Every year we are witnessing an evolution of off-road vehicles. Some models disappear from the ATV guide we publish every year, and some others are being added. Moreover, because of our profession, we have the advantage of being privileged spectators, often several months in advance, when the manufacturers present the new models that will be sold in the dealers’ showrooms.
First of all, it should be mentioned that we had been invited by the manufacturer Mahindra in the spring of 2018, for the US launch of an off-road vehicle that went against all that was established in the UTV industry. In a rather sassy tone, Mahindra said loud and clear that their goal was to create a new category of side-by-side vehicles.
We were left with a wet appetite during the 2018 presentation because we were not able to exploit the vehicle’s full potential. The reason is simple – these types of events usually gather together a multitude of media organizations from across all North America, and some restrictions are mandatory to ensure the success of the presentation. The unveiling had given us a great overview, but we were really looking forward to testing the new vehicle in our test environment and our daily realities.
So, here we are in year two of this vehicle. It does not go unnoticed and that sparks off a lot of interest from its unique features. We had established our base camp at Domaine Bitobi, in upper Gatineau in Quebec. For a few days, we were able to drive and carry out a complete test of the ROXOR. As a result, we had all the latitude to thoroughly test it and we had all the parameters required to perform a complete analysis.
You’re probably wondering why we chose such a place to do a ROXOR field test. Apart from the paradisiacal landscape that was offered to us, the site lends itself gladly among others to the use of the ROXOR because of the accessibility to the private trails allowing us access to the Crown lands.
Let’s be honest from the start, this vehicle is not allowed in organized trails for the moment. Its weight far exceeds what is established for the use of ATVs and UTVs in the trails. However, its size, which compares favorably with current side-by-side vehicles, could allow the rules to be relaxed for possible accessibility.
The ROXOR is built almost exclusively of steel. This gives it advantages of strength, but it is also significantly overweight. The ROXOR tilts the scales to almost 3,500lbs depending on the equipment, and its footprint in the trails is also felt the same way. However, we can enjoy a huge and almost infinite playground for this type of vehicle – ZECs (Controlled Harvesting Zones), forest roads, and forest areas are just some of the best places to exploit the full potential of the ROXOR. The rocky slopes found here are an ideal playground for testing its traction capabilities. Hunters, anglers and all outdoor activity enthusiasts will also benefit from a vehicle that is both versatile and fun to drive.
Its chassis is similar to a full-size pick-up truck rather than the regular UTV we know made with tubular structures. This design, therefore, gives the ROXOR excess weight, but also stiffness and strength in return for accomplishing plenty of work that even a conventional full-size utility side-by-side would not be able to perform. We can easily imagine a farmer using his ROXOR for routine farm work. We can also think of all the businesses and industries who will want to own a fleet of vehicles to move their employees on off-road paths, or even on unexplored places.
The rigidity of the chassis is not unrelated to the decision to use a leaf spring suspension design on all four wheels. It is probably for the sake of reliability because this type of suspension has fewer moving parts. It may seem ancestral as a decision, but fans and purists of the genre will appreciate. Some others might blame some suspension stiffness and firmness attributed to this choice. In all truth, we have mixed opinions on the subject, because stiffness provides a sense of confidence when used on steep slopes, and it only causes inconvenience when in use at higher speeds in a bumpy path. Aside from that, it was surprising to enjoy the precision of its maneuverability in winding paths.
The ROXOR Mahindra certainly has a recreational purpose, but its attributes also allow it, and above all, a utility role. It is no coincidence that Mahindra decided to implement a turbodiesel engine that has already proven itself in this vehicle. The 4-cylinder 2.5 liter engine has a lot of torque despite only 62hp according to the manufacturer. Its smooth operation is pleasant to hear and its lifespan will be very high. A very interesting feature is the very high air intake to will allow crossing water without difficulty. In fact, it is so high that we can submerge the ROXOR up to the height of our butt without affecting its operation. Extreme off-road enthusiasts, please take some notes: this vehicle is not afraid of hostile terrain.
The ROXOR can pull the equivalent of 3500lbs which puts it far ahead of its closest competitors. So it can tow a multitude of utility trailers and as in the case of our stay in the community of Grand-Remous, we were able to easily move our boat and all our gear when launching. Nevertheless, we were far from the vehicle’s maximum weight and capacities, and the ROXOR allowed us to move our equipment easily without using our truck, which would be rather risky in such places because of the proximity of trees and other obstacles. So moving back and forth heavy equipment showed us its real abilities. It is easy to imagine the launch of a multitude of small boats and pontoons by the ease of handling it provides. Its surprising engine, its modest size combined with impressive traction capabilities make the ROXOR a fun vehicle to drive with high functional qualities.
