Ace of Base: 2018 Mahindra ROXOR Classic

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2018 mahindra roxor classic

The machine you see before you isn’t a Jeep CJ from the ‘70s. Nor is it a Jeep CJ from the ‘80s. Despite its familiar shape, googly round eyes, and a front bumper sticking out like a spoilt child’s bottom lip, not one cent of the cash outlaid by customer will line FCA’s coffers.

It’s the Mahindra ROXOR – an off-roader from an Indian company, built in America, the Willys way. Got that?

Mahindra has been making noise for ages about entering the North American market, showing various small pickup trucks and other machinery before finally pulling the trigger in 2017, establishing a base of operations and signing up a team of powersports dealers.

The ROXOR is an off-road only machine featuring a growly 2.5-liter inline-four turbodiesel under its Jeepy hood. A grand total of 62 horsepower and 144 lb-ft of barely-off-idle torque is on tap to move its 3000+lb mass. Given the thing doesn’t have any doors or roof, the ROXOR must be made of lead. It tops out at 45 mph.

Any machine which straddles the line between on-road ‘wheelers like the Jeep Wrangler and off-road busters like the Polaris RZR side-by-side deserves closer examination. The ROXOR neatly splits the difference in length between those two machines, measuring 148 inches in length compared to the Wrangler’s 166.6-inch and the RZR’s 119-inch shadows.

It is rated to tow 3,490 lbs, but only at 15 mph. A true five-speed manual complete with a spindly shifter poking through the transmission is the gearbox on offer, so operators can poke at a clutch pedal with their left foot, something not required in a traditional side-by-side from Polaris or Can-Am. Naturally, the ROXOR is four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case and nine inches of ground clearance.

Electric Blue and Fire Engine Red are the two extroverted colors, while Wimbledon White and Inky Black take care of the greyscale. None of the four add a penny to the ROXOR’s $14,999 base price for the Classic trim shown here. Mahindra will sell you a winch and front bumper for the princely sum of $1500; save your cash and buy your own unit after the fact for less.

Other accessories are available on the Classic trim, such as a light bar like the ones found on brodozers and grab handles for passengers. The twin halogen peepers up front will illuminate your path just fine. As for your passengers, well, if they fall out that’s their own fault. Interior trappings are decidedly Spartan, with a single gauge peeping back at the driver and a couple of seat boxes for storage. An LE trim adds $3,250 and some of these accessories but doesn’t make the ROXOR any more capable off-road.

The ROXOR is a great blend of old school simplicity and current technology. Nine-inch disc brakes up front mean the thing will actually stop when you ask it to, unlike early CJs whose front drums were not so much brakes as they were ‘hesitators’ or ‘delayers’. Despite these upgrades, the rest of the unit looks as if it can be fixed with a stout hammer.

For a single George Washington under $15,000, the ROXOR is priced right in the thick of its powersports competition. Given its unique properties, a more car-like style of operation than a traditional side-by-side, and undeniable cool factor, the base ROXOR earns its spot on our Ace of Base list.

Just remember: it’s not a Jeep … even if some early CJ parts do fit. Don’t forget to stay off-road.

[Images: Mahindra]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selection.

The model above is shown in American dollars with American options and trim, absent of extraneous and annoying fees. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

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2 of 33 comments
  • Tassos with 170k+ miles, and over 15 years old, this vehicle has had a full life. Maybe it's time for the scrapyard.
  • Analoggrotto Idk, I was chased down by like 3 people and threatened with ban at Costco because I refused to walk around the whole building to use the restroom, opting instead to take a shortcut through the customer service / new members entrance.
  • Namesakeone Pick Enterprise. We'll pick you up. And it won't be in a police car.
  • FreedMike Stellantis blames electrification? Whatever. The problem is that this plant builds the Cherokee, whose sales have fallen off a cliff. https://www.goodcarbadcar.net/jeep-cherokee-sales-figures/Four years ago, they were moving over 200,000 of these a year. This year’s YTD is 30,000. And this model is in the hottest segment of the market - compact crossovers.It takes real talent to screw up like this. That’s why they BlAmeZ ThOsE BaD EvZ. And $20 says this model is soon to be Hecho en Mexico.
  • Tassos PS even if Mazdas were as well made and as reliable as Hondas, Toyotas or (Indeed!) Mercedeses, I'd never buy a car whose stupid commercials used to feature a dumb kid in a suit babbling "zoom zoom".
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