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Old 20th November 2016, 18:44   #136
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Default Re: Review: The Force Gurkha 4x4

It doesn't seem as though the Gurkha has won the outright praise of so many in this thread, but thought I'd share my own perspective, being that I finally got to test-drive one both on and off-road up here in Manali. As for me, I came away more impressed than I expected to be.

The nearest Force showroom has allegedly sold about eight Gurkhas in our surrounding area (we're 2-1/2 hrs. from that outlet) and apparently wants badly enough to sell more that they were willing to drive with three of their staff up here to let the local charitable hospital - who does a lot of plying on rough roads beyond Rohtang - try it out; hospital staff in turn called on me for my own opinion / evaluation, thus my opportunity.

I suppose it was a year or so ago when I saw that showroom with three Gurkhas in stock - I'd guess they are looking to chip away some market share from the Maruti Gypsy, which has been selling VERY well up here around Manali lately; I looked over a softtop Gurkha and concluded that it was an interesting vehicle but poorly constructed / finished (very unstraight body panels and paint full of orange-peel) and at something near nine lakhs, despite its purported offroad capabilities, it seemed pretty overpriced.

This time it seemed different though:

Build quality: This time it was a hardtop (white with matte black top) with what appeared to be very decent body/paintwork. Interior / instrumentation / seating is basic but quite comfortable - we had five aboard, and that was the opinion from the second-row passengers, as well. There were just a few small rattles / creaks on the rough road we tested it, and some panel vibe under the passenger-side dashboard in one rpm range as the DI engine was revved, but nothing severe / particularly objectionable considering the speed and terrain (the company rep was citing the desire for body rigidity as being the reason for only offering this in three-door form), and most of the small jiggles probably could be rectified as needed. I remember a thread here complaining of a new Honda car with an annoying rattle in a door (and I won't even mention the Thar's full gamut)... so such issues are not exactly exclusive Force territory.

Suspension: Tuning seems a very good compromise between offroadability and reasonable ride comfort - I was able to drive along a very kuchcha link road at quite high speed without my body getting pounded / lurched around, while only managing to bottom the (front) suspension once (when I was sort of trying to - on a big protruding stone at speed) Which is to say that it is worlds away from - and overall much more practical / balanced than both the over-harsh Bolero / Camper 4x4's and the overly-plush, continually bottoming previous-gen Scorpio 4wd's (can't comment on the current S4).

Engine: This was still a BSIII model, a company demo with 21,000kms done, and it remains to be seen how the upcoming BSIV's will perform; that said, in terms of low-end / off-idle torque it seemed far superior to the mHawk/CRDe versions of the Scorpio/Thar I've driven in these hills. There is turbo lag, but it is not too severe and so long as the revs are kept up just a bit, there is no dramatic loss of boost during gear changes (like the mHawk especially), etc. Idling in low range the car will crawl up just about anything I suppose (we tried it). I wasn't able to test it at high speeds, and I suspect that plains-style highway overtaking maneuvers would be more difficult than with engines tuned more towards high upper-rpm output - but if one is driving moderately and reasonably in the town/city/country roads and some highway, I'd expect the power / responsiveness would prove sufficient for all-round use.

Offroad: The nearest river crossing on the like road just above our village has become a dead-end now on account of a newly constructed bridge - but the company rep was eager to show me the Gurkha's abilities and directed me to drive us directly upstream. "There - into that pool?" I asked - it looked risky. "Yes, go ahead". I eased it in that direction, still in 2wd, and it immediately became obvious that the pool was a lot deeper - and with a much more abrupt entry - than it had appeared. The nose bumped up over something and then suddenly dropped down very low, leaving us with water swirling all around us probably near the tops of the front tyres, while the side-exiting silencer pipe gurgled underwater. I had felt something bump on the undercarriage, and I suppose we all thought it would be good to stop there. Reversing, I let out the clutch but there was no grip, only wheelspin (the company-fitted tyres are not large in diameter, and are of the worst of the so-called A/T designs).

