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2024 Mahindra Thar Earth Edition Review: A Robust Blend of Heritage and Modern Off-Roading Prowess

The Mahindra Thar, an iconic Indian SUV, first launched in 1949, has arrived at its 9th generation in 2024. This beloved off-roader, available in both petrol and diesel variants, has a starting price of ₹11.25 lakh ex-showroom, with the top model—the LX hardtop Earth Edition—priced at ₹17.60 lakh. This particular model, inspired by the Rajasthan Thar Desert, is exclusive to the top-end LX hardtop variant and boasts a unique satin matte paint, distinguishing it from its predecessors.

Key highlights of the Thar Earth Edition include a unique VIN plate starting with the number 1, affirming its special status. Safety-wise, it has received a commendable 4-star rating out of 5 from Global NCAP, ensuring robust safety measures for its occupants. Assembled in Nashik, the Thar sits on a 3rd generation body-on-frame chassis, making it one of India’s most celebrated SUVs, especially for off-road enthusiasts. It features a mechanical locking differential for the rear axle, enhancing traction in slippery conditions, and comes equipped with all-black bumpers, welded tow hooks, and a grill with gold finish vertical slats for a striking appearance.

The Earth Edition’s exterior is complemented by minimal round headlamps, LED DRLs, electrically adjustable mirrors with an optional gold paint, and a variety of decals, including the distinctive ‘Desert Fury’ gold branding on its 18-inch graphite alloy wheels with 255/65 R18 111T MRF Wanderer tubeless steel belted all-terrain tyres. The Mahindra Thar boasts impressive dimensions and capabilities, designed for those who seek adventure beyond the paved roads. It stretches 4 meters in length, stands 1.8 meters wide, and reaches a height of 1.8 meters. With a ground clearance of 226 mm and a 41.2-degree approach angle, it’s equipped to tackle challenging terrains. Additionally, its capability to wade through water up to 650 mm deep enhances its appeal as a versatile off-roader. For those looking to immerse fully in the outdoor experience, the Thar also offers the option to remove its doors, making every drive an adventure in itself.

The Mahindra Thar is equipped with an electric driveline disconnect feature, allowing for seamless switching between 4×2 and 4×4 driving modes, catering to diverse terrain demands. The vehicle’s front is supported by a semi-floating axle, while the rear benefits from the newly introduced banjo beam axle, enhancing its off-road capabilities and durability.

For improved traction in slippery conditions, the Thar features a brake locking differential that can electronically lock all axles, ensuring optimal grip and stability on challenging surfaces. The suspension system comprises an independent double wishbone setup at the front and a multi-link solid axle at the rear, designed to provide a balanced and comfortable ride across various terrains. Additionally, coil-over dampers and stabilizer bars are fitted both front and rear, further enhancing the vehicle’s off-road readiness and driving dynamics.

The Mahindra Thar Earth Edition enriches the driving experience with a suite of special accessories, including front and rear arm rests, 7D floor mats, and a comfort kit, enhancing both the aesthetics and functionality of the vehicle. Further personalization is possible through the BlueSense app, which allows owners to access numerous car features directly from their smartphone, adding a layer of convenience to the robust off-roader.

Safety is a paramount concern in the Thar, equipped with an array of features designed to protect its occupants. These include dual airbags, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), brake assist, seat belt reminders, Tyretronics tyre pressure monitoring system, Electronic Stability Program (ESP), rollover mitigation, a reinforced roll cage, 3-point seatbelts for all seats, hill hold and descent controls, ISOFIX child seat mounts, central locking, remote keyless entry, rear parking sensors, tow hitch protection, speed-sensing door locks, panic braking signal, an anti-theft alarm, and an overspeed warning.

To further enhance its appeal and functionality, over 120 accessories are available for the Thar, catering to a wide array of needs and preferences. These accessories range from aesthetic upgrades like cladding, door visors, chrome mouldings, and decals, to practical additions such as alloy wheels, seat covers, floor mats, sound systems, head-up displays, front parking sensors, body covers, steering covers, adventure cameras, and clothing. Additionally, a comprehensive selection of vehicle recovery, maintenance, camping, and protection accessories ensures that owners are prepared for any adventure.

