As was the case earlier, there’s still some climbing needed to board the new Thar. But once in, the new one’s cabin layout and finish will startle you to say the least. Sure the utilitarian design cues remain, which is what attracts after all, but it is finished way better than its predecessor. Nevertheless, since the Thar’s price is now in serious SUV territory like the Creta and company, it still has some way to go in terms of quality and fit and finish, so as to say. Otherwise, I really liked the centre console design with the array of toggle switches lined up like in a Mini Cooper. However, each time I tried to stuff my phone into the storage space underneath it, I’d hit the hazard button almost always. Call it shaky hands or whatever. Now, visibility out of the front windscreen although adequate, feels like peeping out of a NASA spaceship window!
Thankfully, the view out of the side windows isn’t as restrained, the large door mirrors functioning well here too. But I really can’t say the same about the tiny inner-rear-view mirror as it severely lacked angle-adjustments. Adding to the agony is the fact that the spare wheel hinders the view out the back, and although a camera would have been perfect, sensors is what you get.
For the jeep lovers, there’s bucket-loads of traditional bits that you can rave about when raising a toast at the bar. You get a fuel lid that only opens by sliding the key in, fasteners for the bonnet, door restraints in fabric/rexin, and enough Thar badging all across to rub it into your soul.
Which brings me to the front seat. Since its almost hugging the floor, you can forget about any thigh support. The seat squab itself is actually tiny and tries to hold you on via lateral supports that could shame a sports car. I don’t blame the engineers because there wasn’t much space to play around with in the first place, but having my buttocks squeezed together for a three hour long drive wasn’t exactly comforting.
The front backrest though is an altogether different story. There’s good back and lateral support along with adjustable lumbar support. I’d be picky to say that I’d love more shoulder support, but needless to say headroom is tremendous, and shoulder room is generous too. As for the rear, the front-facing twin-seats (foldable), whose backrest angle can be adjusted, can easily seat two without a fuss.
What’s nice is that they are offset (in the centre), so the rear occupants don't need to peep to catch a view out the front. Also, while legroom and headroom is good, shoulder room is superb thanks to the prominent wheel wells that also double up as fake armrests. Having said that though, the seats could have had more cushioning; especially better back and thigh support. Even foot room should have been less restrictive.
When it comes to the boot, it’s basically a split-gate that comprises of a metal sideways opening door and a glass portion that opens upwards with separate twin-dampers. Really snazzy to say, but once open, the tiny boot enclosure can only hold a few sleek soft bags at best.