The youngest member of the showroom crew reached forward and pulled the lever to engage 4wd Low range. I eased the clutch again, and still got wheelspin... Uh-oh... This is where I'd found myself in our Marshal, the whole family inside, a couple years back, wishing I'd listened to my wife's advice to not test such "unknown waters"; In that case, I'd had to wade out on foot through a swift current, and it was God's grace that the other local Marshal 4x4 in the village just "happened to" pull up right behind, and tow us out.

In our similar predicament with this Gurka - where 4x4 proved just not enough - it was not that complicated or potentially dangerous: The young man again reached forward, this time engaging the rear differential lock. I reached forward to do the same with the front axle, but he told me to leave it alone. I again eased the clutch, and the car immediately and easily backed out, up over whatever big stone in the river bottom was holding us, up the steep slope of the pool's edge, with absolutely no slippage or dramatics at all. I was off-course a bit though, getting even deeper on the right rear and near to a big boulder, so had to go forward again and straighten out. Again pulled right back out without trouble. I can only imagine what the front diff lock can add to the equation, considering that more of the weight is over the front tyres - in a situation like ours especially, where the nose was facing downhill.

I realize that any offroader can finally get hung up when the car gets "high-centered" - i.e., the chassis is resting on solid ground / hard-packed snow / some obstacle, with the ground under the wheels low enough that they're not able to exert any pressure on it. At that point anyone is basically in trouble and is going to need a winch / tow - BUT: up to THAT point, it would seem that with a good set of tyres, the Gurka is basically going to be pretty unstoppable. There is clearly nothing else like it available in the Indian market with such advanced hardware / offroad acumen right there off-the-shelf (i.e., without costly aftermarket LSD's / diff-locks, etc).

Price: The hardtop approaches ten lakhs by now, but compared to the base Scorpio S4 4wd at 11.5+ and Thar CRDe at 8.85L (considerably more by the time you fit a hardtop), the extremely spartan, much smaller, and uncomfortably jumpy Gypsy at over 7L (on-road), higher models of the Sumo Gold 2wd which are (unbelievably) near 9 lakh, the upcoming Bolero 4x4 m2Di estimated at 8.2L or more, the AWD Duster at 12-13L, and of course something like the Fortuner / Mitsu AWD's in the high 20's; All said, the price actually seems reasonable to me for a car that seems both all-road capable and daily-livable, something with good legroom and some luggage space and a carrier-ready solid roof for the expedition-oriented.

Conclusion: I admittedly only had a short time with the Gurkha, but it left me impressed. The lower-control-arm mounting points seem to hang a bit low and thus seem more vulnerable than on something like the Thar's IFS setup, but otherwise for all-round hill use at least, I don't see any reason to prefer any other current 4x4 market offering.

In all, to me the Gurkha represents a pretty capable rough-roader / off-roader that offers solid construction and comfortable ride and interior; it doesn't have the classic CJ look of the Thar, but then again it's got the classic "G-Wagen" look of another, equally distinguished and historic marque; Overall a real offroad-proven all-rounder that seems would be easy to live with / commute / travel in on all sorts of roads. If I had some extra lakhs laying around and thought I could sell the Marshal for anything near what we've got in it, I'd be thinking of the Gurkha as a very solid, reasonable, practical, and moreover appealing purchase. I realize I've been driving something very very rough and crude these past five years that we've nonetheless happily managed some long tours and even express-way travel in - in comparison to the Marshal the Gurkha is downright luxurious, and for people like us I can't imagine it being an objectionable daily driver. I definitely prefer it to and consider it better balanced than the Thar/Scorpio I've also spent some time in the hills in.

