Which Is The Better Tiny Wrangler Knockoff

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Summary

  • The Mahindra Roxor and Chery Moke are both considered knockoffs of the Jeep Wrangler due to their similar styling inspired by the Jeep/Willys CJ from the 1940s to 1960s.
  • The Moke is a recreational vehicle designed for cruising alongside beaches and promenades, while the Roxor is a capable off-road vehicle with features like four-wheel drive and off-road essentials.
  • The interiors of both vehicles are minimalist and focused on functionality rather than luxury, with options for customization available in the Roxor. The cost of both vehicles may be a deterrent for some buyers.

The Jeep Wrangler is one of the most iconic off-roaders of all time. Its legend owing to the original Willy’s dates back all the way through World War II and it has become a household name for those who enjoy hitting trails and traveling uncharted paths. It’s so iconic, in fact, that it has inspired many a copycat. Many automakers trying to capitalize on Jeep’s success have been cropping up with models designed and shaped in a similar style.

Two vehicles that have popped up and seen a lot of success in their attempt to copy Jeep’s boxy off-roader are Mahindra’s Roxor and Chery’s Moke. They don’t claim to have the same off-road capabilities and cater to those looking for a much simpler, toned-down experience. As recreational vehicles, neither model claims to be the Wrangler, they both serve and fulfill their own purposes. So it’s no doubt that in the world of Wrangler knockoffs, these two cars are in competition. However, deciding which one is better is a more difficult task than it may seem.

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The Roxor And The Moke Both Show Strong Design Ties To The Wrangler

The main reason both the Moke and the Roxor are considered Wrangler knockoffs is their styling. One look at either car and it’s obvious where they got their inspiration from. They both look like they ripped their exteriors directly from the Jeep/Willys CJ from the 1940s to 1960s.

Mahindra Roxor

Front 3/4 of the 2023 Mahindra Roxor All-Weather in a field
Mahindra

Mahindra actually got its start manufacturing Willy’s CJs for the Indian market back in the 1940s. However, going forward the company clearly struggled to shake this identity. Back in 2020, the United States International Trade Commission ruled that the Mahindra Roxor was too similar to the Jeep Wrangler and a cease and desist was issued. This meant that Mahindra had to make serious changes to the Roxor and in 2022, after the car’s facelift, it finally returned to the United States. Although it was ruled that the Roxor was different enough from the Jeep, it’s still incredibly easy to see the inspiration in the new model.

Moke

Side shot of the 2019 Moke America eMoke
Mr.choppers Via Wikimedia

The Moke also has a rich history. The current recreational vehicle is based on the original Mini Moke manufactured from 1964 to 1993 by the British Motor Corporation. It was revived in 2013 by Chinese manufacturer Chery and has since been rebranded as a recreational vehicle. The front end of the Moke is distinctly Jeep and inspiration has definitely been taken. A major difference in its design, however, is its long body, clearly intended to comfortably carry loads of passengers. Unlike its war-scarred hero, the Moke looks distinctly civilian.

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The Moke And The Roxor Have Different Goals

Front 3/4 of a white eMoke parked at a shopping mall
PLawrence99cx via Wikimedia

Neither of these two models are really designed to be driven on the road. The Moke is street legal but is classified as a Low Speed Vehicle and the Roxor’s legality on roads varies from state to state.

eMoke Performance

Engine

Battery Electric Motor

Top Speed

25 MPH

Horsepower

20 HP

Torque

70 lb-ft

Curb Weight

2315 lbs

Towing Capacity

N/A

The Moke is a car that is manufactured by the Chinese company Chery but assembled by a number of different companies around the world. The current Moke available in the U.S. is the electric eMoke made by MOKE America. The eMoke is a recreational vehicle and is more of a cruiser than anything else. It has a top speed of 25 miles per hour and a 40-mile range.

The Moke’s purpose, in any form, is not to be an adventurous off-road vehicle, but rather one that cruises alongside beaches and promenades. It doesn’t want to be driven hard or fast, and it doesn’t want to hit bumps or rocks. It is more sophisticated than that and wants to simply show its passengers the sites.

