Mahindra Thar CRDe review

By: Brent Lilley

Mahindra Thar CRDe review Mahindra Thar CRDe review
Mahindra Thar CRDe review Mahindra Thar CRDe review
Mahindra Thar CRDe review Mahindra Thar CRDe review
Mahindra Thar CRDe review Mahindra Thar CRDe review
Mahindra Thar CRDe review Mahindra Thar CRDe review

We recently checked out a range of Mahindra products at Hikuai on the stunning Coromandel Peninsular, including the Thar CRDe.

The definition of a Thar (the animal) is ‘a sure footed mountain goat that is found in the Southern Alps that originated from the continent of Asia.’ After testing the Mahindra Thar CRDe I believe the name Thar and its description is very apt.

On the test day we attacked some seriously steep terrain, but the Thar with its impressively fitted tractor-grip tyres just kept climbing, while its compact short wheel base design with 200mm of ground clearance proved invaluable along the mud clay tracks and crossing rocky creeks. At one point we even found ourselves a couple of feet deep fording our way up a river and it never missed a beat or faltered, it is equally at home on a hard surface providing a reasonably smooth and stable ride.

Up front under the bonnet the power is produced by a 2.5-litre turbo intercooled common rail diesel engine, which produces 105 hp and an impressive 247 NM of torque at 1800rpm, it is responsive and I’m told economical so I imagine the ample 60-litre fuel tank will keep it on the go for some time. The drive is through a five-speed manual gear box that will let you idle along behind a mob of cattle or head down the drive at the speed limit.

A BorgWarner transfer case is used for the four-wheel drive system with a low reduction to tackle the toughest situations, automatic hubs were a pleasant surprise. Brakes are fairly important but even more so on steep terrain and the Thar uses discs on the front and drum brakes on the rear to pull the vehicle to a stop.

Several years ago I drove an earlier model Thar DI, and I have to admit I came away a little underwhelmed, back then driver comfort was something the designed had put a whole lot of focus on, but I’m pleased to report that the newer CRDe is far superior in this area. Firstly, if you compare the Thar to a side-by-side, the most obvious feature is the enclosed cabin which will keep you dry and sheltered from the elements – rain, wind or even the hot sun. Other comforts included a heater, air conditioner and power steering.

The driver and the front seat passenger enjoy reasonably comfortable, adjustable seats, with additional side-facing seating in the back which manufacturers claim brings the total people carrying capacity up to seven. It could be a bit of a squash, although most will have them folded up or removed, using this space rather for gear and tools etc.

The verdict

The way I see it, the Thar has a rather unique position in the market – somewhere between a quad bike and a ute, perhaps putting it in the same league as a side-by-side.

Sure, it’s a little rough and ready, but it has all the features of a ute (without being road worthy), is cheaper than a ute, similarly priced to a side-by-side, but it offers a whole lot more than a side by side in terms of comfort and shelter from the weather. I found the Thar CRDe really enjoyable to drive, I felt like I could tackle any terrain without the fear of destroying the vehicle.

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