Regards and thanks for reading,

Eric

Last edited by ringoism : 20th November 2016 at 18:47.
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Old 22nd November 2016, 00:54   #137
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Default Re: Review: The Force Gurkha 4x4

[quote=ringoism;4095816]

A much needed review. I only hope the newer CRdi versions live up to the same standards. And they could atleast bump up the power to 100 BHP. It would be really helpful if you could do a comparo with Thar CRDE and Di performance in the hills. Do you believe it is more suited for HP roads. I specially want to know about the lag. The Thar just requires too much gear shifts and clutch burning sometimes.
Thanx
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Old 22nd November 2016, 09:35   #138
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Quote:
Overall a real offroad-proven all-rounder that seems would be easy to live with / commute / travel in on all sorts of roads.
I agree with vibavraghav that a comparison with the Thar CRDe would be useful to some like me, who is in the market for a 4x4. Besides the performance in the hills, I would also be interested in knowing how the two compare in city conditions, where I will primarily use the vehicle.
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Old 22nd November 2016, 18:26   #139
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Default Re: Review: The Force Gurkha 4x4

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Originally Posted by ringoism View Post

The nearest Force showroom has allegedly sold about eight Gurkhas in our surrounding area (we're 2-1/2 hrs. from that outlet)

Conclusion: I admittedly only had a short time with the Gurkha, but it left me impressed. The lower-control-arm mounting points seem to hang a bit low and thus seem more vulnerable than on something like the Thar's IFS setup, but otherwise for all-round hill use at least, I don't see any reason to prefer any other current 4x4 market offering.


Eric
Eric, looks like the crown gear ratios might be 4:375? That ought to climb hills pretty good. And, where is the dealer? Mandi?

Does it have PS, A/C, heater? There are a lot of large FORCE mini busses around here. Travellers. I wonder where they are getting parts and service? That being a major stumbling block toward a purchase.

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Old 27th November 2016, 21:40   #140
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Originally Posted by DirtyDan View Post
Eric, looks like the crown gear ratios might be 4:375? That ought to climb hills pretty good. And, where is the dealer? Mandi?

Does it have PS, A/C, heater? There are a lot of large FORCE mini busses around here. Travellers. I wonder where they are getting parts and service? That being a major stumbling block toward a purchase.
Yes, the dealer is in Mandi and they seem (pre-purchase, of course ) to be rather cooperative, helpful people. The hospital I mentioned owns two Travellers (van & ambulance) that have worked out well despite being hard-driven and not been too problematic service-wise, which is partly why they're looking at another Force vehicle. Wouldn't there be a dealer/service around Kangra someplace? P/S was there and worked fine. Honestly I didn't check on heater and A/C (weather's just too perfect up here these days) but am assuming both are available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zezé View Post
...a comparison with the Thar CRDe would be useful to some like me, who is in the market for a 4x4. Besides the performance in the hills, I would also be interested in knowing how the two compare in city conditions, where I will primarily use the vehicle.
[quote=vibhavraghav;4096609]
Quote:
Originally Posted by ringoism View Post

A much needed review. I only hope the newer CRdi versions live up to the same standards. And they could atleast bump up the power to 100 BHP. It would be really helpful if you could do a comparo with Thar CRDE and Di performance in the hills. Do you believe it is more suited for HP roads. I specially want to know about the lag. The Thar just requires too much gear shifts and clutch burning sometimes.
Thanx
I've driven a Thar CRDe in Kinnaur, H.P. a bit, and Dirty Dan (Ken) above has had his trials with one around Dharamsala. In my experience, I didn't like the power delivery at all on account of excessive turbo lag, also Ken's complaint as per an earlier thread. I'd say the Gurkha BSIII I drove has (predictably) more low end torque, considerably less turbo lag (though not entirely absent), and considerably less top-end power vs. the Thar. You still can't really lug it down and just plod along at any ol' low rpm the way we can with our N/A DI Marshal. You've got to keep the revs up just a bit. Off-idle there's still a bit of lag but it's very livable IMO vs. the CRDe. It seems able to let the driver engage the clutch and move up steep grades without having to finesse everything.