Front shot of the 2023 Mahindra RoxorMahindra Roxor Performance

Engine

2.5-Liter Turbocharged Four-Cylinder Diesel

Top Speed

55 MPH

Horsepower

62 HP

Torque

144 lb-ft

Curb Weight

3330 lb

Towing Capacity

3490 lb

The Roxor is in a completely different world to the Moke. Where the Moke wants to keep its clothes clean, the Roxor was designed to get down and dirty. Mahindra’s little UTV is not road legal in a lot of states and is instead an off-road only vehicle, but it does its job incredibly well.

The Roxor is built to hit trails. Not only does it feature four-wheel drive, but it also comes standard with off-road essentials like a two-speed transfer case, Bilstein dampers, and a rear-locking differential. It even comes with an optional trailer hitch which allows the Mahindra to tow up to 3,490 pounds. While it only comes standard with nine inches of ground clearance and a breakover angle that isn’t exactly impressive, this little car is possibly one of the rawest forms of off-roading fun you can have.

Rather than just copy the looks of old Jeeps, the Roxor has also captured the fun and the magic that they provided. It’s a toy for those looking to hit trails and hit them hard.

RELATED: Jeep Thrills On The Cheap: This Wrangler Knock-Off Costs Less Than $20,000

Simple Functionality Is The Order Of The Day For Both Wrangler Clones

Front 3/4 shot of the Mahindra Roxor in a field
Mahindra

Being what they are – toys rather than fully blown vehicles – neither the Roxor nor the Moke have particularly impressive interiors. They are both fitted with only the essentials.

The Moke is doorless and roofless and its interior is by far the more minimalist of the two. It’s hard not to think of a golf cart when you look inside the Moke. There are all the instruments that you need for driving, there are seats, and there are seatbelts and that’s about it. To its credit, the seats do look particularly upmarket and comfortable.

In the Roxor you do get slightly more, but not by that much. You get a small centre cubby and some cupholders and that’s about it. The Roxor is somewhat more customizable and things like doors, windshields, roofs, and a second row of seats are all optional. This may seem like a negative but excluding some of these options helps keep the price down if all you’re going to do is hit trails.

Both cars come standard with a roll cage, but it’s likely that only the Roxor will ever actually get used to it. Both the Moke and the Roxor are fairly bare-bone and are more purpose-driven vehicles rather than everyday cars that can be taken off-road. This brings us to an important question: how much do they cost?

RELATED: The Story of Mahindra And How It Became A Global Automotive Authority

It’s Hard To Say Whether The Moke Or The Roxor Are Worth The Money

Front 3/4 of a white eMoke parked at a shopping mall
PLawrence99cx via Wikimedia

Both little cars are appealing in their own ways and achieve what they set out for fairly well. The Moke is a cruiser designed to cart tourists around tropical beaches and the Roxor is a trail-runner made with the essence of the old Willys CJ. However, their cost may drop their appeal for many.

The eMoke has a starting MSRP of $22,975. However, with the little car’s identity, the options don’t end there. You still have to select the color of your rims as well as the color of the car’s top. The cheapest rim option is another $475 and the cheapest top is $795. If you want a Bluetooth stereo system, a “high-performance charger”, or an all-weather car cover, you’re going to have to fork out even more. For an afternoon beach crawler, it seems like a lot.

Side shot of the 2023 Mahindra Roxor off-roading
Mahindra

The Roxor sits in a similar bracket, with the differences in its two trims meaning that the price can add up. The base model of the Roxor sits at $20,599 whereas the All-Weather model pushes you all the way up to $28,739. The All-Weather model comes with the doors, roof, and windshield that the base model lacks as well as an HVAC system and a slightly improved battery.

In our opinion, the Roxor is the more functional of the two and the better value. They were both designed for a purpose and they both fit their purpose but the Roxor is at least competitive in the UTV category price-wise. On the other side, it’s hard to justify the money you would spend on the Moke as it’s kind of a glorified beach buggy. The Roxor is also by far the better Wrangler Knockoff. Where the Moke only copies the styling, the Roxor feels like a tribute to the Wranglers of old.

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