Mahindra Thar: Mud-wrestling

The track sits on a 28-acre piece of land that has been converted into an off-road obstacle course. And in the monsoon, it gets really tricky. You’ve got everything off-roady here – steep inclines and declines, slush pits, axle twisters, narrow ridges, the works. Some of the obstacles are serious enough to merit the theory session that you have to attend before you get behind the wheel.

As part of the training, Mahindra lets you have a go in its most real off-roader, the Thar. Only these are not regular Thars. They’ve been beefed up with off-road tyres and a winch at the front to pull on if things get out of hand.

The foundation of the Thar’s off-roading prowess is its high-torque diesel engine, with a rated output of 247Nm and 104bhp. Then there’s that low-range transfer case that’s vital for off-roading. And all of this is fitted on to a high-ground-clearance, short-wheelbase body. Getting a good off-roader is a start. But without an off-road-skilled driver, the vehicle’s capabilities mean nothing. Enter the instructor at Mahindra’s facility.