Re: city conditions I've no experience but I'd suppose the CRDe's lag would be a little less noticable / problematic than it is up here, assuming flat ground and nearer sea-level conditions. That said I can't imagine the Gurkha would really present any limitations in basic city driving. It would be worse at overtaking, if highways / urban expressways are in view. Having the hardtop factory-fitted might be some advantage vs. the Thar for urban use. Otherwise either can probably get the job done reasonably well.
But... After yet another ride a few hours south and back the other day in a certain other vehicle, I really, REALLY wish someone would make a modern SUV with the power delivery of the original Scorpio 2.6 Turbo. Pulls hard almost right off idle, very responsive and strong in overtaking maneuvers, and can do the highways at 140+kmph. All with a full passenger load. Its 90bhp seems fully sufficient. I suppose the FE / emissions / NVH are a bit off vs. modern expectations, but driveability-wise in my experience it is still unmatched after all these years, at least among the Indian brands.

All this to say that the next (BSIV) Gurkha needn't have some magical bhp figure. It just needs to run like that old-model Scorpio!

-Eric
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Old 28th November 2016, 10:59   #141
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Default Re: Review: The Force Gurkha 4x4

Eric that is quite an exhaustive account of the driving experience in the Gurkha. It is a humongous work to guess when the BS4 model will be launched but hope Force would show some desire to sell it across urban areas all over India as and when that comes to the market.

Bit off topic, but I am also interested to know more on this piece of information you have mentioned...
Quote:
......, the upcoming Bolero 4x4 m2Di estimated at 8.2L or more.......
Is something like this getting launched? Sorry if i missed it elsewhere on the forum.
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Old 28th November 2016, 11:36   #142
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Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
Price: The hardtop approaches ten lakhs by now, but compared to the base Scorpio S4 4wd at 11.5+ and Thar CRDe at 8.85L (considerably more by the time you fit a hardtop), the extremely spartan, much smaller, and uncomfortably jumpy Gypsy at over 7L (on-road), higher models of the Sumo Gold 2wd which are (unbelievably) near 9 lakh, the upcoming Bolero 4x4 m2Di estimated at 8.2L or more, the AWD Duster at 12-13L, and of course something like the Fortuner / Mitsu AWD's in the high 20's;
Eric
There were some pretty awesome discounts on the BS3 Gurkhas going around that made it pretty much the cheapest 4x4 in India by a far margin. A friend is picking it up. Won't deny that the price makes you ignore the rough edges completely..

Nice review though

Cheers,
Adi
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Old 28th November 2016, 13:38   #143
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Eric, looks like the crown gear ratios might be 4:375? That ought to climb hills pretty good.
Dan your views on a regeared Gurkha please. Ref: post below
Quote:
Originally Posted by vibhavraghav View Post
I'd say the Gurkha BSIII I drove has (predictably) more low end torque, considerably less turbo lag (though not entirely absent), and considerably less top-end power vs. the Thar. You still can't really lug it down and just plod along at any ol' low rpm the way we can with our N/A DI Marshal. You've got to keep the revs up just a bit. Off-idle there's still a bit of lag but it's very livable IMO vs. the CRDe. It seems able to let the driver engage the clutch and move up steep grades without having to finesse everything.

I really, REALLY wish someone would make a modern SUV with the power delivery of the original Scorpio 2.6 Turbo. Pulls hard almost right off idle, very responsive and strong in overtaking maneuvers, and can do the highways at 140+kmph. All with a full passenger load. Its 90bhp seems fully sufficient. I suppose the FE / emissions / NVH are a bit off vs. modern expectations, but driveability-wise in my experience it is still unmatched after all these years, at least among the Indian brands.

All this to say that the next (BSIV) Gurkha needn't have some magical bhp figure. It just needs to run like that old-model Scorpio!

