2020 Honda City and Mahindra Thar are two very different cars targeted at very different set of buyers. Yet both are much awaited and both are expected to be launched soon.
Still, we didn’t get to see either of them at Auto Expo 2020. Honda City’s absence is understandable—Honda is not an exhibitor at the Expo. But Thar! Why is Thar missing? Or will Mahindra throw a surprise on the last few days. Looks a bit unlikely—Mahindra seems to be keeping its cards close to its chest. It did not show the much-awaited Scorpio or XUV500 either.
What we know about Honda City 2020
We expect the new City to be launched in March, 2020. The fifth generation Honda City 2020 has been launched in Thailand so we know that the nee car would be longer [by [113 mm longer at 4,553 mm] and wider [53 mm wider at 1,748 mm] than the current generation City. However, it is a low-slung coupe like design and therefore, it will not be as tall as the current City and will have a shorter wheelbase too.
In many ways, it takes design cues from the Civic particularly on the front side. The rear view mirrors have been moved to doors for better visibility. The rear is clean with the tail light cluster that looks a bit like the one BMW X4! The interiors too are quite different with more straight lines and premium quality material. The space is generous, both in the front and rear. So, it should be fine as a chauffeur driven sedan as well.
The new-gen Honda City comes with features like LED headlamps and taillights, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, cruise control, six airbags and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), to name a few. India-spec Honda City should get additional features like an electric sunroof, rear parking sensors, a digital multi-info display, rear AC vents and more. The car will be powered by 1.5-litre diesel and petrol powertrains, which put out 117 hp/145 Nm and 100 hp/200 Nm respectively. Both powertrains can be had with either a 6-speed manual transmission, or a CVT. Expect a slight bump in prices as has been with every successive generation of City.
What we know about Mahindra Thar
We expect two broad imperatives to drive the Thar upgrade: One is, of course, the new BS6 and safety norms and the other is to broaden the appeal of this rugged SUV without sacrificing its essential character.
Spy shots suggest that the new Thar, while retaining its Jeep-like looks, would be wider. It will be built on the same platform as the next-gen Scorpio with which it will share its body-on-ladder frame, engine, gearbox, four-wheel drive transfer case, brakes.
The Mahindra Thar will get front facing seats for the passengers at the rear, and will be a four-seater. A factory fitted hardtop, upmarket upholstery, a touchscreen infotainment system – possibly with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, driver and passenger airbags and also ABS should be on offer. A four-wheel-drive layout with a shift-on-the-fly feature from Borg-Warner is likely. Low and high ratios will be offered with the four-wheel-drive transfer case.
Mahindra has been tight-lipped about the engine option. We expect a 2 litre, 140 bhp unit to power the Thar.
But those are numbers and features. We expect Mahindra to refine the Thar quite a bit and that would better finish throughout, lower NVH and plusher ride on tarmac. Basically, things that will make Thar a more practical option for a larger set of people.
Now the big question is when will hit the showrooms?
We expected Thar to be there at the Auto Expo 2020 and then get launched in a month or so. The first bit hasn’t happened. And that could mean the second too might happen later than we thought.