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Iron Rock 28th June 2013 03:34 PM

New Force Gurkha 4x4 Review & Pictures

Force Motors which is largely known for its commercial vehicles forayed in the passenger vehicle division with the Force One, launched in late 2011 and more lately with the New Gurkha that debuted at commercial auto expo at Delhi in Feb 2013. This is their second vehicle in the personal vehicle division. The Automotive India was invited by Force Motors for a quick off road drive at Force Motors plant in Akurdi. Therefore, this thread is going to cover the off-road drive arranged exclusively for us. We look forward to a further detailed test drive review once we have the vehicle tested in real world conditions.

Established in 1958 as Firodia Tempo out of small manufacturing unit in Mumbai neighborhood Goregaon - the first product was the Hanseat. The Hanseat three-wheeler in collaboration with German Vidal and Sohn Tempo Werke was a 3 wheeler monster (looking) powered by 2 cylinder 400cc petrol engine with an output of 15 PS. You will still find it doing duty in nearby central suburbs of Mumbai or rural regions in Bihar, Chattisgarh etc. However, their first major success was the Matador tempo in the 60s / 70s, that was too common on the Indian roads then. This eventually phased out to the even more successful Tempo Traveller which currently is the company's mainstay in the monocoque form.

In the interim they also launched the Minidor and Trax range (and other commercial vehicles including the Balwan / Orchard tractors) of vehicles and forged an alliance with MAN trucks (which was later dissolved in 2012). More or less, commercial vehicles were the mainstay for Force motors humble India operations. Force One was the first passenger segment vehicle. Backed by Mercedes engines and licensing, Force had developed a reputation for rugged reliable vehicles. We are told Force One still does average 3 digit sales numbers per month, it is still not bad considering what they are up against.

Force Gurkha derived from the legendary Mercedes G-Wagen happened out of a German military order. This vehicle was also positioned to the Indian Armed forces then. Back then some 300 odd units were exported to Germany and some to Africa, while about 40-45 odd units got sold in India. However it was this 40 odd units which gave the Gurkha the cult status it enjoys amidst off-roaders. Ask an average Indian about the Gurkha and he will be clueless, ask an offroader about the Gurkha and he will have one word for it - R.E.S.P.E.C.T.! Come 2013 and we have here a relaunched Force Gurkha mainly because of the demand from the off-roaders and odd export orders which kept the production ad-hoc. Powered by a proven OM616 derived 2.6 litre engine Force launched the Gurkha as the world's first extreme off roader vehicle (E.O.V) with a tag line "Built for War".

Force calls it Gurkha 4x4x4 - 4 Wheel drive, 4 Terrains and 4 Seasons.

Iron Rock 28th June 2013 03:34 PM

New Force Gurkha: Looks and Design

The Force Gurkha carries forward the old looks with some odd styling thrown in, except for the front grill which is now a silver plastic / Fibre grille. The old Gurkha was known for its super butch G-wagon derived looks - boxy styling based on a rugged body on ladder chassis. It was largely known for its rugged nature, reliability and go anywhere characteristics. The G-Wagon is used by many many military units world wide. Its been in production for well over 30 years now - one of the longest serving passenger Mercedes car - of course a lot has changed from the original in terms of technology from then to now - while we will still get to enjoy it in its primitive form and needless to say the price.

The Gurkha, make no mistake, is built for the off-roads - for places hard to fathom in your average daily car. Its not for an average buyer, no way. The looks will unmistakably remind you of the Trax lineage - however the stance is much shorter (and hence butch) thanks to short wheelbase which gives it a great overall stance. Build quality is several notches above the old Trax known for its rust problems then - thanks to a new paint shop at the Pithampur plant, MP where the Gurkha is crafted (manufactured doesn't sound right for the Gurkha!). The entire Gurkha body is primer coated in a state of the art 6th generation Cathodic Electro Deposition (CED) paint shop. This ensures corrosion resistance properties and enhances paint gloss retention. The Gurkha has also been treated with advanced body sealants which help in noise insulation. This is a major shift from the old Trax vehicles that were prone to rust. The steel gauge we are told hasn't changed from the old Gurkha (export spec) - so expect good and lasting body quality.

The front grill design will not be liked by most who are still fans of the old looks - why the all plastic grill, why the silver color, can I have back the old grill, can I retrofit it in the new Gurkha will be common questions asked. But subjective aspects apart, the looks from side and rear are unchanged, the chunky alloys (6.5Jx16 sporting wider All Terrain Tyres 245/70 R16) lend it a more upmarket look. Alloy spare wheel is hosted on the rear door adding to the visual appeal. The rounded front lamps and slightly slanted grille takes away the natural boxiness - Force should have gone for a more boxy trait to retain the charm is our view.

