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THANKS TO MAHINDRA, YOUR NEXT 4X4 MIGHT BE A JEEP … AT LEAST IN SPIRIT, IF NOT IN THE METAL.
INDIAN automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Limited could well be the saviour of the traditional four-wheel drive. And by ‘traditional’, we mean really traditional: a separate chassis, live axles at both ends carried on leaf springs, and part-time 4x4. You simply can’t get more traditional or old-school than that.
The vehicle in question, known the Roxor in the USA, is very traditional as it has much of the style of the original WWII Jeep, the vehicle that spawned the 4x4 world as we know it today. After all, the very first Land Rover, Toyota Land Cruiser and Nissan Patrol were all inspired by the original Jeep.
But the Roxor as it will probably be known when it arrives in Australia in 2020/21, is not a recent creation of Mahindra – Mahindra has had Jeep in its DNA from day one.
Mahindra was founded immediately after WWII off the back of assembling war-surplus Jeeps from knockdown kits supplied by Willys-overland, and by 1968 Mahindra was manufacturing Jeep look-a-likes from 100 per cent Indian content. Examples of these early Mahindra ‘Jeeps’ were introduced to Australia in 1990 as the Bushman and the slightly cheaper Stockman, and they were powered by a naturally aspirated 2.1-litre diesel with – wait for it – 46kw and 120Nm.
The latest iteration of these early Mahindra ‘Jeeps’, the Thar, was introduced onto the Indian market in 2010 and is the basis for the Roxor; although, the Thar has independent front suspension with torsion bars, while the Roxor has a leaf spring live axle. Somewhat ironically the Roxor built under licence in the USA from knockdown kits imported from India.
In the USA the Roxor is only for off-road use (sold
Nostalgia aside, the new Mahindra is built in the tradition of the good ol’ days.