All-new Mahindra Thar spotted testing again

That Mahindra is working on an all-new Thar is not news anymore. In addition to the numerous spy-shots floating across the web, the Indian car-maker did a marketing masterstroke by sending off the previous-generation model with the special "Thar 700". Among others, this limited edition - the last 700, to be precise - had an unique Aquamarine paint job, factory-fitted alloy wheels, customized seats and a fender badge signed by Anand Mahindra.

While many expected Mahindra to make a splash at the just-concluded 2020 Auto Expo with the all-new Thar, that was not to be. Instead, the iconic off-roader that enjoys a cult following pan-India is still undergoing what we presume are final rounds of testing before it debuts. Caught in the outskirts of Chennai, this soft-top Thar had a camouflaged KUV1OO for company. While the image isn't clear, is that the electric KUV1OO testing alongside? More on that, later. 

As can be seen, Mahindra isn't fiddling with the Thar's legendary Jeep-inspired design. It makes sense. Why fix something that ain't broken? That said, the fact it looks so close to the real Jeep Wrangler - which, incidentally, is also on sale in India - can't be overlooked. Expect Mahindra to spruce things up nicely with LED lights all around and door handles and hood hinges that don't look antiquated like the current model's. Despite the camouflage, the Thar's stance is undeniably attractive with the relatively smaller steel wheels of the test vehicle - which appears to be a lower variant - being the only downer.

Interiors are expected to be thoroughly revamped with Mahindra finally deeming it fit to equip the Thar with niceties like power windows, multi-function steering wheel, touchscreen infotainment system and forward-facing rear seats. With their focus on safety in recent times, there is a good chance the Thar will continue Mahindra's good run of form in Global NCAP crash tests with dual airbags, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), seat-belt reminders and speed-alert system likely to be standard. 

Under the hood, all-new BS-VI compliant 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine churning out 140 horsepower is expected to be the mainstay. A petrol engine, most likely to be the 2.0-liter 'mStallion' mill showcased at the Auto Expo, is also said to be in the works. Going by the P13 sticker on the test car, it could be this engine that's being given the workout here. With the underpinnings expected to be shared with the TUV3OO, the Thar will continue to feel at home off-road as it does on-road. 

With expectations and interest around the 2020 Thar peaking, Mahindra can't launch this quintessential SUV soon enough. Are you one of those waiting with bated breath to see how the 'desi' Jeep pans out in its modern avatar? You got to wait just that little bit longer!

On the masked KUV1OO accompanying the Thar, is that the all-electric version being tested? The image isn't clear enough to conclude. Let us know if you know more on that.

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