What you see here is not a classic Jeep CJ7, even if it looks nearly identical to one. Instead, this is the new Mahindra Thar Adventure Series that's now available for sale in South Africa. To make the off-roader earn its name, the firm gives the machine a bevy of rugged equipment for getting just about anywhere.
The Thar's history goes back over 70 years due to Mahindra's license to manufacture the original Willys Jeep in India. In 1969, the company started exporting them to Yugoslavia. Over the years, Mahindra created multiple variants, including an armored version for India's military.
Mechanically, the Thar Adventure Series has a 2.5-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder that produces 105 horsepower (78 kilowatts) and 182 pound-feet (247 Newton-meters) of torque. It runs through a five-speed manual with a shift-on-the-fly, part-time four-wheel-drive system and low-range gearing. A mechanical-locking rear differential provides even more traction when necessary.
For the Adventure Series, Mahindra equips the Thar with a new front bumper with upward slanting sides that allow a 44-degree approach angle. The part also features rectangular LED lights on the corners and brightly colored tow points, which should be easy to see even when muddy. A bar across the top provides extra protection for the grille. A huge snorkel exits from the passenger side fender and rises above the roof. Rock sliders along each side add extra protection to the Thar, and diamond-plated metal side steps sit on top of them. At the back, there's also a new bumper with visible recovery points and a tow bar. The roof features removable canopy and roof sections, in addition to the normal canvas top.
Mahindra also fits a set of multi-spoke aluminum wheels, and the firm offers an optional upgrade to a set of Hankook Dynapro all-terrain tires for better performance off-road.
The Thar Adventure Series retails for 293,999 rand in South Africa ($20,499 at current exchange rates). It's available in three exterior colors: Rocky Beige, Red Rage, or DSAT Silver.