I consistently talk to car enthusiasts who tell me they want something nobody is making: an old-school, back-to-the-roots simple SUV, like an old XJ Jeep Cherokee or 1980s Toyota Land Cruiser FJ60 — a vehicle that’s all about capability, simplistic design, and no frills. Unfortunately, such a vehicle doesn’t even come close to existing in North America, but apparently it does exist in India.
Behold, the Mahindra Bolero, which is also called the Mahindra Cimarron in South America, and the Mahindra Enforcer in the Philippines. The Bolero may look old, and that’s because it first went on sale back in 2000, but it’s still being offered as a brand-new vehicle by Mahindra, one of the largest car brands in India.
The Bolero is especially simple, as it uses body-on-frame construction with little effort paid to frivolous styling details. It’s apparently powered by a 2.5-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder that makes just 63 horsepower, though it doesn’t need much more than that, as it’s just 162 inches in length. Apparently, there’s also a "Power+" model with a 3-cylinder turbodiesel that has 71 hp.
The base-level Bolero, apparently called the EX, is the one that is probably most appealing to car enthusiasts. It features vinyl upholstery and typical gauges, but little else — not even power steering or air conditioning. The Bolero is also offered as a pickup, a camper or an ambulance, and even the regular model seats up to nine people — a huge number that our stylish, sleek, non-Bolero SUVs can’t top.
Of course, it’s unlikely that the Bolero — with its 20-year-old design — could ever meet U.S. safety standards, but the point is that it’s out there: a new SUV in the modern world that uses "old school" construction, simple design principles and focuses more on durability than anything else. Apparently, prices start around 745,000 Indian rupees, which is equivalent to just $10,500 — not bad for a brand-new SUV.