New Mahindra Arrives Looking Less Like A Jeep Wrangler

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New grille design should stop the comparisons between the two offroaders.

Want an open-air Jeep off-roader? That'd be the Wrangler... right? Or the Gladiator if you want a pickup bed at the back. But those aren't the only game in town. And Fiat Chrysler doesn't much like that. So Mahindra has given its Roxor a bit of a facelift to make it look a bit less like an actual Jeep.

Where the Roxor has until now worn a slotted grille like the original Jeep CJ on whose design it is based, the 2020 model sports a new grille with an oblong oval-shaped frame encompassing the headlights.

Mahindra Mahindra Mahindra

That, to our eye, makes the front end at least look more like a vintage Land Cruiser, but we doubt Toyota will mind much considering that its current Land Cruiser looks completely different, and the retro FJ Cruiser is now several years out of production. Of course the rest of the shape still looks very much like an old Jeep, but there's good reason for that.

The Roxor is essentially the American version of the Mahindra Thar - an off-roader that the Indian automaker has been making in one form or another for decades since it acquired the rights to the original Jeep CJ from Willys-Overland, precursor of FCA's current brand.

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That would ostensibly make the Roxor a direct competitor to today's Jeep Wrangler, only you can't actually drive the Roxor on public roads in the US, where it's classified as a side-by-side utility terrain vehicle like those made by the likes of Polaris, Can-Am, Kawasaki, and Honda.

The difference in classification and usability, however, didn't stop a legal battle from unfolding in the United States between FCA and Mahindra. And the Roxor's 2020 facelift is apparently the outcome. Here's hoping that's enough to put the matter to rest, because we'd much rather see the Roxor, its Michigan assembly plant, and all jobs dedicated to bringing it to market stick around than having to disappear due to a legal dispute.

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