OD SUV Slugfest: Force Gurkha
This is a hardcore old-fashioned SUV, with no frills.
Styling and street presence
The design is inspired by the legendary Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. It's a traditional two-box layout with flat panels that have folds for rigidity. It looks purpose built and sports a snorkel and protective bar around the windscreen, a roof carrier, headlight and tail light guards, a jerry can at the rear complete with a Gurkha khukuri knife logo and a shovel and axe are also mounted on the carrier! The Gurkha towers over everything else, but despite the mighty street presence, it does look a bit primitive and cheap. Both hard and soft top versions available.
Seating and visibility
There is good space at the front and back, but the seats are really basic. Don't expect any comforts or luxuries here. It stands high and you have to use the footboards to climb in. It has an upright windscreen and the thin A-pillars ensure the view is exceptional and uninterrupted. In fact, it is one of the best examples of a commanding driving position and provides an aerial-like view. The huge side windows also provide a great 180-degree view and the absolutely straight rear windscreen and glass panels alongside it, also nicely show what is behind. Old style wipers clean fairly well, but the rear one is almost useless.
Along with the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy, this is the best value for money off-roader. It has 4WD with low ratio and differential locks on both front and rear axles, all mechanically engaged via levers. No electronics or driver aids here. It has a small rpm meter placed between the A/C vents- a very unusual arrangement. The approach and departure angles are remarkable due to the almost non-existent overhangs. However, ground clearance is not as much as expected because of the low suspension underpinnings. But everything is built to take a hammering.
Full size spare wheel mounted on the tailgate is easy to use. The snorkel gives it good water crossing capability.
Touring ability and performance
Will go the distance, but not at all comfortable or suitable for long journeys. The engine is also underpowered for overtaking at high speeds and is noisy and unrefined.
Grips the road well with traction being aided by the standard all-terrain tyres. This reflects in the timing too. It's ideal for loose surfaces and ride is also very composed and comfortable on broken surfaces.
Price: Rs 12.28 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)
Engine type: 2.6D/ 85PS/230Nm
Fuel Economy: 17.1kmpl
Fuel capacity and Range: 63l/1,075km
4WD lock: Yes
Diff Lock: Front and rear
Ground Clearance: 210mm
Dimensions (LWH) mm: 3,992 x 1,790 x 2,055
Weight: 2,775kg (gross)
Off-Road Driving Modes: No
Headlight Washers: No
Boot Capacity: NA
Starts Rs 13.59 Lakhs
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