Thar She Blows! This Indian 4×4 Is a Jeep Purist’s White Whale.

If you’re wondering exactly what the heck you’re looking at, I’ll tell you. It’s Indian automaker Mahindra’s latest off-road SUV, the Thar. And, yes, it’s supposed to be a Jeep Wrangler ripoff. 

Or, at least, I assume it is. Mahindra would have to be pretty brazen not to admit they cribbed the Wrangler. I mean, aside from the thing’s looks, its off-road specs are just a hair shy of the Wrangler’s in nearly every direction.

The Thar boasts a 41.8-degree approach, 27-degree break over, and 36.8-degree departure angles. For reference, the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Sport two-door has 41.1-degree approach, 25-degree break over, and 35.9-degree departure angles. So, they’re pretty close in trail capability.

Thar is just a bit lower slung than the Wrangler. It has a modest 8.89 inches of ground clearance. Meanwhile, Wrangler clears 10.8 inches. Although Thar’s ground clearance might be a bit lackluster, it can ford up to 25.59 inches of water, which is pretty impressive considering. That’s just slightly more than four inches fewer than the Wrangler.

Mahindra offers Thar with two engines. You can pick either a 2.0-liter gasoline engine that produces 150 horsepower or a 2.2-liter diesel engine that churns out 130 ponies. Both engines generate 236 foot-pounds of torque. Either can be mated to one of two six-speed transmissions: either a manual or an automatic.


Photo: Mahindra

Photo: Mahindra

Inside, the Thar looks like a lazy but modern take on an old Jeep. But Mahindra has bolted a “drizzle-resistant” touchscreen in the center dash.

If it weren’t obvious from the brand and country of origin, the Thar won’t be offered in the States. I wrote the Thar up though for a couple of reasons — not least of which because that headline popped into my head.

The primary reason that drove me to write up the Thar is to tease you plain-jane 4×4 aficionados out there with a glimpse at a Jeep-y rig that you’ll never be able to buy. Moreover, it has a simple and plucky charm that’s a bit missing from the JL Wrangler. And that alone I felt made it worth looking a closer look at.


Header image credit: Mahindra

Written by Nick Jaynes. You can follow Nick @nickjaynes

Photo by Brett Willhelm

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