The Mahindra Thar’s interior is a blend of comfort, utility, and technology, offering options for leatherette, fabric, and vinyl upholstery to suit various preferences. The headrests feature an exclusive dune design, complemented by body-hugging contours that enhance passenger comfort during off-road adventures. The cabin is adorned with dual-tone AC vents and dark chrome accents, elevating its aesthetic appeal.

A standout feature of the Earth Edition is its special VIN number plate, marking this particular Thar as the 5th unit of its edition, adding a unique touch of exclusivity. Comfort is further enhanced by the tip and slide mechanism of the front passenger seat, roof-mounted speakers for an immersive audio experience, and a height-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support for optimal ergonomics. The steering wheel is tilt-adjustable, allowing for a personalized driving position, while the floor is washable, equipped with drain plugs for easy cleaning after adventurous outings.

Under the hood, the Thar offers both 6-speed manual and Aisin 6-speed torque converter automatic transmissions, available in both petrol and diesel variants, catering to diverse driving preferences. It features a manual shift part-time four-wheel drive transfer case with high and low reduction gears, ready to tackle any terrain.

The Thar’s technology suite includes an automatic AC system for maintaining comfort in various climates and a 7-inch waterproof touchscreen infotainment system. This system supports Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, USB connectivity, and an adventure statistics system complete with altimeter, compass, pitchmeter, and navigation. Mahindra’s adventure event notifications, tyre direction monitoring system, BlueSense app compatibility, voice commands, and SMS readout features ensure that the Thar is as connected and versatile as it is rugged.

Performance-wise, the Thar doesn’t disappoint, with the diesel variant powered by a 2184 cc Mahindra mHawk 130 CRDe engine, offering 130 horsepower and 300 Nm of torque. The petrol variant features a 1997 cc Mahindra mStallion 150 TGDi engine, delivering up to 150 horsepower and 320 Nm of torque in the automatic version. Both engine types are available with manual and automatic transmissions, catering to a wide range of driving preferences.

While the Mahindra Thar is celebrated for its robust off-road capabilities and iconic design, there are a few aspects that some users might find less appealing or consider as drawbacks, depending on their needs and expectations. Here are some of the negative features or challenges associated with the Mahindra Thar:

  1. Ride Comfort on Paved Roads: Although the Thar excels in off-road conditions, its ride quality on paved roads can be less comfortable compared to other SUVs designed primarily for urban driving. The heavy-duty suspension and rugged chassis contribute to a ride that some might find stiff or bouncy over long distances on tarmac.
  2. Fuel Efficiency: Due to its heavy build and powerful engine, the Thar may not offer the best fuel efficiency, especially when compared to more road-oriented SUVs. This might be a consideration for those who prioritize fuel economy over off-road performance.
  3. Interior Noise Levels: The Thar’s design, aimed at maximizing off-road performance, may result in higher levels of noise inside the cabin, particularly at high speeds. This is a common trait among vehicles with a focus on rugged utility.
  4. Rear Seat Accessibility and Comfort: Access to the rear seats can be challenging, especially in the 3-door versions, making it less convenient for passengers. Once seated, rear passengers might find the space cramped, with limited legroom and comfort, particularly on longer journeys.
  5. On-road Handling and Dynamics: While the Thar is a champion off the beaten path, its on-road handling might not inspire the same confidence. The high ground clearance and body-on-frame construction can lead to body roll, affecting cornering and maneuverability on urban roads.
  6. Safety Features: Although the Thar has made significant improvements in safety ratings, its basic versions might lack some of the advanced safety features and driver aids that are becoming standard in other SUVs and vehicles in its price range.
  7. Limited Practicality for Urban Use: The Thar’s design and features are optimized for off-road adventures, which might limit its practicality as a daily driver in urban environments. Its size and design may pose challenges in tight parking spaces and congested city driving.
  8. Visibility: Some drivers might find the Thar’s visibility less than optimal due to its design and positioning of the spare wheel, affecting rearward visibility.

It’s important to note that these aspects are often part and parcel of owning a vehicle that is primarily designed for off-road use and rugged terrain. For many enthusiasts, the Mahindra Thar’s strengths in adventure and durability far outweigh these drawbacks, making it a beloved choice for off-road aficionados.

In summary, the 2024 Mahindra Thar, especially the LX hardtop Earth Edition, stands out as a rugged, versatile SUV that combines heritage with modern technology and safety features. Its off-road capabilities, coupled with the luxurious touches and customization options, make it a highly desirable vehicle for adventure enthusiasts and SUV lovers alike.

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