An inexpensive, tiny off-roader for those weekend adventures

Although Mahindra has now streamlined into passenger vehicles, the company’s roots belong to off-road, tough vehicles. In India, it sells highly reliable vehicles like the Thar and Bolero, which are known to handle abuse very well. In the States, the company sells Utility vehicles and tractors mainly. In 2018, the company launched the Roxor, a utility vehicle that is meant only for off-roading. It garnered a lot of attention when it was showcased at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, and it serves as a perfect little truck for people would like something small and that doesn’t cost a bomb to own and maintain.

  • 2019 Mahindra Roxor
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    62
  • Torque @ RPM:
    144
  • Displacement:
    2.5 L
  • Top Speed:
    55 mph
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Exterior

  • Classic old-school looks
  • Grille reminds you of the old Jeeps
  • No side indicators
  • Two-seater truck
  • 16-inch wheels
  • Comes with 900 different color options!
2019 Mahindra Roxor
- image 815876

The Mahindra Roxor is an old-school off-roader that does not even belong to the 21st century in terms of looks. The face is the same that it used when Willys awarded the automaker a contract to build military vehicles back in 1947.

Upfront, the Roxor features two headlights, a flat, five-slat grille between the headlights with a Mahindra logo above it, and a steel bumper.

Yes, that’s it. There is nothing else to write about it. It is just about being functional and does not care how it looks. The bumper protrudes out to avoid damaging the body in case of a mishap and to accommodate the huge wheels. Also, this makes space for winches to be installed comfortably.

left right

The Roxor’s true size is known from the side profile.

It is as tiny as a truck can get. The Mahindra Roxor looks a lot like the Jeep CJ-7, thanks to its rounded fenders, the 90-degree cut at the rear, filleted corners, shape of the hood, outlined grille, etc.

This is due to Mahindra’s history; their first offering back in 1940’s was essentially a Willys CJ-2A shipped to India as a CKD and sold under the ’Thar’ moniker. Coming back to the Roxor, it comes with a soft top that drops sharply at the back; making it look like a triangle. This makes the Roxor look even smaller. It rides on 16-inch, black painted steel wheels wrapped in off-road radial tires. To make the braking effective, the front wheels come with disc brakes.

2019 Mahindra Roxor
- image 815879

The rear is as simple as it can get. The spare tire is attached to the tailgate that opens sideways. The tail lamp cluster includes only the brake lights and the reverse light. The Roxor does not come with side indicators! The steel bumper is offered with tow hooks and is sturdy enough to pull a fellow Roxor-mate out of the trenches. The Roxor’s body is made up of heavy gauge steel that is highly durable and easy to repair. If you find the whole appearance boring, Mahindra has decided to surprise you by offering not one or two, but 900 different color options! If you do not happen to like even one of them, you must really be one-of-a-kind!

Mahindra Roxor exterior dimensions
Length 148 inches
Width 62 inches
Height 75 inches
Wheelbase 96 inches
Ground Clearance Nine inches
Weight 3,035 pounds

Interior

  • No electronic stuff whatsoever
  • No doors
  • Passenger side gets a grab handle
  • Seats with adjustable headrests
  • Three-spoke, basic steering wheel
2019 Mahindra Roxor
- image 815891

This section should not even exist, to be honest. If you are reading this expecting a touchscreen infotainment system, a climate control system, or some other fancy electronic shenanigans, well, LOL! You are in the wrong place.

This is an old-school off-roader that is offered with the most basic setup you'll see in any vehicle today.

In fact, it is so basic that even the wiper mechanism is seen on the windshield from the inside. The dashboard has a three-spoke steering wheel popping out, a huge tachometer in the middle, a switch for the headlights, and a grab handle for the passenger. No, it doesn’t have doors either. The whole area is carpeted, and is in black, obviously. The seats come with adjustable headrests and a pattern similar to the skin of the Roxor. A true off-road enthusiast would drool over this setup!

Drivetrain

  • 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine
  • 62 Horsepower
  • 144 Pound-feet of torque
  • Top speed of 55 mph
  • Can tow up to 3,490 pounds
  • Payload capacity of 349 pounds
2019 Mahindra Roxor
- image 815884

Since Mahindra is marketing this as a pure off-roader, it needs to be the toughest out there to make a mark, even though it barely has any competitors. The Roxor has a fully-boxed, ladder-construction, steel truck-style frame that is tough for even the roughest off-road conditions.

The Mahindra Roxor is offered with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. It churns out 62 horses and 144 pound-feet of torque.

Power is then sent to the wheels via a low-range transfer case. The Roxor tops out at 55 miles per hour, which is more than enough for ’only an off-roader’. Don’t get fooled by the specs on paper. The Roxor is a very competent off-roader and can tow up to 3,490 pounds. The payload capacity, however, is rated at a mere 349 pounds.