Quality and panel gaps are very very average for the purpose and price of the vehicle, fit and finish could be a lot better though (even though we must remember these are test prototypes) - note this vehicle will be no where close to fit and finish compared to conventional vehicles in the same price range. The wheel arches are large and in silver accentuate the character and stance. Bumper plastics / Fibre are of very average quality and will take the first brunt in the off-road trail. The front grille design will also have a minor impact on the already huge approach angle - probably designed considering the pedestrian safety regulations. The hard core enthusiasts will anyways replace the bumper to something which can host a proper winch. The PTO (Power Take-Off) is no longer a standard feature but we hear Force is discussing with a reputed winch maker to bring on a winch as an accessory. The Gurkha deserves a bumper of the likes of ARB.

The stainless steel snorkel upfront adds great character and makes it comes out as a no nonsense go where vehicle. It claims a water wading capability of 550mm - fairly modest knowing it can practically do much more. The Gurkha externally comes out largely as a heavy sheet metal (just take a peek underneath), body on ladder vehicle capable of taking on abuse. Its the only vehicle in its class which sports a tubular chassis - one look at the chassis and it feels like can supply interstate water - reminding me of the huge pipelines that distribute water to Mumbai from neighboring dams. With a claimed GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) of over 2.5 tonnes this thing can take a lot of beating but still serve you well for a lifetime. The underpinnings is what make the Gurkha - if you are a person who believes in fancy visual cues and luxury the Gurkha is not for you or rather you don't deserve the Gurkha. :tongue:

The soft top has the same stance upfront however its the rear open half which gives it a very sporty look, open tops appeal the heart the most! The soft top version however does not come with front facing second row, the jump seat take the space instead and hence the soft top sells as a 6 seater. The roll cage seen in the image we are told will be an accessory.

The Gurkha has some great numbers to boast when it comes to angles which off roaders love to explore the limits of :

> 37° Approach Angle

> 29° Ramp over angle

> 34° Angle of Departure

One can negotiate a 40 degree incline, that's a gradient of 84 % with the 4x4 Low in work. More about this in the 4x4 section.

Iron Rock 28th June 2013 03:34 PM

New Force Gurkha: Interiors and Comfort

This is really the Achilles heel section for the Gurkha, its bare bones, no frills and considerably below average. However having said all that, a typical Gurkha owner might be still willing to live with it. It would have been nice if Force gave a basic, but a well laid out dashboard. The vehicles we drove were test prototypes, we hope the final production versions have better fit and finish. So we will not put this section as a final verdict. The dashboard is fairly basic with many loose ends and fit and finish reminiscent of the 70s and 80s - crudely put together with ac in the dash, two tone beige/grey theme with a large steering wheel reminding you that you are driving a truck.

Conventional words like ergonomics / practicality have to to be practically thrown out of the window. The seats however are very comfortable and well cushioned. Everything is screwed together as opposed to the current standard which are rather plastic push fits. The general quality of rubber matting, gear lever base covers and under seat fittings are sub par. However enough drainage outlets have been provided if you decide to to test the submarine capabilities of the Gurkha chassis. The steering rake is more flat than conventional steering positions. While this looks odd at front, I had no issues in getting used to it - thankfully it is power steering and I have seen much worse. There are 6 AC vents in the front which do the cooling job and no vents in the rear - As this was a factory test on prototypes we wouldn't comment on the effectiveness of the AC (it didn't feel so anyways) - we would cover this in a detailed test drive effort in real world conditions once Force provides us the test mule outside of their premises.

At the outset it seemed primitive with just blower control (3 speed blower), no thermostat for temperature control. There is however a front window defogger where air comes out from the crevice between the dashboard back and front windshield - rudimentary but works ok. The Defogger and cold/hot air knobs are vintage too but did the job just that there is no way to control temperature. The heater is a useful addition especially if you decide to conquer the Himalayas. While the AC blower knob is easily reachable, the AC hot / cold and defogger switch needs to be really reached to by the driver as its located on the front passenger side.

The cluster meter in the dash show speed, fuel gauge apart from light warning lights including 4 wheel engagement and differential locker engaged. The RPM meter is oddly based in the center of the dashboard away from the cluster as an after thought. There is also a 12v charging point, hazard light switch and head light beam adjustment knob - all looking pretty rudimentary from the stone age, however they are functional in nature. Steering has 2 basic stalks on each side with the right side operating the lights and left side having the wash and wipe functions - basic and works well. The fog lamp switch is provided on the right side of the steering on the dash itself.

