Ever since the new Mahindra Thar broke cover on the Independence Day, a lot of wrong information about the vehicle has been reported. We bring to your attention four such blunders, and also correct them for everyone's benefit.
The Mahindra Thar gets a petrol engine for the first time since the CJ-3B
That's incorrect, and not just semantically, but factually too. Forget the semantics for now; let's talk about the facts.
There were two petrol 4x4s that came in between the CJ-3B and the new Thar: the MM 440 and MM 540/550 NGCS ISZ. The former had the CJ-3B's F4-134 Hurricane engine, while the latter had Isuzu's (hence the ISZ in the nomenclature) 4ZB1 1.8-liter petrol (from the Contessa and Amby).
In fact, there were two more petrol jeeps by Mahindra: CJ/CL 340 PE and CL 540 PE. These used Peugeot's P1250 petrol engine, which, interestingly, was derived from Peugeot's own XDP4.90 2112 cc diesel mill. However, zilch information is available on these two vehicles, so even if the majority of auto journalists do not know about them, it's absolutely okay. What's inexcusable though is not knowing about the 440 and ISZ when you're claiming to be an auto journalist.
Moreover, even the CJ-3B was not a vehicle "developed" by Mahindra. That credit goes to Willys-Overland—the company that made the MB, CJ-2A, and CJ-3A before making the CJ-3B. Mahindra on the other hand started its automotive journey by "assembling" CJ-2A, CJ-3A, and CJ-3B Jeeps in India under license from Willys.
That makes the new Thar Mahindra's first-ever petrol 4x4 to be developed inhouse.
Again, there were petrol 4x4s made by Mahindra even after the CJ-3B. Therefore, the statement—it is for the first time since the original CJ3B that there's a petrol engine on offer—is factually wrong because there had been two petrol 4x4s in between (MM 440 and MM ISZ).
Thar's hardtop can be removed
Of course, it can be removed. You can remove the bonnet as well. In fact, you can remove pretty much every panel of the Thar that's held in place by hinges, screws, nuts & bolts, etc. The point is: you can remove the new Thar's hardtop, but was it designed to be taken off? The answer is a big NO.
I must also mention that I did ask the nice chaps at Mahindra to clarify, once and for all, the kind of tops the new Thar will wear, and they obliged. Here's what the factory options are:
i) Fixed hard-top (not designed to be taken off, but not impossible if you are Iron Man, or have worked at a body shop—more commonly known as "denting-painting" workshops—for at least six months)
ii) Fixed soft-top (not designed to be taken off, but not impossible even if you're Pepper Potts, or have at a body shop for even a month) at least six months
iii) Convertible soft-top (it's a "folding top" with a mechanism not much dissimilar to a scissor-top, which means it can be taken off in less than two minutes even by someone with a below-average IQ)
4H is for Highways
This is by far the most horrendous statement I've heard and viewed (it's on YouTube) this year. Needless to say, it's grossly wrong. I'll quickly explain what the H in 4H stands for, and why you should never use it on highways. The H in 4H means High, and not highway. And High doesn't refer to intoxication of any kind, but a higher gear ratio as compared to 4L (which stands for 4 Low).
Why you should never use it for highway driving? Two words: Driveline windup. In other words, stuff like shearing your differentials, twisting your prop shafts, etc., doesn't sound pleasant, right?
Therefore, city roads or highways, stick to 2H on dry pavement. Either of the two four-wheel-drive modes (4H/4L) should be used in low-traction conditions only, and that too when you're a hundred per cent sure that two-wheel-drive (2H) won't get you by. If you want, I shall do a separate story on "when and how to use 4WD".
The Thar looks like the Wrangler because Mahindra used to make World War 2 Jeeps
This was perhaps referring to the fact that Mahindra shares its heritage with a major part of JEEP's heritage (the aforementioned CJs, primarily). However, Mahindra never made any WW2 Jeeps. Willys (MB) and Ford (GPW) made them. Also, please read point number 1 above again.