The 2020 Mahindra Thar Mimicks The Jeep Wrangler: Is That A Good Thing?

Just look!

The 2020 Mahindra Thar appears to be a knock-off of the current Jeep Wrangler. If you look closely at the details, they are very different vehicles.

You may have noticed that the brand new, 2020 Mahindra Thar looks a lot like a modern Jeep Wrangler. There are lots of automakers worldwide that “borrow” the Jeep Wrangler’s design. It IS a logical off-road platform that’s had decades to evolve. It’s one of the reasons so many vehicles from Mercedes-Benz to Ford strike a similar silhouette. Still, this 2020 Mahindra Thar looks a lot like a Wrangler – maybe too much.

[Photos: Mahindra]

The Mahindra Thar has been in production since 2010. Before that, its predecessor was the Mahindra MM540 (Major). The original Thar borrowed a lot of its design language from the Jeep CJ5. That early generation Thar spun into something similar to the Roxor which is now built here.

In the past, Mahindra and Jeep have battled in court. It had to do with the design of popular Mahindra Roxor’s design. A U.S. regulator ruled that Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd infringed upon the intellectual property rights of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s (FCA) Jeep brand.

Power comes in two flavors: a 2.2-liter diesel that makes about 130 horsepower and around 236 lbs-feet of torque. There is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gas engine that makes about 150 hp and around 236 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are available with a six-speed manual or a new six-speed automatic transmission.

The 2020 Mahindra Thar actually has some impressive numbers. With the larger 18-inch tire and wheel package, it has a 41-degree approach, 27-degree brake-over and 36.8-degree departure angle. Impressive start, but what really sets it apart from any Wrangler is its suspension setup. The 2020 Mahindra Thar has an independent front suspension.

It is unclear if there is a front and rear diff locker available. It is said that there is a proper center locking, low range diff – but I couldn’t find additional details.

Why bother?

Just like in North America, the Jeep Wrangler fetches a very high price overseas. Prices in India show the newest Wrangler to cost between three and five times what a Thar is expected to cost (locally, about $15,000).

Sure, the Wrangler is a more premium, more capable vehicle, but it’s remarkably expensive. The Mahindra Thar is significantly less and still provides (what appears to be) good off-road specs and appearance.

As long as they don’t try to sell it here in the States (they won’t), it’s fairly harmless to the Wrangler market. Time will tell if FCA/Stellantis files a suit.

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.