Unlike conventional side-by-side vehicles that use a CVT transmission, the ROXOR uses an automotive transmission that resembles most of our cars. At the initial presentation of the ROXOR, only a 5-speed manual transmission was available. It is very easy to use even for the users that are at their beginning with this type of transmission. The clutch allows a smooth and fluid familiarization for the uninitiated.
The year 2019 introduces an automatic transmission to our greatest delight. We had concerns about the ROXOR’s capabilities with a manual transmission, especially with frequent gear change during a utility use. Now, the advent of this automatic transmission changes the game. However, this option will increase the bill by $4,000. The driving pleasure has a price and this additional expense will probably create headaches for future buyers as for its indispensable virtues. In our opinion, the automatic transmission provides benefits that manual transmission is not able to accomplish. Just consider starting on a steep slope and rough terrain, eliminating the manual clutch makes driving much easier. All in all, if you can afford this extra, the automatic transmission will be of great use on several occasions.
Outdoor enthusiasts are well aware that it is most of the time necessary to minimize baggage to avoid overloading. The ROXOR goes against this concept with its large and welcoming rear cargo area. During our fishing trip to Domaine Bitobi, we transported all our equipment to practice our activity and we even benefited from unused spaces. This is meaningful on the cargo capacity of the ROXOR. In addition, a high impact resistant coating protects the interior space to maintain its original appearance for a long time.
We could predict a rudimentary cabin without any artifice for this type of vehicle. Nevertheless, we are very surprised by the user-friendliness and the finish of the Mahindra ROXOR. A central digital instrument cluster serves as an information center on the parameters for the proper functioning of the vehicle. Obviously, the use of easy maintenance materials is mandatory in a utility environment. Dirty items are the daily reality of off-road vehicles and the ease of eliminating uncleanliness is desired by all. ROXOR’s water-repellent materials allow the use of a garden hose to clean the mud and dirt that might be found there. This feature was very appreciated during our getaway to restore the interior to an almost original condition.
During the initial presentation of the vehicle last year, the choice of colors was restricted to four different colors. This year, a multitude of alternative colors are available to fill everyone’s preferences and needs. For the purposes of our tests, we had two examples of what consumers will be able to find at their dealership. Whether in camouflage patterns like our automatic transmission model or in a yellowish tint like our manual transmission vehicle, everyone will find the model that will most certainly meet his expectations. Mahindra offers 380 choices of colors, gloss or matte finish, to satisfy the most demanding in this respect.
The huge list of accessories available to personalize these vehicles is very complete and continues to grow. Our automatic transmission model is a good example of additions that can be made. A closed cab with windshield, windshield wiper, defroster, and heater allow its use in any season, no matter the weather. A reinforced protection plate covers the mechanical parts of the lower part of the vehicle to counter and protect the obstacles that could be in your path. Bilstein shocks absorbers have been added. Off-road enthusiasts regularly praise this type of shocks and with good reason. A 40-inchLED lightbar and a WARN winch with a capacity of 8000lbs complete the package.
Regarding our second vehicle, apart from the Bilstein shocks and the skid plate as the previous one, among the interesting features of our manual transmission model, we noted the WARN manual locking front differential. Just like us, you will feel a sense of nostalgia by engaging the front differential that way when in need to increase and gain the necessary traction in some situations. The addition of the doors has however left us perplexed on the accessibility of the open lever. There is a single latch on each door, it is located inside the cabin and access requires a contortion effort. We strongly suggest to the designer to revise this feature to ease its operation. Low-pressure tires have also been installed on the 2 vehicles we had for test and they are similar to those usually installed on all ATVs and UTVs.
Mahindra can customize the ROXOR to its owners as they see fit. The multitude of accessories makes it possible to create vehicles that are practically distinct from one another by the almost infinite options available and possible combination. In summary, the personalization enthusiasts will be happy with these possibilities.
In conclusion, the ROXOR from Mahindra is much more than a fun vehicle, it is a great ally for performing a multitude of tasks both in a recreational spirit and in functions that require very high traction capacities. It is this versatility that allows it to stand out and makes it a unique vehicle. Our fishing trip has allowed us to see some of these facets, but we hope to be able to explore its multiple abilities again in future activities. One thing is certain, this vehicle is not suitable for everyone, but the customers who will acquire it will be the happiest in the world.