Monday, December 20, 2010
Mahindra’s Jeep Returns to India
The Thar is probably one of the most literally retro vehicles offered anywhere in the world. Where reincarnated American pony cars like the Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger take styling cues from their forty-year-old ancestors and package them in a completely modern design, the Mahindra Thar is old school all the way.
For the rupee equivalent of around USD $11,000 – $13,500, you get what is effectively a CJ7 body sitting on a shortened Scorpio/TR chassis. The Thar gets Mahindra’s 2.5L CRDe (4-cylinder diesel) with a manual transmission and a pushbutton 2-speed transfer case. Basically, it is the latest evolution of the Jeeps that Mahindra built under license in India for decades. Since the Thar has previously been available in European markets, it was probably a pretty easy move to begin making some specifically for the Indian off-road market.
While US Jeeps continue to get softer and softer every year, it’s pretty cool to see that something as basic as the Thar still has a place in the world. Frankly, MP thinks that Mahindra could (should?) successfully bring the Thar into the US, even as an off-road only vehicle. By circumventing the Chicken Tax, you could potentially get a 4x4 Thar for less than what Polaris or Can-Am wants for their trick little UTV’s like the RZR and Commander. Throw a solid axle on the front, and the rock crawling crowd would have a decent starting point for a diesel trail truck.
We won’t get our hopes up, so in the mean time we’ll keep daydreaming about the Icon CJ3B.
The Thar launches in India on December 21st.
Sources: Icon 4x4, MahindraThar.com