2015 Mahindra Thar CRDe facelift first review

Mahindra has given the Thar CRDe an extensive cosmetic update and a mechanical rear diff lock that makes it more capable offroad. We drive the Thar at Mahindra's Igatpuri training academy to find out how it does

Mahindra Thar CRDe facelift water wading

The Thar is the four wheeled equivalent of Enfields in India. Rugged and crude and if needed to be fixed, can be done just about anywhere. There’s a large and loyal set of customers for this kind of automobile in India but to me, a car has to be a lot more livable on road and at times when you aren’t conquering the jungle. Mahindra seems to be paying heed to this kind of feedback from individual customers who don’t mind spending a bit more for creature comforts. The second big feedback was the need of a locking rear differential and with the facelift you get that too. So to experience the new Thar, we were invited to Mahindra’s Igatpuri training academy. We just got to drive the Thar over a marked obstacle course so a full review will follow, but for now here are the juicy bits.

Mahindra Thar CRDe lined up

All updates go only to the CRDe Thar as it is more individual buyer oriented than the direct injection Thar. The latter has a utilitarian market that’s price sensitive so the added features and diff lock would shoot the price up. It’s still powered by the 2.5-litre turbocharged diesel engine developing 105PS of power and 247Nm of torque and comes mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox and a low ratio transfer case. With the brute set in 4-Low, ideal for the mud plugging and water wading we were about to experience, the Thars were ready to go. 

Mahindra Thar CRDe facelift rear

Stock all terrain tyres in the Thar wouldn’t have been suitable to the increasingly slippery terrain and so chunky mud terrain tyres were fitted to the Thar for the day. So slot into first or even second gear, the low ratio box takes you through well carved out earth with utmost ease. All you need to do is control throttle and steering, don’t use the clutch unless to change gear and you are across the obstacle. The mechanical diff lock will force both rear wheels to spin at the same speed regardless of traction. On slush with the wheels slipping, a diff lock makes the Thar a bit more capable than before.

Mahindra Thar CRDe in its elements

Exterior updates include a neater front bumper extending to the wheel arches, new side foot steps and a redesigned canopy tilting frontwards. The Thar now gets clear lens headlamps too. With the wheels to their extremities,  the Thar gets a 44 degree approach angle and a 27 degree departure angle. 

Major refresh is on the inside however. The Thar gets its front seats from the old Scorpio, more comfortable than the ones used before. You get a dual tone dashboard now and a steering wheel borrowed from the Bolero. There’s a three-pod backlit instrument cluster with shiny chrome ringed surrounds and to go with the theme, new circular AC vents as well. There are more cup holders as well and Mahindra made sure we used it as we were offered refreshments in the middle of the course. There is also a 12V charging point so you don’t run out of charge. New door trim brings us to the flimsy bits on the Thar, the door opening mechanism and the locks. The Thar is still Spartan if a bit more comfortable now.

Mahindra Thar CRDe convoy

The Thar is a simple, tough and rugged 4x4 that’s full of character even when it’s not covered in mud. Now that it gets a more comfortable cabin and a locking differential, it appeals more to the offroading enthusiast who wanted a better place to sit in to do the dirty business. Except for the Force Gurkha, the Thar faces no real competition and the brand is miles ahead of the Gurkha in terms of recognition. So Mahindra gets to charge a premium for it. Rs 8.03 lakh ex-showroom Nasik for the stock car is a bit steep, but what choice do you have? 

Mahindra Thar 2015-2019 Video Review

Recommended Variant : Thar CRDe

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