Mahindra Roxor drivetrain specifications
Engine 2.5-liter, four-cylinder
Horsepower 62 horsepower
Torque 144 pound-feet
Transmission five-speed manual
Top Speed 55 mph
Towing capacity 3,490 pound
Payload capacity 349 pounds

Accessories - How We Would Configure our Roxor

2019 Mahindra Roxor
- image 815889

As is with any off-roader, the Roxor too comes with plenty of accessories available as optional. Since I cannot mention all of them here, let me just configure a Roxor as per my liking to give you a hint of what all can be done to it: I’m going to maintain a simple, I have added solid half doors to my Roxor to prevent slush and dirt from entering the cabin. These doors can be opened as well, but I doubt I will be using it much. So, instead, I have installed side steps to make ingress and egress a lot more easier. Like I mentioned earlier, the standard Roxor’s soft top rakes steeply, thus leaving no space to haul any large items in the cargo area.

To sort this, I will be adding a Rear ROPS package that adds bars perpendicular to the tailgate which helps creating more usable space.

A three-piece rear view mirror makes its way here, along with a Black Matte Grille upfront.

The Warn winch kit is the next thing I’ll install on my Roxor. It includes Winch, HD Bumper, and a Mounting Plate. The next item I’ve installed is the LED light bar that adds a lot of character to any off-roader and is equally useful as well. Another funky item that Mahindra has offered is the all-weather bluetooth sound bar. This is surely going to interest a lot of Roxor buyers. Mahindra has offered a lot of graphic design options for the Roxor, but I will be giving them all a miss, both inside and outside. An all-black seat cover will be my choice of the lot.

Mahindra has locking differential kits and Bilstein shocks on offer as well. But I will be skipping these products as well. They are priced at a premium and if I wanted such a hardcore off-roader, I’d rather add a little more moolah and get myself a Jeep Gladiator. The final item is more of an impulsive buy - EFX tire. To give you an idea of how much I’ve spent on the add-ons, find the breakdown below:

Mahindra Roxor accessories prices
Side doors $700
Side steps $25
Rear ROPS package $1,050
Rear-view mirrors $68
Black matte grille $196
Winch Warn kit $1,270
LED Light Bar $440
Black seat cover $256
EFX tires - 5*288 $1,440

Pricing

2019 Mahindra Roxor
- image 815871

The base price of the Mahindra Roxor is $16,000. Add a few accessories and you will find the prices cross the $20,000 mark. With the accessories I’ve installed, the price of my Roxor is in the ball park of $22,000.

Competition

Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator Exterior
- image 806957

Without a doubt, the Gladiator is the Roxor’s primary competitor. Even though it is priced a lot more than Roxor, the Gladiator is a much more accomplished and versatile vehicle. It comes in four different trims - Sport, Sport S, Overland, and Rubicon - and all of them come with the same 3.6-liter engine. It produces 285 ponies and 260 pound-feet of torque, and is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. The Gladiator starts at $35,000, but this truck can be used as a daily driver as well.

The Jeep Gladiator comes with loads of packages and optional accessories. Not to mention, you get access to the Mopar bible as well, which already has equipments and accessories for the Gladiator available. If you want a small off-roader, the Roxor could be your pick. But if you are looking at something that’s not just an off-roader and is a lot more practical, it would make sense to buy the Jeep Gladiator.

Read our full review on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator

John Deere XUV

The John Deere XUV is another crossover utility vehicle that, unlike the Gladiator, is a direct competitor to the Roxor. We’ll be pitting the Roxor against the two-passenger XUVs. In terms of looks, there’s nothing much to complain about it. It is as basic as it can get, but is a little more modern than the Roxor. There is air conditioning inside the cabin, along with 2.1 cubic-feet of cargo space.

It is available in both, petrol, as well as diesel engine options. The 0.8-liter, three cylinder engine gasoline variants offer 52 horses, whereas the diesel engine is offered with 23 horsepower. Power is sent to the wheels via a continuous variable transmission. The John Deere XUV starts at $12,900. Interestingly, Mahindra has a successful product in India called the XUV!

Final Thoughts

2019 Mahindra Roxor
- image 815880

The Roxor breaks the general notion that a fully-capable off-roader needs to be big and bulky. Although there are other utes that go up against the Roxor, Mahindra is the only mainstream automaker to develop a small, inexpensive truck that can conquer all mountains and boulders. In conclusion, the Roxor has created a niche for itself by entering the sub-$20,000 off-roader. The Roxor is built in Detroit, Michigan at Mahindra’s plant. Would you pick the Mahindra Roxor if you were in the market for an off-roader with a budget?

  • Leave it
    • Too basic for everyone’s liking
    • A niche vehicle that could stop production abruptly
    • People will spend a little more and get the Gladiator instead
What do you think?
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