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Old 2nd November 2020, 12:59   #1
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Default Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4

Our Force Gurkha 2.6 ltr 4*4

Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-cover-mastr.jpeg

Likes
• Massive street presence and the endless possibilities to customize
• Powerful Diesel with a lovely low-end torque
• 4*4 capability with Differential Locks
• Excellent ride quality
• Decent mileage and able highway cruiser
• Lights are good and effective
• Comfortable front seats

Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-cover-pc-1.jpeg

Dislikes
• Barebones inside
• Side facing seating for rear passengers
• No Music system, plus the provision for placing one is way too low (in front of gear lever)
• Reversing lights are poor, needs additional lights
• Dealer attitude and support is questionable, needs company support

Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-cover-pic-2.jpeg

With the Aria 4*4 the Scorpio 2.6 & the Swift ZDI already in the garage, there was no need for any other vehicle. While the Aria delivered us to the forests and our jungle farm (read here) the Scorpio helped us move around the forests without any issues and Swift is used well within the city.

Things changed during the monsoons when the Scorpio had to be avoided due to lack of 4wd and the Aria started getting stuck in the slushy forest trails and was constantly getting underbody hits due to its longer wheelbase. The abysmally placed intercooler didn’t help matters and resulted in me getting stuck for 2 weeks due to the repairs. Also the lack of a transfer case made us realize that it was at best used for rough trails and not really meant for all this stuff.

Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-river-crossin.jpeg

And so the search began, the list of contenders were as below, I have listed them as per the price range

- Bolero 4wd
- Thar
- Scorpio Getaway
- Tata Xenon Yodha 4wd
- Scorpio 4wd
- Isuzu Vcross


It is interesting to note that the Gurkha was not on the list. Though of course the vehicle is such that it always plays at the back of the mind but from a family compatibility point of view my wife was willing to accept the Thar (due to our love for our Jeep) but didn’t like the idea of a Gurkha.

Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-rocks.jpeg

Mahindra Bolero, Scorpio & Thar : All Mahindra options were closed in one swift visit to the showroom, reason? Due to the BS6 date closing in, they didn’t have any stock available and there went my plans of owning a Thar.

Tata Xenon Yodha : There is an inherent problem with Tata Dealers not bothered about Sales even, forget service. After making 2-3 visits to the showroom and being promised a test drive, we finally gave up without even getting a chance to drive the vehicle.
With its 3ltr engine 4wd and loading bay, this was always a personal favorite right from Tatamobile days.

Isuzu Vcross – Again an old favorite, for those who follow 4WD Action channel on YouTube must have already seen how capable this vehicle is. Now again due to BS6 they didn’t have any vehicle in stock except the display/TD vehicle which was a top end refreshed model in Blue. The quoted price was over 20 lacs and I felt it was just way too much for the car.

And there it was, we had no vehicles left to check out!

Now people from Pune will know that there is a Force Motors showroom right next to the Isuzu one at ICC Towers, SB Road. As dejection had overcome our visit, I forced my wife to checkout the Gurkha which was all accessorized and ready.

This was the first time when we were really checking the vehicle from a purchase point of view and one thing that struck us both was the sheer size and height of the vehicle. In the confined space of the showroom it was IMPOSING.

Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-showroom.jpeg

A test drive wasn’t available, but I was promised that someone from the Company would call me for the same. Honestly I didn’t expect it, but I actually got a call over the weekend and after a short discussion, the Green Gurkha was brought over to our house for a TD. Long story short, we actually loved it.
We were concerned about how comfortable our kids would be during our long drives on the side facing seats, good thing is that they are quite wide and at a slight angle, my son went to sleep during the Test Drive itself, which was a good sign.

Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-do-we-love-it1.jpeg

Another big item was the AC, it’s a Chiller, within no time the cabin gets cold and one is forced to keep it only at the lowest speed setting.

Booking & Delivery Experience
Here again the BS6 date played truant, we got to know that there was only 1 car left with them, but it was with the factory and not billed to any dealer. I think this really worked in our favour as all our discussions and negotiations were done with the Company official instead of with the dealer.

