Force Gurkha vs Mahindra Thar vs Maruti Jimny: Which 4x4 would you pick

While the Gurkha is available only with a diesel engine and the Jimny comes only in petrol, it is the Thar that offers both diesel and petrol engine options.

BHPian Omkar recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Force Gurkha

What you'll like:

  • Macho styling & incredible street presence. Robust build too
  • Far more user-friendly than the old Gurkha due to superior interiors & better amenities
  • Shift-on-the-fly 4x4 with low range, diff locks, satisfactory all-round visibility & 233 mm GC. Excellent gradability, approach, departure & break-over angles make it a potent off-roader
  • Choice of 3-door and 5-door (7-seater) versions gives it an edge over competing off-roaders
  • Rides noticeably better than other purpose-built offroaders in the market (especially the Thar)
  • 5.5 m turning radius (3-door) is not as wide as its competitors
  • Homologated accessories mean no cop trouble for owners (windscreen protection bar, roof carrier, ladder, headlamp & fender lamp grilles etc.). Snorkel is factory-fitted!
  • 500L boot space (3-door) is enough for a family's vacation luggage
  • Features such as the hard top, LED headlamps with DRLs, rear wash & wipe, 9-inch touchscreen HU, power & eco drive modes, TPMS, dead pedal, rear A/C vents...

What you won't:

  • High floor makes ingress & egress very difficult for the elderly in particular
  • Braking capability is below average. Pedal travel is long too
  • No soft-top or convertible options like the Thar. No Petrol engine or Automatic transmission either
  • Tall stature equates to lots of body roll and poor handling
  • Despite the increased power & torque, the Gurkha's outright performance is mediocre
  • Overall fit & finish, quality of interior plastics, ICE audio, camera display…
  • Notchy 5-speed MT has long throws and is cumbersome to use
  • Missing features such as 6 airbags, ESP, hill-hold / descent control, sunroof, auto headlamps, auto wipers, driver's seat height & lumbar adjustment, auto-dimming IRVM, electrically folding ORVMs etc.
  • 5-door variant's 3rd-row captain seats cannot be folded or flipped. You'll need to place your luggage on & around them (or get a carrier)

Review Link

3-door Gurkha Drive Report

Mahindra Thar

What you'll like:

  • Fun, fun, fun! A loveable car that will bring you loads of laughs & smiles
  • Handsome Jeep styling & brute character. Tough build too
  • Far more user-friendly than the ol’ Thar due to superior interiors & the amenities
  • Very competent, refined turbo-petrol & diesel engine range
  • Butter-smooth 6-speed Automatics available with both engines
  • 4x4 hardware, offroad capability & 226 mm GC. Get ready for slush, muck, deserts, jungles & the mountains!
  • Practical hard-top or fun convertible available in the Thar – take your pick
  • Features such as removable doors, ESP, cruise control, hill hold / descent, TPMS…
  • 4-star rating in the GNCAP crash test (more information)

What you won't:

  • Very bumpy ride quality. The Thar is never settled, no matter what the road or speed
  • Poor road manners at high speed. Best to cruise at 100 - 110 km/h only
  • Impractical due to the 2-doors, 4 seats (not 5) & difficult access to the back seat
  • Laughably small boot simply isn’t enough for holiday luggage
  • Petrol AT is thirsty due to its hefty weight, 150 BHP & torque-converter AT
  • Premium pricing for the higher variants. Lot of money for the Thar's limited usability
  • Sad feature list for a 17-lakh car. No reversing cam, auto-dimming IRVM, auto headlamps & wipers, electrically-folding ORVMs, rear wash & wipe…
  • Apprehensions of niggles & Mahindra's hit-or-miss after-sales service quality

Review Link

Maruti Suzuki Jimny

What you'll like:

  • Extremely stylish retro-modern SUV with loads of character. A total head-turner that’s available in very interesting colours
  • Build quality is more solid than you’d expect of a Maruti. Even the interiors feel hard-wearing (note: plastic quality is nothing to write home about)
  • An agile mountain goat! 4x4 with low range, satisfactory all-round visibility, 210 mm GC, good wheel articulation and excellent approach, departure & break-over angles make it a potent offroader
  • Compact size & lighter kerb weight (than the Thar & Gurkha) bring advantages off-the-road and on it (in urban confines)
  • Stylish interiors with good space utilization for 4 adults
  • 4 doors make it more practical & family-friendly than the competing 2-door offroaders
  • Smooth torque-converter automatic transmission available
  • You can expect lots of modification & customization options, as is the case internationally. Go out & personalize your Jimny!
  • Features such as the hard top, tinted green glasses, near-flat reclining front seats, LED auto headlamps with washers, rear wash & wipe, cruise control, 9-inch touchscreen HU...
  • Safety kit includes 6 airbags, 3-point seatbelts for all, ESP, brake-based limited-slip differential, traction control, hill hold / descent control and ISOFIX mounts
  • Maruti’s excellent after-sales service, wide dealer network & fuss-free ownership experiences

