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ROXOR RIDE REVIEW

THE ORIGINAL SIDE x SIDE
Written By: 
John Arens


Long before the Kawasaki Mule, the John Deere Gator, or the Polaris Ranger there was a vehicle called the Willys-Overland General Purpose 4WD car.  That was the Army quartermasters official name, and like so many other military tools, the soldiers quickly tagged it with their own moniker.  You already know what that is, and the tough, gritty and versatile little vehicle quickly become a beloved tool for any and all tasks.  Found in every WWII theatre of combat, there was almost no place the Willy’s couldn’t go.  They were the original Side x Side utility vehicle.  The modern day ROXOR is a direct descendant.      

 

ROXOR READY TO ROLL

No doubt calling a ROXOR “modern-day” is more a reflection of its manufacture date than the technology the vehicle is built upon.  One look inside or under the vehicle shows there is little that could be considered “modern-day” about it, and that is the beauty of ROXOR.  It’s a 2019 model, but it’s based on the tried and true technology that is, in some aspects, decades old.  In an age of uber-connectivity and electronic control over practically every vehicle system, there is a lot to be said for simplicity.  Key ROXOR features are: 

  • Proven and economical 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel with direct injection
  • Two transmission options – either 5 speed manual with 2 speed transfer case for 4wd, or AT fully automatic with six-speed adaptive transmission
  • All steel body available in a dizzying 900 colors and wraps right from the factory!  Whatever color scheme you can dream up is yours for the asking.
  • Old school leaf spring suspension
  • Fully boxed in steel frame – better than the old (and new) Jeeps!  
  • Front disc brakes, rear drum brakes
  • 16” BF Goodrich KO2 radial tires
  • Claimed 32mpg

The new Mahindra ROXOR isn’t exactly your average Side x Side and about the only thing it has in common with a Polaris, Kawasaki, or Can-Am is four wheels and a couple seats.  It skips over pretty much every comfort and convenience package, but it absolutely oozes adventure.  Think 70’s CJ and you will be pretty close to what the ROXOR comes with.  It’s exactly the type of vehicle many have been hoping for. 

 

ROXOR INSIDE INFORMATION

Mahindra invited us to see just what the ROXOR is made of, not only on the trail, but also at the factory!  Their new factory just outside Detroit, Michigan is a clean, modern manufacturing facility in every way.  It is here the ROXOR is assembled from components built on site, or shipped in from other Mahindra plants and manufacturing partners. 

The Mahindra chassis is without a doubt the heaviest in powersports, or on most full-sized pickups for that matter. Its boxed steel tube is ready for decades of abuse.  We love the durability Mahindra built into the Roxor by building practically everything out of metal instead of molded plastic.  What it gives up in style points it clearly gains in ruggedness.  Under the hood is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder diesel engine with direct injection and a small turbocharger providing 8.0 psi of boost at an unbelievably low 3200rpm.  Engine claimed horsepower is a whopping 62, but with a diesel it is about gobs of torque.  A high engine air take allows the ROXOR to wade into water deep enough to get the seats wet.

   

TRANSMISSION OPTIONS – MANUAL or A NEW AUTOMATIC

Mated to the base model engine is Mahindra’s manual 5 speed transmission, and a 2-speed transfer case gets all 4 wheels spinning.  The axles are very similar to the Dana 44, and Warn manual-locking front-axle hubs get all 4 wheels clawing at the ground, but you’ll have to hop out to lock them in.  At the rear, an optional OX electronically controlled locking differential locks in both tires.  

While a standard transmission is no doubt the more old-school version for the ROXOR, there are those that prefer the transmission handle its own duties.  New this year is a six-speed automatic.  Curiously, this is the same Punch Powerglide tranny found in the diesel Chevrolet Colorado, and it even features adaptive learning based on driver input!  The new automatic transmission is calibrated for industrial and off-road capabilities, and the electronic control module (TECM) provides effortless drivability and torque demand for whatever conditions it senses.  The 6-speed hydraulic-actuated transmission has been integrated seamlessly into the ROXOR A/T for off-road, maintenance-free service, and performance. 

