In our comparison a few months back, we pit the Force Gurkha against the Mahindra Thar to see which of them made for a better package. The Gurkha had the edge over the Thar in a few areas – it has a quieter cabin with comparatively better ergonomics, nicer ride quality (thanks to the independent front and multi-link set-up at the rear) and more precise off-road mannerisms, especially in hardcore environments. However, the Thar still emerged as the winner for being easier to drive and live with, overall, and its more powerful 107hp, 2.5-litre motor fared better on the highway as compared to the Gurkha’s wheezy 85hp, 2.6-litre motor.
Now Force has quietly added a new more powerful 140hp derivative of the Gurkha to its line-up. Badged the Gurkha Xtreme, the model features heavily revised mechanicals that should cover some of the chinks seen in the armour of the standard Gurkha.
How do they compare on power?
It’s the area of performance that Force Motors has decided to address, and it’s bound to excite the mud-slinging enthusiasts amongst you. The Force Gurkha Xtreme gets a Mercedes-Benz-licensed OM611 2.2-litre, common-rail diesel engine – a unit that has previously done duty on the W210 E-class and the now-discontinued Force One SUV. This engine, which also happened to be Mercedes’ first common-rail diesel, was replaced by the OM646 (W211 E 200 CDI/220 CDI) but was similar in its overall architecture.
The Gurkha's new 2.2-litre unit develops a more substantial 140hp at 3,800 rpm and 321Nm of torque at 1,600-2,400 rpm. The gearbox is also new with the Gurkha’s standard unit replaced by a Mercedes-Benz G32 5-speed manual transmission. Four-wheel drive is standard, as are front- and rear-differential locks. In comparison, the Mahindra Thar’s 2.5-litre diesel engine is 33hp down on the Xtreme and it produces 247Nm of torque from 1,800-2,000 rpm. It also only gets a mechanical (read automatic) rear-diff lock which takes away from precise controllability in low-traction situations.
|Force Gurkha Xtreme||Mahindra Thar|
|Engine||4-cyl, turbo-diesel||4-cyl, turbo-diesel|
|Transmission||5-speed manual||5-speed manual|
What about off-road numbers?
The Gurkha already boasted proven underpinnings in terms of off-roading, so the Xtreme has its work cut out for it. Unlike the Xplorer, though, the Xtreme offers 5mm lower ground clearance (205mm now) – although it’s still higher than the Thar’s (200mm). It also runs on slightly wider tyres than the Xplorer, now sporting 245/70 R16s. The Thar, meanwhile, gets 235/70 R16s.
The Xtreme also boasts a wider track than the Xplorer – up by 40mm, to 1,530mm – and the Thar, as well (1,445mm). Hardcore off-roaders take note – The Gurkha Xtreme also has the edge when it comes to approach, departure and ramp-breakover angles. The Gurkha Xtreme’s 44-, 35- and 28-degree approach, departure and ramp-breakover angles are an improvement over the Thar’s 44-, 27- and 15-degree figures.
|Force Gurkha Xtreme||Mahindra Thar|
|Tyres||245/70 R16||235/70 R16|
|Approach angle||44 degrees||44 degress|
|Departure angle||35 degress||27 degrees|
|Ramp breakover angle||28 degrees||15 degrees|
How do they compare on price?
In terms of pricing, the new Gurkha Xtreme cost a significant premium over the Thar. The Gurkha Xtreme is priced at Rs 12.99 lakh (ex-showroom, India) while the Thar CRDe costs Rs 9.40 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
On paper, the new Gurkha Xtreme should cover some of the Xplorer's shortfalls with its new and more powerful engine, new gearbox and new multi-link front suspension. However, we will have to wait to get our hands on the SUV to definitively know just how it fares compared to the more affordable Gurkha Xplorer and the Mahindra Thar.
Which of the two hardcore off-roaders would you pick for your mud-slinging adventures? Let us know in the comments section below.