Rs 9.8 lakh starting price is a great conversation starter for Mahindra’s SUV poster boy. The price isn’t too far from the previous-gen model and that’s saying something about the cost-effectiveness with which Mahindra would have developed it. That’s both good and bad but makes for another story. For now, let’s decode the price given they are at four fixed levels but make up for nearly a dozen permutations and combinations.
Man’s Life sources say, the base variant – AX Standard – is actually an add-on model that Mahindra added to claim the sub-Rs 10 lakh bragging rights at launch. I am sure they don’t intend to sell many of those. It is a petrol/manual and comes with a four-wheel drive. So, would be more suitable for someone looking at a Thar for more utilitarian use. It comes with a fixed soft top so don’t look here if you intend to take your girl or boy for a topless (the car, of course) drive in the wild.
Off-roaders should possibly be more interested in the next AX variant – Rs 10.85 lakh – as it gets a mechanical diff lock too and a diesel engine option. Those in the know will realize the importance of both these bits for extreme off-road adventures. And since the kind of owners who buy this will be purists, more intent on conquering the roads rather than onlooker’s hearts, they shouldn’t mind that the top on this one can’t come down either. Both these models get rear-facing jump seats.
So, if you are the family type where the rear seat is important, move to the next – AX Optional. This model gets everything that the AX does, plus more comfortable front-facing seats at the rear. For the same Rs 11.9 lakh, you could even choose a hard top which is great if you don’t have fixed secure parking or live in a rough neighborhood. It also gets a roof-mounted music system. Not a great audio experience but safe to assume no one is coming to a Thar for that sort of entertainment. Of course, since you are paying more than an AX, the soft-top on this variant is a removable type. So yes, a drop-top-gorgeous drive is possible here.
Off late, we have seen many car models with a rather wide price range. Sometimes the top model is nearly double the price of the base model. In comparison, Mahindra has kept things more acceptable. At Rs 12.49 lakh, the flagship LX costs just 25% more than the eye-catching base price. Plus, there are quite a few options here. At this same price, you can opt for a diesel or petrol automatic with either a removable soft-top or a hardtop. Or, a diesel/manual with a hardtop. Don’t see the point of opting for the latter as you are not getting significantly more mechanical teeth than an AX optional. On the other hand with an automatic gearbox, you get a lot of driving convenience and control and it’s not going to cost you a rupee more than the manual.
So, why not?