The front row bucket seats are comfortable and well cushioned and the passenger side seat rakes forward to make way for second row ingress / egress. The headrests are hollowed out. Armrests are provided for both front seats however the ergonomics quotient with the gear lever positioning isn't quite there.
The gear lever is oddly situated at length from the driver and raked at an acute angle too, not very ergonomic plus the throws were long and not confidence inspiring. It will take some time getting used to it and hopefully a well run in vehicle have a better feel.

The 4x4 lever is located at a more ergonomic and easy to reach position (surprisingly) - though we found it hard to use in the test prototypes - we are told it will be better in production spec vehicles. An odd grey plastic box apparently is the place where a stereo can be fitted. The passenger side gets grab handles very handy in off-road trails. The differential lockers are very easy to use with a button press and pull/turn action - effortless really. Individual front and rear lockers available - in short you can lock both front and rear differentials independently and that's what gives the Gurkha immense capability in extreme conditions. This is clearly one of Gurkha's biggest USP off-road. However use it with caution and when in need, do not use unnecessarily or forget to turn it off - it will do more damage than good!

The second row can comfortably seat 3 however ingress/egress for aged adults will be difficult as the space to enter/exit isn't broad enough - if you are broad and healthy it would be a challenge to make your way to the second row, the seats again are well cushioned and grab rails provided behind the front seats and also the roof. Seat belts are provided for the second row including a lap belt for the middle occupant. Only 2 head rests though, the middle passenger doesn't get it for his sins. The front passenger seat can be raked from the second row itself by pressing a foot lever and raking it forward. Under-seat fittings are crude and are exposed to the eye. Legroom in the second row is more than enough and comfortable.

The foot-board is effective for climbing up and down and it comes standard. Fog lamps are standard across all variants. All the pedals are positioned as if you have to lay your feet on them and then press them down, its more like pressing them down than backwards. Its alright once you get used to it.

The second row could have been a couple of inches ahead and Force could have fitted in jump seats at the rear giving it a small excise advantage as well apart from having jump seats which though not comfortable but will come handy on odd days and short drives. There are no jump seats currently however the pic shows space available for reference.

The soft-top has side facing jump seats which can seat 4 - however it is too upright and leg space comes first come first served. For a lifestyle usage this would make sense - a soft top off roader always appeals to the heart than the head. The floor is at a good height and you have to climb in, if not for the foot rest ingress specially will be hard. Long journeys on jump seats are best avoided.

Iron Rock 28th June 2013 03:34 PM

New Force Gurkha: Engine, Performance and Safety

The Gurkha is powered by an aging TD 2650 FTI BS-III Turbo Charged Inter-cooled engine, an old school Mercedes derived 2596cc DI engine. This engine is also used in the Force Traveller/Excel versions and Trax series of vehicles. This is derived from the OM 616 series engine which has done enough contributions to growing India in the 80s and 90s. OM 616 engines were found in the Mercedes Benz cars till 1983 beyond which they moved on to OM601. Force motors have been historically utilizing license agreements with Mercedes Benz and even the current crop of Mercedes Benz car engines are assembled by Force Motors at Urse including the S-Class engines! However the surprising aspect is the lack of a BS4 version - surely Force would have received a lot of feedback on it and we hopefully should see a proper BS4 version in near future.

The Gurkha engine produces 60 kW @ 3200 rpm or 82 Ps @ 3200 rpm, but most importantly for an offroader 230 Nm @ 1800-2000 rpm. Its not a high revving engine, that's not its forte - but what it does pretty well is generating oodles of torque from lower rpms - exactly what a doctor recommends for an off roader. While we didn't test the Gurkha on-road for highway mannerisms - it was evident the short gearing will run out of steam sooner than later. We will hopefully test this aspect in detail later. NVH is very acceptable, though there is scope for improvement, if the insulation fit and finish was done better.

Gurkha engine bay looks old school, no fancy plastic covers but an old reliable engine and a lot of plumbing work - not much can go wrong as long as you keep tightening the bolts on the plumbing. On the cabin side there is cloth cladding done to help NVH. A big cylindrical air filter on the left, next to it the turbocharger and the DI (Direct Injection) unit. An EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) unit on the right of the engine largely to help meet BS-III emissions norms , fuel pump behind it on the right and the battery to the extreme right - as simple as it gets. Its this simplicity which helps the engine outlast the owner - these engines are known to do lakhs of kms without overhaul ! There is not much complexity, no fancy electronics and hence nothing much can go wrong, its more the fit and finish and rough usage (which is what you buy a Gurkha for!) which need attention rather - odd nuts and bolts that will come loose inevitably. Especially the plastic and rubber elements, the plumbing joints will need attention in the long haul.

