In the United States, Mahindra is a name mostly associated with compact garden and lawn tractors. But in other parts of the world, mostly India, the brand is known for its small, affordable and capable trucks. We haven’t been able to get these tiny workhorses stateside, but Mahindra is about to change that with the unveiling of the Roxor: a tiny 4×4 that will be built in Detroit and officially sold in America.
It doesn’t take a seasoned automotive expert to realize the Roxor looks like an old Willys or Jeep CJ. Mahindra has actually held a license since 1947 to manufacture civilian versions of the Willys, which is why the company is able to build a machine so similar to that iconic vehicle (note, though, the lack of the seven-slot grille). Jalopnik has a comprehensive breakdown on the differences between the Roxor and the early Willys/Jeep CJ models, but the upshot is that the Mahindra is near-identical to early CJs regarding overall dimensions, body style and chassis/suspension setup.
Basically, this body-on-frame off-roader is as old-school as they come. It’s equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, a low-range transfer case and a 2.5-liter inline-four putting out only about 62 horsepower and 144 lb-ft of torque. While its payload capacity is only 349 pounds, it can tow 3,490 pounds. Top speed, unsurprisingly, is low: just 45 mph, though that’s on par with the original CJ2a.
Here’s the crucial thing to understand about the Roxor: while it will be sold in the U.S., it will only be sold as a side-by-side utility vehicle, thus precluding it from any use on public roads. That is a bummer, but the Roxor can still be used at sanctioned off-road areas and will likely come in handy as a ranch and agricultural implement, much like the original CJ2a. But you can take comfort in the fact that the Roxor will spend almost all of its time doing exactly what it was born to do: intensive off-road driving and hard work.
An official release date has yet to be announced, but the Roxor will purportedly be sold approximately 300 dealerships nationwide and retail between $15,549 to $18,999.
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