Performance – The Force Gurkha gets a Mercedes 2.6-litre, 4-cylinder, diesel engine that puts out 85 HP at 3200 RPM and 230 Nm from 1400-2400 RPM. The engine is very loud and a lot of engine noise can be heard inside the cabin. Driveability is good at the low-end of the RPM band but the vehicle takes forever to gather pace when you’re out on the highways. While 80 km/hr comes up in a decent enough time, the run to 100 km/hr takes infinity and beyond which makes it a struggle to get the car to high speeds. According to our VBOX tests, we managed a 0-100 km/hr timing of 28.67 seconds.
When you take the Gurkha off the road, you forget all its negatives
But, this is the Force Gurkha that I’m talking about, a car which is meant for off-roading. And boy does it shine in formidable conditions! The Gurkha makes every obstacle, every climb feel like a piece of cake and tackles whatever you ask it to. While it comes with a low range mode and manually lockable differentials at the front and rear, most of the time we used only 2WD and still cleared many obstacles. The levers for the locking differentials are very hard and it is quite a task to use them though. Gravel, sand, mud, water, take the Gurkha wherever you want to and it won’t disappoint you with its abilities and this is what makes the SUV so much fun to drive. On a particular climb, we went flat out on the throttle and the way it jumped was epic.
Talking about the gearbox, it is a manual 5-speed unit. The throws are very long and far from slick. It is a big effort to slot into 2nd or reverse and this becomes irritating, especially when you need to keep shifting to 2nd in traffic. The clutch is very light though which is a relief because you get tired of all the heavy gear shifts and manoeuvring with the steering, which again is very heavy. On the fuel efficiency front, expect no more than 10-12 km/l under regular usage.
Driving Dynamics – As I mentioned earlier, the steering is on the heavier side. The SUV has decent stability at high speeds but as expected, there is a lot of body roll and obviously you cannot go corner carving with this one. What really impressed me is the ride quality which is very good for our roads and absorbs all kinds of potholes, craters, broken roads, no roads, etc. with ease. The tyres are also quite grippy but the brakes aren’t that great under hard braking situations.