Transmission is G1 18/5B – Overdrive - 5 forward gears and 1 reverse via a hydraulic single plate clutch - its heavy duty and requires pedal effort. The gear lever itself is acutely angled and you have to reach to it. The gear shifts were on the slightly harder side in the test prototypes. We are told with usage and running in they are much better. The layout is dog leg pattern which in our view is an advantage as you would be largely confined to using gears 2-3-4-5 in your practical on road runs.

Force Motors recommends these Oil grades:

Engine oil: HP-FORCE 15 W-40
Gear Box Assembly: Power steering: Front/ Rear Axle/ Transfer Case : HP FORCE 80 W 90 GL-5/4

Gear Ratios :-

First Gear :- 4.695:1
Second Gear :- 2.401:1
Third Gear :- 1.436:1
Fourth Gear :- 1:1
Fifth Gear :- 0.806:1

Transfer Case
4WD High :- 1:1
4WD Low :- 2.04:1

The 4x4 transfer case is operated by the lever depicted in the image below. Surprisingly this is easier to reach than the conventional gear lever, however this was excessively hard to operate in the test mules. 2H for your normal daily run and when the going get tough the 4H mode, 4L mode when war breaks out. 2H and 4H modes can be operated on the fly. The lever was again extremely hard to operate sometimes needing both your shoulder strengths - hope these mannerisms are sorted in the final production versions. The low range setup gives the Gurkha epic crawl abilities.

The differential locks in a Gurkha are worth its weight in gold, it lets you conveniently forget the lack of good articulation possibilities in the Gurkha. Both front and rear lockers can be operated independently by cable held pull handles with small buttons inside which aid a smooth operation.In simple terms what these do is the lock your wheels on each of the axles (whichever is operated) to move in unison irrespective of the traction/resistance they encounter - so both your wheels on the axle spin identically - This is an immense help in offroading conditions like slippery/articulating mud pits, ruts and even steep inclines requiring a lot of traction.

Quite simply put with the differential locks engaged you don't need to be a skilled offroader but a novice driver (with a little bit of common sense) to handle the terrain. However use it with caution and use only when needed, immediately disengage after use, prolonged and unnecessary usage will surely lead to drive-train damage. Both front and rear axle ratios are set at 4.375 - This gives you immense lugging power when needed. In off-road trails the Gurkha will be more than happy pulling out vehicles in dire situations.

The crawl setup in a Gurkha has to be experienced to be believed, in 4 Low it can do 40 degree incline without any driver input - even if use the brake heavily (for steep descends you will need to) you will hardly be able to stall the Gurkha. Engage 4L and both lockers you feel as if you are driving a T-72 - the feeling of "Tank Tread Traction - Go Anywhere" literally. The engine is extremely torquey and generates it from low rpms which is great off-road. While we haven't had a chance to test this on road, we do feel the gearing will be slightly on the shorter side.

The 5th gear is overdrive so our guess is it will still be a comfortable highway cruiser at 100kmph. Hopefully we will be able to cover this part in detail once we test the Gurkha in more real world conditions outside the factory test track. Gurkha has front disc brakes and rear drum set up, in our short off-road test we found them pretty effective. The handbrake is now located in the center space between the front seats and operated with ease as well.

The definition of safety aspects in a Gurkha (offroader) - I will slightly twist, I wont go in to conventional aspects like airbags, abs etc - rather the safety mechanisms inherently built for offroading. The one word that comes with offroading is abuse - an ability to take extreme stress and loads and come out bruised but not beaten. The tubular chassis provides you with that indestructible/invincible load taking abilities.

The front suspension is independent with solid torsion bar & hydraulic telescopic shock absorber with anti roll bar whereas the rear is 2 stage semi elliptical leaf spring with hydraulic telescopic shock absorber & anti roll bar - again old school but immense load handling capability. Keeps both the owner and the vehicle safe from abuse and extreme terrain! Adequate protection exists for the fuel tank, engine, propeller shaft joints. Leaf Springs have plastic inserts with the intention to reduce suspension noise.

The skid plates and the front bumper had taken quite some beating in the test track, the front bumper is what took the maximum scars. The under body and skid plates seemed to have the capability to endure hell. They were battered but not beaten, these skid plates will protect costly under body components and keep you safe while navigating an off-road trail. The exhaust pipe is located in the sides close to the rear tyre and is one more thing you need to consider when encountering steep break-over angles. We are told this change was done from a better packaging angle.