What you won't:

  • Small size doesn’t give it the presence of a Thar or Gurkha
  • Unexciting 1.5L petrol engine with merely 103 BHP and 134 Nm. Don’t expect Maruti-esque fuel economy either (we saw high single-digit FE in our test-drive of the MT variant)
  • Notchy 5-speed MT with a heavy clutch pedal. MT owners will find the footwell to be cramped
  • Firm steering requires effort to operate. Vague on-road behaviour, weak return-to-centre action and wide 5.7 m turning radius
  • Just a 4-seater (even legally). Not being able to carry 5 limits family-wise practicality
  • Imperfect ride quality. Don’t expect road manners like a monocoque crossover, yet it is superior to the Thar’s bumpy ride
  • 4-speed AT feels very old and outdated (has an “OD” button like in the ‘90s!). That being said, the gearbox has smooth shifts & proven reliability
  • Missing features such as a sunroof, DRLs, rear A/C vents, auto wipers, TPMS, driver's seat height & lumbar adjustment, steering reach adjustment, auto-dimming IRVM, dead pedal…
  • Boot space is just 208 litres; however, it is useable and more accommodating than the Thar’s. Disappointingly, the Jimny’s cabin has very few storage options & cubicles
  • No soft-top convertible or 2-door options available. Forget about the joy of open-top cruising
  • No diesel engine for those with high running. The market still loves diesels in body-on-frame SUVs

Review Link

Here's what GTO had to say about the matter:

1st choice for me is the Mahindra Thar & I put my money where my mouth is. Love the 2-door Thar and the pleasure it brings.

Second choice from the current list would be the Scorpio-N 4x4. It's quite good off the road, while the SUV itself is very useable & family-friendly on-road.

Wouldn't buy the Gurkha as it doesn't have an AT. Wouldn't buy the Jimny as it's just not my kind of car. Too small, too slow.

Here's what BHPian buzzy_boy had to say about the matter:

I drive a 10-year-old Force Gurkha. The vehicle has clocked> 1L KMs.

The good thing about the Gurkha is that it gets plenty of attention. Many strangers walk up to me to talk about it. The three-door version, with its compact size, is city-friendly. You get great views all around. The vehicle feels like a tank to drive.

This is where the good things end. The actual driving experience is pretty average with a decidedly non-tractable engine, and non-existent NVH and dynamics. Plus, you get a fair share of niggles.

Overall, the Gurkha is not for the common person. So voted for the Scorpio N.

Here's what BHPian rakesh_r had to say about the matter:

Currently drive a 2022 Gurkha. As someone mentioned, it's an attention magnet, you feel like a VIP when it attracts attention from all, male, female, children or senior citizens. The Gurkha is something which is best to be kept as a secondary vehicle, although I know quite a few in my circle who use their Gurkha as their primary vehicle. Owing to its height, it's a difficult task to park it in underground parking, it's no mall crawler for sure. Most of the time I have to do some "Footwork" to check if my Gurkha would fit. Service centres are wafer-thin. Not all FM service centres cater to the Gurkha.

Despite all the shortcomings, I still like my car, the commanding road presence gives me a good view of the road ahead. Call me old skool, but I appreciate the fact that it doesn't have any complex gizmos, although I would have appreciated 6 airbags as standard. Mine despite being a BS6, doesn't require ADblu, which is the biggest advantage. In two years, didn't face any DPF clogging issue (Touchwood) as the truck does a mini regen on its own. I did face an issue with the NoX sensor, it was promptly taken care of by FM SVC though.

I did TD the Thar, and although I like the powertrain options, I felt the interiors to be a bit claustrophobic to my taste. Not speaking about the ride comfort as the same has been discussed in detail. Found the Scorpio N 4x4 to be apt for the purpose, so my vote goes for it.

At the same time, I test drove the new 5-Door Gurkha and would like to appreciate FM for updating the lineup. Although I didn't like the instrument cluster (the previous gen had a nice analog one), some of the updates like the inclusion of armrests, internally adjustable ORVMs, better cabin insulation etc have indeed made the Gurkha a bit more upmarket. The undercarriage looks clean. The control arms have been nicely tucked in. The older ones used to protrude, but at the same time were very abuse-friendly. Only time would say how the new ones would fare. Although the power has been bumped up, I wouldn't say it is mediocre, but the powerband is way too narrow, something similar to the Traveller. The steering definitely feels way better. The pedal travel is way less than its previous Iteration.

For peeps missing out on AT, FM is working on bringing out a Gurkha with an AT GB, probably by 2026.

Here's what BHPian Love4Cars had to say about the matter:

Voted for the Jimny till the 5-door Thar is launched. Out of the current 3 cars, only Jimny offers 5 doors practicality + Petrol AT (NCR).

Bought one in Dec 23 for my Dad, very happy with the purchase. It is our go-to car for crowded city places. The compact size is a blessing and it can be parked in tighter spaces.

Yet to take this mountain goat in its true zone.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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