Indian outfit Mahindra on Friday introduced a new small off-road vehicle that could take the fight to the Jeep Wrangler. Sort of.
Okay, not really. Not even a little. The Mahindra Roxor, powered by a 2.5-liter turbodiesel I4 that peaks at 62 horsepower and 144 lb-ft of torque, can’t reasonably serve as a daily driver. It tops out at around 45 miles per hour, measures just 148 inches in length, and offers – we’d imagine – about the same level of crash protection as a hamster wheel.
But here’s the thing: it looks like a Jeep, with the open-top steel body, vertical grille, and flat-slab fenders of a CJ-7. And in fact, Mahindra essentially got its start by building Willys Jeeps under contract in India, their version of the CJ-2A eventually spawning the Thar model upon which the Roxor is based. That makes this new ATV arguably more Jeep than even the Wrangler.
We think off-road enthusiasts will respond to that, even if the small, miniature 4×4 most likely won’t be road-legal.
For the North American market, the Mahindra Roxor will be built at the company’s brand-new Detroit production facility. It’ll rock a five-speed manual transmission with a two-speed Dana transfer case, sending torque through all four of its 16-inch steel (or optional aluminum-alloy) wheels, and it’s projected to achieve fuel economy in the vicinity of 32 mpg, with a max. tow rating of 3,490 pounds.
Pricing hasn’t been announced for the Mahindra Roxor just yet, but the company says it’s managed to find nearly 300 dealers in the US to distribute the pint-sized homage to the classic Jeeps of yore. We can hardly wait.