What’s that funky-looking Jeep driving around at the ride park? It’s a little small for a Wrangler, but it’s got that classic Jeep look about it.
What you’re looking at is no Jeep at all—it’s a Mahindra Roxor, a funky throwback to the Willys Jeep from the Indian tractor manufacturer, Mahindra.
Your first guess is probably pretty accurate: this is basically a Jeep and UTV smashed together, although it’s marketed more as a utility vehicle than anything else.
The five-speed manual transmission Roxor is built for strength and affordability, according to Mahindra. To that end, the Roxor was built with straight axles in the front and rear, and there’s nary a plastic part anywhere on the body.
The top speed is limited to 45 MPH. Given that the Roxor isn’t street legal, there’s not much need for this off-road crawler to go any faster. When we were playing around with it, we could reach 45 in fourth gear, which means this thing’s got a significantly higher top speed that’s just begging to be let loose.
Check out the full specs for all the details, but it is worth noting that it has a 2.5-liter displacement, giving it 62 HP and 144 ft. lbs. of torque. That’s a lot of displacement, not a lot of horsepower, and a heck of a lot of torque. If you compare it to a 2018 Ranger 1000’s specs, which has 82 HP and 61 ft. lbs. of torque, it’s obvious that the Roxor is geared way down to turn all that combustion into torque. The design gives it an impressive 3,490-pound towing capacity. Even so, you might be expecting more from 2.5 liters of turbocharged diesel.
It’s also worth noting that the dry weight of the Roxor is 3,035 pounds, whereas a Ranger 1000 comes in at 1,565 pounds. That’s a lot of weight to push around, and it comes from the heavier-gauge frame and roll cage, as well as the sheet metal body.
That sheet metal body is nothing to scoff at. There’s nothing worse than the endless scuffing, cracking, and bending we see on the plastic UTV bodies that are so prevalent today.
There is an upside to plastic, though, and that’s the general ease of access to critical parts hidden just under the surface. Can you imagine changing the bearing carrier on a RZR if it didn’t have plastic panels that popped off?
What business does an Indian tractor company have making a Jeep-inspired UTV? A lot more than you’d expect. They were licensed to manufacture the original Willys Jeep in the 1940s, and they still manufacture Jeep variants in India to this day.
That means they’ve been making Jeeps for over seven decades and have a lot of experience. If anybody can make a weird UTV/Willys Jeep crossover, it’s Mahindra.
We haven’t had much seat time yet, but we did get to take a really close look recently. We were sure to leave no stone unturned.
First of all, it’s hard not to agree that it looks good. The boxy design with those classic curves along the hood tickle that nostalgia nerve for sure. And those headlights are close enough to what you’ll see on the original Willys Jeep.
The elephant in the room is, of course, the front grille. The iconic seven-slot grille (or nine-slot grille, depending on how nostalgic you want to get) has been traded for a less-than-iconic five slots that seem to fan out a bit like a peacock. The reason for the change is as mundane as can be—Mahindra doesn’t own the rights to manufacture and sell the original Jeep grille. Yeah, the grille is legally separate from the rest of the Willys Jeep design. Who knew?
The rear of the machine is bumper-less, for all intents and purposes. There is a piece of metal back there, but your taillights will hit first if you back into a flat wall.
The dash is sparse. The Roxor takes Polaris’ Ride Command and shoves it right up their tailpipe, offering just the essential dials for speed, mileage, fuel, and the standard array of idiot lights. The fuel gauge itself looks somewhat limited at first glance. The digital display provides only four pips to measure your fuel level. You’re left knowing how much gas you have in quarter-tank increments. To be fair, most gauges aren’t as accurate as they look, and it’s unlikely that the Roxor’s gauge will cause any problems.
Other than the fuel gauge, there are a few other quirks that might bug some of you. The Rhino-Lined bed is full of fat weld seams, there’s no dash storage, and even our longest-armed employees can’t shift it to four-wheel drive without leaning way out of the driver’s seat.
That’s not to say it’s all bad—the Roxor has some nifty features you might not expect. It makes up for the lack of dash storage by putting a lock box under each seat to keep valuables hidden and secure. The dash has six slots available for accessory rocker switches (the light bar that comes with the limited edition takes up one slot). Under the hood you’ll find the four-cylinder turbo diesel engine complete with a convenient snorkel. Not bad as a standard feature.
With the base model starting at $14,999 and the LE model starting at $18,899, the Roxor seems to be competing for the same dollars that Polaris is with their three-seater 2018 Ranger 1000 ($15,299), all while promising a more Jeep-like experience. The brand-new base model Jeep Wrangler JK Sport, however, goes for just $23,995. The Jeep has 280 HP and 240 ft. lbs. of torque, not to mention the fact that it’s street legal, heated, and air conditioned. So it’s hard to imagine the Roxor will win over too many Jeep fanatics, but we’ll see.
No, it looks like the Roxor may be trying to carve out its own niche—it’s the Junior Bacon Cheeseburger to the Jeep market, but to the UTV crowd it’s a new vehicle that doesn’t exactly imitate any of Can-Am’s or Polaris’ existing models. The Roxor is a unique vehicle. Plus, any bacon is better than no bacon at all.