Why I would recommend the Mahindra Thar diesel AT
The second generation car is truly engineered to compete with rivals from the other, more general segments. It is one of the best city cars, given its short length, high seating position, ease of driving with the automatic transmission, and more than decent fuel efficiency in the diesel avatar.
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I would whole heartedly recommend the Thar Diesel AT.
The Thar is an incredibly high value package for a city dweller who wants to do some occasional off-roading, is single/has only two members in the family and/or has another mainstream vehicle for occasions requiring the passage of more people or luggage. I did a trip on my Thar to have breakfast with a friend the other day and had a 12 km city drive in the middle of thick traffic on the way back. I felt more relaxed today in my diesel AT Thar than I have done in any other vehicle for such trips. The commanding view means you can see traffic far ahead, the auto makes it effortless to drive in traffic and the diesel engine after having broken in nicely at 7000 KM on the odo, is returning 12+ kph in such conditions, on relaxed drives with a gentle foot on the pedal. The AC is strong and the Apple Car Play works flawlessly. Yet when it comes to park on busy streets, there is nothing as easy as this baby. At just 4 m long, you can maneuver this puppy into even the tiniest of slots and can even rest one set of wheels on the footpath and the other on the road, in a pinch (though I would never advise that keeping in mind comfort of pedestrians). On my highway trip last week, the same vehicle was doing 115 kph in cruise control calmly, taking the curves on the NH with e,lan and yet returning 13+ kpl.
7000 km up and not a defect so far. A few small niggles in the initial days all fixed now. Driven my share of rough roads and there is not a single rattle in the car (except the right central AC vent only during hard acceleration, which has been the case from day 1; it disappears if you press it in while accelerating and reappears after a few minutes (will get this fixed in my 10K service).
As far as highway cruising range is concerned, I get almost as much range as the Ecosport diesel MT. The Ecosport used to return 14.5 kpl and has a 52 litre fuel tank. The Thar is returning 12.5 to 13 kpl at similar speeds (generally around 115 kph cruising speed) but has a 57 litre fuel tank. So the full tank range of the Ecosport is 754 km and the Thar is 712 km – hardly about 40 km which does not make a major difference. With the petrol Thar it would be a different story, you will probably get about 9.5 kpl at such speeds and the range would drop to 540 km.
Now if one gets bored after a year or two, the Thar’s diesel engine, which is at the lowest of the three possible tunes (130 HP/300NM) can be dialed up a notch to 155 HP/360 NM as on the XUV700 MX and if that is not fun enough, a step further to 185 HP/450NM as on the XUV700 AX Auto. The fact that the XUV700 AX lets you change the tune on the fly between 155 HP and 185 HP mode, means this can probably be done with a switchable mode to dynamically alter engine characteristics, I hope AZAD or PRAD come up with such a bolt-on.
The second generation car is truly engineered to compete with rivals from the other, more general segments. It is one of the best city cars, given its short length, high seating position, ease of driving with the automatic transmission, and more than decent fuel efficiency in the diesel avatar. It’s a very good mile muncher on the highways, as I have found out from the 10 trips I have taken, each of over 500 km each time. Contrary to some of the early reviews of the car, it is not at all unstable at higher speeds and feels solid and plated on curved roads due to its immense width and wide track, compared to the length. I have found it to be quite composed and safe even at 115 kph, and have adopted that as my standard Thar cruising speed on the brilliant TN highways after a few initial months of staying at 100-105 kph. Yes there is wind noise, but if you have an upgraded audio system and a hard top you can get over this. For being a breadbox shape, still efficiency is not bad and has improved after 8000 km of running – it is possible to consistently get 13 km per litre even with 110 kph cruising speed on the diesel AT.
So I would recommend don’t even look anywhere else, as you have a second car for daily commute etc. And go ahead and get the Thar. You will enjoy it immensely.
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