Mahindra Thar-ownership review

Mahindra Thar CRDe is a vehicle for adventures people who would like to explore. And I am sorry to say that it does not meet the needs for the other category of people. It is an affordable four wheel drive vehicle by the Indian middle class. I bought the vehicle in Sep 2013 since then it has completed 14500 km. Back then the vehicle had come with an on road price tag of Rs8,30,000.

Exterior design

The beauty of the car is indescribable. It is an admirable piece of architecture. The suv looks pretty much as its predecessor the mm540 DP, there is nothing much changed in terms of exterior design, apart from broad tyres. The car can be customized as desired by the owner, and you can keep doing it as long as you run out of money, because there are a lot many custom parts available in the market to meet your taste. Buying the vehicle is only a small part, customizing it is the major challenge. When you open the doors of the vehicle you get the same sound like in the old jeeps, and I am happy that Mahindra has made it a point to keep it in the present model.

Mahidra Thar front view

Undesirable Interiors

The Thar CRDE has the same dashboard as the Bolero, which is a bit disappointing as people would like something different for a vehicle that looks so appealing from the outside. The vehicle comes with air conditioning and heater as standard. The Thar looks very outdated from the inside. To feel like you are in the 21th century, you have to customize your interiors as well.

The dashboard is made of poor quality plastic and it has a very bad finish quality. The air blower cannot be adjusted for the flow of air to the driver and the co-driver, it is a major setback in the vehicle. It has no electric windows, no cigarette lighter, and it has no indication when the doors are opened, and it has no indication for the seat belt. The steering cannot be adjusted. To say it in one word its “rubbish” on the inside. It is a very bad impression for Mahindra. Jeep is a vehicle that owns a great reputation all around the world, and it’s not very pleasant to see Mahindra destroying it.

The rubber is out of place in the period of just six months.
The rubber is out of place in the period of just six months.
poor interior quality
poor interior quality

Driving experience

Good

The Thar has a 2400cc engine which has good torque and in no time you are into higher speeds as and when you press the accelerator. This attribute comes at the cost of greater fuel consumption. Overall the engine feels very refined and smooth. The braking characters are very good, the vehicle comes with front discs and rear drum brakes. If you would ask me what I like about the vehicle it would be the front end, because it has individual front double wishbone suspension which keeps the vehicle planted to the ground while off road. The vehicle has good off road ability, it handles any terrain with ease and it is gives you the that adventures feeling while you drive.

Bad

It handles very well at high speeds on the tarmac unless you meet pot holes or obstacles on the road, because it goes uncontrollable when you come across obstacles. When you travel at speeds above 50 kph, you come across hearing the soft top battering, no matter how many speakers you install you just wont be able to hear your music. The rear suspension is a leaf spring suspension. It is not very comfortable for occupants while traveling on uneven surfaces or bumpy roads. When you come across bumps while traveling at descent speeds you feel as though there are many loose components.

As the vehicle has a powerful engine you end up getting very poor mileage. On the highway you might get around 12 to 13 kmpl if drive below 80kmph, in the city will get 8 to 9 kmpl. If you have money constrains this might worry you a lot.

Service

Mahindra does not  have the facility to service the Thar in most of its centers, you have to be prepared to go miles to service your vehicle if you would like to own one. I am not very satisfied with the quality of service that Mahindra offers. The only thing that is done is the replacement and toping up of fluids, the vehicle is not washed, in fact the service station where I service my car does not even have a hydraulic facility to wash the vehicle. As it has been free service so far I am not sure what might turn out to be the Maintenance cost.

Overall vehicle build quality

The material and the paint job is done brilliantly, but there are many small details that is not very pleasant to view. The door beading’s are not of good quality, and during rain, water seeps through the door beading’s. The window seals are not of good quality either. The car’s hood beading is also not good and it is not fitted properly.

My car had coolant leaking in the first 1000kms itself. The clutch pedal rubber had come off the pedal. The quality of material used is very poor, they tend to fail very often. Mahindra has not taken good care in building the vehicle, and not taken any efforts in testing it before it reaches the customer. This vehicle is not built as rugged as the mm540, and I can tell you that because we had owned one.

Mahindra Thar CRDE

Conclusion

This vehicle is not worth the price tag, since it has no competition I believe Mahindra is taking this car leniently. Producing cars of such low standards is a bad reputation for the company. I had already sent an email stating the problems but the company has not given any response so far. I would be happy if Mahindra considers customer feedback and rectifies the problems. For people who would like to buy the Thar I would suggest you take a detailed inspection, and if it meets your needs, you can go ahead in buying the vehicle.

