First Look: Mahindra ROXOR 4×4 UTV – By Carl Malek

With our coverage of the 2019 Auto Show ongoing, we decided to visit our friends at Mahindra to see the ROXOR and find out exactly what it brings to the 4×4 market. The ROXOR has managed to build quite the reputation for itself in the few years that it has made the rounds. A lot of potential buyers are enamored by its combination of keep it simple engineering, and its low price point, others like its flexible suite of options, and the bargain basement price point. But does the ROXOR has what it takes to carve a viable niche for itself in the marketplace? Or is it a flawed flash in the pan?

 

Minimalism….With A Familiar Scent:

The exterior styling of the Mahindra ROXOR does not hide the fact that it’s a minimalist minded vehicle. No chrome trim or electronic sensors are found here, instead you get a simple steel bumper, steel wheels, and a heavy duty steel gauge body. Each component is made to endure rigorous abuse, and considering that the ROXOR is trying to bring a fresh spin into a UTV segment traditionally dominated by benchmarks such as Honda and Polaris, we will give Mahindra credit for trying to continue its reputation for crafting visually distinctive vehicles.

On that note, we might as well address the fact that the ROXOR has a strong resemblance to an old school Willy CJ-6 or even an older CJ-3 when viewed from many angles. Fiat Chrysler has taken note too, and recently launched legal proceedings against Mahindra for copyright infringement (so it was a bit ironic to see both firms in the same building for this year’s show.) But before you instantly decry the ROXOR as a mere clone of that iconic legend, it is important to consider that there is some historical context behind the ROXOR’s lines. Mahindra produced licensed versions of the Willy MB for the Indian home market beginning in 1947, and they also produced the long running Mahindra CJ-3B which started production in the mid 1950’s, and formally bit the dust in 2010. When viewed in that context, the ROXOR becomes an easily recognizable piece of Mahindra’s heritage, and we also liked the camouflage options that Mahindra has available which give it more of a rugged outdoorsy look. The flat front grille is a nice homage to this ancestry, but it stands out by adopting M shaped grille vents instead of the straight vertical ones that adorn current Jeep models. The ROXOR also boasts an arsenal of optional extras for buyers to choose from, including a Warn branded winch, a lightbar, flashier aluminum wheels, a sound bar, and so much more.

 

A Cabin That Harkens To A Lost Era of Motoring:

When we say that, we don’t mean the era where coach built interiors, art deco style shopping sprees, and V-16 Cadillacs were commonplace. Rather, we are referring to an era where outright simplicity was king in off-road vehicles, versus today’s trend of transforming work vehicles into rolling second homes. The list of things the ROXOR has can be started by naming the things that it doesn’t have, with the tiny UTV not having stability control, traction control, airbags, climate control, or even ABS. Instead, the cabin is perhaps the simplest space you can spend time in, and comes equipped with only the essentials. That includes a speedometer, necessary buttons for the horn, lights and not much else. There isn’t even a tachometer, but considering the ROXOR’s mission in life, and the fact that it is not road legal, we will give it a free pass in this regard. Visibility is largely what you would expect out of a Jeep style vehicle with abundant side and rear visibility, and commendable front visibility.

We are still trying to work out a date when we can visit Mahindra’s plant in Auburn Hills, Michigan for a chance to experience the ROXOR in its natural habitat, but in the meantime, buyers can expect to see a 2.5 liter Mahindra sourced four cylinder under the hood that was designed to be a very torquey engine. This makes up for the rather modest 65 horsepower it makes, which is enough to get the Mahindra ROXOR to a top speed of 55 mph. Fast it isn’t, but the ROXOR is mated to a traditional five speed manual transmission, and that is accompanied by an equally manual two speed transfer case. It’s a decidedly analog presentation, but sometimes analog is good, and we look forward to seeing this for ourselves in the near future.

Value Quotient:

The key aspect of the ROXOR’s identity is its bargain basement MSRP, with Mahindra asking buyers to fork over $15,999 for the privilege of owning a stripped down base variant. From there, the price entirely depends on how far you go in making the ROXOR your own, with the extensive suite of options, graphics, etc. raising the price accordingly. Go all in on optional extras, and you will easily climb over $20,000 with the ROXOR we configured on Mahindra’s website being just shy of $24,000. At this price, its hard to consider the long term value of a glammed up ROXOR especially considering that it is in the same price bracket as a modern budget focused compact. Our advice is to not get star struck by the options sheet, and instead only pick key equipment that you would need to avoid crossing over the $20,000 barrier.

While Mahindra still needs to dodge a few more hurdles before the ROXOR can truly be ready to be an established UTV player, we do like what we see here. It is a cheap viable alternative to many traditional UTV models, and with a steel body versus a more costly plastic body, easier to repair and maintain too. We look forward to spending some quality time with the ROXOR in its natural habitat in the future, to see just how good of a little off-roader this spirited little trucklet truly is.

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