Sitting behind the wheel, I can’t help but feel I should be racing across the Serengeti while two of my expedition party stand precariously in the back, a firm grip on both the roll bar and a rifle, ready to dart a rampaging Rhino ahead. The new Mahindra Roxor isn’t a vehicle you worry about waxing the paint or staining the carpet. This is a vehicle built for supreme adventure, just like those nature shows from the 70’s where rugged, dusty men in safari shirts took on the beasts of Africa every Sunday night, and always in a vehicle just like this. Thanks to the delightfully simple yet ultimately tough Mahindra ROXOR now you can create your own adventures, even if that only means a trip to the duck blind or corralling an escaped steer.
MAHINDRA MADE IN AMERICA
The new Mahindra ROXOR isn’t exactly a road vehicle – it’s not even street legal – nor is it your average Side x Side. It is, however, a throwback to everything that made the Jeep great. It’s as bare bones as you can get, and yet it’s got exactly what you want. It lacks practically every bit of modern vehicle technology and one gets the feeling you could rebuild it with no more than a Crescent wrench and a Vice Grip. There is no plastic in the fenders, and if one gets banged up on tree limbs a rock, well, simply bang it back out and continue on! That’s perfect with us! There is a long list of features you won’t get with a Roxor including…
- Stability control system? That would be you, along with an honest-to-God sticker on the dash that says “Don’t do anything stupid!”
- Satellite uplink with navigation system? What’s that?
- Backup camera? Sure. Have somebody peer over the tailgate.
The list goes on, but if you take the glossy sell sheet for any other vehicle and rip off every page but the cover you would still be able to list all of the ROXORs features. It’s much closer to the Willys Jeep Granddad campaigned across Europe than the Wrangler mall cruiser his granddaughter pilots today. The ROXOR is tough, it’s gritty, and it’s resilient, just like the city of Detroit where it’s made. Curiously, Mahindra’s gleaming new factory is so close to the looming Chrysler headquarters their shadow practically falls across the Mahindra plant. And you have to think the neighboring Jeep legal team has been peering through the blinds, waiting for any incursion into their highly profitable Jeep brand territory.
SO WHAT DOES IT HAVE?
Think 70’s Jeep CJ and you will be pretty close to what the new Mahindra ROXOR comes with. And that’s just perfect with a LOT of buyers who have been hoping for a vehicle like this. Some of the key features are:
- Proven and economical 2.5-liter inline-4 cylinder turbocharged diesel with direct injection
- 5 speed manual transmission with 2 speed transfer case for 4wd
- All steel body available in a dizzying 900 colors and wraps right from the factory!
- 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
- LE versions with a Warn 8000 lb Winch, a Bestop bikini soft top, and a 40-inch KC HiLites LED lightbar
The list of features for the ROXOR may be short, but it oozes adventure any way you look at it. Although Mahindra is marketing the Roxor as a Side x Side, about the only thing it has in common with a traditional Side x Side is four wheels and a couple seats. Under the tough metal skin it’s an entirely different machine.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
This isn’t your average power sports engine. The Roxor gets its power from a turbocharged 2.5-liter 4 cylinder diesel engine with direct injection. On the trail it cranks out a claimed 62 horsepower at 3200rpms, which seems unbelievably low RPMs for those accustomed to traditional Side x Sides. Most barely get rolling at that range, but then again, the Roxor is a whole different machine with a diesel engine. Peering under the hood, everything looks pretty much like it does in your truck. A full sized Exide battery, oil filter, and air cleaner are on the left, and the fluid reservoirs are to the right, with everything easily reached for routine maintenance.
Mated to the engine is Mahindra’s manual 5 speed transmission, and a 2-speed transfer case gets all 4 wheels spinning. Thanks to its diesel powerplant and very solid construction the Roxor is rated to tow 3,490 pounds, which is almost double that of the next closest UTV. Interestingly, the transfer case even has a port for a power take off which would open the Roxor up to a long list of accessories no other Side x Side can touch. Details on those may be coming soon. Top speed is listed at 45 mph, which is fast enough for most adventures unless your prey happens to be a cheetah, which will easily outsprint the Roxor without even breathing hard.
Both the engine and the transmission are proprietary to Mahindra, and are built in another plant and then shipped to MANA (Mahindra Automotive North America) for assembly and installation. That’s the advantage of Mahindra’s efficient global manufacturing.
Don’t worry too much about staining the upholstery or wrecking the custom stitched leather seats on the Roxor. You can clean out the cab with a power washer! The total list of comfort features is its two bucket seats! The dash is made of sheet metal, and just for good measure it’s powder coated in Wrinkle Black. Instrumentation is limited to a single, center mounted analog / digital gauge much like those on Polaris ATVs, and a couple switches for the lights and a horn. Mahindra did build in several knockout locations for switches since the Roxor is sure to become one of the most customized vehicles today. Where the glove box is usually found is a sturdy, steel grab handle, and under the seats is a small (and you guessed it) metal storage box that looks very much like a hotel room safe. The driver’s seat is also adjustable. Controls on the Roxor are very straight forward. Down below are the usual pedals, and the throttle angle is good, with a short range of motion. The steering wheel is higher than on most Side x Sides and it reaches back for the driver. Between the seats are the gear shift lever, and the transfer case shifter.
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. It’s easy to get in and out of, and for side protection Mahindra equips the Roxor with nets like most Side x Sides came with until manufacturers began switching to half doors. We believe this would be a welcome feature for the Roxor as well. Half doors add extra splash and mud protection, they look more finished, and they just provide an increased feeling of security.
Ford likes to say their beloved F-150 trucks are “Built Ford tough.” They’ve certainly earned an enviable reputation, but we know of no other vehicle built on a chassis quite as tough as the Roxor. This may be the new standard. If the F-150 is a pure boxer graced with style, speed, and athletic ability, the Roxor is the street brawler who enters the ring with nothing but heart and a solid punch. And that is enough for the Roxors intended market.
If the bodywork doesn’t fully reveal the Roxors old-school heritage, one look under the skin makes it abundantly clear. Where most vehicles get a hydro-formed chassis or c-channel frame, the Roxor gets a very tough, fully boxed steel frame. And the suspension is so closely related to some of the previous Jeep models Mahindra built years or even decades ago under a manufacturing license, some of the parts are even interchangeable! The front and rear suspension are both leaf spring designs with double action shocks. Brakes are a combination of old-school 11” drums in the rear, and 9” discs up front, with BF Goodrich KO2 radials at all corners. A close look even reveals grease zerks on the outer axle bearings!
THE ADVENTURE MACHINE
The Mahindra Roxor is the perfect balance of old school simplicity blended with a dose of current technology, all under the watchful eye of modern quality control. They’re a direct descendant of the Jeep CJ’s from the 50’s 60’s and 70’s, with practically identical dimensions. The Roxor is just the vehicle many off-road enthusiasts, ranchers, and sportsmen have been clamoring for, but thought they would never see again.
BMW used the tag line “The driving machine” with their vehicles. The Mahindra ROXOR is an adventure machine. The only question is, will drivers do the Jeep Wave, or throw the Roxor Thumbs Up?
2018 MAHINDRA ROXOR specifications (base model) msrp: $ 15,499
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