Face Off: Skoda Yeti vs Mahindra XUV5OO

mahindra xuv5oo suv interiors

The automotive market is rife with a multitude of options to suit every buyer. One of the biggest segments here in India is now the SUV segment. Constantly bombarded by a stream of launches, the prospective SUV owner is spoilt for choice. Out of the dizzying number of models currently on sale, the Mahindra XUV5OO has been a chart topper since its launch. Although the Mahindra SUV has been left untouched since its launch, the incredible range of options across all three variants and well executed design has allowed the XUV5OO to remain on top.

Czech car maker Skoda on the other hand is a rather obscure marque in the world of off-roaders. Although the Skoda Yeti has been hailed by many as one of the best SUVs in International markets, the car’s lackluster design and high price tag discouraged buyers from choosing the Czech SUV. Undeterred by the lack of enthusiasm shown by the Indian audience, Skoda has launched a face-lifted Yeti for the year 2014. Let’s see how this new model stacks up against the crowd favorite.

Design:

Skoda Yeti:

The 2014 Skoda Yeti Face-lift is more of an evolution of the car’s previous generation than a total revamp. The car still maintains its boxy structure but drops the dual headlight design for a more refined classic Skoda look. The 2014 model also comes with Skoda’s new butterfly grille as well as the redesigned logo. However, while the new Yeti is a massive improvement from the previous generation, the SUV still features uninspiring bodywork.

2014 skoda yeti front
Front View of the Skoda Yeti

XUV5OO:

Despite Mahindra’s choice of retaining the XUV5OO virtually unchanged since it’s launch, the SUV’s design still manages to grab eyeballs.  The front end’s striking headlights coupled with the stylish mesh inserts endow the XUV5OO with a very strong road presence. The SUV’s flared wheel arches as well as imposing build add to the visual mass of the XUV5OO. Unlike the almost ordinary facets the Yeti displays, the XUV5OO uses more of a shock and awe approach. A tactic that works quite well for the Indian audience. 

mahindra xuv5oo front
The XUV5OO is one of the best looking indigenous SUVs around

Mahindra’s SUV is also a clear example of how an indigenous car maker’s work can truly stand toe to toe with renowned International marques.

Round 1 Winner: Mahindra XUV5OO

Interior:

Skoda Yeti:

The Yeti’s interiors follows similar design methodologies as most cars in Skoda’s range. Simple, elegant and uncluttered, the SUV’s cabin features the standard array of tech and safety equipment. The international model features a faux wood panel running across the all black dash adding a bit of luxury appeal. Skoda’s SUV comes with a 2 DIN music system with the usual iPod, Bluetooth, AUX connectivity. True to German standard, the Yeti’s interiors are well built and makes use of high grade plastics and leather-work. Steering mounted controls allows the driver to control the audio system as well as receive calls.

interiors of 2014 skoda yeti
Interiors of the All New Skoda Yeti

The neatly organized interiors maybe one of the German car maker’s strong suites, however, the car does seem to lack a bit of the Skoda panache we’ve come to know and love.

XUV5OO:

The XUV5OO is truly one of Mahindra’s greatest achievements in the design segment. The blend of curves and cuts endow the SUV with one of the most interesting cabins till date. Unlike the woodwork in the Yeti, Mahindra’s implementation of the same is far more impressive. In the center we are greeted with a fully loaded touchscreen infotainment system complete with rear parking sensors. The generous use of quality plastics and leather give the XUV5OO a luxurious interior lacking in most Indian SUVs.

mahindra xuv5oo suv interiors
Interiors of the XUV5OO

Round 2 Winner: Mahindra XUV5OO

Under The Bonnet:

Skoda Yeti:

The Yeti makes use of a 2.0 L TDI CR engine that churns out 138 HP @ 4200 RPM and a max torque of 320 Nm @ 1750 RPM. Power is either sent to the front wheels or all four wheels via a 5 speed manual gearbox

XUV5OO:

Powering the Mahindra XUV5OO is a 2.o L mHAWK engine that features a variable geometry turbo. The Mahindra SUV produces 140 HP @ 3750 RPM and a max torque figure of 330 Nm @1600 RPM. 

Although the power difference is minimal, the XUV5OO’s overall bulk might give the Yeti an edge with its greater power to weight ratio.

Round 3 Winner: Draw

Verdict:

Despite the obvious reasons why one would choose the Mahindra XUV5OO, the Skoda Yeti has a better track record as a versatile everyday car as well as a credible off roader. Sadly, the same cannot be said about Mahindra’s SUV. While the 4×4 variant can perform well off the beaten track, Mahindra still has some kinks to work out with its two wheel drive variant as well as the rather disconnected steering system.