New Force Gurkha 4x4 Review & Pictures


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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Arup a very warm welcome to tai, your insight and words are worth it's weight in gold to prospective Gurkha owners.

As a multiple Gurkha owner you are already a very strong contender for being the man with the most patience in the world.[:)]
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Arup a very warm welcome to tai, your insight and words are worth it's weight in gold to prospective Gurkha owners.

As a multiple Gurkha owner you are already a very strong contender for being the man with the most patience in the world.[:)]
Iron Rock thank you very much for your warm welcome, you are correct and probably its not patience but a strong shade of masochism. :wink:
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Iron Rock thank you very much for your warm welcome, you are correct and probably its not patience but a strong shade of masochism. :wink:
You saiD it really, the Gurkha owner has to have steel balls to keep a smile through his ownership cycle. Pain and pleasure in a lethal concoction.
I have come close a few times, but haven't been blessed enough to own one, the desire is still active, hopefully someday the Gurkha God will agree to have me as owner
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

You saiD it really, the Gurkha owner has to have steel balls to keep a smile through his ownership cycle. Pain and pleasure in a lethal concoction.
I have come close a few times, but haven't been blessed enough to own one, the desire is still active, hopefully someday the Gurkha God will agree to have me as owner
Actually the pangs are early on and if tackled right, the reward is long stable ownership experience. Its the company that makes the Gurkha thats to be blamed but thankfully not the Mercedes design thats its saving grace.

I will repeat that the new Gurkha owners should rigorously follow all the advice listed here, underbody coating must. The lube recommendation quintessential and so is the checking of all bolts under the body and over it. Tire change to right size is an absolute must. The Amazer Hawkz AT are more highway than all terrain and their sidewalls are very hard leading to extremely bumpy ride and poor grip off road. Also that size is just wrong for Gurkha.
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Always wanted to ask this to a Gurkha owner (and also a Pajero owner vice versa)

New Gurkha or a used Pajero SFX (assume decently maintained) and at the same price as a New Gurkha and your reasons for the same ? [:)]

P.S. Purpose is to solicit opinion and learn, i dont own either, but i want one each :P
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Both will have their plus or minuses, Pajero will need the addition of lockers to make it worthy of off road. However the only issue is that Pajero parts are very pricey and attrition and off road go gloves in hand. However if all you want is a good country touring vehicle with competent off road ability, I would go for Pajero. If you want frequent off road with your vehicle, I will stay away from the Pajero.

My Rexton does off road quite good as well with its automatic 4ETS that cuts power to spinning wheel via the ABS system and gives power to others. Its quite effective although still not close to the Gurkha's mechanical lockers. However its low overhang bumpers means taking frequent hits and Rexton parts like Pajero are expensive.
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Good points Arup, the Pajero does have a central locking differentials (if not individual).

Makes me wonder sometimes if Force and HM are competing on the service aspect in the negative scale :biggrin:
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Central diff locks exist in Fortuner as well. Before introduction of Rexton we had a choice of Pajero and Fortuner. I was biased on Pajero as I consider it a better overall package but my brother put his foot down against it. Reason........apathetic service by HM and local Shah Automobiles here in Bengal. He bought a brand new Pajero Sports for demo, the vehicle's speedo was disabled. When we tested it, it was surprisingly sluggish even though it has more torque and bhp than Fortuner. It was smoking heavily. When we asked the dealer about demo vehicle, his response was shocking. The demo vehicle was slated for a customer. That was the end of Pajero, I dont personally like the Fortuner but was destined to buy it till Mahindra came with the Rexton and the decision after some hard sell by me was for it.
We have been old Mahindra customer with Armada, Commander and two Scorpios so my brother and I were not too keen on any more Mahindra product. I know the story of Rexton quite well as my work in SE Asia had given me some exposure to them. After my brother test drove the 184bhp 401nm torque five cylinder Mercedes engine and butter smooth tranny, he softened up and I had to pull strings with Mahindra HO to make sure I got support and service. So far have done two Delhi Kolkata trips, also to Orissa and back as well as Sunderbans, the vehicle has been flawless and so has Mahindra support much to our surprise.
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

The less said about HM and Force dealership/service the better :tongue:
Ohh we have 2 rexton owners on the forum now, dhoom9 also has a rexton !
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

The less said about HM and Force dealership/service the better :tongue:
Ohh we have 2 rexton owners on the forum now, dhoom9 also has a rexton !
Thats a surprise, I hardly see any Rextons on road here compared to Malaysia and Russia where they are a common sight. Saw some in Germany and Italy as well for a change.
 
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Re: 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.

Hi Iron Rock, Arup,
I am concerned about the low steering arm, tie rods setup. In fact, when I test drove the new Gurkha in Bangalore a few weeks ago, I managed to bend it (as we got stuck on top of a tree trunk!) and the left front wheel went west! Of course we had to be pulled out first and to our horror we found that the steering arm got damaged. The sales person drove it as it is while the Gurkha literally limped back to the service station. Should I be concerned about this design flaw other than being careful while off-roading?

Arup,
I saw your recommendations and in particular about the 265mm tyres. Wouldn't it affect the torque a bit? especially since we are not lowering the diff ratio to compensate for this circumference? Also, we also need to change the worm gear in the gearbox so the odometer shows the right figures, right? Or do we feel that in the bigger scheme of things (with more than adequate torque in this engine and minor speed variation in the speedo), it is still worthy to go for 265mm tyres?

Thank you,
Baskar
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Hey Baskar Welcome to TAI firstly!
I think i mentioned this in the review itself the steering rod and cat are pretty low - for heavy offroading you will need to protect them, so bigger tyres, may be even a lift and i would also suggest a metal jhugad at certain places to protect the underbelly.
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Hey Baskar Welcome to TAI firstly!
I think i mentioned this in the review itself the steering rod and cat are pretty low - for heavy offroading you will need to protect them, so bigger tyres, may be even a lift and i would also suggest a metal jhugad at certain places to protect the underbelly.
Thanks Iron Rock. In fact, I saw your detailed review mentioning this drawback and sure enough I managed to expose that weak link. Anyways, I am prepared to upgrade to 265mm Geolanders as Arup has recommended. I know the leaf in the rear can be lifted with longer shackles. But how to lift the front IFS setup?
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Hey Baskar Welcome to TAI firstly!
I think i mentioned this in the review itself the steering rod and cat are pretty low - for heavy offroading you will need to protect them, so bigger tyres, may be even a lift and i would also suggest a metal jhugad at certain places to protect the underbelly.
There are many including myself who have taken Gurkha off road in severe conditions and apart from minor hits to sump guard, none have ever managed to hit the steering rod.
The original Gurkha had gearing for 7.50x16 tires but that was with lesser torque of 197nm, now its 235nm and even with higher final ratio there is very little impact from 265 tires. The speedo percentage can be adjusted for differences. Speed at 80 would be 83kmph with the 265. The 265 bring it close to the original 235mm ground clearance of the Gurkha. No Gurkha ever needed a lift and there are no kits for lift of the front IFS for this vehicle. The ideal tire is 7.50x16 or 235-85x16 as I have on my old Gurkha but that size now is very hard to source here in India and its pricey. 265 works out quite well in fact with the right footprint for soft sand.
 
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