We got a short preview of the Force Gurkha RFC vehicle which showcased its massive off-road capabilities.
The Rain Forest Challenge is an off-roading competition that is quite popular in countries like China and Italy. The competition entered India for the first time in 2014. Force, a manufacturer known for its SUVs, tractors and other commercial vehicles was called in to sponsor the championship. The manufacturer has an off-road SUV in its kitty, the Gurkha which is a BS III vehicle but has some awesome off-road capabilities. Force Motors then started working on these new off-road vehicles which come with a lot of modifications like beefier tyres, performance axles and upgraded suspensions. However, parts like the engine and gearbox remain pretty much unchanged and even the ECU retains the same map.
The 2014 Rain Forest Challenge turned out to be quite successful with the Force Gurkha performing quite amazingly. The Challenge consisted of some really gruesome off-road terrains along with various articulations, slopes, etc. The second edition of the Rain Forest Challenge took place in Goa in July 2015 and again Force took part as an official sponsor with three of their own teams participating in the competition.
The 2015 models of the Gurkha came with some changes over the 2014 models to help improve performance. The SUV again turned out to be a brilliant performer in this year’s rally and now we got a sneak peak in to the vehicle’s capabilities. The 2014 RFC vehicles came with Dana 44 front and rear axles while the 2015 models came with Dana 60 axles. The SUV gets a hydraulic power steering unit from the Force Balwan tractor. Top speed of the vehicle is limited to 100 km/hr and it can travel over a maximum gradient of 60 degrees vis-à-vis 45 degrees of the 2014 model. The 2014 and 2015 models came with ground clearances of 240 mm and 290 mm respectively. The 2015 model has a maximum roll-over angle of 30 degrees, approach angle of 88 degrees and departure angle of 58 degrees. The SUV also has excellent water-wading capabilities of up to 1100 mm.
I got a chance to sit in the passenger seat of the 2015 RFC car at Force’s in-built off-road track and was taken through the track in the vehicle which was driven by an official from the company itself. The track is quite enthralling and has some tricky slopes, angles and turns. The RFC vehicle tackled all of these without breaking into a sweat and I came out quite impressed with the vehicle’s capabilities. I could sense the vehicle’s abilities even while sitting shotgun and that’s when I realised that the SUV is much more capable of than what I actually thought.
Then I drove the regular Gurkha as well as the 2015 RFC Gurkha for a short while. The regular Gurkha drives just like an old-school SUV in a true rugged manner. It has a commanding view and chugs along nicely and you get a true SUV feel while driving it. But, the RFC SUV was a revelation. The vehicle has a high seating position and even getting in and out is quite a task. It comes with racing seats that are a snug fit. The vehicle is so tricky to drive with its hard steering, long gear throws which are again hard and all the raw power that it has. The Gurkha RFC isn’t like your regular SUV at all. It requires a lot of effort to drive and my respect for the people who drove this during the off-road challenge just increased.
The vehicle is good in its own way. It has immense power and prowess to tackle the toughest of roads who put it through. The 2015 Force RFC Gurkha comes powered by the same 2.2-litre diesel engine that also powers the Force One. The engine produces 140 BHP of power at 3800 RPM and 320 Nm of torque from 1600-2400 RPM. It comes with the same G 32/5B gearbox from the Force Traveller BS IV and the One SUV. Force will soon be launching a BS IV version of the Gurkha and that’ll surely help the company find a bigger segment of buyers. The BS IV Gurkha will be offered with the current 2.6-litre engine as well as the 2.2-litre engine.