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Visitors to the 2018 Auto Expo in Delhi NCR would not have missed this show stopper at the Mahindra & Mahindra stall. Following up on the Mahindra Daybreak that was shown at the 2016 Auto Expo and made it to production this is yet another mad SUV from Mahindra Customisation – the Mahindra Thar Wanderlust. This is based on the Mahindra Thar 4×4 SUV and is boosted up to take away your life’s worries and make you look like a hero without a cape. The Mahindra Thar Wanderlust is Mahindra’s ninth official custom kit for the off-road exhibitionist and its sheer size and funky blue shade is unmissable. But does it actually make the Mahindra Thar lustworthy? Is this a monster truck that you will want to spend on. And how much does it cost?
Squealed the kids in my apartment complex when I rolled in with the Wanderlust. The Mahindra Daybreak that we sampled two years ago had left us bamboozled but the Mahindra Thar Wanderlust takes the sheer outrageousness to the next level. To begin with, you get massive 35-inch Renegade Radar M/T tyres. To put that into perspective that tyre is taller that most of the kids squealing around the SUV. However, the Wanderlust isn’t as well-proportioned as the Daybreak, seeming more like a T-Rex with its massive legs and tiny arms, thanks to those 315-section(!) tyres. The front-end is similar to the Daybreak again, with the addition of a massive pump jack mounted on the bonnet. You get interestingly designed projector LED headlamps with integrated indicators. However, there are four more halogens placed on the bumper with enough power to light up an IPL cricket match. At the rear, you get two jerry cans in place of the light cluster.
“Getting into the driver’s seat is as good as going for a trek up your favourite mountain”
Mahindra has gone all out this time, even when it comes to the interiors. The real party piece is the SLS-like gullwing doors. Yes, you do not need to spend crores to get those anymore. There’s lots of ill-stitched cowhide on the inside as compared to a regular Thar along with a mobile balcony for us Indians, better known as a sunroof. Mahindra has clearly researched its audience well. There is so much bling that you’ll soon forget the Hummer H2.
And as you get on the move, all that added muscle makes its presence felt. Mahindra hasn’t specified the weight but we think it’s a good 250-300kg heavier than the regular Thar. As the Mahindra Thar Wanderlust is a custom kit for the Thar, the company cannot really play around with the engine as they have to adhere to homologation regulations, which means you get the same 2.5-litre CRDe engine that makes 105bhp and 247Nm. Simple math – that makes the Wanderlust slow. Really slow. Get out of the turbo zone (below 1800rpm) and the monster starts to struggle, which means, you have to plan your gearshifts well. However, things aren’t so gloomy when you consider that it gives passers-by enough time to ogle at you. Everytime you get on the road, there are people performing calisthenics out of car windows or on pillion seats to take a picture. You feel like a celebrity being harassed by the paparazzi.
The Mahindra Thar Wanderlust hates corners. You get the same ladder frame chassis along with new leaf springs with an additional 38mm of travel. The ride feels more like a roller coaster and some of the passengers even experienced zero gravity over tiny speed breakers. However, there’s a silver lining to every cloud here. If you keep pushing the Mahindra Thar Wanderlust even for an hour, you’ll have worked out your forearms and calves without having to drive to the gym. There, you’ve saved another Rs 30,000 on gym membership fees. Not just that, it even works out on its own body after every bump, as if performing zumba, letting its body loose as it shakes and wiggles in all directions possible. Getting jiggy with it.
Get off the road and all that wizardry starts to make sense. Shift into 4-low and the Mahindra Thar Wanderlust climbs over boulders with amazing ease. No articulation shots on these pages? Blame it on the long travel suspension. On this very same lake shore we shot the Thar with two wheels in the air desperately clawing for grip. With the Daybreak we barely felt anything, it just chugged along like a beast.
I have made new friends in the week I lived with this insane Mahindra Thar Wanderlust. In fact, I have clicked more selfies with strangers wanting to pose with the car than I have ever taken even with my wife. I have never driven a tank but I can’t imagine it to be any different from driving this mammoth. Driving a tank on the road won’t turn more heads than the Wanderlust. It gives you a mad ego boost, even more than what wooing a girl does. And the best part is that the Wanderlust has as much road presence as a Hummer while saving you crores of rupees – the kit costs only Rs 13.80 lakh, plus a donor Thar. Sure it’s not practical as a daily commuter but that’s a small price to pay for the tsunami of new followers on Instagram. And the self-esteem, not to mention biceps, to rival Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.