Both SUVs have nothing in common, apart from a proper 4WD drivetrain and BOF. Yet, the lack of options prompts a comparison
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Disclaimer: Jimny and Thar shouldn’t be pitted against each other. Except for a proper 4WD drivetrain and BOF, nothing is common. Yet, the lack of options in similar price brackets in Indian markets prompts people and reviewers alike to compare these two prominent contenders.
Here goes my opinion in bullet points with no particular order. These may contradict the preferences of some users.
1. Practicality: Jimny owns hands down being a 5-door. Internal space management is also better than Thar.
2. Cost of ownership: Although some opine Jimny is overpriced, considering long-term ownership (say 10 years) with similar running the overall cost of ownership of Jimny will be lesser than both petrol and diesel-powered Thar.
3. Reliability: While Mahindra has mastered the technicalities of producing 4WD vehicles (which is very well understood from their history of vehicle manufacturing) Thar is a reliable product except for a few major and minor niggles (some of them are common in all BSVI diesels). A fair share of niggles is also being reported by Jimny owners too. But being an international model except for two extra doors, a longer chassis, and a longer propeller shaft, the rest of the things are quite similar; and they have proven reliability. Survey reports also substantiate user satisfaction with Maruti after-sales service.
4. Comfort and ride quality: In stock condition, the comfort and ride quality of Jimny (considering a BOF) is superior to Thar. Even after a hefty investment in modification, some users reported Thar can’t match the stock ride quality of Jimny.
5. Dimension: Jimny looks tiny from the outside and feels cramped inside. Many people would not buy into this idea. But, a smaller footprint is a boon in villages and narrow hilly roads of India. No surprise why the puny Alto commands its unchallenged superiority in the remotest parts of this country. There are certain situations reported by users– Thar couldn’t access a narrow river bridge due to its width while that was a cakewalk for Jimny.
6. Mod friendliness: Both vehicles offer ample scope of modifications. Rather, being an international model Jimny has a plethora of options and competitors. OTOH, Thar is not at all lagging behind in the mod scene, thanks to the mushrooming Indian 3rd party modifiers/accessories makers. Some of them are matured at such a level that they are quite comparable with the global quality stack.
7. Road presence: Thar owns hands down. It’s a real head-turner. 2/3 door cars look smashing anytime and exude a special appeal, no doubt.
8. Engine and Transmission: No comparison at all. Both are of different leagues. Thar offers a better feel of power and cruisablity due to the larger displacement engine. The 6-speed transmission is also technically better and newer than Jimny. Thar AT has M mode, while Jimny 4AT doesn’t offer M mode, but it can be operated manually with different modes (D with or w/o OD, 2, and L). All the transmission systems including the transfer cases are time-tested and reliable enough.
9. 4WD Mechanicals: Jimny has solid axles (both front and rear). Many purists prefer this type of axle for off-roading. None provides MLD or Manual diff. locker in stock condition (present on-production Thar). But both have the provision of retrofitting a diff. locker. Thar actuates the front wheels’ hub lock by an electrical mechanism (FAD – Front Axle Disconnect as termed by Mahindra) while Jimny uses its engine vacuum to actuate the hub locker pneumatically. Long term reliability of both systems is speculative.
10. Electronic Driving Aid: Both offer more or less similar electronic aid onboard. e.g. hill descent control, hill hold assist, ESP, brake traction control, cruise control, etc. But there exist a few distinct differences.
Some may be advantages and some disadvantages for a user.
- Unlike Thar, hill descent control in Jimny works only in 4WD mode.
- Hill descent control speed can be manually adjusted in Thar using the cruise control speed setting buttons. But in Jimny, it’s fixed to approx. 10kmph and 5kmph for 4H and 4L respectively.
- Hill Hold control in Jimny works only in upward inclination, but in thar They work both upward and downward.
- Hill hold control can be manually disabled in 4L mode in Jimny. This also deactivates hill descent control at the same time. No manual intervention is possible for Thar.
- HDC can work in neutral in both vehicles (although it’s absolutely not recommended), but shifting from D to neutral in Thar will deactivate HDC.
- During OTRs, in many circumstances, implementation of the brake-traction control (BLSD, as marketed by Suzuki, and I too personally prefer to stick to this term only) in Jimny has been observed to perform better.
11. Options: Jimny only offers two versions with AT/MT configuration with a 1.5L K15B engine only. OTOH, offerings of Thar viz. P/D engine, AT/MT transmission, 4WD/RWD, HT/ST, and their sub-versions, can definitely spoil one for choice. Personally, I think Bolero Neo is a better package than Thar RWD from Mahindra Stable unless the look is taken into account.
12. OTR Capabilities: 3 Dr Jimny would have been an obvious choice for OTR purposes if it was available in India. While the long wheelbase and, less torquey engine may be a downer for many, Jimny 5Dr got quite an edge in terms of its OTR prowess and can compete neck to neck with Thar in negotiating tricky obstacles. Jimny being lightweight got some advantages of easier self-recovery in certain situations.
Having said all these points, the crux is, no single liner can meaningfully conclude whether one is better than the other.
Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.
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