COMFORT CAB

The cab interior of the ROXOR is pretty basic.  The dash is made of sheet metal powder coated in Wrinkle Black.  Instrumentation is limited to a single, center mounted analog / digital gauge, and a couple switches for the lights and a horn.  Thankfully there are several knockout locations for accessory switches.  Where the glove box is usually found is a sturdy, steel grab handle, and under the seats is a small storage box.  Two bucket seats and 3-point belts hold you in place.  The driver’s seat is adjustable fore and aft.  Down below there is plenty of leg room, and safety nets clip into place on each side.  Though the nets are functional, we highly recommend you opt for the optional door panels.  The half doors add extra splash and mud protection, they look more finished, and they provide increased security.   

Controls on the ROXOR are very basic, but easy to understand and operate.  The steering wheel is higher than on most vehicles and reaches back for the driver.  Between the seats are the gear shift lever and the transfer case shifter, and down below are the usual pedals.  We found the pedal angle to be comfortable with a short range of motion. 

  

MAKING THE ROXOR YOUR OWN

Mahindra realized customization and accessories play a huge role in owner experience, and factory installed accessories allow you to create your own machine.  Accessories include: 

  • FORWARD FACING REAR SEAT – There is always room for a couple buddies with the rear seat.  Integrated 3-point seat belts, grab handles, seat springs, and head restraints keep passengers safely inside
  • SOLID DOORS – Buy this one!  The door panels are built on a durable steel frame with a tough, ABS exterior panel.  An interior panel allows for accessory mounting and they provide another level of security and side protection from mud, brush, or a rampaging steer. 
  • WINDSHIELD – Another must-have accessory.  The ROXOR accessory windshield uses military-grade LEXAN™ MARGARD™ material and is hard-coated for durability and crystal-clear visibility.
  • 4-PASSENGER BIKINI TOP – The ROXOR bikini top is custom fitted to the rollover protection structure.  The durable top features premium fabric, lightweight aluminum reinforcement, and adjustable tension straps to prevent wind buffeting and ensure a tight, consistent fit.  It’s just what you want in any bikini!  
  • ALUMINUM WHEELS WITH BF GOODRICH TIRES – Cast aluminum wheels shod with oversized BF Goodrich tires are a mainstay of off-roading.  They’ll enhance both grip and ground clearance, but they also give the ROXOR a tough, sporty look. 
  • WARN WINCH / HD BUMPER – It’s a given you’ll go looking for nasty trails.  A tough, steel bumper will keep your front end protected while a WARN 8,000-pound capacity winch stands ready as your rope of last hope when the inevitable happens.  It works equally well for pulling out your buddies! 
  • ROXOR SIDE & REAR MIRROR – Every Side x Side should come with these.  Engineered specifically for this vehicle, these shatter-proof, tempered glass mirrors work with the ROPS system and come cradled in a high-impact ABS housing
  • ROXOR FULL HARD CAB ENCLOSURE - The cold weather package.  An aircraft-grade aluminum full hard cab kit is now available and includes air conditioning and heat for maximum comfort year-round. Consider it ROXOR luxury.

The ROXOR is far from a one-trick pony and versions sold outside the U.S. have every manner of tool or accessory, from post hole diggers to plows, and the transfer case hints at a PTO option coming soon.  Mahindra already offers utility options such as a snow plow, salt spreader, and dump box, with more tools on the way.  One of the handiest is a trailer that is built on the – you guessed it - ROXOR rear bed!  It matches perfectly behind.  And when it comes to pulling its own weight and then some, no UTV comes close to towing what a ROXOR can.  As a little factory demo, one ROXOR easily picked up another thanks to a cable and single overhead pulley.  It’s total rated towing weight is listed at 3490 pounds, which is more than its own weight.

Owners eagerly embrace the functionality and gritty toughness of the ROXOR as a badge of honor.  Baja veteran racers Ned and Kat Bacon even raced their ROXOR in the grueling, 1,256-mile race from Ensenada to the beaches of San Jose Del Cabo.  It’s a brutal event by any standard, but they took on the desert without a chase team and carrying all their gear with them.  And trust us, from our experience of racing that route, that is an incredible accomplishment.  Even more astonishing, at the end of the race they turned around and drove it the entire distance back to California!   

 

ROXOR RIDE TIME

Drive or ride time is absolutely the greatest part of the ROXOR experience.  Stepping through the sizeable door opening and fastening oneself into the seat is like climbing into an adventure time machine.  The ROXOR reminds us of what we love about off-roading and exploring trails in the first place.  It’s basic, but everything you need.  You’re not isolated from the terrain or the trees in a highly stylized cab; you’re part of it.   

