The cool breeze, the greenery, a calm, relaxed ride is not what we are going to discuss in this article. I am going to put side-by-side two mean machines. These machines can take on anything; be it the rough terrain, the slippery mud, harsh environment or a steep mountain. This critique is dedicated for that small section in the society who wants to break free from the calm environment and actually want to take those beastly machines for an odyssey.
The two 4WDs I am talking about is the Mahindra Thar and the Jeep Wrangler. The Thar is considered as one of the best off-roading 4WDs from India, the first vehicle that comes to your mind when someone talks about off-roading. The next is, America’s Wrangler. Both are purpose-built vehicles and will satisfy your unquenched thirst for thrill and adventure. The battle is between the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4X4 Diesel and Mahindra’s Thar CRDe 4X4 A/C.
The price is supremely important. With the implementation of GST, the price of the Wrangler has come down from INR 72 Lakh to INR 64 Lakh. This is a very costly buy. But hey, it is one of the few body-on-frame SUVs in the world. On the other hand, the Mahindra Thar costs below INR 9 Lakh. Clearly, the winner here is the Thar. If you do not want to burn money and still want to enjoy off-roading, then the Thar is a great option. The affordability of the Wrangler is not at all imaginable except for, of course, those with an extra 55 lakhs lying around. The Thar can take on anything you throw at it. This is the best off-roading 4X4 available in the country which any off-roading enthusiast can buy.
Now, off-roading always causes maintenance problems. Maintaining an off-roading 4X4 is a difficult job. Jeep, although being a purpose-built off-road vehicle, will also suffer considerable wear and tear. Spare parts are not expensive for the Thar, but those for the Wrangler, it is and will drain money from your pocket. They are expensive for the Wrangler since it is a CBU (Completely Built Unit) vehicle. The biggest drawback of Jeep is that they have a very limited number of service centres but Mahindra has service centres all over India (Jeep has only about 1 dealer in India for every 6 service centres of Mahindra). The cumulative maintenance charge for the Thar is just around 25k for 3.5 years. But for the Wrangler, it’s to be paid for a single year.
Engine and Performance:
The Mahindra Thar comes with a 2498cc CRDe which produces a power of 105bhp @3800rpm and a torque of 247Nm @1800 rpm. Meanwhile, Jeep’s Wrangler comes equipped with a 2799cc Diesel engine that produces 197bhp @3600rpm and an incredible torque of 460Nm @1800 rpm. But 197bhp for INR 64 Lakh is a big let-down in my opinion. In fact, Jeep’s much cheaper model, the Compass, produces almost the same amount of power at the same rpm.
The height of the Thar is a bit more than the Wrangler, but then, that’s all. Comparatively, Wrangler is the bigger vehicle among the two. The length of the Wrangler is about 4583mm while the Thar is 3920mm. Even though the Wrangler is a bigger vehicle, it only has a seating capacity of 5, whereas, the Thar has a seating capacity of 6 people.
Mahindra Thar is equipped with reliable safety features. Mahindra Thar has disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in the rear wheels. It has some great ground clearance which further makes it compatible to rough and uneven terrains. The leaf spring suspension with shock absorbers provides a safer ride to the occupants. The Mahindra Thar has a strong built quality which is very much necessary for an off-roading vehicle. On the other hand, the Jeep Wrangler comes with ABS, dual air bags in the front, brake assist, hill-start assist and hill-descent control and so on. The Wrangler uses disc brakes both in the front and rear wheels.
The Thar has a dual tone interior while the Wrangler has a single tone. The Wrangler is provided with leather seats while the Thar with fabrics. The rear passenger seats are bench type. Both vehicles lack lumbar support. The Wrangler is very comfy, but you will be supremely disappointed if you expect the comfort of a luxury car in the Wrangler even though the vehicle being seven times costlier than the Thar.
This shouldn’t be actually considered here because both these vehicles are going to gulp a lot of fuel during off-roading. Anyhow, both vehicles have almost the same fuel efficiency with the Thar having a little more than the Wrangler. The fuel tank capacity of Mahindra Thar is 45L and the Wrangler has an enormous 85L tank.
Both these SUVs are good options for off-roading. But always think if it is worth buying an expensive 4X4 (7X times the Thar to be precise) when you have another 4X4 that does the same which is within the ?10 Lakh bracket. Also, the Wrangler is not going to show any mercy on you when it comes to maintenance. Think about all the good food you could eat with that money on the journeys (kidding… but think about it). The Mahindra Thar is a machine that will do whatever you want and will take on any terrain without letting you down. The vehicle will fit your budget and won’t cost you much in maintenance. Moreover, why buy a Wrangler when you can customize a Thar into one? The Daybreak Edition from Mahindra is supercool. The Wrangler might be preferred in USA, but in India the Thar will rule!
Raisa Elizabeth Mathew is a digital journalist and a photographer. A life-long generalist, she writes for various blogs covering digital entertainment, social media and tech. She can be followed @raisamathew