The Jeep Wrangler-aping Mahindra Thar off-roader is getting a new body style, with camouflaged five-door prototypes seen by CarExpert at the company’s proving track outside of Chennai, India.
Mahindra automotive technology and product development president R. ‘Velu’ Velusamy told CarExpert the forthcoming Thar 5-Door is set for an Indian market introduction in the first quarter of 2024.
“We’ll be closely evaluating that space, and we will disclose that when we have finished our planning,” said a Mahindra executive when asked if the Thar 5-Door will come to Australia.
“As of now, India is our priority market.”
The introduction of the new body style is expected to coincide with an update for the wider Thar range.
At this stage it’s unclear exactly what will change on the longer-wheelbase Mahindra Thar 5-Door with the update, though things that could potentially change include the lighting, grille, wheel designs and exterior paint options.
As previously reported, Mahindra Automotive Australia shelved plans to import and sell the Thar, at least in its present incarnation, after a Federal Court case filed by Stellantis forced its hand.
Stellantis had been trying to stop the sale of the Thar locally, arguing it impinged on its design trademarks – specifically, that it looked too much like the Jeep Wrangler.
It’s unclear if the updated Thar will receive enough design changes to allow it to be sold in Australia at this stage.
It’s worth noting if the Thar does come to Australia now it will be required to have autonomous emergency braking (AEB).
The Scorpio, which currently doesn’t have any advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), is set to get AEB as part of a mid-life update because it will become mandatory on all new cars sold in Australia from March 1, 2025.
Mr Velusamy confirmed all “next phase” models will have advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
The current-generation Mahindra Thar was first revealed in 2020 with manual convertible soft-top and hard-top roof options.
In India it’s available with a range of petrol and diesel engines that range from 1.5-litres to 2.2-litres in displacement. The most powerful engine produces 112kW of power and 320Nm of torque.
There are manual and automatic transmission options, as well as rear- and all-wheel drive setups.