New Mahindra Thar gets STUCK in a river bed: Who’s to blame?

Most salesmen selling four wheel drive SUVs often say: A four wheel drive SUV can literally go anywhere. What they forget to add is: If driven sanely, and within the limits the vehicle is designed for. While the all-new, 2020 Mahindra Thar is a supremely capable 4X4, the vehicle simply cannot compensate beyond a point for poor driver skill, and poor choice of tyres and other similar off-road equipment. Here is one of Arunachal Pradesh’s first all-new Mahindra Thars royally stuck on a dry river bed, and watching the video, it’s clear that the vehicle is not to blame here.

As the video indicates, the 2nd generation Thar is stuck, and is digging itself deeper into a pit even as the four wheel drive mode is engaged. The 2020 Thar is seen constantly spinning all four wheels, which indicates a lack of traction.

Even as a man constantly shovels mud away from the Thar’s wheels, it struggles to find traction and find firmer ground. After umpteen efforts by the man with the shovel, the 4X4 SUV finally managed to extricate itself to firmer ground, but not before really struggling and seeming like a vehicle that’s not really meant to be taken off the road.

Is it the 2020 Mahindra Thar’s fault?

Absolutely not! Everyone watching this video and/or considering the all-new Mahindra Thar as their next vehicle must understand some basics.

  1. The 2020 Thar comes equipped with highway terrain tyres from the factory. Highway terrain tyres are fuel efficient, offer good grip for highway driving, last long and are also less noisy at speeds over 100 Kph. While these are advantageous for driving on well paved roads, they become the 2020 Thar’s Achilles heel off the road. For off roading, the 2020 Thar needs at least all-terrain tyres, which while not being as aggressive as mud terrain tyres, are a good compromise between off road ability and on road grip. So, this is the first change that people looking to drive their 2020 Thar off the road extensively should consider.
  2. Momentum is king. While going off the road, it’s important to maintain momentum. That doesn’t mean taking the trail at 80 Kph. What needs to be done instead is to maintain a steady 10-20 Kph pace off the road, with a measured throttle input, and more importantly the four wheel drive mode engaged much before getting stuck. Inertia is something that’s tough to overcome off the road, and it’s better not to get stuck in rear wheel drive mode, and then shift to four wheel drive mode to power out of the situation. A better alternate is to shift to four wheel drive mode as soon as you get onto a slippery, off road surface, and simply let the momentum work for you.
  3. Knowing how to drive off the road is very important. As seen in the video, the 2020 Thar could have got moving on its own had the driver shifted to the four low mode at the right time. Even after getting stuck, if he’s shifted to four low and had gently moved the vehicle forward and backwards with the throttle, the vehicle could have extracted itself without needing outside assistance.

To sum it up, any four wheel drive vehicle including the all-new, 2020 Mahindra Thar is only as capable as its driver. It’s important to know some basics of off road driving before venturing off the road.