The Mahindra Thar looks absolutely macho and is half the reason why people buy it. However, within about six months of owning a Mahindra Thar the enchantment with the looks begins to wear off. Owners then take it upon themselves to “fix” issues with the Mahindra Thar that should have been fixed in the first place.
It’s very rare that you would find a Mahindra Thar in absolutely stock form – because in stock form it is not just boring to look at (no alloys, no bull bar or auxiliary lights), it is also not functional enough even for proper off-road or daily use. Hence, more often than not, Thar owners are forced to upgrade their machines. Of course, the thrill of driving a Thar does not wear off that easily in the right environment – that is, offroad.
Here are five things that new Mahindra Thar owners hate about the machine, compiled from a long list of issues that owners have reported.
Rear number plate location
The first thing any Thar owner who has done even slightly hard core off-roading with the Thar will notice is that the rear number plate is the first casualty. The problem is the number plate is located below the rear bumper, on the right hand side and drastically reduces the departure angle of the Thar. If you drive over a nasty mound of mud, or try to climb a steep incline, the rear number plate hits the ground and breaks / bends. Most owners then either fix the number plate on top of the bumper or move it to the rear door or elsewhere.
Pic credit: Team-BHP
Rear seat layout
Most people who buy a Mahindra Thar are not really looking to carry passengers, keeping it as a two-seat vehicle at best, although it is technically a 7-8 seater. The stock Mahindra Thar comes with two side facing rear bench seats, which are bolt upright and uncomfortable for passengers. Owners who want to carry at least two extra passengers often swap these two side-facing benches for a single forward-facing bench or dual bucket seats with better cushioning and recline angles. The third row seats from the Toyota Innova are a popular option for forward facing rear seats in the Thar.
Inadequate soft top
Although the Mahindra Thar now comes with air-conditioning, the design and quality of the canvas soft top leaves a lot to be desired. There are just too many gaps in the canopy through which dust, slush and rain water can enter the cabin. Most Thar owners either modify the canopy by tamping it down with plastic channels or get rid of it and switch to a fibreglass hard top to keep the cabin clean. Very few though, prefer to take it off and use the Thar for open top motoring. In fact, it is the poor soft top that has given rise to a whole new industry – companies making fibreglass hard tops for the Thar such as Bimbra, Azad, Performance Auto and NewMars among others.
Pic credit: NewMars
Poor plastic quality
Read any Mahindra Thar owner review on the Internet and one thing that stands out prominently is the quality of plastics. Owners are unhappy with the quality of the dashboard plastics, which have very rough edges, quality of the AC vents and of the door handles in particular, which tend to break on a number of Thars. Some of this has been corrected in the new Mahindra Thar (such as the quality of the dashboard). However, most owners end up replacing or fixing these parts.
Choice of tyres
The Mahindra Thar is an off-roader, but yet Mahindra supplies it with HT (highway terrain tyres). The least the company could do was offer AT (all-terrain) tyres with the Thar – even Renault offers that with the Duster. HT tyres on the Mahindra Thar are great for highway drives owing to low road noise and low rolling resistance, therefore giving better fuel economy. They also perform fairly decently on sandy terrain. But take the Thar into mud, slush or snow and the HT tyres let the vehicle down badly. Many Thar owners upgrade to AT or even MT (mud terrain) tyres for the Thar.
Of course, besides fixing these most common grouses that Thar owners have, many owners treat the Thar as a blank canvas on which to build their customized off-roaders. The possibilities are endless such as bigger tyres, better alloys, snorkels, customized bumpers, winches, lift kits – you name it and it has been done.