I had a chance to use a brand New Mahindra Thar cRde recently for two days. Background:
One of my close friend and collegue who took my Ritz to go for a long distance family function and he gave me a Thar till he comes back as I had to visit my native for some personal work. So for the first time I was driving it to my town in some good roads, bad roads, single roads, rough muddy patches too. Complete trip was around 250km including a 70km dense city traffic drive. Disclaimer :
To be very honest I had not driven such a vehicle before, hence my TD opinion is treated as my personal and subjective too, so it is not a report from an expert and also not an official one from TAI
too, so please just read it with a open mind and no offense on any other members feelings about the vehicle. Interior feeling:
I took the vehicle for the first time into hands, I have to climb up and lean my body inside to reach the driver seat as the door is too small for me. seating position is on higher side and there is no height adjustment. The front wind shield area is bit small compared to other regular hatch backs at least my Ritz.
Road visibility and the both sides bonnet corners are visible completely. the driving seat looked to be placed very close to the rear wheel as I was every to get the bump when the rear wheels are passing thru' the speed breakers.
There are two front seats the size is bit small for me as there was no proper thigh support as the seats are not complete bucket type and the comfort was less. The rear seats are bench type both facing opposite to each other and the roof and sides are covered with the soft cloth and the rear portion has a transparent plastic sheet and visibility was very difficult from the central IVRM. The side rear view mirrors are good. There is a spare wheel mounted on back which you can see in the pics.
Cabin is spacious, but the dash board was bit disappointing to me as looks like a very old model.
It is equipped with a AC and music system, steering wheel is in right position, but gear road is too big and gear travel was very long. gear rod is not straight and has some kind of curve shape where I was getting confused that the vehicle is in first gear or neutral. Driving the Thar:
Took it reverse as the street where it was parked did not allow me to take a turn, as I felt always when I see from side mirror, the Thar rear portion behind me looked very short and never felt difficult to reverse it. It was very bumpy pushing me to left and right as the road was very uneven. Started firing Thar with first gear, hmm excellent power delivery guys found little lag in second gear till it reaches the required RPM. Then to 3rd, 4th and 5th was easy to push the jeep on the road. The turning radius was felt bit too long when I compared with my car and few times I was missing the road ends as I am new and could not able to judge the tyres position, but since it is Thar and a 4x4 within now time the vehicle is back on the road and running ahead.
It seems it has some good road presence where every body was looking at it on the roads even XUV and Scorpio guys
. So after driving for 10 to 20km I started getting used to its behavior.
The drive was bit bumpy to me may be I was alone in the jeep or it is its original nature. It was jumping on speed breakers which was not the case with my car.
Brakes were average for such a powerful vehicle, there might be problem with the brakes are with the person who owns and drives it as many times was scary to stop it as was not getting the right bite from the pads. Upon sudden braking was falling ahead badly as the seats are on high position and just like straight chairs in the class room.
So journey continued with some bad patches of roads and very narrow single roads and the Thar jumping in bad patches. Whenever any vehicle comes opposite I had to take it down one side where road was very uneven but due to its high GC it was very easy to bring back very quickly without any doubts in mind. I can't do the same with my car.
Tried to see how it behaves in sharp corners with some 60kmph speeds and found good amount of body roll to the opposite direction from the turning path, ofcourse it is not inertia and you may say that it doesn't have a soft suspension at all , yes I agree with you that its suspension was very stiff, but still I can notice its body roll as the seating position is very high from ground.
What I loved in the Thar was its low end torque, ah you can slow down complete in 5th gear at a speed breaker and move ahead without changing the gears it does not knock at all. This is something really special with Mahindra and which was very useful while the city bumper to bumper traffic.
Lighting is awesome and great to drive it in small narrow village roads in the nights with full command on the road.
Steering felt light and easy to maneuver and power delivery of the engine was excellent.
The other thing which I liked was its NVH in the cabin which less than my Ritz and engine seems to be tuned very well and refined too.
Exterior looks were the main impressive thing to buy this vehicle. Conclusion :
It is more and more suitable for off roading and to take on some bad muddy roads. So its purpose looked to me quite different from regular usage as one get tired due to its seating as I found the comfort is not at all good. Is that price of some 8 Lakhs is worth for this, may be people who like its looks and look for a 4x4 personalised vehicle may buy this. And with my long Bolero campero experience, Bolero is anyday better than the Thar for me which offers excellent seating comfort and ride comfort is very good. So it was a new and mixed feeling on Thar.