The catalytic converter is a candidate for damage too when extreme off roading. In case of negotiating center humps be cautious not to hit steering rods as they are located close to minimum GC of the vehicle. Gurkha comes stock with Apollo Hawkkz A/T tyres (245 / 70R16) riding on 16 inch alloys. Serious off roaders should be able to up-size to larger hub PCDs to fit bigger tyres if they feel to need to increase the GC from the current 210mm. In terms of maximum tyre size upgrade (Force recommended) one could go for 7.50 R 16 with a change in the hub. Its however good to see A/T tyres as stock - after all you are branding it as a E.O.V. (Extreme Off-Roader Vehicle) With a fuel tank capacity of 63 liters, Gurkha can do long runs all in decent comfort considering its built largely for off-road purposes.

Iron Rock 28th June 2013 03:34 PM

New Force Gurkha: 4x4 and Handling

As the factory drive only provided a small 4x4 track we have hardly done much asphalt running, so this section will rather focus on the limited capabilities we explored in the Force track. Force have created a small off-road track within their premises at the Akurdi plant. The track specifically created for the Gurkha boasts of articulations ditches, steep descends, stone and gravel based sections, steep ascends, a side slope, some slush and a water fording section. The best aspect of the track was it was all natural, no iron and steel artificial structures, though the track could have been a bit longer with more challenges.

The drive began with the Force Project Leader giving us a demonstration of the vehicle abilities in the track and the precautions to be taken. The plan was then to take over from then and begin the limited tests. The first of the obstacles were the articulation ditches, created in such a way that your left front and right rear tyres (or vice versa) sink in or float - this first section itself demonstrated why the lockers give the Gurkha the off-road capabilities which otherwise even a low range box (without lockers) will find a little difficult to negotiate. The ditches were deep enough for the Gurkha to hit its bumper and bottom at some instances. I'll let the pictures do some of the talking.

We did this section with and without the lockers engaged and the difference was very apparent - without the lockers tyres found traction hard(as one of the sides used to be airborne and struggled - with the lockers on it was like singing a lullaby to an infant. It simply felt like a tank going about doing its business. While articulation is limited, the lockers more than make up for it.

While it is very obvious that factory test tracks would be limited in nature and designed to suit the "purpose" this track did cause a fair amount of under body bruises as the test vehicle was subject to regular abuse in this track. The fiber bumper had quite some abrasions and even cracks and cuts but surprisingly still held on well. The lower chassis elements were also taking a beating but hardly showed any sign of deformation - it is built well and you could plough a field, it felt as if even when beached, damage would be limited to abrasions and bruises - nothing too serious.

The next was negotiating a steep slope, slope was officially created at 35 degrees - however it was abused enough for it to be somewhere in 37-40 degree range. The key aspect here was with low range you still had to use brakes, the Gurkha descends quickly otherwise, off course gravity is a factor too for the heavy vehicle. The slope was steep enough for you to hold brakes and at instances still continue to skid downwards.

This picture is taken against a horizontal base, shows the angle of the decline, rear occupants could hardly sit in the second row without falling forward, seat belts come handy in such situations as well.

This gives a good view of the rigid rear axle, tow hook and rear skid plates.

The next was quite simple rocky/gravel patch leading to a short but steeply raked incline.

We did do the steep short incline (about 25-30 degrees or so) with and without lockers with no throttle inputs (Golden rule in offroading - NO BAC ) - with the lockers on Gurkha was making it so easy making you wonder who said off roading requires skill. The Gurkha was simply making a mockery of the Force track, it requires something much more extreme. The slush pit was easy peasy, it could easily do in 4H, probably could have done in 2H itself.

The water fording section was hit with water shortage (this test was done just before monsoon) - so there are hardly anything we could test there except taking a few glory shots , the Gurkha claims a fording capability of 550mm - though practical folk lore and you tube videos show its capabilities much more than that.

Iron Rock 28th June 2013 03:34 PM

New Force Gurkha: Likes, Dislikes and Star Ratings

Even with a limited drive, we can confidently say the Gurkha is one of the best sub 10 lakh rupee true off-roaders. It does not have the best fit and finish, it does not have the best quality dashboard and interiors nor any fancy luxuries. But what you get is a bare bones no frills go anywhere true blue SUV. True to the name and soul. If you are looking to seriously off-road, it would be hard to ignore the Gurkha, the options are anyways very limited in this price bracket. Force Gurkha's USP is its ability to take abuse, take on terrain you wouldn't dare in the other so called SUVs and still come back with a smile pasted on your face and a million dollar feel of "Conquest"! A proven torquey DI engine (though some might ask why not a more modern CRDe!), an invincible tubular chassis, low range box with independent differential lockers all put together in to a sub 4 metre structure resembling an old G-Wagen is what the Gurkha is all about. Its aging and basic but you will still love it for what it can do. Effortless at that!

