priceman 141/Flickr

Is this off-roader from India worthy of your time?

Quick notes

– It’s a darn cheap ATV.

– It’s incredibly good fun to drive.

– Fiat Chrysler thinks it’s essentially a copy of the Wrangler.

Never heard of Mahindra? We don’t blame you. This company from India has been around since 1945, but only recently started selling its models in the United States.

Much like fellow Indian marque, Hindustan made licensed copies of Austin cars, Mahindra has previously made licensed Jeep copies. However, Jeep isn’t happy with the Wrangler lookalike that is the Mahindra Roxor. Fiat Chrysler says the Roxor is an unlicensed copy of the Wrangler, and argue that production should be stopped.

All that aside, is the Roxor any good? Is this Wrangler-inspired (insert stage cough here) ATV fun to drive? Is it road legal? Is it cheap?

Read on, and find out.

Mahindra Roxor engine and drive

Priceman 141/Flickr

The Roxor’s engine is built in India, before being shipped to Mahindra’s factory in Michigan. It’s a simple 2.5 liter turbo diesel. This engine generates a fairly tiddly 62 horsepower, and 144 lb-ft of torque.

Don’t expect to set any speed records in this thing. Its acceleration from 0-60 is stymied somewhat by the fact that the Roxor is limited to 55 mph.

Take the Roxor off-road, and you’ll have an absolute whale of a time.

It’s a rough engine, linked up to a five-speed manual transmission as standard. You can opt for a six-speed automatic if you prefer.

It might not feature a stellar engine, but how is it to drive? Take the Roxor off-road, and you’ll have an absolute whale of a time. Its locking rear differential, tight power steering, and excellent brakes make you feel like you can take on absolutely anything.

Ground clearance is fairly low at nine inches, but it can handle most off-road obstacles with aplomb.

Is the Roxor street legal?

You know that the Roxor is fun off-road, but can it be driven on ordinary roads? In short, no, it can’t. However, if you invest in some additional parts, it can be made road legal.

You’ll need to add:

  • A horn
  • Mirrors
  • A windshield
  • Crash protection
  • Three-point seatbelts
  • A handbrake

All of these parts can be sourced from Mahindra. None of them should prove particularly onerous to install, providing you know your way around a toolbox.

Mahindra Roxor interior

if you’re looking for a pure off-roading experience, the Roxor is absolutely fantastic.

The interior of the Roxor is as basic as you would expect, and maybe a touch more. The only real nod to modernity that you’ll find is cup holders. There’s no radio, no power windows (or windows at all), no distractions. It’s just you and the road, or lack thereof.

Honestly, we like this. It’s never going to be for everyone, but if you’re looking for a pure off-roading experience, the Roxor is absolutely fantastic. Focus on your driving and enjoy being out in the sticks.

Price and final thoughts

Should you buy a Mahindra Roxor? If you want a truck to drive every day, then absolutely not. If, however, you’re looking for an incredibly fun vehicle to go off-roading in, we couldn’t recommend it more highly.

Its keen engine, fun steering, and incredible simplicity are charming, and there’s not much to dislike about this vehicle. The price is low enough that you soon forget about any disadvantages too: it costs just $15,499.

While Jeep may not like its similarities to the Wrangler, it’s got something that the Wrangler hasn’t. It’s not forgotten its roots. It’s an ATV, and that’s all, and it’s a whole lot of fun.

A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:

DIY car maintenance to save money | Autos 101

Want to save money? Doing minor car repairs yourself could save you a lot of cash.

The new and improved 2019 Ducati Scrambler | Autos 101

Looking for a bike to take off-road? The Ducati Scrambler has got you covered.

These are the worst pickup trucks of all time | Autos 101

Just be glad you don’t drive one of these mechanical nightmares.