It was at Auto Expo 2020 that we first saw what the next generation Gurkha Force would look like. It looked better, was supposed to be better equipped, and retain its mythical and otherworldly off-road capabilities. Our test location for the Force Gurkha reader was tucked away in the Sahayadri Range, near Pune. The setting was beautiful and complemented the bold and imposing personality of the Gurkha. We found a nice table mound, with a fairly steep climb and absolutely stunning views over the valley, the lake and the village below! And by soaking up the beauty of the landscapes, we also tested the new Gurkha!
Also Read: 2021 Gurkha Force Revealed; Launch End of September 2021
Let us guide you quickly through the design of the new Gurkha and the features it offers. The Gurkha continues to have a square and upright position as before. The overall appearance doesn’t stray much from what we saw at Auto Expo last year. The new Gurkha features a hinged hood, circular LED headlamps with integrated daytime running lights, a new single-slat front grille with bold “Gurkha” lettering and the bumper is also new.
You can also see a lot of plastic coatings on the sides, square wheel arches, bulky tires and the tailgate mounted spare tire. The overall silhouette is very geometric and the Gurkha comes across as a focused, determined and lifestyle-oriented all-terrain vehicle. Needless to say, the exterior fit and finish is seeing a marked improvement. And yes, there’s no denying the fact that the Gurkha looks like the iconic Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, in fact you could call it a poor man’s G-Wagon, and we say that with deep respect.
The snorkel on the Gurkha comes standard and the water depth is approximately 700mm. Ground clearance of about 205 mm. the new model is now 22mm wider and 20mm taller than the old model. The length of the SUV increases by 124mm although this is more related to the increased overhang at the front to meet new safety standards. The new Gurkha also gets a new ladder frame chassis with increased torsional rigidity and a new body, which Force Motors says meets the latest safety regulations.
Technology and ergonomics
Inside, the new Gurkha has an all-black cabin as well as larger air vents with glossy black bezels, manual air conditioning, three-spoke steering wheel, power windows, ABS, two front airbags and one rear facing forward. seats. However, the look and feel of the cabin is still spartan and the quality of the plastics as well as the materials used could have been better!
The cabin of the Gurkha is apparently a much better place than the previous generation model. Of course, plastics fall short when you compare them to modern cars. But in terms of creature comfort, you get a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system from Kenwood that gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Apart from that, there is a small screen right next to the right A-pillar, which is the tire pressure monitoring system. This again sounds like an afterthought, as you would actually want it to be on the instrument’s console.
Speaking of ergonomics, they are a bit dubious! The gear lever is placed a little further forward, so you have to reach out! If it had been placed slightly back, the reach would have been more natural! Just behind the shift lever is the 4×4 shift knob. The differential locks are on either side of the tunnel in the middle.
The seats are larger, offer better support, the rear captain’s seats are easier to mount and are much more comfortable than before. The rear passengers also benefit from an armrest. The cabin is quite airy, with large glass surfaces, offering a good view of what is going on outside.
Under this hood, the Gurkha receives the same original Mercedes 2.6-liter diesel engine that produces around 90 hp and 250 Nm of maximum torque. There is also a 5-speed manual gearbox, but no automatic, not even an option. And no gasoline engine either!
Performance and dynamics
Now I vividly remember driving old Gurkha and it sounded rustic, it sounded raw! The new generation model is a little more refined, no doubt, but the rustic and raw charm that Gurkha had, the new model also has. Now I would say this is a characteristic of the vehicle and the engine because if you make the Gurkha too refined then the charm is lost. The good news is that the ride quality at low speeds is truly sumptuous, thanks to the suspension.
And even if you increase the speed, the Gurkha doesn’t care. Whether there are big bumps, potholes, bumps, it just slides over whatever you throw at it. So that’s a good thing! There is a lot of play in the steering, but again, RVs, SUVs like the Thar and Gurkha, need to have some play and that helps when you are off-road. But, someone who is going to buy the Gurkha or the Mahindra Thar for that matter, he or she is not really going to look at the driving dynamics of the car! Well, not openly!
It’s a nice car for sure and when it comes to driving dynamics there is quite a bit of body roll when trying to take tight corners. But this is normal, when there is a ladder-to-chassis chassis with a raised suspension.
Now the specs of the engine can seem underwhelming, especially when you compare it to the Thar! But rest assured, this is not the case. The highlight here is that the lower end has lots and lots of pulling power. You can ride the torque wave up to around 2,800 rpm, which should be enough to plow through the urban jungle, on highways and traffic too. After 3200 rpm, the engine loses steam. The 5-speed gearbox appears to be a decade old, however, and could have been better tuned to provide smoother gear changes.
The new Gurkha has independent double-wishbone suspension up front and a 5-link rigid axle at the rear, with coil springs and anti-roll bars on all four wheels. Lockable differentials front and rear as well as four-wheel drive and low gear are also standard. Force Motors says there will be a bunch of customization options to choose from, like the ladder, roof rails, jerry cans, and all-terrain tires you see on our test car.
We are happy to announce that the new Gurkha retains its all-terrain prowess! We subjected the car to some really rough terrain, steep inclines, rocky patches and the Gurkha soaked it with consummate ease and almost challenged us to take it a step further! We wish we had more time and more difficult terrain to test the Gurkha, despite our novice off-road abilities!
With the new Force Gurkha, the objective was to have a model, an SUV, more attractive than the old Gurkha. Well, did Force do that? Let’s see! Is it more attractive now? Absolutely yes! More features? Definitely yes! The Gurkha now has a lot more features in terms of creature safety and comfort, so it’s a definite yes again! Does it retain its legendary all-terrain capability? Absolutely yes! Now the biggest question! Is it still good value for money and is it still practical? As for the quality / price ratio, we will only be able to tell you once the prices have been published, i.e. towards the end of September.
In terms of practicality, the model has definitely grown! And it offers much wider appeal in terms of target audience! So yes, if you are looking for a lifestyle, off-road capable vehicle that is truly capable, the new Force Gurkha fits the bill! And is it better than the Mahindra Thar? Well, wait! We will have the Mahindra Thar vs Force Gurkha comparison for you very soon!
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