With Mahindra & Mahindra launching its updated Thar model, the competition among India's three off-roaders has risen to a new level. In this face-off of the off-roaders between Mahindra Thar, Force Gurkha and Maruti Suzuki Gypsy, we explain how well they stack up against each other:
Mahindra Thar vs Force Gurkha vs Maruti Gypsy: Off-roading
All three vehicles have proved their mettle over the years by participating in various tough off-road challenges in India. However, these three vehicles come with standard stock car capabilities compared to upmarket modified foreign-made off-roaders that they compete against. All three of these come with both high and low ratio standard transfer boxes with 4WD system. While Mahindra Thar recently got a mechanically locking differential for the rear axle in the updated version, Force Gurkha scores a plus with additional off-road equipment such as locking differential on the both front and rear axle. Maruti Suzuki Gypsy sadly falls behind the two with neither front nor rear locking differential. But having said that, Maruti Gypsy is also the lightest of the lot, thus proving to be very agile while off-roading. The ground clearance of Mahindra Thar falls short as it stands at 200mm from the ground even as both Gurkha and Gypsy stand at 210 mm.
Mahindra Thar vs Force Gurkha vs Maruti Gypsy: Dimensions and Maneuverability
It is a given that dimensions have to be perfect to make for better maneuverability of the vehicle on difficult terrain while off-roading. Both Mahindra Thar and Force Gurkha are sub-4 metre vehicles while the Gypsy stands at more than 4 metres though its narrow width makes it suitable for tight corners. Its narrow width does have the advantage in tight places but on the negative side, it restricts one from having enough traction too. This is where both Mahindra Thar and Force Gurkha score brownie points as their wider track helps them to stay well footed on slippery terrain.
Mahindra Thar vs Force Gurkha vs Maruti Gypsy: Powerplant
Mechanically, Mahindra Thar is fitted with the most advanced engine that gives good performance in both speed and low-end pulling torque. The 2.5 litre CRDe engine has been refined over time and delivers 105bhp of power with a maximum torque of 247Nm. Its 2.5 litre engine not only provides good low-end torque but also is low on the disturbing diesel knock and can quickly speed up to 120 kmph. Force Gurkha is powered by a 2.6 litre Merc-driven mill that delivers 82bhp of power and 230Nm of peak torque. Though it lacks refinement, its low-end torque keeps it moving even on difficult terrain. Maruti Gypsy has the smoothest engine of them all considering it runs on petrol. Its 1.3 litre MPFI engine is the quickest too, thanks to its low kerb weight, which allows it to float easily on difficult terrain.
Mahindra Thar vs Force Gurkha vs Maruti Gypsy: Verdict
When all the above three SUV’s are compared against each other, the fight is a close one between Mahindra Thar and Force Gurkha. However, it is Force Gurkha that stands out as the clear winner. Its impressive off-roading credentials pull it ahead of the other two SUVs. The car does compromise on interior car-like comfort though, but then it is not every day that one does off-roading. However, Mahindra Thar with its contemporary interiors and stylish updated design has an edge over the other two in the look-and-feel department and is definitely a very good off-roader too. To that is added the positive factor that its enhanced features and ability to function as a regular car makes it quite a comfortable off-roader. The Maruti Gypsy ranks third with its lack of A/C unit and drab interiors. In addition, its engine does not provide the driver with much needed low end pulling torque, making it the least preferable off-roader on uneven terrain.