The Mahindra Thar will ditch the mechanically locking rear differential for a brake-based unit. | Tech US News

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  • The Thar is only to get a rear differential as an option on the top-spec diesel LX variant.

  • A mechanical locking differential was previously offered on all versions of the AX Opt and LX trims.

  • The Thar Ax Opt still lacks a brake-based locking differential.

  • Other off-roading features such as automatic hub lock and low-range gearbox are still present.

  • No price change has been announced yet, the Thar is priced at Rs 13.59 lakh (ex-showroom).

The Mahindra Thar is one of the most capable off-roaders you can buy in India right now. But if you’re thinking of buying a mud slinger, you’ll need to read it first. In what appears to be a cost-cutting measure, Mahindra will no longer equip the Thar with a mechanically locking rear differential as standard.

The Thar loses the standard mechanical differential lock.

Earlier, Mahindra Thar had a mechanically locking differential (MLD) as standard on both the AX Opt and LX variants. The MLD was mounted on the rear axle and operated by a switch on the dashboard. If your Thar is stuck on a tough off-road trail, the MLD can be engaged to mechanically connect the two rear wheels so that equal power is transmitted to each wheel.

You’ll still be able to get the MLD as an option on the diesel-powered, top-spec variant, on both automatic and manual transmission variants. Petrol Thar is no longer available with this feature.

The Thar’s front axle has no mechanical differential, but uses an automatic hub lock and brake-based system to manage traction between the front wheels. This Brake Locking Differential (BLD) is not available on the base spec AX Opt variant. It remains a standard fitment on the top-spec LX trim level. We expect the petrol-powered Thar LX to also get a brake-based system for the rear axle given the lack of a mechanical diff lock.

What is the use of differential lock?

Different locks are useful on low-traction surfaces where it is difficult for the engine to put power down to the wheels. Both MLD and BLD help manage traction by sending equal power to the wheels for maximum traction. However, while a mechanical linkage is more uneven and transmits 50:50 power to each wheel, a brake-based system can manage traction in real time by detecting wheel slip.

The Thar offers powerful 130PS diesel and 150PS petrol engines that can be mated to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. It is still a 4×4 vehicle and continues to get an off-roading kit that includes an automatic hub lock and a low-range transfer case.

It remains to be seen how the loss of MLD might affect Thar’s off-roading capability and its pricing. Currently, the SUV is priced at Rs 13.59 lakh (ex-showroom) and rivals the Force Gorkha in India.

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