Mar 13 2020

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Weekly – What Car Should I Buy Megathread

Any posts pertaining to car buying suggestions or advice go in this weekly Megathread. A fresh thread will be posted every Monday and posts auto sorted by new. A few other subreddits worth checking out that will help your car buying expierance is /r/WhatCarShouldIBuy, /r/UsedCars and /r/AskCarSales. Make/Model specific questions should be asked on Make/Model specific subreddits. Check the AutosNetwork for a complete list of those subreddits. Also check out our community made Ultimate car buying wiki

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TIL that in India, you can buy a new 7 passenger SUV which has basic underpinnings derived from the Willys Jeep CJ-3B from the 1950’s. Here’s a brief history of these strange Indian Jeep-lets

Some of you might know that Mahindra recently introduced the Roxor to the United States. It’s a small Jeep-like vehicle designed purely for offroad use, like an ATV, and is not allowed to be driven on public roads.

Fiat-Chrysler took an issue to this, but ultimately, Mahindra won the legal battle and is now manufacturing and selling the Roxor in the US market. Part of the rationale for this ruling was that Mahindra has been producing Jeeps for a long time!

Mahindra has been producing offroaders based off the CJ-3B since 1949. These models were dubbed the “Mahindra CJ”, and eventually came in two variants: the four seat CJ 340 and the six seater CJ 540. The truck was initially produced with a Willy’s F134 engine, displacing 2.2 liters and making 74 horsepower. and 114 lb ft of torque Since 1979, they came equipped with the Peugeot 2.1-liter XDP 4.90 diesel engine, making 64 horsepower. Later versions used the Peugeot XD3P engine, which I can’t find power figures for but made 75 hp in the Peugeot 505. Throughout this time period, the transmission offered went from being the 3 speed BorgWarner T90 typically used in Willys and Jeep products, to the Kia KMT90 4 speed; both seemed to have been paired with the T18 four wheel drive transfer case. During this time, Mahindra also made the CJ500D for government fleets, utilizing a 2.3 liter International Harvester B275 diesel engine from its tractor range, making all of 38 hp and 86 lb ft of torque, propelling the off-roader to a meager top speed of 45 mph, while the more powerful Peugeot and Willys powered versions seem to top out at anywhere from 55 60 60 mph.

The MM540 was launched in 1986 and was mechanically identical to the CJ 540, but had two proper doors and a soft top This was a departure from the traditional open top models which had been offered before. The MM775 followed in 1992, and was revolutionary in the sense that it was now produced as a fully enclosed, long wheelbase metal body with the option of two or four doors. The “Mahindra Jeep”, as the models were affectionately known as in India, was now looking like less of a Jeep and more like a modern SUV, even though it shared the same stone-age chassis and underpinnings as its predecessors.

The Mahindra Armada began production in 1993, and was essentially an improved MM775 with an updated design, featuring rectangular headlamps and a heavy plastic grille and bumper; and more creature comforts, including more comfortable seats, a regular dashboard, and gasp optional air conditioning! The top speed of the Armada with the 2.5 XD3P was around 75 mph. It came in only one body style: a 4 door SUV. This was the first 4 door SUV produced in India, and paved the way for other manufacturers in the blossoming market for sport utility vehicles in India, which could cope with the often-unpaved roads in the country with their four wheel drive and their high ground clearance . As a result, SUVs are now extremely prevalent on India’s roads and have come to be the family shuttles of India’s upper middle class.

The more spartan and utilitarian Mahindras continued to be produced under different names, from the spartan Major to the Wrangler like Thar to the cab chassis Maxx. The MM and CJ models eventually ceased production in 2010. They continue to have a cult following among Indian auto enthusiasts, with forums like Team BHP having an immense amount of discussion about the models, many users drawing from their personal experiences with the trucks.

Finally, we move on to the Mahindra Bolero, which has been in continuous production since 2000. It is an updated version of the Armada. After the previously socialist, protectionist Indian market opened itself up to foreign trade in the 1990’s, the Indian market was bombarded by foreign automakers trying to grab a slice of the pie in this developing market. As a result, Mahindra faced stiff competition in the off-road and SUV markets from both other homegrown Indian options like the Tata Safari and Sumo and the Force Motors Trax, as well as foreign competitors like the Chevrolet Tavera, the Toyota Qualis, and the Mitsubishi Pajero. As a result, the Bolero was Mahindra’s attempt to compete in this increasingly diverse and cut-throat marketplace with a more modern SUV geared more towards family motoring and on-highway driving rather than offroading. The updates included a more modern design, a five speed manual transmission, air conditioning, keyless entry, power steering, CD/MP3 capability, and a 12 volt port. The Bolero comes with an in-house developed, 2.5 liter inline four turbodiesel engine making 75 hp, or a newer 1.5 three cylinder “mHawk” turbodiesel engine with 71 horsepower, with an estimated top speed of 80 mph. The Bolero is extremely common on the streets of India no matter where you go. Although it is a people mover which India’s middle class are drawn to because of its spacious and comfortable interior, it nonetheless retains its humble, venerable origins with its chassis still being an adaptation of the old Jeeps.

Going back to the Roxor,here’s a Jalopnik piece that goes into great detail about the similarities between the all-new, American-spec Roxor, and the old Willys CJ.

Interestingly, the relationship between Mahindra and Jeep extended beyond offroaders; Mahindra built the FJ Series of minibuses based off the Jeep Forward Control, as well as the FC pickup truck.

Today, Mahindra’s model range has expanded far beyond their utilitarian offraoders, with everything from minivans to crossovers to Dacia-based subcompacts to electric city cars to even a German-style coupe SUV. Here’s their current lineup


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