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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mahindra Thar CRDE 4x4 review

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I had not driven Mahindra Thar so far. When I planned Goa trip, I booked a Mahindra Thar on self drive from Carzonrent. [Read Goa Carzonrent Myles self drive experience] Thar wasn’t available for self-drive anywhere else, so even when other bigger and more comfortable cars were available for same amount (Xylo, Tavera etc were available for same amount as Thar), I opted for Thar, though it meant some inconvenience for my guests in terms of seating comfort.

I drove a Mahindra Thar CRDE 4x4 for 4 days/950kms and below post shares some of my observations. 
Thar is a very rugged, all weather, all-terrain vehicle, but it lacks basic comforts and convenience that we take for granted in modern cars. Features and functions that you take for granted in a personal vehicle are not available in Thar. Hence Thar is unfit to be your primary vehicle. If you thought you will buy only one car- Thar and use it for everything- home to office, long drives, adventure etc, then Thar has more cons than Pros. However as a secondary vehicle or as an adventure gear, Thar will be great. Given that its price tag is much cheaper than other SUVs, customers should not be complaining. But I am listing below findings, so that you will know what you’re buying.

Everything used in manufacturing of Mahindra Thar seem to be of cheapest quality, to save on cost. The Thar I drove had 34000 kms on the Odo and its wipers stopped working within half a day of heavy duty usage in Goan rains. The wipers felt like an Engineering student’s final year project made just to last till the day of exam and Viva-voce. 


There was hardly any lockable place in the entire car. When we go out- to see a falls or to visit a place, we should carry everything with us. Glove box doesn’t lock, doors lock but rear section with soft top isn’t lockable, so anyone can get inside and take things away. Would have been nice if a Thar variant is launched with hard  closed cabin (like Gypsey). There're a small box under co driver seat, which is the only lockable space in the entire car.



AC feels like a blower. When originally launched, Thar didn’t have AC or doors. Soon Mahindra realized the need and introduced AC and hard doors. But AC is largely ineffective- either because it is not strong enough or because the soft top and rear opening of the Thar jeep makes it too tough for AC unit to effectively cool anything. Once turned off, condensation around AC unit creates more moisture in the car. Those sitting in front row will at least feel the cool air gushing towards them, but those sitting in back had some effect, but not note worthy.



No 12V charging point by default, but dashboard has a provision for it to fit after-market (which the rental agency didn’t care to add). Without a charging point, our car chargers were useless and we had to live with the charge we left home with in the morning.

Seat adjustment is a joke. It only moves by a few mms. Steering has no adjustments at all. Getting into Thar needs some effort, as it feels like climbing a ladder.

No seatbelts for rear passengers. Upto 8 people (2 in front and 3 each in rear side facing seats) can be seated, but will be comfortable only when there're max 6. Side facing rear seats won't help much during highway drive and passengers need to constantly hold on to something to avoid losing balance.
Dashboard has only one lamp (to save cost of another bulb may be or probably the other lamp is damaged), so the fuel gauge, LCD part doesn’t get any illumination in the night as the sole lamp placed in centre can’t reach the left extreme corner of the instrument cluster. (Use your phone’s torch to see these readings). 

Top speed is at about 120kmph, but car struggles a lot to reach that Speed. At 80-100kmph itself we begin to feel the struggle engine is having in keeping up. Suspension was again very hard- most of the impact is passed on to the people sitting in the backside (driver and co driver will not feel the impact much). So, Thar is absolute No No for long drive with family. Buy another car to ferry them, hire a drive to drive Thar till your destination and then get into Thar to indulge in any adventure/off road drive you intended to.
Don’t expect any other luxury that you are used to- No buttons on the door- everything is manual. No audio, no reverse sensor, no other controls. Everything is bare basic.

Wiper control positioning is very tight and not enough space to move your hand. It has to be operated with fingers.

Headlights were just fine for night drive. Didn't face any issues. 

I tried taking off the soft cover for a while- it wasn't very easy, hence dropped the idea.

Of course I wrote the above to tell you what Thar is. Obviously if you want all the above features go buy a Scorpio, not Thar. Thar is made for rugged use, on or off the road, which it is good at. Force Ghurkha is another competitor to Thar, but comes with BS3 engine.

Thar had amazing grip on the road. During the heavy rains, steep ghats or curves, I could drive with full confidence. 

There's power steering and that's about it. Clutch and gears will give you lot of exercise. It gives super retro feeling and sans any feel of modern day cars.

Super high ground clearance meant it could take any road or even no road. Whenever I find some open area near the road, I took a diversion, drove around randomly a bit and then came back to main road. However, I had to restrain from extreme off roading- because though Thar is very capable off-roader, its cheap parts are easily susceptible to damages and I didn't want to wreck a rented car.


Fuel Economy: Thar CRDE 4x4 has a designated fuel efficiency of about 16kmpl. But for my 950kms drive, I had to fill about Rs 6000 worth of diesel, at Rs 63.4 per litre, which works out to be about 10kmpl. This is with AC being used half the time, very little 4x4 drive. 

Overall: Don't buy Thar as your primary vehicle. Extremely cheap build quality is a big let off, though the drive is good. The 4x4 variant of Thar costs close to 10 lakh rupees on road. Unless you've enough usage for it- like extreme offroading or village use that demands super rugged vehicles, you will be better off buying a Scorpio 4x4 or Bolero 4x4 by spending a few lakhs more.

But Thar CRDE makes a better buy than Polaris Ranger or other off road ATVs, which are doubly priced because of taxes. If you set your expectations and priorities right, then Thar won't disappoint you.

11 comments :

Srini said...

Hi Shri
3 days back I went on a Thar inside the Palar river bed. The driver was a experienced off roader. The experience was so good.
I think you missed a lot of fun with not driving it on a river bed.
Try it next time...

Nice article, so many findings...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

I did a bit of off road, but not too much, because it is a rented car

Datta Ghosh said...

Informative, the problem is more or less present in every rented car (non luxury)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Datta: Which problem you're referring to?

Anonymous said...

You sir are a complete douche bag with no balls.. I have thar and I drive daily to office , leisure and etc.. So that would be .. I have figo...i haven't used it since I brght thar... Its a proper blokes car period!!. I have no complaints and would definitely suggest to buy. Fyi thar is getting al new interiors..

Jaison said...

this review is a really genuine one is what i feel. I was thinking of buying that like a everyday car. I wanted to go for test drive but some how the dealer here in cochin KTC mahindra don't even have a test drive vehice!!! i believe they are not providing it since they feel that if one test drives it then they may not buy it. Some anonymous fool has give a bad note about your review . He is anonymous since he may be a mahindra guy. he don't have the guts to reveal himself. than you so much for the review since i could take decision not to buy thar.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Jaison- thanks. Everyone is entitled to their opinion- no issues. Any product/service will have a few happy customers and few disappointed one. Trick is to ensure that you don't fall on the later side.

@Anon- good that you are enjoying your thar. I have shared my experience and perspective. Yes, the current model has several improvements, based on feedbacks and complaints received from previous set of customers.

narasimman narasimman said...

we left thar 4x4 in seawater wat damages it causes

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Narasimman- How deep, how long and more importantly why?
Have you added snorkel?

Dr Hitesh Bathija said...

I use Thar as a everyday vehicle..I have made a few suspension modifications to make it comfortable..frankly with the number of potholes the city road has, we need a robust suv like the Thar..https://mytharstory.blogspot.in/

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Good to know. It is rugged for sure- latest versions are slightly more sophisticated and come with better interiors too