With the diesel engine humming we rolled towards the woods and fields of our testing grounds.  The new AT version shifted smoothly, with no abrupt shift points either up or down.  Although we like the simplicity of the standard transmission version of the ROXOR, we came to appreciate the fully automatic version even more.  It made the driving experience easier.  As trails gave way to rutted fields, we were pleasantly surprised at how well the ROXOR suspension ate up the bumps.  It will never be a long travel desert car, but the ample ground clearance and long wheel base soaked up bumps very well.  At full speed (55 mph) it held its line without a hint of wandering or worrying the passengers.  It’s when crawling through the woods we had the most fun though.  It was a blast to crawl over downed limbs and around stumps on an ATV trail.  This was the jostling, muddy trail exploration we like best.  The ROXOR handles it easily, but it also revealed an area for improvement.  The ROXOR is saddled with a large turning radius.  That makes 3 point turns a necessity at times, but surely an aftermarket company will cure this quirk. 

Whether as a passenger or driver, not a single person was disappointed in the ROXOR.  It’s not terribly fast, but it’s quick enough.  The interior carries little refinement, but it’s comfortable and secure, even for a long day of exploration.  It’s simple, yet highly capable.  Best of all, it carries you not only down tough trails, but back in time to when the vehicle was simply a sturdy tool to explore new territory, and they didn’t have to be trail luxury.  Today the ROXOR is that tool. 


ROXOR WRAPUP

The Mahindra Roxor is the perfect balance of old school simplicity blended with current manufacturing technology.  They’re the direct descendant of the Willys Granddad campaigned hedgerow to foxhole across Europe, where they were as highly regarded as the Browning Automatic Rifle, a good pair of boots, and proper air cover.   The ROXOR is tough, resilient, and timeless.  We had a blast prowling around the woods, fields, and trails of central Michigan exploring both the terrain and the ROXOR.  It was not enough and we would happily do the same year-round.    

 To check out the introduction of the ROXOR, click here:  http://atvillustrated.com/content/detroit-real

Or here for an overivew  of the Mahindra Intimidator Side x Side Utility Vehicles, click here: http://atvillustrated.com/content/the-new-mahindra-utvs-are-here-to-stay


MAHINDRA ROXOR specifications 

Engine             2.5L / 152 cu. In., liquid cooled, 4 cylinder turbocharged Diesel with Direct Injection – 62hp

Drivetrain        5-Speed manual Transmission.  2-Speed manual transfer case. 

Full Floating Front Axle -  3.73 : 1,   Semi Floating Rear Axle 3.73 : 1

Chassis           Boxed Steel Frame 

                        Front Suspension  -  Rigid Leaf Spring w/Stabilizer Bar

                        Rear Suspension Leaf Spring w/ Double acting Shock Absorbers

Dimensions     Wheelbase  -  96”

Curb Weight  -  3035 lbs

                        L x W x H  -  148” x 62” x 75”

                        Ground Clearance  -  9”

                        Fuel Capacity  -  12 gallons

                        Rear Payload  -  349 lbs

                        Towing  -  3490 lbs

Brakes             Dual Hydraulic Vac.  Assist Standard.  Parking Brake Standard.

Front Brakes 9” Disc,  Rear Brakes 11” Drum

Colors:            Carbon Black,  Classic White,  Fire Orange,  Tahoe Blue

Features          Hydraulic Power Steering

Instrumentation  -  Single Gauge

Lighting / Headlights  -  Halogen

Battery  -  72Ah / 12v  with  45 to 90 Amps Alternator

Power Port  -  12v STD

Tires  -  235 / 70R16

Wheels / Steel  -  16” - 5 x 5.5 lug

Wheels/ Alum.(Optional)  -  16” - 5 x 5.5 lug

Base model msrp:                         $15,999

AT Model msrp:                             $18,999

LE PACKAGE INCLUDES:

  • Bestop Bikini® Soft Top,
  • Warn 8000 Lb Winch
  • HD Front Bumper with mounting plate & HD Battery  
  • 40” KC HiLites Light Bar
  • BF Goodrich KO2 Radial Off Road Tires
  • MTX AM/FM Bluetooth Sound Bar
  • Side and Rearview Mirrors
  • ROPS Mounted Grab Handles