Force's biggest challenge however is to provide the Personal Vehicles Division customers a dealership and after sales experience they could bank on. This aspect remains a question mark on what is otherwise a rugged vehicle. Yes there are several shortcomings with crude fit and finish, dash and fascia - but the Gurkha owner will still look beyond all that as long as he would be catered to well in the after sales and service department. As I mentioned before with the Gurkha you don't need to be a skilled off roader, it will make you feel one anyways. That's the strength of Gurkha and that's it main USP. Pricing comparing the hardtop and soft-top 4x4 is strange with just a 15k difference - however generally we think Force should provide slightly better quality interiors, a good effective AC, smoother gear shifts with the final production version at this price - that should make it well priced. What the Gurkha currently enjoys as a USP is the fact its a 4x4 hard top short wheelbase true blue offroader, while the Thar is the nearest competitor it isn't sold in the hard top guise yet. The Gurkha also comes with a 3 year/ 300,000 kms warranty which is impressive.

Force Gurkha Service Intervals:
  • First Service: 1000 Kms or 30 Days
  • Subsequent Service: 10,000 Kms
  • Note: First four services are free

You'll Love: [thumbsup]
  • 4x4 Low/High range gearbox with leech like crawl capability.
  • Rugged underpinnings with a near indestructible abuse friendly chassis.
  • Front and rear independent differential lockers to get you out of some very tricky situations.
  • Proven Mercedes' engine which is adequately fuel efficient and comfortable on road behavior as well.
  • Go anywhere credentials with best in class approach/departure and ramp break-over angles coupled with a 550mm+ water wading capability.

You'll Loathe: [thumbsdown]
  • Hard gears on the test prototypes and a heavy clutch.
  • Short gear ratios for on road usage, designed more for off-road purpose. Some more Bhp would have been welcome too.
  • Force after sales have a lot to prove for the customers in the personal vehicle division.
  • 3 Door set up, generally low on ergonomics and no jump seats provided for occasional use
  • Poor quality, fit and Finish - dashboard, under seat fittings and general quality sub par internals.

The Automotive India Star Ratings:

Iron Rock 28th June 2013 03:34 PM

New Force Gurkha: Technical Specifications and Comparison
Force Gurkha Price Comparison
Note: Prices are Ex. showroom, Delhi. Prices mentioned for Mahindra Thar CRDe 4x4.

Force Gurkha Technical Specifications:

> Engine: TD 2650 FTI BS-III Turbo Charged Intercooled

> Compression Ratio: 18:1

> Type: Direct Injection

> Max Output: 60 kW @ 3200 RPM

> Displacement: 2596 CC

> Max Torque: 230 Nm @ 1800-2000 RPM


> Type: Single Plate, Dry Friction, Hydraulically Actuated

> Transfer Case: Single Lever Selective 4X4 with ratio 2.04:1

> Transmission: G1 18/5B – Overdrive

> Front Axle Ratio: 4.375 with Diff lock (Live independent)

> Rear Axle Ratio: 4.375 with Diff lock (Live Rigid)

> Gears: 5 Forward, 1 Reverse


> Type: Power Steering

> Chassis Frame: Tubular Ladder Type

> Turning Radius: 5.8 m


> Front: Independent with Solid Torsion Bar & Hydraulic Telescopic Shock Absorber & Anti roll bar

> Rear: Semi Elliptical Leaf Spring with Hydraulic Telescopic Shock Absorber & Anti roll bar


> Service Brakes Dual Circuit Hydraulic Vacuum Assisted with auto wear adjuster & LCRV Rear Drum Front Disc

Tyres and Wheels:

> Alloy Wheel: 6.5J X 16

> Tyres: 245 / 70R16

> Fuel Tank: 63 Ltr.


> Wheel Base: 2400

> Overhang Front: 735

> Overall width: 1820

> Overhang Rear: 857

> Overall Length: 3992

> Track Front: 1485

> Overall Height: 2055

> Track Rear: 1440

> Seating Capacity: Hard Top 4+D & Soft Top 5+D

> Ground Clearance: 210


> FAW: 1100 Kgs

> GVW: 2510 Kgs

> RAW: 1410 Kgs

> Brake Trailer :- 3765 kg.

