Mahindra Jeep User
Mahindra Jeep - user during college days.
The Mahindra Jeep is one sturdy vehicle and especially in India where the traffic chaos and rash driving is not uncommon driving a Jeep, Indian made, was a great feeling. Not many dare to come near a Jeep and since this one is built like a tank you have your way on the road.
My particular experience comes from driving it around the hilly regions of Ooty (or Udhagamandalam). It was my friend's father's vehicle but he was generous enough to give it to us for an occasional ride. I especially like that it does not crawl like the other cars tend to do when you climb the 36 hair pin bends of the 'Queen of Hills' - Ooty in South India.
It is not uncommon to see many Mahindra Jeeps lined up in the basement of the hill stations like Ooty, Coorg and Kodaikanal which are available for rent to be used on your own, or to be rented with drivers too. A Mahindra Jeep would cost about 1000 - 1200 per day.
The only gripe I have about this vehicle is that it has rock hard suspension, at least the one that my friend's dad had. So for any stretch beyond a couple of 100 kilometers it becomes very difficult to continue traveling.
Another point to be considered is that in India, the term 'Jeep' is used very generically and not restricted to the brand name. Mahindra did have the license to use that name quite some time back, but back in India the vehicles from 'Jeep' the company and other similar vehicles are often confusingly referred to as 'Jeep'.
The model that he had was a Mahindra Jeep, CJ2.
It had a petrol heart (engine) and was the darkest black in color that you could find. The headlamps were roundish ones as opposed to the squarish ones we got to see a lot those days. It had a step like attachment to get you in comfortably which reminds me of the tag line 'Step in to your car, don't crawl in to it'.
My personal opinion would be to buy it if you had the chance to. It is an amazing feeling to sit inside one and actually drive it. Especially in a country like India where the local taxi wallahs and auto drivers don't give a damn about the luxury cars and are likely to hit you left and right in the roads. It feels that much better to have this killer vehicle that will shoo them away. Of course with power comes responsibility. So drive safe on it. It is a gem.
Mahindra as a company have done wonders including the recent past. I am still in awe of their Bolero and Scorpio and actually my next vehicle could be a Scorpio. They are known to have a good customer support with after sales service, and the parts of their cars are easily accessible and not costly too. They also have a good network of service centers and in dire situations you can have it serviced in one of those numerous road-side service centers in India.
All in all it was a great experience and thanks for the opportunity to relive those moments.Larry's Comment: Thanks for the great story and photo Simon. You say the Mahindra Jeep in the photo is a CJ2...but it looks so much like the original Willys CJ3B with the tall hood.