I was able to negotiate Accessories including
- Front Windshield Guard
- Rear Bumper Guard with Ladder and Jerry Can Holder
- Roof Rack
- Roof-top LED light bar

I tried to negotiate on off-road tyres but that didn’t work out. Tyres were more of a necessity rather than for anything else, but this is where the Dealer incompetence came in, after making me wait for nearly 40days, he didn’t help us with that, whereas I was able to get the tyres in one day flat.

Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-forest-drive.jpeg

There was not much of a Delivery experience due to the lock-down and the wait was killing us. Even after the lockdown was relaxed, the delivery was kept pending on some pretext or the other and we finally took delivery on 21-May-2020

Warranty
18 months, Unlimited KMs.
Safety Equipment – It has brakes and is a tank, that’s all.

Build Quality & Interiors

- The build quality is very good. Everything seems like it will last a lifetime, the sheet metal is thick and all panels are heavy and do not flex. Lifting the bonnet is not everyone’s cup of tea, heck the vehicle itself is not meant for everyone. The doors are heavy and shut with a satisfactory sound, the boot door is easy to open and close and the weight is not evident during operation.

- The grab handles around the doors seem crude but are actually super sturdy and work very well. My parents find it super useful to help climb or get out of the vehicle. Though it is a task for sure as one has to climb up literally.

Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-grab-handles.jpeg

- The seats are good and provide good comfort, but since they are of Rexin / Fake Leather, they tend to transmit heat during long drives. Since we already had experience of such seats in one of our older Scorpio, the solution was also known. We have installed the wooden bead seat covers, which help in air circulation and are also very good for long drives.

- There is no music system provided and installing speakers will need some improvisation. The dashboard is rudimentary and old school and I kind of like it.

- The tachometer is placed right in the center like where one would normally expect a clock, seems like an afterthought.

- The seating position is easy to find and there is also a dead pedal on the left, the front area is divided by a console upon which the Gear Levers and the Differential Locks are located.

- There are a few cubby holes to keep your phone and other small articles but only one bottle holder and a single car charger is present.

- Both the seats have pockets behind them, the bottle jack is placed on the floor behind the passenger seat.

- The glovebox is lockable and is of decent size.

- All windows are manually operated, the rear ones are sliding ones but are fit well and do not rattle or let any outside element enter the cabin.

- There are 2 cabin lights (front and rear) and bright enough to illuminate the outside area too if you are in a dark spot.

Ease of Driving

The seating position is Imperialistic and you literally feel like an Emperor and can talk directly with Truck drivers
On the road you tower above all passenger vehicles currently sold including the Fortuner and Endeavor and that will make you rub your hands in glee. But at the same time, it is fairly easy to drive and not cumbersome, my wife who uses the Swift for her daily drive faced absolutely zero discomfort in driving this behemoth through the forest trails.



Driving Experience
This is where the Gurkha really shines, our purpose behind buying this vehicle was more of an overlanding/expedition vehicle which would help take us places and this it has done with aplomb.

The best thing which went in its favor is that we had very low expectations from it.

Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-scenic.jpeg

Imagine our first drive was one of 1200kms out of which I was planning to cover at least 800/900 on the first day, and I was mentally prepared to be driving at 80-90 all day.

Start the engine and you can immediately feel the smoothness, there are hardly any vibrations and none so on the gear lever, one can keep a cup of coffee or tea on the dashboard (yep its flat) and keep the engine running and it wont spill or move due to the lack of vibrations.
This initiation was highly impressive and so we rolled, leaving Pune at 0500 to test our own vehicle whether it did meet our requirements or not.

The rear was used to our advantage by placing luggage in a manner to convert it into a flat space and then we used our custom built mattress to make a large bed for our kids – this was awesome and we have successfully covered 4000kms of travel time with it without any issues.

Once on the move you realize that the vehicle has sufficient grunt, of course the tall body and high torque means its not a speed demon and one has to be careful and not push it around like a regular car. This one is a proper SUV and it cant get any more truer to character than this.
Speed builds up slowly and as we start moving faster you realize that the undulations which were felt earlier are slowly disappearing.

Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-cover-mastr-1.jpeg

The Fifth Gear

The fifth gear – slotting it is like making the Mask of Zorro signature… takes some to understand how to slot it correctly and then it can chug along, 100kmph at 2000rpm 120kmph at 2200rpm (yes it does drive at 120 :P)

Suspension & Brakes

- The suspension is a beast and roads, bad roads, no roads anything that you forth will be gulped down hook, line and sinker.
And 120kmph it does and how! Absolutely smooth and literally blew my mind, no need to stop for anything, very comfortable at those speeds and totally in control.
- And then bring on some bad roads, anyone from Sagar (MP) or one who has crossed Sagar will know the state of the By-Pass, believe me it is better to drive through fields or mud tracks but this one is beyond imagination for even an abomination. And then you cross it without a sweat switching between 3rd and 4th gear when the rest of the world is stuck in 1st and 2nd – priceless feeling.

- The brakes also are fabulous and though it might not come with any gadgets along, it stops urgently and without a fuss.

There was a situation when we were driving at around 80-90 on a single carriageway and with all of India driving with High Beams, really could not see much farther down the road until at the nth hour noticed a herd of buffaloes walking straight towards us on an NH along with their owner. I stood on the brakes and even managed to zig zag through the herd while at it and all of this happened without a single screech.
I nearly jumped out of my skin to thrash the fellow but was happy that we got away with just a scare and some frayed nerves.

Comfort of long distance travel

So in good and constant speed we clocked 1150kms by 10pm, the last 25kms to our camp being forest roads, this was the moment we were waiting for. This speaks volumes of long distance comfort, to be able to travel 4 digit distances in one day.

Entered the forest and slotted her into 4H and moved it… traction…traction…traction… so much of it… you can literally feel it, the grip levels and torque changed the entire behavior of the vehicle in an instant. It blew my tiredness away and I had a blast driving through the forests before reaching our camp in about 45mins.
Here is a short clip of the last 1 min of that journey, trust me you wouldn't want to be stranded out here at night. You can also see throw of the stock headlamps and fog lights here.



What a success story it turned out to be, the only other vehicle I have driven non-stop from Pune to Panna was the Aria, could not do it in the Scorpio too.
And that is some comparison – real world comparison of vehicles belonging to ends of the customer spectrum.

Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-first-camp-pic.jpeg

And yet hardly anything is known about this vehicle. Most reviews are negative or reviewed within factory premises and yet the company does not do much to promote it either – not a single AD too.

Today at 10500kms and 5 months of ownership we got enough time to evaluate and enjoy the Gurkha for what it is, we have travelled almost through the country and the awe, respect and wonder from the onlookers and travelers in general takes some time getting used to.
The latest instance was that of a few guys insisting on seeing the engine bay and looking in detail at all the beauty inside.

I hope you all enjoyed reading as much I enjoyed driving the Gurkha! I will be sharing other aspects, pictures and videos in the subsequent posts.
Attached Thumbnails
Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-end-cover-.jpeg  


Last edited by Aditya : 5th November 2020 at 04:46. Reason: Missing link inserted. warranty info corrected
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Old 2nd November 2020, 13:32   #2
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Default Re: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6 - Service & Support

Lesser said about the Dealer the better, they were as uninvolved with the sale and service like lungs to water!

But the silver lining in all this has been the company, which is very surprising lets say as compared with all other manufacturers. Here the company officials have stayed in touch right from Day 1 and have answered all my queries and supported me in all aspects related to the vehicle.

There are a few glitches which happens with all vehicles and the Gurkha is no exception, but the upside is that these do not need any major support as such.

1. Check engine light - this really got me worried, but apparently it happened due to a loose battery terminal, which is kind of constant, and needs to be checked regularly.

2. Differential Lock engaged error - A faulty circuit under the vehicle maybe due to constant off-roading, leading to a very annoying beep at regular intervals. Got it sorted with a local mechanic.

3. Play in the Propeller Shaft, this was reported and shared in the 1st service and is to be replaced, whenever I would be back home in Pune.

4. Oil Leakage in the rear Differential - this was due to a hit in the forest and there was a minor leak, the issue was that the nearest service center was 200kms and this got me worried, but we got it sorted through one of the con-calls and some support from a local workshop known to me.

