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Mahindra Thar Daybreak Test Drive Review

Mahindra Thar Daybreak Review – Click above for high resolution image gallery

Mahindra Thar Daybreak Review

Car Tested: Mahindra Thar Daybreak; Road Test No. 818

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 20 lakhs (including donor car)

The Daybreak is an attention-grabbing car which excels brilliantly off the road

The Mahindra Thar hates tar and we all know that. However, the Thar has proved to be a good lifestyle vehicle and a second car for people who like to have adventurous trips and do a lot of off-roading. But, Mahindra has been known to create modified versions of its vehicles and we first saw that with the Bolero Stinger series introduced many years back. Now, the automaker has developed a customised Thar and named it the Thar Daybreak, which is touted to have modifications to the tune of almost Rs. 10 lakhs! So what does the Daybreak get? Let us find out.

Motor Quest: The Thar was launched by Mahindra in a bid to attract those customers who want a lifestyle SUV and want to do off-roading too but don’t have the time, patience and resources to look for an old Jeep and restore it. The Thar has got good response from buyers and the Daybreak is an attempt to increase the appeal of the car.

The Thar Daybreak has splendid road presence, people keep staring

Exteriors – The overall stance of the regular Thar remains but Mahindra has done some really extensive modifications to the outside of the Daybreak. The first thing to grab anyone’s attention would be the HUGE 37-inch Maxxis Trepador tyres which look really chunky. The fifth wheel is mounted at the rear and it looks so big that it almost hides the rear of the car! Also, you get a matte grey paint job which looks cool. Along with that, some other bits include projector headlamps with LED DRL rings and a blacked out grille.

The Thar gets revisions to body panels and metal bumpers too

The Daybreak looks very jazzy and eye-catchy with all these modifications

You also get new metal bumpers at the front and rear. Mahindra has also added a snorkel but it is more of a novelty. On the left side, you get a lift jack for the car while Mahindra has also installed dual chrome exhausts. A scooped bonnet is another cosmetic tweak along with modified doors, raised fenders and beefed up wheel arches. You also get a soft roof with the car, while a hard roof is optional. Our test car came topless though!

Many changes and tweaks to the interiors but ergonomics are the same

Interiors – Getting inside the Mahindra Thar Daybreak is a bit of a struggle since the doors don’t really open very wide and interestingly the company has decided to plonk in Sparco racing seats with proper motorsport seatbelts. However, once you are seated, you realise how supportive and comfy the seat is. The ergonomics aren’t the best though and are carried forward from the regular Thar. What you do get is red accents on the dashboard and a large touchscreen audio system with a reverse camera too. Considering how everyone has been going off-roading in the Daybreak, we weren’t surprised that the screen wasn’t working. You also get four waterproof speakers. There are no other major changes on the inside and the placement of the pedals, gear levers, etc. continues to remain the same.

Without a hard roof, owning the Daybreak could be a hassle

Getting in and out of the Thar Daybreak will be an interesting affair for many

A soft top is provided as standard with the Daybreak but we’re unsure about its quality and, fit and finish levels. The Daybreak also doesn’t get any windows at the rear and on the sides so it will be an issue driving this SUV in bad weather. The hard top is offered at an additional Rs. 1.5 lakhs and we totally recommend buying it. Talking about the AC, it cools well and the blower at settings 3 and 4 was a boon since I was driving this car in sweltering heat without a roof. There is no safety equipment on offer but Mahindra has fitted a remote locking system which rings an alarm if someone tries to open the door locks manually when the car is locked. Still, you cannot leave any stuff in the car because it is pretty much vulnerable.

The 2.5-litre CRDE oil-burner still produces 105 HP and 247 Nm

Performance – No mechanical changes have been made to the Thar Daybreak. It gets the same 2.5-litre CRDE engine from the Thar and it gives out 105 horses at 3800 RPM along with 247 Nm between 1800-2000 RPM. The powerplant is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox and you also get a proper 4WD system. The motor is noisy but at the same time you can make out that the clatter isn’t too irritating. Step on the gas and the mill responds quickly. There is a small amount of turbo lag and after 1800 RPM, the vehicle accelerates briskly till around 2500-3000 RPM, post which power delivery starts tapering off.

The additional weight makes it difficult for the Daybreak to reach the ton

The engine is good but the large wheels bog down the performance significantly

While the regular Thar easily did speeds of 130-140 km/hr, the Daybreak struggles to cross 80 km/hr and that is largely due to the heavy weight of the wheels. On a really long stretch of empty road, we crossed 90 km/hr but the SUV just couldn’t reach 100 km/hr. According to our VBOX tests, 0-80 km/hr came up in a boring 5 centuries. Gear shifts are very rough and fuel efficiency has also gone for a complete toss with the Daybreak. However, this car is largely targeted at serious off-roading and that is where it shines like none. We had a lot of fun chucking it on rocks, broken, uneven, slippery surfaces and the Daybreak tackled everything with ease.

The ride is bouncy and there is a lot of body roll too

Driving Dynamics – The height of the suspension has been increased by 1.5-inches and that coupled with the big tyres means that ride quality is far from comfortable. It is very bouncy and the stiffness can also be felt at higher speeds. However, the suspension feels very robust and can take up a lot of abuse. The steering isn’t exactly light and there is quite a lot of effort required to turn around the car, with the large turning radius not helping matters either. The steering gives very good feedback though. Talking about the brakes, they have sufficient stopping power at low to medium speeds but stomp on them at anything above 60 km/hr and you’ll never drive the Daybreak fast again because the braking distance is too long. The Maxxis tyres are super grippy off the road and they are again very durable.

The Daybreak makes sense only if you want the additional novelty on the Thar

Verdict – The Mahindra Thar Daybreak is a unique vehicle which grabs insane levels of attention everywhere. Mahindra has made some really significant changes to the Thar but we would have loved some mechanical changes too, a bump in the power and torque figures would be a welcome addition. The Daybreak is a very good off-roader and makes total sense for someone who wants an exclusive car but if you’re looking for a mix of on-road and off-road usage, we would ask you to buy the regular Thar because the Daybreak costs almost Rs. 20 lakhs. With a regular Thar, you save lots of monies and you can use some of that to jazz it up according to your tastes.

Buying a regular Thar and modifying it is also a good option

What’s Cool

* Absolute attention grabber
* Sparco racing seats are very comfortable
* Off-road performance is excellent

What’s Not So Cool

* Very costly modifications
* On-road characteristics are better in the regular Thar

Alternatives: None

The Mahindra Thar Daybreak doesn’t really have any competition

Further Reading

Mahindra Thar CRDe Review
Mahindra Thar Off-Road Experience

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