go-anywhere 4x4.
Revealed recently by the automaker in celebration of India’s 74th Independence Day, the 2021 Thar is a two-door SUV that combines ruggedness, practicality, and modern creature comforts in a compact package. It's powered by turbocharged engines and comes with a proper 4WD system as standard.
But with its Wrangler-like looks, surely Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will take notice and sue the company. After all, FCA did take Mahindra to court with the whole Roxor fiasco and won. As it turns out, the FCA cannot sue Mahindra for the 2021 Thar. That's because even though this looks like a JK Wrangler, Mahindra apparently based its looks on the much older Jeep CJ to which they own the rights.
But in order to make sure FCA doesn't get any ideas, Mahindra made several design changes to the Thar to give it its own identity. It comes with its own unique front grille, a different front bumper, altered fender flares, distinct 18-inch alloy wheels, and reshaped LED taillights. So while it may look like a Jeep in certain angles, Mahindra claims this is still a design of their own.
Size-wise, the 2021 Mahindra Thar measures 3985mm long, 1820mm wide, 1920mm tall, and it has a 2450mm wheelbase.
Inside, the Thar comes equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, as well as Bluetooth. The screen also doubles as a display for the digital compass, pitch and roll angle indicator, and wheel angle indicator for when you're going off-road. As the 2021 Thar is only available as a two-door, it is only capable of seating four individuals. But in case you need to have more seats, the rear bench can be replaced with side-facing seats which can accommodate four people in total.
Want to let the sun in while you're driving the Thar? The hardtop can be easily removed to make the 4x4 as a convertible. There's even an optional soft-top for a more rugged look available for customers to specify.
Under the hood, the Thar comes with two engine options. The first one is a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine that puts out 150 PS and 320 Nm of torque. The second engine is a 2.2-liter turbo-diesel that produces 130 PS and 320 Nm of torque. Both are available with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic transmission.
As mentioned earlier, the 2021 Thar has a part-time 4WD system complete with a transfer case and crawler gear ratios. It has an approach angle of 41.8 degrees, a departure angle of 36.8 degrees, and a ramp over angle of 27 degrees. It also has a generous ground clearance of 226mm and a water wading capability of 660mm. The suspension itself, on the other hand, consists of an independent system at the front and a multi-link setup at the back.
There are no prices yet available for the 2021 Mahindra Thar though the company said it will be available in the Indian market soon. With small SUVs gaining popularity in the country, perhaps Mahindra Philippines can offer the 2021 Thar in the future.