And that's it!

But while in a remote forest area, the feeling of talking to someone who can assure you of everything is really awesome and I have detailed con-calls with even the India Technical Head for Service organized by the Force team. This goes a long way in gaining customer confidence.
Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-wild.jpeg

Organizing the service visits in different cities as we kept traveling, and making sure that the loop was closed.

Imagine my surprise when I received a call from the Goa service center a couple of days after I arrived here, Panna to Goa (1700 kms) asking when I could visit them for a general checkup and all other issues and basic servicing.

Comparisons
Since Isuzu and Thar both were on the contender list, posting a couple of pics for a pictorial comparison.

With a friends VCross

Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-isuzu.jpeg

Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-whatsapp-image-20201102-12.25.48-4.jpeg

Thar

Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-thar.jpeg

The stock tyres were Apollo HT and that would not work in the slushy forest roads and hence got the same upgraded the very next day.

Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4-tires-1.jpeg

The Dealer really frustrated me with constant excuses time and again citing lockdown and what nots, when I finally visited them for the first service (Mahalaxmi Force) I found that a big Tyre showroom was located at barely 300mtrs from the place - big disappointment. It showed their utter lack of interest. They are happy selling Trax and Travelers and this will be a big challenge for Force when the new Gurkha gets launched, how willing are your dealers to take care of this niche customer base spending a good amount of money for a lifestyle segment.

Another thing added to the vehicle are the Hellas, those have been fit with Osram HIDs, these are a boon during long night drives, really eases the strain on the eyes.

Last edited by Trojan : 2nd November 2020 at 14:03.
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Old 3rd November 2020, 05:32   #3
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Default re: Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 3rd November 2020, 08:48   #4
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Default Re: Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4

Wow!
Sounds like a proper beast! Absolutely loved the water wading pic!
Could you also please share some interior pics?
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Old 3rd November 2020, 08:51   #5
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Default Re: Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4

Is this the first ownership review of the Gurkha in our forum ? At least, I think so. Lovely to read. Excellent pictures as well. Some of those made me a bit jealous

I believe you have provided a very balanced and just view of the beast. Given the mod potential, i am sure many in the forum will love to see what you keep doing with this.
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Old 3rd November 2020, 08:57   #6
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Default Re: Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4

Trojan, thanks for sharing your insights on a vehicle about which we know almost nothing.

The dealer apathy, is it because you were talking directly with the company and the dealer was feeling neglected?

Very good photos there. Which camera kit do you use?

Can you please post the following?

1. pricing breakdown
2. Interior photos
3. Engine specs
4. Mod potential specially the interior

Regards
Nikhil
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Old 3rd November 2020, 09:55   #7
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Default Re: Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4

10k+ kms in five months. That is some pretty good running for what is essentially an off-roader.

Everytime I see a Gurkha, end up wondering how the company manages to do it?
As if the company has huge fleet orders or armed forces orders for a highly capable vehicle and as a side business, with zero interest or pushing, they let civilians buy it.
Atleast that is the dealer attitude. Even Traveller/Trax owners give a wide berth to these dealers after purchase and maintain their vehicles through FNGs.

Though I believe the Gurkha is still more usable and utilitarian, with the new Thar, the difference has grown vastly. Don't think that the next gen Gurkha could close the gap as much as how the previous gen could.

The 2000rpm @100km/h was a revelation, imagined it to be a roaring mess at cruising speeds.

Guess this has to be the cheapest model with two locking differentials in India, next would be the Wrangler or the erstwhile Prado. (Know zilch about offroading, correct me if am wrong)

Wish more kilometres of touring and memories befitting the vehicles capability
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Old 3rd November 2020, 09:56   #8
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Default Re: Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4

Glad to read about a rare vehicle. I thought Airbags were mandatory in India? Does your vehicle come with airbags? If not, why and how could the company get away with it when even Maruti had to put an airbag into the Alto and Eeco?
Also, it is refreshing to see an old school back to basics SUV. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 3rd November 2020, 10:00   #9
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Default Re: Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4

Awesome brother... simply awesome.. Loved the way you have described your experience with Force Gurkha.

