Mahindra’s new 4×4 for Australia has scored well in crash testing and will go on sale here next year.

The new 2020 Mahindra Thar has scored a four-star rating in the latest round of Global NCAP crash testing.

The model, which is the latest four-wheel drive from Mahindra based on its efforts since the 1940s remanufacturing the Willys Jeep, will go on sale in Australia next year.

The score is based Global NCAP’s standardised offset frontal crash test at 64km/h. The Mahindra Thar managed a four-star rating for adult protection, with the bodyshell stable and capable of “withstanding further loadings.” The overall score for adult occupant protection was 12.52 points out of a maximum 17. Head and neck protection was rated ‘good’. Chest protection for the driver was rated ‘adequate’. Front passenger protection for was ‘good’.

Mahindra’s new Thar scored equally well for child occupant protection receiving four stars and 41.11 points out of a maximum 49 – the highest score of all cars tested so far. It also scored well for head protection of both three and 18-month year-old dummies.

It is positive news for Mahindra which told us that it would be offering the new Thar for sale locally next year. While there are two body styles – three and five-door wagons – it will sell only the three-door here for now.

The car is immensely popular in the sub-continent and could very well have a big impact in Australia if local pricing and specs give us a solid off-roader. Underneath the bonnet is the choice of a ‘mStallion’ 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 112kW and 320Nm, or the ‘mHawk’ 2.2-litre diesel developing 97kW and 300Nm, with both mated to either a six-speed manual or torque converter automatic.

Sitting on a ladder-frame chassis, the new Thar has a four-wheel drive system as standard, with four-high and four-low, the latter at multiplying torque 2.48:1. Also standard is front-axle disconnect, differential on both ends via brakes, and a mechanical rear locking differential.

Off-roading angles are a 41.8-degree approach, 36.8-degree departure and 27-degree breakover. When equipped with  18-inch wheels the ground clearance is 226mm and 650mm wading depth, and the suspension’s dampers and springs have all been newly designed over the double-wishbone front and multi-link rear end.


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Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax,, AMC, Just Cars, and more.


    1. A 5 Star safety rating now is very subjective, it often has nothing to do with the physical crash performance of the vehicle, not having autonomous braking means no 5 star rating even if the physical crash results are perfect scores. Many of the 5 star vehicles sold today are also legacy 5 star ratings that would fail miserably if they were tested against the new rating requirements.

  1. In 2013 I purchased a Mahindra XUV500 AWD SUV equipped with the excellent designed in Austria Diesel engine Mahindra call “mHawk”, a 2.2 litre 4 cylinder diesel, mine coupled to a 6-speed manual gearbox. The vehicle was driven by me for 200,000 Km in four years when I purchased an Isuzu MU-X based on extra power and torque and load capacity.

    XUV-500 can legally tow 2,500 kg with ball weight limit 160 kg and mine handled an 1800 kg caravan or a trailer boat of similar weight comfortably, the caravan all over Australia during the four years. Apart from some minor fixed under warranty at service time issues including AWD coupling system the vehicle was comfortable and reliable. The bodywork finish and fit was to a high standard.

    Mahindra owns SSangYong Group and many other businesses.

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