Mahindra has just begun testing the all-new Thar. The off-roader is expected to be introduced in early 2020, at the Auto Expo. Notably, the all-new Mahindra Thar – in its second generation in the Indian market – will be the first Mahindra SUV to utilize a brand new ladder frame chassis. This chassis will be used by many other Mahindra SUVs such as the Scorpio and Bolero, for next-gen versions.
Spyshots courtesy CarDekho
The spyshots show a heavily camouflaged test mule that seems to be larger than the current version. The track seems to be wider – the first giveaway of a new platform. Mahindra is expected to retain the CJ5 derived shape for the new Thar though, as the ‘Jeep’ shape is one of the biggest selling points of the Thar. An evolutionary design is likely, similar to what Jeep has managed with the latest generation Wrangler off-roader.
The new platform for the next-gen Mahindra Thar will allow the off-roader to meet upcoming safety norms under Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program (BNVSAP) regulations. What this means is, the next-gen Mahindra Thar will get airbags, ABS, reverse parking sensors, provision for ISOFIX child seats, crumple zones, seat belt reminder and speed alert features.
The on-road behaviour of the new Thar is likely to improve drastically. Coil spring suspension on all four wheels could be offered, and this could greatly smooth out the new Thar’s on-road ride. The new Mahindra Thar is expected to feature a turbocharged diesel engine, which will meet the much stricter Bharat Stage 6 emission norms.
What’s not known though is whether the new off-roader will get an automatic gearbox option considering the fact that even off-roaders are moving towards automatic gearboxes across the globe. Given the new Thar’s global ambitions, don’t be surprised to see an automated manual transmission option.
Apart from selling the new Thar in India, Mahindra will sell the off-roader in markets that were previously under served thanks to the off-roader not meeting safety and emission norms. With the new platform taking care of both aspects, countries such as Australia and New Zealand could get the Thar as a road-ready vehicle. The current Thar can be used only off the road in these countries.
While the new Thar’s platform sharing with the next-generation Scorpio and Bolero will give Mahindra attractive cost savings, it remains to be seen if the automaker passes on benefits to customers. Given that the new Thar will be a low volume, niche vehicle, the automaker could price it at a premium considering all the feature additions. Currently, the Thar is priced at about Rs. 9.5 lakhs, ex-showroom, and the new version could breach the Rs. 10 lakh mark.
Now that the first test mule of the Thar has been sighted, it’s only a matter of time before more such sightings happen. More details are likely to surface in the coming months.