The 2021 Mahindra Thar – which appears to take its design inspiration from the iconic Jeep Wrangler – has been revealed, and an Australian debut is on the cards.
The company's local arm has confirmed it will make an announcement "later this week", and while details are still to come, it is expected a local launch will occur in the first half of 2021.
In June 2020, Jeep won a long-running battle against the Indian automaker to block sales of the Mahindra Roxor. The Roxor was marketed as a non-registerable buggy, based on the first generation Thar, with the vehicle's design heavily inspired by the iconic Jeep CJ model.
Under the skin, however, and the 2021 Mahindra Thar is a legitimate off-roader, with part-time four-wheel-drive, low-range, and a rear differential lock.
If allowed to be sold in Australia, the Mahindra off-roader will likely compete with the popular Suzuki Jimny.
The Thar has been announced with two engines: a 2.0-litre turbo petrol four-cylinder producing 112kW/320Nm, or a 2.2-litre turbo diesel putting out 97kW/320Nm. Both engines can be optioned with either a six-speed manual or six-speed torque-converter automatic.
The two-door body comes as either a hardtop or soft-top, with both doors removable.
Buyers can option the Mahindra as either a traditional four-seater, or a six-seater, with rear passengers facing outward – likely aimed at police and army fleets.
Unlike the basic first-generation Thar, this all-new model comes with two airbags, anti-lock braking, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability control with roll-over mitigation, hill-hold, and hill descent control.
Tech is also new for the Mahindra, boasting a 7-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, and displaying info for off-road enthusiasts such as tyre pressures, digital compass, pitch and roll angle, gear indicator, and wheel angle indicator.
Mahindra claims the interior of the new Thar is IP54 water and dust resistant, and the hoseable floors have drain plugs.
The Thar has a wading depth of 650mm, more than double that of the Suzuki Jimny, and only 110mm short of the Jeep Wrangler.
Approach angle is listed as 41.8 degrees, departure at 36.8 degrees, and ramp-over of 27 degrees.
Mahindra has gained a reputation in Australia for producing rugged and capable off-road vehicles, with the brand's Pik-Up ute often compared to the Toyota 70 Series LandCruiser ute – a vehicle costing more than twice as much.