-Eric

Hi Eric I am from Shimla. And like most i have been frustrated with a lack of a capable machine for the hills. i can live with a lower top speed. If top speed can be sacrificed (let's say to a comfortable all day cruising at 80kph in the plains) do you believe a regeared Gurkha 4.88 or higher would be the best bet available for now for mountains? Ive been going through other threads involving Thar Di conversion. I believe putting AC, 4.88 ratios and diff locks in a thar di would be a much greater hassle. Di Thar also has a GC of 187mm Gurkha has AC, solid roof, and difflocks from factory and 210mm. I believe it comes with a 4.375 ratio. If axles are changed to 4.88 or even 5.xx shouldn't it become a very capable machine for Himalayas. It has everything going for it. Your thoughts on this. Do you think the conversion be easy. I'd like to hear Dan's views on this as well since he has been doing some modifications to his Di. Bolero Camper is the other vehicle that comes to my mind but it's just not very practical to live with and way too long.
Regards
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Old 28th November 2016, 13:51   #144
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Default Re: Review: The Force Gurkha 4x4

Slightly off topic but a chopped Bolero Camper would somehow be at least this long. The bad quality of pics is due to a cell phone cam and night. This was taken near Kandaghat, about a KM towards Shimla
Attached Thumbnails
Review: The Force Gurkha 4x4-img20161116wa000.jpg  

Review: The Force Gurkha 4x4-img20161116wa001.jpg  

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Old 28th November 2016, 15:05   #145
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Originally Posted by vibhavraghav View Post
Dan your views on a regeared Gurkha please. Ref: post below
I see three major considerations.

1.) Who makes these differentials? Can they be easily altered?

2.) Will a change to 4:88 crown gears confute and fool the ECU of this new BSIV engine, making it undrivable? Thar Di ECU was primitive enough not to be affected.

3 ) Can the rather complex front suspension lend itself to an easy crown gear change?

And, for that matter, try to get a look at the Gurkha front suspension. You notice that there is a very low hanging cross piece between the two front wheels.
This is quite likely to hit rocks and even road surface on badly rutted roads. Eric pointed this out and it is potentially a show stopper for me.

Watch this video at the 13:14 mark and you will see what I mean.

Maybe Arka, Danush... the real experts have more to say on this.


Last edited by Samurai : 29th November 2016 at 11:31. Reason: Remember Behram is no more.
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Old 29th November 2016, 11:05   #146
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Right that cross member does protude. I'd have to take a loot myself before saying anything. Just found out, old Gurkha came with 4.88. Maybe , just maybe there could be a way out!
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Old 30th November 2016, 19:03   #147
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Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
I really, REALLY wish someone would make a modern SUV with the power delivery of the original Scorpio 2.6 Turbo. Pulls hard almost right off idle, very responsive and strong in overtaking maneuvers, and can do the highways at 140+kmph. All with a full passenger load. Its 90bhp seems fully sufficient. I suppose the FE / emissions / NVH are a bit off vs. modern expectations, but driveability-wise in my experience it is still unmatched after all these years, at least among the Indian brands.
I am using said engine (chain drive version) in my bolero 4wd for an year and 6000 kms as its mostly used for expedition on certain days of month. And i am loving every bit of it. The engine is 108 BHP and with proper insulation it doesnt sound much.
Although i am selling it due to lack of parking space but every time i use it, i change my mind.
With one 3000 kms trip and multiple 200-300 kms trip in Sahyadri ghats and track making for an event i couldnt have asked for more. In fact its more drive-able in city and i dont take my safari 4wd even for city drives As I can drive it in 3rd gear at speed of 25-30 with AC on without any strain and one touch to accelerator and you zoom fast. Last week I touched some crazy speed on Mum-Pun expressway which I never expected from it.