> Un-brake Trailer :- 500 kg

> Tow Ball Nose Weight :- 75 kg

*Special thanks to A-team from Force who helped organize this drive and obliged us with plenty of answers to our questions, we had a detailed feedback session subsequently and it is encouraging to see a manufacturer keen for feedback on their niche product.

Iron Rock 28th June 2013 03:34 PM

New Force Gurkha: Pictorial Review
A worthy moniker for a vehicle named after the mighty Gurkha regiment as Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw had famously once said "If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha." Plenty of brand badging on the front, rear and sides.

A Solid SUV rear stance with the spare tyre located on the tail gate with plenty of glass for visibility outside, lights look like aftermarket units though well integrated within the bumper, a tow hook is provided.

Press buttons underneath the handles aiding in door opening function

Side stance is aggressive as well with bulging silver cladding's and a stainless steel snorkel adding to the character, lack of fit and finish, panel gaps do exist!

This soft top stole the heart of our friendly member and ace photographer Bumblebee

Soft Top v/s Hard top

Snorkel facing rearwards for clean air intake

Spare wheel on the rear tailgate is alloy and comes with lockable wheel nuts

The front Fibre grill and bumper might not find many fans, most would want the more rectangular previous generation butch face. Fog lamps are standard.

4x4x4 Stickering on the rear side, also advertising the Diff-Locks. Notice the fuel lid is old school key operated.

Rear Wheels/5 spoke alloys with drum brakes and a very puny mud flap. The rear overhang is slightly more than the front.

Front 16" inch alloys riding 245 / 70R16 Apollo Hawkz A/T tyres as standard. Note the front brakes are disc.

A wide foot-board is provided as standard - must have for easy ingress and egress

A macho bonnet shape resembling the G-Wagon, paint quality is notches above the previous gen trax vehicles.

Additional bonnet mounted side lamps provided which also adds to the character

Flimsy thin wipers provided, notice the single bonnet mounted wiper wash nozzle, will not be very effective

A high mounted brake lamp at the rear

Exhaust is mounted on the side close to the rear tyre, careful in the offroad trails as you can see it will take some beating

Underbody shot showing the massive sized tubular chassis and leaf springs. Some of the cables/wire fittings can come off in hard grassy trails, better to keep an eye and reinforce them.

The catalytic converter is closer to the center of the vehicle and predictably could take some hits as shown in the picture below. The drive-shaft however is located much upwards and is well protected/safe.

Front mud flaps are wide, notice the steering rods are closer to the lowest GC position, careful when negotiating a central hump.

Rear Differential and Suspension linkages

Body mounted on the tubular chassis, old school and easy to tinker and torque. Note the usage of rubber as bushing!

Iron Rock 28th June 2013 03:34 PM

New Force Gurkha: Pictorial Review
Strong Front skid plates which will take a lot of beating, notice the low hanging chassis element which will take some brunt however built strong and seemed like it could take on the weight even when the vehicle will beach on it.

Front independent suspension, notice the simple hydraulic telescopic element and front anti roll bar

Front tow hook welded to tubular chassis

The dashboard instrument cluster is very basic and shows a speedo, fuel guage and temperature gauge. Single trip meter is provided. Usual warning lights exist including showing 4 WD engagement and also differential lock engagement - however you need to look at them to know they are indeed on.

Center fascia is basic with 4 large AC vents, while directional knobs worked well, there was no thermostat provided for temperature control, the AC itself didn't feel effective in the test vehicle. The RPM meter is oddly placed very low in the center rather than the main instrument cluster - seems more like an afterthought. The scale itself is so wide as a driver you are hardly going to be able to read accurately. A 12V charging point is provided and also the hazard lights are operated a big black switch. Front headlamps beam adjustment switch is provided adjacent to it.

A strange box like fitting is provided where a single DIN system can be apparently plugged in , positioning and angle reminds you of cassette players from the days back then.

An OBD port exists in the dash, we couldn't test this out during the factory drive but will hopefully cover this aspect later.

A very innovative arrangement for Hot/Cold air option and also directing the air towards the front windshield, this worked surprisingly well. Air to the windshield is however blown through the dashboard crevice on the windshield side rather than dedicated openings - a crude way to implement.

Front doors open far and wide , decently finished, all windows are hand operated.

Basic Sun visor provided on both driver and passenger side

Driver and passenger front seat are quite comfortable, well cushioned and with arm rests, the passenger side seat has to be slided forward and then using the lever, pushed forward to make space for ingress to second row. This is the only access to second row. The seats are two way adjustable only, headrests are height adjustable. All 4 headrests provided are hollowed out.

