In my latest test drive, I had the opportunity to drive the Force Gurkha Xplorer. Force Motors calls this vehicle an extreme off-road vehicle. We put the vehicle in all extreme phases to find out how extreme can this Gurkha get. First thing first, let’s talk about how does it look.
Force Gurkha is a serious off-roader inspired by the legendary G-Wagen. It is an old school 4X4 with simple and better looking front face. The factory-fitted snorkel and beefier tires further make its intentions clear. The three-door set up along with the flared wheel arches and wide stance talks about its personality. Beneath the Gurkha is a ladder-frame chassis. All these flavours together make the Gurkha look a little less sophisticated and more rugged.
Interiors are disappointing!!! It is just a big pile of poorly made, flimsy plastic. However interior talks a lot about functionality, the front seats are comfortable and there is even a small tachometer in the middle of the dashboard. In one word, interior looks like something built by bus-body manufacturers. Basic amenities are fulfilled like pre-tensioned front seat belts, heating and air-conditioning, and a 12V port to charge your devices. The driving position was quite awkward with the slightly upward facing steering which makes you feel that your in a truck.
Force Gurkha is powered by a 2.6-litre turbo-diesel motor which is BS 4 compliant and a lot more refined than expected. Surprisingly smooth with barely any vibrations creeping into the cabin. The throttle is very sensitive with good low-end torque. The 85 hp/230Nm engine may feel a bit underpowered on paper. However for the off-road bashing its a lot more satisfying if you can forgive that fact that you really have to work the gearbox to keep some pace on the highway.
The wow factor of the Gurkha is its manually lockable differentials on both front and rear axles. Engaging and disengaging the diff locks is a bit of a pain. But once you manage to find your gears you get an incredible low-speed off-road ability. The Gurkha crawls its way out of any steep embankments effortlessly like a mountain goat.
On the highway, its sweet spot lies at the 80-100kph range however after 3200 rpm the vehicle feels numb. The Gurkha does the traffic-crawl very well. The clutch pedal is not too heavy nor too light. The steering is light. The turning radius is tight, and the upright, straight design makes all-around visibility wonderful. The Gurkha does behave rather well on the road and as promised, it delivers best-in-class ride quality.
The Gurkha is a hardcore and very focused off-road machine that has nothing to do with comfort and value. Priced at Rs 12.5 lakh (on-road, Bangalore), the Gurkha is not a value for money package . In fact, it is pricier than the Thar which is something of a similar genre. But if you are looking for an extreme off-roader within six-figure price range Force Gurkha could be a perfect match .
- Engine: 2596cc, 4-cyl turbo diesel
- Power: 84bhp at 3200rom
- Torque: 230Nm at 1400-2400rpm
- Transmission: 5M, 4WD
- Weight: 2510kgs