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Old 13th December 2016, 15:07   #148
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Bit off topic, but I am also interested to know more on this piece of information you have mentioned... [upcoming Bolero 4x4 m2DI @ approx. 8.2L). Is something like this getting launched? Sorry if i missed it elsewhere on the forum.
It was the local dealer here in Manali (Prini) who told me the m2DI 4x4 would be in production within some months; he didn't have exact pricing info yet, and possibly was estimating price on the basis of expected increase vs. the previous MDI3200T version. Seems the logical replacement engine, though, and despite whatever added electronic intricacies the move may bring, would offer a substantial increase in fuel economy (I know of someone allegedly getting 20-22kmpl in a 2WD m2DI Bolero), as well as more reliable / consistent emissions control.

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Won't deny that the price makes you ignore the rough edges completely..
Outside of Japanese / German products, I suspect most of them (available full-sized SUV's in the market) have got some rough edges. I was only pleased to see that this Gurkha's edges weren't near as rough as what I'd seen a year earlier in the showroom (horrific).

Thanks,
-Eric

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Old 13th December 2016, 19:48   #149
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Originally Posted by vibhavraghav View Post
...like most i have been frustrated with a lack of a capable machine for the hills. i can live with a lower top speed. If top speed can be sacrificed (let's say to a comfortable all day cruising at 80kph in the plains) do you believe a regeared Gurkha 4.88 or higher would be the best bet available for now for mountains? Ive been going through other threads involving Thar Di conversion. I believe putting AC, 4.88 ratios and diff locks in a thar di would be a much greater hassle. Di Thar also has a GC of 187mm Gurkha has AC, solid roof, and difflocks from factory and 210mm. I believe it comes with a 4.375 ratio. If axles are changed to 4.88 or even 5.xx shouldn't it become a very capable machine for Himalayas. It has everything going for it. Your thoughts on this. Do you think the conversion be easy. I'd like to hear Dan's views on this as well since he has been doing some modifications to his Di.
I'm not even sure I'd look to changing ratios till it was confirmed that the stock ones aren't going to do what you need it to. I had it on some pretty steep inclines and in 4Lo it would crawl easily at idle. I think in normal hill driving in 2Hi, the stock diff. ratios might not be bad, unless maybe some seriously oversize tyres were being utilized. Re: the Thar DI, it is just a whole different class of vehicle IMO. Much more crude / spartan / noisy / bone-jarring, and the turning radius is just atrocious (Gurkha's wasn't bad at all).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyDan View Post
I see three major considerations.

1.) Who makes these differentials? Can they be easily altered?

2.) Will a change to 4:88 crown gears confute and fool the ECU of this new BSIV engine, making it undrivable? Thar Di ECU was primitive enough not to be affected.

3 ) Can the rather complex front suspension lend itself to an easy crown gear change?

And, for that matter, try to get a look at the Gurkha front suspension. You notice that there is a very low hanging cross piece between the two front wheels.
This is quite likely to hit rocks and even road surface on badly rutted roads. Eric pointed this out and it is potentially a show stopper for me.

Watch this video at the 13:14 mark and you will see what I mean.

re: 3) - Crown gear change shouldn't be essentially more difficult than in a live (rigid)-axle setup. Very similar (identical?) diff ("pumpkin") as in other Force vehicles (Traveller, etc), just mounted solid in a crossmember. Bigger question, indeed, is whether different ring/pinion options are even out there at all. I'd imagine used ones might be found in a place like Mayapuri (Delhi) or maybe someplace in rural India where the old Trax Town&Country (?) was commonly in use and possibly utilized lower ratios.

(2) Not sure the Thar-DI even has a proper ECU - but about the BS-IV thing I'm going to guess it wouldn't matter, since there is to my knowledge no sensor telling the ECU which gear the car is in; this despite the possibility of any given car being in (for example) anything between 2nd and 4th gear at the exact same vehicle speed, with corresponding differences in relationship between rpm/velocity. The ECU might be more interested in throttle position, rpm, and MAF/MAP, by which it can calculate engine load and adjust fuel mixture accordingly. Just my guess. Probably worth checking out some U.S.-based hotrodder forums for cars like Mustang/Camaro (or diesel pickups/dually's), where it would be pretty common for owners to play with diff. ratios, and the emissions controls / ECU's are equally sophisticated.

