NEF TCI-CRDe 2498cc diesel
105bhp @ 3800rpm
P 235/70 R 16 tubeless tyres
Front: Independent suspension with torsion
bar and stabilizer bar
Rear: Semi-Elliptical leaf spring with shock
Rs 8.25 lakh
When you look at the expansive
28 acres of the Mahindra Adventure Off-Road Academy in the town of Igatpuri,
around 40 odd km from Nashik in the western state of Maharashtra, you realise
it’s time to be baptised once again. But this time it would be in slush,
ditches, hilly terrains and loads of spirit
that goes by the name of “ADVENTURE”.
There could not have been a
better place to test drive the new Thar that was launched by Mahindra &
Mahindra. Apart from several new features that have been added to the new Thar
CRDe, the vehicle has now got a mechanical locking rear differential that
engages automatically without driver intervention and provides enhanced
I was among the few
journalists who got an opportunity to drive the new Thar CRDe at this Mahindra
Academy. I had driven the vehicle when it was launched several years ago, but
then I did not have the privilege of landing up at an off-road terrain. When the
boys at Mahindra told me that they would be taking me to the Off-Road Academy
of theirs, I almost wore a suit. I thought it would be another of those silly
academies with some even sillier obstacles. I was welcomed by Bijoy Kumar
Yatheendranathan, Chief - Adventure Initiatives and Sr General Manger - Auto
Division at Mahindra & Mahindra. I have known Bijoy for a couple of decades
now. He was one of the finest auto journalists in the country and was the
Founding Editor of BS Motoring that belonged to the Business Standard newspaper
group. Bijoy was always an incredible auto enthusiast and still remains young
and chirpy when it comes to automobiles.
Bijoy greeted me and gave me a
quick hug as I walked into the Academy. For someone who started his career as a
financial journalist, I have always looked up to people like Bijoy for those
friendly tips to assure me that I too am good in my job! “The first batch of
journalists has been burning out the clutches, so please do not use the clutch
and brake when going up and down the terrain. The new Thar takes care of
itself. Punnoose, you are a good driver and I know you will drive well,” he
told me as I buckled myself up in my seat.
That tip was good enough, more
so when I was joined by another friend of mine from the fraternity Hani
Musthafa, a young and spiffy journalist based in Kerala. An avid off-roader,
Hani too gave me a few tips on how to handle the craters and ditches. All my
life I had done off-roading on the dunes of Rajasthan and Dubai, but had never
got an opportunity on a horribly slushy and uneven terrain.
The new Thar CRDe is a lot
more comfortable and a much better off-road beast. I was impressed by the way
it climbed out of deep craters and balanced itself so well even on some of the
most inhospitable terrains. And all along I barely used the clutches and
brakes, with my 4X4 low ratio gears engaged. And when it came to water filled
ditches, the Thar knew its swimming too well. It could put a Michael Phelps to
The Mahindra Off-Road Academy
spread among several hills is an off-roader’s paradise where you can actually push
your 4x4 to the limits. It was started in March 2013 and here the company
conducts weekend courses for enthusiasts, be it young or old. All you have got
to be is 18 years and above with a heart that ticks with low levels of
cholesterol and high levels of enthusiasm.
I was told that the drive is
also conducted at night when it is pitch dark and the hills come alive with
lights of the Thar.
Though the Thar comes in two
variants---one powered by a 2498cc CRDe engine and the other a 2523cc DI engine
(both diesel), it is only the former that has got an upgrade. No changes have
been made to the DI engine variant.
Enhanced exteriors include new
front and rear bumpers, new muscular wheel arches, new clear lens headlamps,
redesigned side footsteps and canopy.
It’s the interiors that now
have a premium touch and feel to it. There is a new dual tone dashboard, new
steering wheel and door trims with arm rests, redesigned AC vents, new floor
console with cup holders, new windshield demister, new gear knob, 12V charging
point, provision for 2DIN music system and lockable glove box.
The features that continue to
remain in the new Thar are the 44 degree approach angle and 27 degree departure
angle, 4WD with high and low ratios, a 2500 cc CRDe engine and a ground
clearance of 200mm.
The Thar which was introduced
in December 2010 has come a long way. Now with these new features added on,
it’s a new off-roader completely. Among the regular production vehicles
available with different car manufacturers today in the country, the Thar
continues to be a leader in the off-road category. With its trendy looks and
masculine features, it’s now got even better with its technical enhancements. With
the chances of regular Indian roads getting to be of world class standards, as
remote as India and Pakistan coming together as one nation, it’s best that you
buy a Thar for your day to day drives too. The new Mahindra Thar CRDe is
definitely the new seduction formula from the company. Can’t you hear the boys singing,
“We live young, we live free! We are the living! We are the living! ....”?
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