The new Mahindra Roxor off-road side-by-side debuted this week, and it looks quite a bit different now than when it initially showed its Jeep-like face back in 2018. You can thank Fiat Chrysler’s legal team for that, though I think Mahindra did a great job adjusting the design into something that still has character.
Things got a bit weird after the dust settled on legal action between Mahindra and Fiat Chrysler, who was unhappy that the Indian company (which, for the record, has a U.S. headquarters and assembly plant) was selling a vehicle that looked so much like an old Jeep.
Mahindra had to remove the Roxor from its website, and chose to replace it with this cryptic message:
Sometimes you have to look deep within to find the truest version of yourself, so we’re off on a journey to do just that.
We will RISE again. Stronger. Different. Freakier.
Last September, we got our first look (see below) at how Mahindra planned to redesign its Roxor to get past Jeep’s trademark concerns (it wasn’t clear where the image came from, but I’m assuming court documents). So while the new pictures that you see here in this article aren’t the first we’ve of the not-street-legal side-by-side’s new looks, they are the first ones in color.
And I have to say, I dig the E.T. look! Starting off with styling so similar to an old Jeep CJ-5 must have really boxed Mahindra’s design team in. For those designers to have kept pretty much all of the sheet metal behind the fenders/hood the same, and yet developed something that actually works well is impressive.
There’s still a Jeep-like body tub, but the front end is wildly different; it’s wide and, I think, a lot of fun. It looks happy to be here.
You can have a look at the Roxor doing its thing off road here in Mahindra’s debut clip:
As the video above shows, there’s still a 62 horsepower, 144 lb-ft 2.5-liter turbodiesel under the hood, hooked up to a five-speed manual transmission and a low range-equipped transfer case. The transfer case sends power to two solid axles (with short 5.38 gearing) suspending a steel ladder frame via leaf springs.
The 3,000 pound Roxor has a new look, but it’s still extremely mechanically simple, though it isn’t quite I’d call “cheap.” The base model starts at almost $19,000, and the All-Weather trim (with HVAC and a cool hardtop, shown above) costs over $26,000.
If I had a big ranch and needed a little off-road utility vehicle, I’d rather have a nicely-restored hard-top Willys CJ-3B equipped with a heater and an overdrive, which I’d need in order to comfortably cruise at the Roxor’s top speed of 55 mph. Still, I do see why others value owning something brand new, and I bet the Mahindra’s diesel does well on fuel compared to the old Willys F-Head motor.
Anyway, I’ll just leave you with the photos I have, and let you decide what you think: