According to reports, Mahindra is preparing a new base variant of the Thar in a 4×4 guise. Currently, the base variant is a 4×2. It is believed that the model is being developed to compete with the Maruti Jimny, which has 4×4 on all its variants. A cheaper 4×4 Thar could be tempting for buyers considering the Jimny, as the Thar is significantly larger and has proven its capabilities on Indian roads since launch. Reports suggest that the company will offer this new base 4×4 variant with the bigger 2.2L diesel and 2.0L petrol engines.
As of yet, it is not confirmed, but reports from Autocar India suggest that Mahindra could name this new base variant the AX AC. This variant will be a bare-bones model that will most likely lack any creature comforts to cut down the cost. With the AX AC variant, Mahindra aims to target off-road enthusiasts who want the SUV for exploring uncharted terrains.
Also read: Maruti Suzuki greenlights Jimny for launch in India
Another significant reason for Mahindra to launch this variant might be due to the fact that the country’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, will soon launch their highly anticipated lifestyle off-roader Jimny. MSIL will keep the prices of the Jimny fairly low in comparison to the Mahindra’s range of Thar to take a chunk of market share. However, Mahindra, with the AX AC variant, will aim to regain some of its lost market share.
Regarding design, the new AX AC variant will most likely look identical to the outgoing variants, but it will surely miss out on things like alloy wheels and other features to lower costs. Reports state that some of the key features from the AX(O) variant will be missing on the newer AX AC variant.
Currently, Mahindra offers the outgoing 4×4 variants of the Thar with two engine options. The first is a 2.2L diesel engine, and the second is a 2.0L petrol engine. The AX AC variant will most likely be offered with these two engines. Another base engine is offered in RWD Thar variants only, which is a 1.5L diesel engine borrowed directly from the brand’s sub-compact SUV XUV 300.
The 2.2L diesel mill available in the Thar 4×4 produces a maximum of 130hp and 300 Nm of torque. Meanwhile, the 2.0L petrol engine is the most powerful of the bunch, producing around 152 hp and 300 Nm of torque. Both of these engines have the option of either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic gearbox. Lastly, the 1.5L diesel engine from the brand produces around 118hp and 300Nm of torque. The RWD variants of the Thar come available with this engine and the 2.0L petrol engine.
Regarding the pricing of the new AX AC variant, we currently do not have any information. Although it can be assumed that it will be somewhere around Rs 11-12 lakh. Currently, the Thar is available with an ex-showroom price range of Rs 9.99 lakh and Rs 16.49 lakh for the diesel variants and between Rs 13.49 lakh and Rs 15.82 lakh for the petrol version.
Also read: Upcoming 2022 Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza rendered