Ace of Base: 2018 Mahindra ROXOR Classic

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • FreedMike I'd say that question is up to the southern auto workers. If I were in their shoes, I probably wouldn't if the wages/benefits were at at some kind of parity with unionized shops. But let's be clear here: the only thing keeping those wages/benefits at par IS the threat of unionization.
  • 1995 SC So if they vote it down, the UAW gets to keep trying. Is there a means for a UAW factory to decide they no longer wish to be represented and vote the union out?
  • Lorenzo The Longshoreman/philosopher Eri Hoffer postulated "Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and ends up as a racket." That pretty much describes the progression of the United Auto Workers since World War II, so if THEY are the union, the answer is 'no'.
  • Redapple2 I think I ve been in 100 plants. ~ 20 in Mexico. ~10 Europe. Balance usa. About 1/2 nonunion. I supervised UAW skilled trades guys at GM Powertrain for 6 years. I know the answer.PS- you do know GM products - sales weighted - average about 40% USA-Canada Content.
  • Jrhurren Unions and ownership need to work towards the common good together. Shawn Fain is a clown who would love to drive the companies out of business (or offshored) just to claim victory.