Big surprise! It won't be sold in America.
Not long ago we were shown the all-new Mahindra Thar, an Indian-built off-roader that looks suspiciously like the Jeep Wrangler. In case you didn't already know, Jeep parent company Fiat Chrysler and Mahindra were involved in a long court battle over the latter's efforts to sell its Roxor open-air off-roader in the US. Mahindra ultimately lost even though the Roxor was marketed towards farmers and ranch owners and wouldn't have been street legal.
FCA can't, however, prevent Mahindra from doing business in its home market. The new Mahindra Thar, like its first-gen predecessor, continues its Wrangler styling inspiration inside and out. And, chances are, it'll be wildly successful in India because it's relatively inexpensive.
It has a starting price of 980,000 rupees, which comes to about $13,395 according to the latest exchange rates. A new Wrangler two-door, to compare, starts at nearly $29,000. The four-door variant begins at 6 million rupees, or about $17,500. So, what does an Indian citizen buying a new Thar get for half the price of a Wrangler?
For starters, they'll have a choice of either a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four gasoline engine or a 2.2-liter turbo diesel. Both can be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Hardtop and soft top options are available, as are rear reclining seats and roof-mounted speakers. Other features include electronic stability control, a built-in roll cage, and sufficient Indian market safety regulations.
Not only does the Thar look a lot like the Wrangler from the outside (that seven-slot grille looks so oddly familiar), but also from the inside. Notice those round air conditioning and heating vents, and the straight-forward dash layout. Again, very Wrangler inspired.
However, we should also state that Mahindra has a license from Jeep to build the Thar and its Roxor predecessor, though this is valid for India only. That license, in fact, was first given back in 1947 when Willys shipped CJ vehicle kits to India. Over the decades, those vehicles have been adapted to meet local needs.