Mahindra Thar vs Ducati Scrambler
Shootout No. 162
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 6.35 – 10.53 lakhs (Mahindra Thar), Rs. 9.46 lakhs (Ducati Scrambler Icon)
“Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” – Irving Wallace
The Thar is aimed at captivating enthusiasts while the Ducati Scrambler focuses on newer riders
Everyday we get up, we eat the same food, wear the same old clothes to work, drive the same car, take the same route to work and stare into space once we make it to our desk. Where’s the fun in that? What if you could change one thing from this monotony? What if you could have those few minutes of commute change into an adventure that will get you moving for the day? Well here are two personas that let their peculiar appearances do enough talking. The Mahindra Thar and the Ducati Scrambler are two icons that do exactly what they’re supposed to. A car versus a bike sounds weird, right? Not that we haven’t done something like this is the past, this shootout is one of the most specials ones we’ve done. Read along to find out why!
Motor Quest: The Thar is basically a reincarnation of the MM540 and MM550 jeeps which were discontinued long back. It was launched in order to bring back their legacy and once again rekindle with enthusiasts who’ve waited for very long. The Scrambler on the other hand is the smallest Ducati which is aimed for encouraging new people to get into riding. Just like the Thar, the Scrambler also has a number of variants.
Styling – Well, the one thing that makes these machines stand out from the crowd is their conspicuous design. The Thar excels at its vintage tough looks while the Scrambler is all about raw, classic style. Looking at the Thar first, one can say it carries the legacy of Mahindra’s old jeeps – the classic round headlamps, the large vertical radiator grille and the typical soft canopy. While there are a few bits that give away the Mahindra Thar, it still is the same jeep in many ways that got enthusiasts drooling back then. The Ducati Scrambler is something that truly defines a scrambler motorcycle. The iconic round headlamp has a modern touch with LED DRLs. The offset console however looks outlandish while the exposed throttle cable messes up with the overall feel.
Typical styling cues on the Thar and Scrambler give them an iconic value
Both machines have certain elements that define its tough looks. Both carry special terrain tyres that have their own off-roading capabilities which by the way, is what makes them look badass! What separates them is their built quality. The scrambler has a solid one with no unwanted panel noises whatsoever; of course, it’s a Rs. 8 lakh bike! But what about the Mahindra Thar? To best describe it, I’m going to have to make you remember the times when you travelled in those big ol’ state transport buses – bouncing, banging doors, chattering stuff and everything like that. Well, the Thar isn’t exactly the same, but you know what I mean, right?
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – There’s not really much to compare between the Scrambler and the Thar as the former just blows away its competition when it comes to technological sophistication. The compact LCD console is at par with the analogue-digital one in the Mahindra. Both consoles show an odometer, trip-meters, speedometer, tachometer, indicators for high beam, check engine light and turn indicators. The stuff that the Scrambler misses out on is a fuel gauge which is replaced by just a low-fuel light. What’s additional in the Thar being a four-wheeler is the seat belt warning as well as 4WD mode and 4Low mode that light up according to the mode selected.
Ergonomics – Yes, there’s no comparison, we know. But let’s get some perspective here. The Mahindra Thar is a hardcore off-road machine. So obviously it is no lounge on the inside, while the Scrambler isn’t the most comfortable motorcycle in its class either! The Thar has acceptable levels of comfort as the seats are large enough and fairly adjustable. The visibility from the driver’s seat is good with fewer blind-spots, however, some portion of the speedometer does get hidden because of the steering wheel. One thing that irritated me the most in traffic was that while shifting into the second or fourth gear, you always tend to hit the hand-brake; a bizarre design flaw.
The Scrambler on the other hand, is a monster in disguise. The stance is upright while the footpegs are centre-set. All this in combination with a snatchy throttle is a recipe for sore shoulders. The seat isn’t the most comfortable either. Although the seat is sufficiently supportive, the cushioning isn’t that great and long rides aren’t really where the Scrambler excels in. To sum it up, both vehicles aren’t really ergonomically the best in the market but make up for all that in a way that really matters.
Performance – Comparing the two machines, it’s safe to say that size isn’t everything; torque is. Even though both of them are tuned for different purposes, both are real players in the torque game. The Mahindra Thar creates a twist of 247 Nm somewhere between 1800-2000 RPM which is necessary for any jeep that goes off-the-road. In addition to hauling the two tons of its own weight, a power figure of just 106 BHP isn’t what actually sells the Thar. Similarly, 75 horses by the Scrambler are yet enough to keep things a little interesting. The Thar loses its breath way below its top speed of 140 km/hr while the Scrambler takes a really long stretch to hit the 200 km/hr mark.
Both these machines are impressive performers in their own playgrounds
Where the scrambler impresses is the 0-100 km/hr sprint which is barely 4.49 seconds. Speaking of impressive performance, the usable performance of the Thar in the city lies in its 1800-3000 RPM range. Its humongous appearance somewhat helps in dominating the streets while the turbo kicking in helps in overtakes. Surprisingly, the NVH levels on the Mahindra are not as bad as you may expect while on similar lines, the twin-pot Ducati has significant overall harshness. The gear shifts on both the vehicles have similar character. Not very smooth, and not so easy to make. While the gear-shifter on the Thar is not as bad as that on a commercial truck, the Ducati could’ve also done much better to stand up to its name.
Dynamics – It’s really been a long way getting to this part of the review, but finally, this is what counts about these two special machines. To begin with, the Thar, and I cannot stress this enough, is not to be confused with some kind of a buggy. It is not as agile since it weighs about 2000 kgs. But what it successfully does is cross anything that will come its way with a calm and a controlled approach. The Scrambler also has a similar character albeit on more forgiving terrains. The Pirelli rubber on the Ducati takes care of some serious irregularities typically seen on our roads. They weren’t obviously meant for that but still do a pretty neat job.
The Thar is very comfortable off the road while the Scrambler tries to keep up
Out on the road, the Maxxis Bighorn tyres are an overkill for the Thar but still do a decent job. Steering feels light but body roll in corners is obvious. The Scrambler on the other hand is ready to take on any supersport in the twisties with its agile dynamics and quick acceleration. The tyres lose out on corner grip but mid-corner slides are still manageable and kind of fun! The tyres also feel very grippy once they heat up and thanks to the ABS, wheel lock-ups are rare.
Safety and After Sales Service – Both machines are equipped with an immobiliser, as both of them are vulnerable to theft. While the Scrambler obviously being a two-wheeler is much more prone to theft, the Mahindra Thar is easily accessible thanks to the rear portion of the canopy which is only fastened by a zip. However, it does get a lockable glove-box in the cabin. Only the Scrambler is equipped with ABS here, while no option for the Thar. The Thar also misses out on airbags as well as seat belts for the rear passengers. Coming on to the service aspect, Mahindra has one of the widest service networks in the country while Ducati has service outlets only in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
Verdict – So, this comparison isn’t only about the stuff that the two machines carry. It is about the personality and the similarity in the essence that these two premiums in our country offer. The Mahindra Thar and the Ducati Scrambler may not be technically comparable, but this “Two versus Four wheels” comparison isn’t something that can be done with everything, everyday; which is the whole point! When making the final comparison between how much each one these will cost you (which is surprisingly very close to each other), it just boils down to how bad you want to get away from your routine monotonous life.
Picture Editing: Sri Manikanta Achanta
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