Mahindra made serious waves recently with the launch of the Mahindra Roxor, a machine that combines UTV and automotive components into something unlike anything available in the UTV market.
If you think it looks like an old Willys CJ/MB mashup, you’re right. That’s not an accident. Mahindra has held a license since 1947 to build and sell the Willys in India, and this contract is still alive and well today. The street-legal version of the Roxor sold around the world is called the Thar, and in other markets, it still uses the classic seven-slot Jeep grille. Mahindra specially changed the grille on the Roxor to a five-slot unit to make sure it didn’t upset Jeep in North America.
So the Roxor is something all new to our market and it is 100-percent American-assembled, coming off a production line in Auburn Hills, Mich. The Roxor comes not from the ag side of Mahindra, but its automotive division, which until now had no presence in North America. It represents a bold move on the part of Mahindra, too. It built an impressive new factory just to produce the Roxor and already have sourcing, shipping and warehousing networks set up in Michigan. Mahindra expects the Roxor to do big things.
So, if the Mahindra Roxor looks like a Willys Jeep, does it share much else in common with one? The answer might surprise you. The Roxor has a two-person capacity, matching the specs for the Willys, although the Willys does allow for a maximum crew of five. The Original Willys MB has a curb weight of 2,450 pounds and a total rear payload capacity of 400 pounds with a 15-gallon fuel tank. The Roxor has a curb weight of 3,035 pounds, with a 12-gallon fuel capacity and a rear cargo capacity of 349 pounds. The additional weight comes from two places on the Roxor.
Mahindra builds the Roxor on a full box-steel frame with solid front and rear axles that have leaf-spring suspension. The rear leaf spring has shocks mounted as well. The Original Willys Jeep is built on an open-spar frame, also with leaf spring suspension. The additional rigidity of the Roxor frame means it can tow 3,490 pounds. The old Willys was rated for 2,000 pounds on pavement and only 1,200 on dirt. We can’t really compare on-road specs for the Roxor and Willys because the Roxor is not, nor will it ever be street legal according to Mahindra.
The motor of the Mahindra Roxor is another area that adds weight over the Willys. The old Willys came with a 2.19-liter inline four-cylinder gas engine, good for 54 horsepower. The Roxor has a 2.5-liter inline turbo diesel engine that produces 62 horsepower. The Willys could hit 65 mph on the pavement, while the Mahindra is governed at 45 mph off-road. A modern turbo diesel is going to add significant weight, but there are advantages too in terms of torque and fuel economy. The Roxor has a five-speed manual transmission with a two-speed Dana T-18 transfer case. The Willys had a three-speed manual with a two-speed transfer case.
The Mahindra Roxor has a 96-inch wheelbase and is 148 inches long, 62 inches wide and 75 inches tall. It has nine inches of ground clearance, too. For some perspective, the original military Willys Jeep was 123 inches long and just over 57 inches wide. For rubber, Mahindra went with 235/70R16 BF Goodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires wrapped around five-lug, 16-inch steel or aluminum wheels. The Willys had a six-ply general purpose tire mounted to a steel 16-inch rim.
This is a toe in the North American waters for Mahindra, so watch for more automotive news to come fro the Indian brand. The company is actively pursuing the contract to replace the current aged crop of U.S. Postal Service Jeeps with a Roxor-like product, and plenty more attachments and parts are coming to make the Roxor extremely customizable from the factory.
A version of this article originally appeared on ATV.com