Back in mid-2013, when Force Motors was conducting the media drive for its then new Force Gurkha, I was taken aback by the off-road capabilities of the vehicle. There’s a small-ish test course inside Force’s plant premises (in Maharashtra) where you can put one of their products through its paces; and the Gurkha not only surprised me but also made sure that some point in my life I would want one. Two years hence, the Gurkha’s are being delivered to customers, they’ve made a successful participation at one of India’s most challenging off-road events – RFC India 2014 last year, and, if you ask me, the vehicle looks as strong as ever, or maybe even more.
Powered by a Mercedes-derived 2.6-litre turbocharged, direct injection diesel engine that makes about 80hp and 230Nm of maximum torque, the Gurkha is available in both 4x2 and 4x4 flavours, and is offered with a 5-speed gearbox. And unlike the new-age SUVs, it also comes with differential-locks at both front and rear (in the 4x4 version). Off-road capabilities are further backed by a 210mm ground clearance, and an ability to tackle gradients of up to 40 degrees. 16-inch alloy wheels come standard (235-section tyres on the 2WD version and 245-section ones on the 4x4 variant), while you can choose between hard-top and soft-top versions, depending on how much protection you want from the elements.
The Gurkha is said to be better than its sole competitor – the Thar, in standard, showroom-spec, at least. It’s the best starting point for serious off-roading, I reckon. And while its on-road characteristics might leave a lot to be desired (especially if you compare it with the new crossovers), but it’s a very sharp tool off the road. And that’s what matters, doesn’t it?
Below is a video of Force’s participation in last year’s Rain Forest Challenge in Goa. Get ready to be enamoured with the Gurkha, or EOV (Extreme Off-road Vehicle) as Force Motors like to call it. Bring on this year’s RFC! The event, conducted in association with Cougar Motorsport, will be organised between July 24 and 31st, this year.
Bring it on!
Force’s introduction for the previous-generation Gurkha and GTD can also be seen in the video below. And tell me if this vehicle doesn’t deserve to be a part of the armed forces! Ah, that articulation.