Many of today’s Jeep fans are either applauding or appalled by the relatively new Mahindra Roxor off-road ride. At first glance, it looks surprisingly similar to a Wrangler mini-me all the way from the familiar front grill to the similarly mounted spare tire on the tailgate. So what’s the deal? What’s it like to drive one of these UTVs? How is this manufacturer able to produce and sell a vehicle that looks eerily close to a younger sibling of one of our most beloved, historic and classic 4x4s? WTF, buttercup?
A wrangler, by definition, according to the Merriam Webster spot on the internet and I quote is, either a “bickering disputant,” or is short for a horse wrangler aka a ranch hand who takes care of saddle horses or a translation of the Mexican-Spanish term Caballerango, a chivalrous gentleman or groom from the wild, wild west. But (which is a really nice way of saying however), Roxor has a more complicated meaning according to more current terms found on the internet from the Urban Dictionary. They ‘splain, and we’ll sum up, it started as a gaming term meaning “to rock” and evolved into:
- Anyone who is Roxor, rocks or is very good at something can be given this name
- Things that are inanimate are also roxor, hence the title of Mahindra’s vehicle
- Alternate spellings include RoXor and RoXorz or RoXorZ in its plural form
There are also grammar rules used with the term. When referring to a person, an animal or an animate thing, roxer should be spelled with a lower-case ‘r’ at the beginning and ‘z’ at the end when plural. If referring to something that is not living, or inanimate like the vehicle, it should be spelled normally. It’s classically spelled either RoXoR or RoXoRz. In the case of the car, since Roxor is a brand name so therefore it’s capitalized.
Confused yet? Let’s take a closer look at this Wrangler look-alike and also see what Car and Driver had to say about this rough-riding 4×4.
Licensed Under Willy
According to their history page, Mahindra is no newcomer to the Jeep-Esque scene since they’ve been manufacturing similar models in India such as the Bolero, Scorpio, and, THAR for over seven decades. And BTW, that’s THAR with an ‘a’ not to be confused with Thor, the God of Thunder or the Marvel character made famous by actor Chris Hemsworth.
Licensed under Willys, Mahindra began assembling the best-selling SUVs in India along with one of the country’s and planet’s most-respected tractor brands. They describe their vehicles as being designed:
“To traverse the rugged, often unpaved terrain of still-developing India, Mahindra vehicles have always had to be a little bit tougher, a little bit more hard-worn than your typical highway-to-suburb vehicle. That fact has positioned us perfectly to now bring you ROXOR—a vehicle able to meet the demands of even the most brutal terrain assembled right here in the United States.”
Speaking of assembly, around half of Roxor’s parts including the frame, body, and engine are built in India and then shipped to Michigan where the vehicle is put together. Here it’s hand-painted and some of the mechanics such as the recirculating-ball steering gear and two-speed transfer cases are nearly identical to the original parts used back in the 1940s. The patina is spot-on since the spot welds in the body are visible through the paint just like the original Willys.
Clamoring for a customized car? Mahindra’s assembly process allows buyers to “build their own” ride on the internet including limited edition packages, those designed for dune duty through sandy terrains, camouflaged for hunting excursions along with many other available custom colors and wraps. Dedicated DIY wrenchers are able to download instructions for installing accessories and add-ons on their own.
Critics Claims and Choice
Those who feel the need… the need for speed, top gunners or singer/songwriter Sammy Hagar who can’t drive 55 mph which is where the Roxor speedometer and capabilities top out. Critics at Car and Driver (C&D) also claim the Mahindra model needs more clearance (at a paltry nine-inches), it’s truck and tractor roots are evident in “combustion clatter that’s authentically agricultural and a torquey grunt that’s perfectly suited to the Roxor’s offroad intentions.“
Under the hood, a turbo-diesel pushrod 2.5-liter inline-four engine feeds the manifold with 8.0 psi of boost to generate 62 hp and 144 pound-feet of torque. The standard five-speed manual transmission is the obvious choice with the clutch demanding some soft-shoe footwork on technical trails. A six-speed automatic is available, the same transmission found in the diesel Chevrolet Colorado as a $3,000 option. But according to a test drive from the fine folks at C&D, the tranny is easily locked in first or second gear and rarely shifted beyond third during their off-road excursion.
A Pricey Off-Road Ride
The Roxor is specifically designed as purely an off-road ride and depending upon different state laws, it can be modified to become street legal with the installation of necessary, various parts and lights. C&D called out the Roxor as being:
“A riot to drive, although a starting price of $15,999 might seem outrageous for something you can’t drive on the street. A long list of options drove ours to $30,613. But the cost is on par with the rest of the booming UTV segment.”
As a UTV and with the optional trailer hitch, this off-roader is capable of pulling 3,490 pounds, which is greater than its own weight. Other add-on options include snowplow mounts that will soon offer a salt spreader, a dump box and potentially a power takeoff on the backside of the transfer case making it possible to drive such tools as a post-hole digger.
Making the Sportsman Rounds
In January of 2020, the Roxor was featured at the International Sportsmen’s Expos at Cal Expo, aka the home of the California State Fair in Sacramento. You’ll also be able to check out Mahindra showcasing the Roxor at the 30th anniversary of the Texas Hunters and Sportsmans Expo in McAllen, about a three-and-a-half-hour drive south of San Antonio, Texas from July 24th through the 26th, 2020. Nothing screams Texas like guns, ATV’s, camouflage, BBQ pits, knives, and more all under one roof at this venue.
For those who won’t be attending the sports show in Texas, visit Mahindra’s website to find a Roxor dealer. You’ll find these vehicles being sold mostly at dealerships offering recreational and specialty vehicles along with truck and tractor sites. To find, uncover and learn everything you love about Jeeps, offroading, and the lifestyle of this growing community of outdoor enthusiasts, sign up today at JeepBeef. It’s our mission to offer real reviews, quality products with amazing value, and discounts that we feel our fellow Jeepers need to succeed off-road.