(1) I'm pretty sure I'd asked one of the local mechanics here some months ago about the interchangeability of diff parts between something Force / M&M / Tata products, and he indicated that there was no interchangeability at all, beyond certain bearings. He could be wrong of course, but seemed very familiar with these; he does a lot of diff work (knows the tooth counts of all the common vehicles' ring&pinion sets offhand).

Great video there (the Manorama one); the offroad scenes make it look pretty capable, especially considering what looks like stock tyres. Seems to be moving along all right on the paved roads, too. The low-hanging bits are a concern, but I suppose as long as they're robust to take some direct hits I suppose it wouldn't be worse than a lot of other vehicles - and taller tyres would help there a bit, too.

-Eric

Last edited by ringoism : 13th December 2016 at 19:59.
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Old 16th December 2016, 16:48   #150
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Got to drive the BS-IV hard-top version of the Gurkha at their Akrudi facility, two days ago (soft-top not yet launched).

What I liked:
1) As a pure offroader, no Mahindra / Tata / Pajero / Fortuner comes close. This thing is unreal.
2) The boxy G-wagen cum Defender shape is a welcome change from the overdone jeep thing that Mahindra has never been able to get right anyway. Boxy dimensions with huge glass areas also help all-round visibility.
3) The truck-like rake angle & size of the steering wheel is fun and comfortable. Gives a sense of occasion every time you drive it.
4) Interior quality is much better than the previous version though still nowhere near Safari or even Thar quality. In the interests of durability and washability, this might actually be a good thing.
5) The hideous front face of the previous version has been dialled back to a more contemporary style and looks much better. Round headlamps have been retained, laying to rest those rumours about rectangular units.
6) The combination of rear coil-overs (previously leafs), a lighter, box-section chassis (previously tubular), and CRDI has led to unprecedented improvements in NVH levels. Again, only the Safari is better in this department. No other Tata and no Mahindra is as good.
7) CRDI gives it a slightly bigger punch as well. Low speed torque was never a problem for this engine, but now there is an improvement in the top end as well. Top speed has increased from 123 to 148 kmph (as mentioned by the tech department, not tested by me).
8) Slightly bigger dia and better AT tyres offered on steel wheels now. Alloys are an option. Combined with bigger flared wheel arches, this gives the vehicle a butch look that was missing from the previous legless-looney.
9) The clutch is a big improvement and the gearshift pattern is now of the conventional double-H type (previously dog-leg first) so a newbie won't accidentally go in reverse when trying to engage first.
10) For what it offers to offroad enthusiasts, it's great VFM. The company has made no pretence or effort to appeal to the SUV crowd and that is part of its appeal. The "power-windows, double-DIN, airbag" guys will still need to go elsewhere.
11) Despite being a crdi, it still retains some charm of an older-style engine. For example, the ECU is programmed to add power when it senses load so you don't need to play with the throttle pedal even when going up steep inclines. This is quite funny and gives one the impression of driving a tractor.

What I disliked:
1) The driver's seat is still not height-adjustable. For those ergos, this is a must.
2) The tachometer is still given the step-motherly treatment and is a tiny thing in the middle of the dash. It should have taken centre-stage and been even more prominent than the speedo.
3) Rear seats are side-facing in the interests of easier rear entry. I preferred the earlier setup of front-facing rear seats with entry via the front passenger side.
4) The gears were slightly notchy, especially when going from first to second.
5) Diffs are said to be "water wading ready" though the tech person could not explain what this really meant.

To conclude, India finally has a home-grown, battle-ready offroader / expedition vehicle that even I would love to buy and own. Will do so as soon as I can afford one. I could never really say that about any Tata / Mahindra :-)

Last edited by vivekjayasheel : 16th December 2016 at 16:57.
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