I truly believe that it is one of the most underrated vehicle available in our country for adventure enthusiasts. Probably less focused / targeted marketing could be one of the many reasons..
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Old 3rd November 2020, 11:05   #10
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Default Re: Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cessna182 View Post
Glad to read about a rare vehicle. I thought Airbags were mandatory in India? Does your vehicle come with airbags? If not, why and how could the company get away with it when even Maruti had to put an airbag into the Alto and Eeco?
Also, it is refreshing to see an old school back to basics SUV. Thanks for sharing.
Yes, Airbag for driver is mandatory. Also the RPAS, ABS, seatbelt reminder and speed limit reminder from 2018/2019 after AIS145 (regulation number) came into force for all M category vehicles.

We would be able to see the SRS symbol on steering wheel is he posts inside pics.
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Old 3rd November 2020, 11:05   #11
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Default Re: Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4

Whatever said Gurkha does tingle your feelings awake... everytime you see one!

Excellent narrative and first hand experience share of living with a Gurkha, thanks. Few of us friends had gone and test driven the vehicle when it was launched and though it was not powerful or had the finesse, really left an impression on all of us. This is one vehicle which has solid build, mechanicals and body to go with it. If the company really puts it resources and redefines some of the creature comforts and equipment, it is sure to be a success story for them.

Once again thanks for sharing and do keep updating the ownership and on your travels.
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Old 3rd November 2020, 11:08   #12
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Default Re: Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4

The pics with the kids on the roof melted my heart & made me think about buying one (when i have kids).

That's the least I can do to for their fun!!!

Lovely car, passionate review... You should sell this to Force. I am sure that people will start buying it if they see your pics & reviews!

Last edited by 1.2TSI7DSG : 3rd November 2020 at 11:11.
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Old 3rd November 2020, 11:15   #13
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Default Re: Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4

I go "wow" when people really go overlanding and drive on trails in India where facilities can be questionable. Hats off to you and your family for venturing into the unknown with this beast.

Seems to be one of the first family review of Gurkha in the forum. It indeed is an imposing vehicle and wish Force Motors had few enthusiastic people who could revive that name. The stance and looks of that vehicle are menacing. For some reason I like the front of your model better than the BS6 gurkha revealed in auto expo. Those dotted led drls look awkward to me in the new version.

The mini G Wagon look and armed with lockable differentials, it is a serious offroader. Glad to hear it does well on the highways too. How is the ride, is it bouncy and lot of body roll, as one would expect on such a high SUV on a highway? You doing long distances on this rather crude yet capable vehicle speaks a lot about your passion for travel.

How do you really manage without music on such long drives? And now with the new Thar launched, it would be great to see a comparo from an owners perspective. Any chance you planning to TD the new Thar?

Happy miles crunching on the Gurkha.
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Old 3rd November 2020, 11:21   #14
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Default Re: Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4

Thank you for a lovely first-hand review of a highly underestimated vehicle! I have always wondered by Force doesn't bother to give this product a serious marketing or promotional push. Considering that, it is interesting to know Force has been constantly communicating with you regarding the car and seems to be ever present to serve you.

The 2.6 Mercedes OM 616 derived, 2.6 litre Turbo Charged engine which your car has is a gem. In this guise it develops 85 hp @ 3200 rpm & 230 Nm. I guess the fun you would've had would've been all the more boundless if it had the 2.2 Mercedes OM 611 derived 140bhp motor. I wish you many more endless miles and years of driving fun in this car!

Any reason why you haven't spiced-up the looks with some macho alloys? Just a thought.
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Old 3rd November 2020, 11:27   #15
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Default Re: Review: Life with a Force Gurkha 2.6L 4x4

Such amazing pictures and review! As an avid wildlife enthusiast I totally envy you now. That image of the leopard from your jeep is my wet dream , I tend to drive by forest roads hoping to get such a spotting. I must admit , I have always loved the Gurkha for what it is , if not for their sales and service I would have bought it instead of a Bolero.

May be once the Corona thing is sorted , I might just visit your forest camp, Bear valley. I saw few videos on Youtube and I loved it. Shared the same with my wife too.

Happy riding!
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