This sticker explains the ingress to the second row in detail

This sticker is on the back on the passenger seat explaining the details to fold the front seat from the second row.

A lever is provided behind the passenger seat to also enable the second row occupants to fold the front passenger seat. Under seat fittings look crude but the lever can be easily foot operated. Also notice the gear lever position vis-a-vis the 4x4 lever, the usual gear lever is raked/angled and not very ergonomic to use while the 4x4 lever is more easily reached by hand. The rubber covers at the base of the gear levers are flimsy.

This image gives a good view of ingress/egress space available, while its adequate for an average sized individual, someone healthy and on the heavier side might find it cumbersome coupled with the floor height factor.

Internal IRVM provided decent visibility thanks to the big rear glass, however do remember the Gurkha floor sits quiet high, you might not able to see something small right behind the car. Also the rear seat back position is high.

ORVMs are good as well and are vertically placed, you could see a branch of tree hanging downwards while navigating the Gurkha in an off-road trail

There is no dead pedal provided and the pedals are at slightly raked angle compared to conventional pedals. Notice the weak bonnet opening lever. The floor mattings are fairly below average quality reminiscent of the 80s.

The steering is big and raked towards the horizontal, reminds you of the old trucks and sumo/trax steering. It felt adequately balanced though neither too easy nor too hard.

The right side of the steering has stalks to operate the lights - all basic operations, fog lamps are operated by separated switch(marked yellow) on the right side of the dash. The fit and finish of ac vents is sub par.

The wipe and wash features (for front windshield only) are basic as well, no wiper or washer for the rear glass.

Iron Rock 28th June 2013 03:34 PM

New Force Gurkha: Pictorial Review
The passenger side has a small dashboard with a lockable key and circular ac vents at the end. Again fit and finish have a lot to be desired. The opening mechanism also crude. Handlebar provided is a good utility while offroading for the passenger.

While ingress and egress might not be the easiest to the second row, the seat itself is well cushioned with more than adequate leg room. Thigh support is limited. Both seats have handle bars which are handy when offroading for the occupants. Seat belts are provided to the window passengers and lap belt to the central passenger. The centre passenger has no headrest though. Seats are adequately wide and handle bars provided are both sides, windows are however sliding and not roll-down for the second row. The floor is quite high compared to the front seats and hence forward visibility is excellent.

You’ll have to make use of seat back pouch to keep knick knacks as there’s no pocket on rear doors.

A strap bottle holder is provided on either sides in the second row

The soft top has rear bench seats and no forward facing rows, good for short journeys though too upright for long journeys. Leg space will be limited too if 4 sitting abreast.

Internal roof linings and fittings are very average and will need care in the long run, 2 roof lamps are provided.

The rear door opens to a small luggage space, no jump seats are provided, though it could have been possible with some creative work done to the middle row.

The boot space also has a large fixed window

Under the second row is jack mounted and the tool kit strapped, pretty basic but functional

The boot door can be locked and unlocked from inside as well

A fairly neatly layed out engine bay, no plastic covers

1-3-4-2 detonation sequence in the longitudinally mounted 4 cylinder unit

Air filter health can be checked by this visual element

Oil Dipstick can be accessed with a little effort

Sound insulation provided under the bonnet, crudely fitted insulation cloth and notice the flimsy water pipe to the windshield washer

A lamp provided in the engine bay, a good old school touch!

This butch looking Force One was doing duty ferrying us inside the factory :biggrin:

Iron Rock 28th June 2013 03:34 PM

New Force Gurkha: Pictorial Review
Some high resolution images sourced from Force Motors.

© Any attempt to republish the text or pictures anyway without prior consent of our authorities is strictly forbidden.

350Z 28th June 2013 07:51 PM

Re: New Force Gurkha Test Drive Review
Note: Force Gurkha road test review now online. Thanks for reading the review.

Drive Safe,

Raja 28th June 2013 11:15 PM

Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review
Holy moly what a review ironrock .

And who else can do this review better then you. super review , superb pics and I think it is a one of its kind a first comprehensive review of the Gurkha ever .

Kudos to your effort rating 5* .

jarpickle 29th June 2013 12:48 AM

Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review
2 Attachment(s)
The much awaited review is finally here.

Any inside factory pics.Showing the building and assembling process?

Extensive writeup and awesome pictures.Great job [cheers]

Whats with the gap in the fenders and the moulding.Is this for water to escape during wading?

ASIR 29th June 2013 12:02 PM

Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review
Great review and writeup. The exterior looks great.They would have worked on the dash to attract customers.

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