In the mid 1940’s, Mahindra launched the MM 540 which was their answer to the American Jeep all-terrain vehicle. In more modern times, Mahindra succeeded this legendry vehicle with the popular Thar, which I am previewing this week.
With a fifty-year legacy, BB Hatfield Mahindra is part of the BB Group of motoring dealerships that service the greater Pretoria area. Representing numerous innovative brands (including Renault, Datsun, Nissan and Honda), the BB group seek to make affordable vehicles of high quality more accessible to the public. The Mahindra dealership is headed by Dealer Principal André Gouws who boasts a whopping twenty-one years of experience in the industry. With a down-to-earth approach to customer service that seeks to personify the meaning of “care”, André believes in a hands-on approach and being committed to maintaining professional trust relationships with his clients.
Although Mahindra was an unknown brand for some time, it is now growing in popularity and has gained a reputation for reliability and value-for-money vehicles according to Johan Olivier, who is the Sales Manager at BB Hatfield Mahindra. With fourteen years of experience in the motoring industry, Johan certainly has the know-how to understand the intricacies of how to keep clients happy. In this sense, he believes in doing everything in his power to ensure his clients have a “smile that counts” at the end of the day, which translates to satisfied clients being matched with the right vehicle for them.
What better way to experience Mahindra products than to be part of the weekly events that BB Hatfield Mahindra offer to the local community? This is part of what Quentin Damster, Sales Representative for the Dealership enjoys about the BB family. Together with projects that seek to uplift the community, Mahindra is showing itself to be a caring, family-oriented brand that want to give affordable and reliable vehicles to everyone. Quentin loves that this is what makes Mahindra so wonderful – literally selling itself to the client.
The Thar is very obviously an off-roading beast – with looks reminiscent of the traditional Jeep, the Thar is equipped with the Borg Warner 4WD System that provides 2.48 crawl ration in low range. It is also noted for its high approach and departure angles which Mahindra notes to be 44 degrees and 27 degrees respectively. A 200mm ground clearance as well as a mechanical locking rear diff (and auto locking hubs) make the Thar a good, solid 4×4 vehicle.
The boxy, sturdy appearance of the Thar inspires a sense of hardiness. It has extended wheel arches and toughened front and rear bumpers to enhance the rugged look and offer protection to the body on your off-roading adventures. The Thar has a removable canvas canopy which allows you to extend your experience into the world around you or maintain a sense of “roughing it” with the canopy up.
The interior is functional and very sensibly laid out: whilst still modern, the two-tone dashboard is not necessarily aimed at being luxurious or overly elegant, and fits the rough-and-ready image perfectly. A triple-pod instrument cluster looks quirky and provides clear, easy to read information relating to the vehicle, while you drive. Wide front bucket-seats are said to be designed to reduce the strain of long-distance driving boasting hardy cloth upholstery, whilst the power steering enables the Thar to be agile and nimble, with a small turning circle and easy manoeuvrability. Air-con and heater are standard and will ensure you are kept comfortable in any weather conditions, and cup-holders, 12V charging ports and infotainment ensure your creature comforts are attended to.
The powerful NEF TCI-CRDe 2.5 litre diesel engine produces 78 kW of power and 247 Nm of torque and guarantees all-terrain capability. The manual gearbox enables the driver to tackle even the toughest conditions, thanks to high and low ration 4WD and a mechanical locking differential for enhanced traction. A superb addition is the auto-locking hubs which disconnect the front axle when not in use, thereby reducing wear and tear, decreasing fuel consumption and preventing unnecessary spend on your part. As far as safety is concerned, there is a factory-fitted digital immobiliser with encrypted key-recognition system for your added benefit.
This preview has certainly piqued my interest in the Thar and I am sincerely looking forward to driving the vehicle and providing an in-depth review in the next publication. On show at BB Hatfield Mahindra, the Thar is supported by a superb workshop and parts department that are known for having almost no comebacks in the past. Monitored by a hands-on Dealer Principal who takes client satisfaction personally by getting involved on all levels, BB Hatfield Mahindra are committed to ensuring their products and services meet your expectations.
Mahindra South Africa is also now a proud sponsor of Survivor SA, and this speaks volumes about the growth of the brand in the country. Keep a look-out on the website listed below as BB Hatfield Mahindra are part of a Father’s Day promotion which is being planned in Pretoria North, which will see the BB Group of Dealerships pull together to promote their brands.
Editor: Desh Bechan
Reporter and Author: Inge Stols & Belinda Anderson