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Maruti Gypsy Upgrade rumours gain ground

As a reconnaissance vehicle and a personnel carrier, the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy is a staple across Indian armed and police forces. However, the Gypsy's position as a personnel carrier for the army has come under threat with the Indian army releasing new specifications for future personnel carriers, ones that indicate that the army is looking to source bigger and more powerful, diesel powered versions. 

Private sales of the Gypsy account for minuscule volumes, so much so that the off-roader is available to private buyers only on a pre-order basis. The other fact that the Gypsy is available with only a 1.3 liter petrol engine also contributes to poor sales what with rising petrol prices. In such a scenario, one would expect Maruti Suzuki to gracefully retire the SUV whose best days are firmly behind it.

However, buzz at the dealership level suggests that the Gypsy could be facelifted in the coming months. The facelift could involve new engine options for the capable off roader. Speculated details about the new engine options for the Gypsy involve the 1.2 liter G12B petrol unit found on the Eeco and the 1.3 liter Fiat Multijet turbo diesel engine that powers a range of hot selling Maruti Suzuki car models.

A Multijet diesel engined version of the Gypsy could be the ideal foil to the Mahindra Thar, an off roader that's enjoying great success despite questionable quality levels. However, it remains unclear as to whether Maruti Suzuki would make the investment required to shoehorn the 1.3 liter turbo diesel engine to the rear wheel driven Gypsy. Already, one such vehicle, the Premier Rio compact SUV, features the 1.3 liter Fiat Multijet turbo diesel engine powering its rear wheels.

Therefore, the engine powering the rear wheel driven Gypsy is something that cannot be ruled out due to engineering issues alone. The other speculated engine option for the updated Gypsy, the 1.2 liter G12B petrol engine, could give Maruti Suzuki excise concessions as sub-4 meter cars in India need to feature petrol engines smaller than 1.2 liters to be eligible for excise concessions. 

The 1.2 liter G12B petrol engine, derived from the 1.3 liter G13B motor that powers the Gypsy currently, was originally built to take advantage of excise concessions offered to sub-4 meter (compact) cars. With the Eeco already getting excise sops due to the smaller engine, the updated Gypsy might be the next in line for such concessions. Currently, the Gypsy measures 4,010 mm in length. Minor changes to the bumpers should be enough to shave off the additional 10 mm off the Gypsy's length. 

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