Mahindra Thar, known for its iconic stance and ultimate offroading capabilities. Some cars in India have a cult following Thar being one of them. It can still be easily spotted on the roads as it is still in production although the Mahindra Thar 700 is the last of its kind. It is the only chance you get to own a piece of history as the iconic has been made immortal in the limited edition Thar. Only 700 units of this edition will be available. But wasn’t the Thar launched in 2010? Why is there such a legacy attached to it? What did Thar achieve in just 10 years that others couldn’t? Well, history has it all! Let’s dig deeper.
1949 – The First-Ever Mahindra Offroader
Mahindra began producing Willys CJ3A jeep in 1949. This was the first-ever offroader to be made by the company. CJ3A was a 4-wheel drive offroader that was introduced for the Indian audience. Within a span of 4 years, the CJ3A was upgraded to CJ3B by Willys after it was bought by Kaiser Motors. This generation of CJ was licenced to Mitsibushi in Japan and Mahindra and Mahindra in India.
The CJ3B came powered by a 2.2-litre Hurricane petrol engine which used to churn out 72hp of power and 154Nm of torque. The engine was mated to a 3-speed manual gearbox and a transfer case to transfer the power to all the four wheels or the two wheels according to your choice.
1985 – Iconic Silhouette
This is the time when Mahindra launched the grandfather of the Thar you know now. MM540 was the first off-roader to get a name without CJ in it as the company parted its way from the license from Jeep. It was first to get the rounded fenders and bonnet design. For the engine duties, 2.1-litre Peugeot sourced diesel engine came in. It came mated to a 4-speed manual gearbox and a two-level transfer case.
In the year 1995, the MM540 was upgraded to MM550 to suit the needs of the Indian army. It was a trusted workhorse of the army. The offroader was equipped with a 2.5-litre diesel engine from Peugeot which could make 72hp of power. It was mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The armoured version of MM540, the Rakshak has been in the army’s fleet and has been protecting the Indian borders alongside the army since 2000.
1996 – Mahindra Classic: The Lifestyle Icon
Mahindra introduced the Jeep in 1996 as the Classic edition. It was one of the most successful jeeps from the company to make huge in the market. Due to the rugged stance, powerful engine and ultimate offroading capabilities the Classic was introduced with, it made a huge fan following especially among the youth at that time.
2000 – Last Of The CJ Series
The Mahindra Major, launched in 2000 was the last of the CJ series to be made by Mahindra. It was powered by a 2.7-litre diesel engine mated to a 5-speed gearbox. It also had the single-lever four-wheel-drive transfer case. The majority of sales came from the ones without four-wheel-drive mode which was used as people mover in Indian rural areas. It was also used by the Indian police especially those from the areas of rough terrains.
2006 – Mahindra Legend
This SUV was built by the company to commemorate 60th anniversary of the Indian car manufacturer. The company rolled out 60 units of the Legend for which the owners were chosen on an invitation basis. It was powered by a 2.5-litre direct injection diesel engine. The Legend was not welcomed well due to poor handling and low fuel efficiency.
2010 – And Here Comes The Mahindra Thar
This was the torchbearer of Mahindra’s legacy of 4X4 vehicles. It was launched in 2010 to fill in the space left by the Major after discontinuation. Within no time the Thar became one of the most famous off-roaders in the market. It was a tough competition to the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy, one of the most popular 4X4 at that time.
The SUV was given two diesel engine options: a 2.6-litre and a 2.5-litre. Both the engines were capable of producing over 63hp of power and 182Nm of torque.
In 2015 the Thar was refreshed, giving it a more vintage look. The interiors were given a more premium feel. The BS4-compliant 2.5-litre CRDe engine which could churn out 105hp of power and 247Nm of torque. It is equipped with a Bob Warner transfer case too. The Thar’s 44 degrees of approach angle and 27 degrees of departure are enough to keep any off-roader in India to think before competing.
2020 – Mahindra Thar 700
This will end the mark of the icon, or rather make it immortal. 700 units of Mahindra Thar 700 will be produced to commemorate the legacy. The limited-edition Thar is equipped with a 2.5-litre CRDe engine which produces 105hp of power and a peak torque of 247Nm.
On the outside, the all-new 2020 Thar looks slightly bigger than its predecessor and features a new set of the front grille which looks bolder than before. Other additional features on the outside include redesigned front bumper and a new set of LED tail lights which complements its Boxy design.
Coming to the Inside, it seems that Mahindra will retain the old interior while also sustaining some new interior features such as a dual-tone dashboard, Provision for 2-Din Music system, and Multi-Directional A/C vents.
The Thar has a legacy of its own and will surely continue ahead. The next generation of Mahindra Thar is all set to launch by the mid of this year which may be delayed a bit due to Coronavirus.
Have a look: Second-gen Mahindra Thar to launch by June 2020