By on July 25, 2018

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.

Mahindra ROXOR

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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33 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2018 Mahindra ROXOR Classic...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Speaking of Jeeps Sergio Marchionne died this morning at 66

    :( RIP, Sergio

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Damn, that’s horrible news, I saw that he had an embolism. Sergio was one of the automotive greats and I really hate to hear that, it all happened so quickly. In a world filled with auto CEOs that couldn’t care less about what consumers want, Sergio was truly a breath of fresh air, he will be remembered fondly.

      RIP

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Military juntas might like these as a cheap alternative to Toyota pickups.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      True, but those 50 cal shell casings will get awfully hot raining down on you while you are driving.

      Perhaps a long wheel base, Scrambler esq edition would do for the discerning cost conscious War Lord. I did not see Toyotas Jihadi Beige as a color option, so I believe the Jihadi set will stick with the Toyota for now.

  • avatar
    Easybeans

    This or a 2005 Wrangler Rubicon. They cost the same.

    • 0 avatar
      srh

      That’s the real problem this thing has. I actually quite like the concept, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be less reliable than a Jeep and, given that at least in the NW the dealers seem to be the “powersports” folks, the service departments are going to rip you off.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        Well, if it is off-road use only and a diesel engine it will be pretty damn reliable. It probably doesn’t have to comply with EPA regs, but that’s a guess on my part. What makes simple diesels unreliable is their emission controls and all the other electronic gizmos. I am sure this has none. Lights switch, and maaaaaybe blinkers but if off-road only even the blinkers are not necessary.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    If Andrew Steyn were to collect manure in the Sonoran instead of the Kalahari, I’m sure he would drive one of these instead of an old Land Rover.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Could we limit AoB to vehicles that can legally be driven on road in the United States?

    Otherwise this could get sillier than it already is.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      You could slap a “TAG APPLIED FOR” sticker on one of these, drive it on public highways in Alabama, and get away with it for a long time (sticking to 45mph and slower roads to blend in, of course). As long as you keep the thing clean then the local constabulary wouldn’t even look at you funny- these don’t have the look of a methmobile.

      I’m being silly but there is truth in everything I just wrote.

      • 0 avatar
        lzaffuto

        You should be able to drive it on the road. Or can anyone tell me a *valid* reason why you can drive a 150cc scooter with a top speed of ~30mph on a 55mph highway legally but not this? I mean, it’s obviously NOT safety related. Stupid laws are stupid.

        • 0 avatar
          R Henry

          Emissions. This thing won’t pass.

          No airbags

          No side impact beams in the not-there doors

          No electronic nannies

          No rear camera

          Shall I go on?

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            How heavy are the guys riding the scooter?

            I got a Chinese made Roketa 150cc carbureted CVT equipped scooter up to 60 mph on the highway. But I only weigh 165 lbs.

          • 0 avatar
            Carrera

            R Henry…most of the things you mention don’t apply. Off-road use only.

          • 0 avatar
            lzaffuto

            The 150cc scooter I mentioned that is completely legal has none of these things either. Care to try again?

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I like it. I’d certainly buy it over any side-by-side.

    • 0 avatar
      srh

      I like it as well. The problem is that I’ve got to drive 100+ miles to get to a dealer (or service center). But RZR dealers are all over the place. Not to mention the latter are high volume items which are likely more reliable and less expensive to service.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Trying to understand who would buy this thing> A serious question. You can not take it on road, it has no roof to keep rain out, and it mass out at 45 MPG. I am sure it is targeted for someone but I do not know who. Are there that many folks who need a hunting vehicle and would buy this and tow it to the trails so they do not get their pickup dirty?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Have you seen how fancy those freaking pickups are now-a-days?

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I see lots of hunters with side by sides and I know a couple who use Samurais that are no longer licensed and street legal. One that uses a modified Samuri leaves the pickup at home and tows the Zuki behind his Motorhome. Fact is his pickup is a little limited as to where it can go thanks to the crew cab, 8′ bed and dual rear wheels.

