*2017 Mahindra Thar XL artist’s impression: Muntaser Mirkar
Mahindra is an iconic brand name and 4×4 groups across India swear by their jeeps and every now and then we get to see some great ideas emerge out of these groups. A couple months ago we saw the rendering of what is supposed to be the Thar MY 2018 version and recently another rendering emerged of the ‘upcoming’ Armada. Both renderings managed to grab everyone’s attention and the amount of discussions that have happened plus the sheer numbers of shares that each of these images have garnered is testament enough to what 4×4 enthusiasts really want.
The good news is that an all-new Thar is already in the pipeline (2 years away from hitting the market) and while Mahindra has been tight-lipped about it, we do know that the amount of changes that have been planned are staggering and we are going to witness a generation leap in terms of design, fit and finish. We are also hoping that it gets the mHawk 2.2 litre engine out of the Scorpio. While we thought that was news enough for us, the ‘Armada’ rendering seriously got us thinking about a potentially new model that Mahindra could manufacture.
While the rendering itself was more along the lines of the Wrangler Unlimited, the possibility of having a long wheel base Thar did catch our fancy. After all, such a vehicle would be the ultimate adventure vehicle and affordable too! Keeping that in mind, we decided to turn things up a notch and create a rendering of our own. This one has been christened as the Thar XL and is our interpretation of a potential game changer that Mahindra could roll out reasonably quickly.
The way we imagined it, the Thar XL is built on the new generation Scorpio chassis. This chassis boasts of five sections that allow it to serve multiple designs and it also offers a wider front and rear track for better stability making it ideal for this application as well. The design language largely follows the same lines as the Thar, however the vehicle has been extended from the standard 3920mm of the Thar to 4,493mm that the Scorpio boasts off. The added changes to the body include the addition of rear doors and a matte-black hard top cover, plus a full rear hatch. The Thar XL rides on neat 17 inch alloys and the ground clearance has been increased to 210mm in order to allow it to handle the rough stuff despite the increase in length.
The interiors of the Thar XL have a bold retro theme that has borrowed heavily from the layout and look of old school Mahindra jeeps. Having said that, it is also done up with quality materials in order to give it a luxurious feel and the cabin has been kept nice and spacious, as this is a vehicle that is destined for long trips. Unlike most Mahindra products, the Thar XL would remain a five-seater in order to maintain the large trunk space (after all, expedition vehicles need to lug around a ton of luggage and equipment, so the space is a necessity).
Powering the Thar XL is the 2.2 litre mHawk engine that does duty in the XUV500. Tuned to offer 140 bhp of power @ 3750 rpm and 330Nm of torque between 1600-2800 rpm, this direct injection diesel motor with a variable geometry turbocharger would make the Thar XL one potent machine! As far as the 4×4 capability of the Thar XL is concerned, it sticks to its genes and offers a manual 4×4 selector. The mechanical locking rear differential technology is also carried over from the Thar.
As far as creature comforts are concerned, the Thar XL gets all the bells and whistles – a large touchscreen infotainment system with navigation (that also works offline), a great sound system, power steering, climate control air conditioning, a cooled glove box, numerous cup holders and a host of 12V charging points located conveniently throughout the cabin. Safety systems would also be top notch and include 2 airbags, ABS, EBD, Traction Control, and Roll Stability Control to name a few.
Basically, the Thar XL has been tuned to be an able cruiser on the highway that offers a comfortable ride for five, however it can handle the rough stuff with equal ease should the need arise. It has been conceived as the ultimate adventure vehicle that has a practical side to it as well. More than anything else, the Thar XL would be the ultimate tribute to everything that Mahindra stands for as a brand and a company. I am willing to bet that such a product would be destined for success and would have a cult following amongst 4×4 enthusiasts. I also hope that Mahindra takes these words seriously and considers making such a product in the near future. #fingerscrossed