The Mahindra Thar 4X4 is India’s most popular and affordable off roader, with a price tag of Rs. 9.11 lakh rupees. Armed with a powerful turbo diesel engine, a short wheelbase, a 4X4 transfer case and a mechanical locking differential, the simple yet rugged Thar can give much more expensive off roaders and SUVs a run for their money. This video will explain what we’re talking about. If you’re hard pressed for time, start watching from 4:24.
As the video indicates, the Thar CRDe 4X4 makes the obstacle look so simple while the 60 lakh rupee Jeep Wrangler huffs and puffs, yet failing to make it to the top of the hill. What gives? Deep ruts that can swallow cars whole need plenty of traction. And for traction over such terrain, nothing works better than a a short wheelbase, locking differentials and adequate ground clearance.
Why does the Wrangler struggle?
In the Wrangler’s case, the long wheelbase steals ground clearance and the lack of locking differentials makes it lose traction at places where it needs it the most. Since the Wrangler features an automatic gearbox, maintaining momentum means a fast start – not something ideal for off road conditions where steady progress is what’s required.
In the Thar’s case, the short wheelbase allows at least one of it wheels to stay out of the ruts, and the short wheelbase also means that it doesn’t beach itself during the climb. The mechanical locking differential, which now comes factory fitted, gives the Thar adequate traction, especially when it conditions get slippery. Then there’s the manual gearbox with a low range transfer case that gives it enough grunt right off idle, allowing it to maintain steady momentum up the obstacle. The Thar makes it look easy even as the Wrangler, Toyota Fortuner and even the Isuzu V-Cross struggle.
What’s the point of the 60 lakh rupee Wrangler then?
Well, you have a capable off roader that can do a lot with a few modifications such as a suspension lift, taller tyres and of course, differential locks. With these modifications, the Wrangler will be as potent or even better than the Thar across most obstacles. Then you have a well appointed cabin and much better ride comfort than the Thar, which is bare-basic to say the least.