      There is also a significant number of people who have things like the John Deere Gator around their farms and estates.

      Definitely not a large market but one they obviously thing will be profitable.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      A lot of people living in rural Maine, VT, New Hampshire..etc..etc who own a few acres of land have either ATVs ( quads) or Mitsubishi Mules. They would love these. Because it is diesel, they can get cheaper off road diesel fuel for them. The fuel has no tax on it so it is a bit cheaper than pump diesel. I’ve worked with a bunch of guys who had snow plows installed on their ATVs. They all lived off the main road and there was no way getting there without plowing the driveway/road. This thing would be great for that.

  • avatar
    Mike_H

    Up here in rural northern Wisconsin ATVs and UTVs are second or third cars. High school kids drive them to school. People drive them into town for grocery shopping. There are hundreds of miles of trails that link many counties together. More tourists haul ATVs up here for Spring, Summer, and Fall trail riding than they do snowmobiles in winter. They keep local bars and restaurants alive.

    The Mahindra thing will be one more brand recreational users can choose from.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      I was also thinking about the different golf cart laws around the country, not just rural and off-road runabouts. These things are a bit too fast to be street legal golf carts- usually 20-25mph is the limit for those.

      But yeah, in the environments that you, @Carrerra, and @Scoutdude describe, yup, there is already a market for these. Something else- the roll bar is a huge plus for parents of teens and pre-teens (that *is* a real roll cage that will hold up all 3,000+ lbs, right?). Some high end ATV prices are pushing $10-15k which means there is room for these things in the motorsport dealer’s showroom. It might sound strange if you’ve never lived around this kind of thing, but there are people out there who will buy these things. Not in huge numbers across the whole country, but I bet enough to turn a profit.

  • avatar

    Sell the Suzuki Jimny at powersports dealers instead, or alongside this. Much more desirable for somewhat similar moneys.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “a growly 2.5-liter inline-four turbodiesel under its Jeepy hood. A grand total of 62 horsepower and 144 lb-ft”

    How in hell are they getting that little power and torque out of a 2.5L *turbodiesel*?

    Why not a smaller engine with the same output, or more output from that engine?

    (A 240D got that much HP out of 2.4L in 1968, though to be fair 2/3 as much torque.

    The decision tree here really confuses me, is all.)

  • avatar
    Carroll Prescott

    It comes complete with a dot between its eyes.

    How indian!

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Just think, if it wasn’t for the Chi Ken Tax we could get pickups built to this standard by this same company. Clearly we are protecting the big 3 by keeping these out.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Nice. Do you think we can convince them to build replicas of the 1993 lineup of hot compacts, since the big automakers seem to have forgotten about us?

  • avatar
    arj9084

    Ugh, the thing is, this actually is a Jeep licensed product, so, in some way (very small), a portion of your dollars do go to FCA.

    https://jalopnik.com/this-is-why-mahindra-can-build-tiny-jeeps-1823472625

    My suspicion is that you’ll quickly wind up seeing these, in pictures, in the USA with the actual Jeep grille that is available (on the sister Thar) plentifully in India/elsewhere, in the US as an easy swap. Mahindra just didn’t want to pick the fight, themselves.

    https://www.carblogindia.com/mahindra-roxor-vs-thar-design-interior-engine-price-comparison/

    https://teamroxor.com/threads/thar-grill.43/

    https://www.olx.in/all-results/q-thar-grill/

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I saw one in person and had to do a double-take before I saw the Mahindra name. It was at a powersports dealer in rural Maine, next to all the other side-by-sides.

    Honestly, if I had the land and need for this, I’d buy it over the other ones it was parked next to, just for its classic styling and Spartan interior. I didn’t realize how expensive these “toys” are either!

    I was just driving through largely rural NC and VA on my way home from vacation. There were tons of places I saw where one could use this and its type on nearly a daily basis. There’s little here to break, as opposed to a used Wrangler or something else on the same price point, if you are opposed to a $500 beater for off-road use.

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