Off roading is a mix of the car and the driver and takes efforts from both to conquer challenging terrains. These off-roaders are capable of being driven not only on rough terrains, but on tarmac as well and provide excellent features and off-roading capability at a reasonable price. Searching for the most ideal off roader?

Have less than 15 lakhs to spare? Then we have the appropriate list of choices that you would want to purchase to commence your off-roading expedition.The SUVs were evaluated on the basis of their price and features and practicality they provide both on and off road.

1. Force Ghurkha

Force Gurkha
The Force Gurkha by far is the most underrated off roader in the list. Powered by a Mercedes sourced 2.6-litre diesel engine, the Gurkha produces 82 PS of power and 230 Nm of torque. Force has also provided the Gurkha with differential locks on both front and the rear axles making it unstoppable on different terrains. The higher variants offer alloy wheels with all terrain tubeless radial tyres. Force has also equipped the Gurkha with an air intake snorkel allowing it to conquer deep waters easily.

However, the Force Gurkha lacks the overall quality and looks but makes up for it in terms of practicality and price. The prices for the base variant start at Rs. 6.25 lakhs for the soft top 4×2 version, while the top of the line hard top 4×4 is priced at Rs. 8.50 lakhs (prices ex-showroom Mumbai).

2. Maruti Gypsy

The Gypsy was last updated back in the 90’s and Maruti has been selling the same model ever since. Well the principle implies that if it ain’t broke, don’t change it. The Gypsy comes with no bells and whistles like modern SUVs but is still a favourite with the rallyists for its excellent ground clearance of 210mm and a kerb weight of just 985 kgs for the soft top. The Gypsy is powered by a 1.3-litre petrol engine producing 80 BHP of power and 103 Nm of torque, which is also the sore point, since there isn’t a diesel engine on offer. You also get a shift on fly manual 4×4 transfer case with low ratio, making it perfect for off-roading.

The Gypsy’s well aged cabin and bumpy ride quality are extremely unappealing though and need a major re-work.  However, the extreme light body makes it friendly with different terrains and is a bargain with prices starting at Rs. 6.20 lakhs for the BS-4 soft top version.

3. Mahindra Thar

Mahindra Great Escape Thar Performance
With the looks of the original jeep, Mahindra introduced the Thar as a successor to the Classic, keeping all the off roading credentials of the SUV intact. The Thar is one of the best SUV’s you can pick for pure off roading. With its simplistic design and robust chassis, it makes a reliable SUV for those who choose extreme off-roading. Powering the Thar is 2.5-litre CRDe engine producing 103 BHP of power and 247 Nm of torque. You also get a manual 4×4 transfer case and a 2.46:1 low ratio gear box. The Thar is equipped with leaf spring suspension and independent front suspension that give it good off road skills while also keeping the ride pliant on the tarmac as well. You also get a closed cabin with factory fitted AC, making it good for city use as well.

The Thar still loses out on the quality of the buttons and panels though. However, it is particularly more reliable with the potent diesel engine and comes with a host of customization options from Mahindra itself. Priced at around Rs. 7.50 lakhs (ex-showroom Mumbai), the Thar is for those who wish to make their own trail.

4. Mahindra Scorpio

Mahindra Scorpio long term side
Another of Mahindra’s SUV league, the Scorpio is a bare bones, no frills attached SUV that means serious business. It has the modern looks, while also the prowess to pass through muddy terrains. The Scorpio is powered by 2.2-litre CRDe mHawk engine producing 120 BHP and 290 Nm of torque. Mahindra also offers shift on the fly 4×4 transfer case on the Scorpio. The torsion bar front suspension and multi-link rear suspension make it capable of off-roading as well. You also get 16-inch alloy wheels on the Scorpio. The higher variants also offer airbags.

The Scorpio however still does not come with the refinement and quality and needs some technological additions as well. What it more than makes up for is its practicality on and off road. Prices at Rs. 11.50 lakhs for the top variant, the Scorpio is a value for money for offering.

5. Tata Safari Storme

Tata Safari Storme Road Test
The Safari has been an excellent SUV for a long time competing with the Scorpio. It comes with the essentials of an SUV along with certain premium features for the occupants. The Safari Storme is powered by a 2.2-litre VariCOR engine producing 140 BHP of power and 320 Nm of torque.  You also get shift on the fly 4×4 transfer case, a high ground clearance of 200 mm and a limited slip differential. The approach angle and depart angle are at 31o and can wade water up to the depth of 300 mm.

The interior and build quality could be much better. Priced at Rs. 14.46 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi) for the VX variant, the Safari Storme is the most expensive off roader you can purchase under 15 lakhs.

There are other options like the Tata Xenon pick-up or the Scorpio getaway pick-up that also come with off-roading credentials. You could also opt for the more expensive Mitsubishi Pajero Sport or the Toyota Fortuner, which are in the Rs. 20 lakh + price bracket. If the budget is not an issue, we suggest you wait it out for the upcoming Jeep Wrangler SUV, the father of off-roaders.