News

Why I bought a Gurkha after shortlisting 5 other SUVs including Thar

The remaining cars on my list were the Isuzu D-Max V-Cross, Jeep Compass, Mahindra Scorpio N and Bolero Neo.

BHPian er_sb_blogs recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

The degree of complexity for the human mind is directly proportional to the amount of information it is exposed to. Hence, being an auto-enthusiast, one of the most difficult decisions is to come up with a car of choice and that too, of your car purchase.

Coming from an above-average middle-class family, the luxury class segment is obviously out of the scope. Hence a mass market segment’s passenger car is what we strive for because this car satisfies our need for value justification, popularly known as Value for Money or VFM.

After owning a Volkswagen Polo for 9 years, it was time to either upgrade the car or add a car in the garage which can fill the void. Naturally, that void can be fulfilled by some machine that can perform the majority of the things that can be achieved by the Polo and do value addition to what it cannot do. That is the reason I was searching for an SUV which is built on a ladder frame chassis, is superior in mechanical capabilities, and has a commanding seating position. Basically, in a journey to purchase an SUV, I wanted to avoid falling for pseudo SUVs or crossovers.

The following cars were shortlisted for a detailed comparison:

  1. Isuzu D-Max V-Cross
  2. Mahindra Scorpio N
  3. Mahindra Bolero Neo
  4. Force Gurkha 2022
  5. Mahindra Thar
  6. Jeep Compass 4x4

Isuzu D-Max V-Cross was one of the first cars that I test-drove. I had spent a good amount of time researching Overlanding capabilities. But the steep pricing was against the sense of value for money. Also, my family was against a truck-shaped vehicle. So after spending around 3 months wish-listing the car, I ultimately decided against the car and also halted the car buying process for 6 months.

My passion and enthusiasm restarted in June 2022 when my extensive search for a car landed me in a Force Motors showroom during a bicycle riding event. I visited the showroom for a test ride where I was demonstrated 4x4 capabilities straight away. Later my SA promised to do a vehicle demonstration at my home for my family members. This happened in mid of July 2022. My father suggested having a look at Mahindra Thar for obvious reasons.

Later, my brain was exposed to a storm called “Mahindra Scorpio-N” which checked all the boxes of my requirements. It promised a great VFM only to realize a gruesome waiting period of 9 months even though being in the first 25,000 bookings. It was not only the waiting period but how the top model was given undue exclusivity, giving a feeling of inferiority to my booked variant Z8 Manual 4WD.

Due to the ill experience from Mahindra, I reconsidered and refreshed my thoughts towards Force Gurkha. But I wanted to be more prudent this time, hence I took test drives of the Jeep Compass 4x4 where I faced issues with headroom in the driver's seat.

After a few days, due to my father, I considered taking a test ride on the Mahindra Bolero Neo option model. We liked the overall value proposition against the features offered, including an MLD at the rear which gives a nice offroading capability on a small budget. On the very next day, we received a call from Bolero SA that we need to decide and book the variant on the same day to avoid delays of over 3 months. We disliked the behavior and the pressure of booking a vehicle on the next day of the test ride. Luckily this time my father understood the poor VFM associated with Mahindra regarding the customer's buying journey.

All these events were making Gurkha closer and closer to purchase.

Extraordinary pre-sales service by the Force MSS Meditechno team, the highly capable 4WD of Gurkha, unmissable road presence, and superiorly commanding seats made us finally proceed with the purchase decision of Force Gurkha 4x4.

My user experience of the first 5000 Km with Force Gurkha 2022 4x4 Black color

The following review contains detailed information about the buying journey of my Gurkha, a product review, and the scope of improvements for future iterations of the machine. I would also try to convey my perspective on the facts which might already be known.

Firstly, let us talk about the dealership because the behavior of staff at the dealership involved in pre-sales and post-sales contributes highly to the experience with the product and the value that gets attached to it.

I remember, my first visit to Force MSS MediTechno Private Limited, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar dealership while I was returning from the cycling track on Saturday. My outfits not conveying my interest in the purchase of a car. But I was pleasantly surprised by the welcoming attitude of Mr. Rahul who paid an ample amount of respect while briefing me about the product.

He led me to a nearby offroad track straightaway in my first test ride iteration. I liked how he explained the limitation of the vehicle because every car has its share of shortcomings. However, the fantastic offroading capabilities of the Gurkha were screaming loud about its purpose. On completing the test ride, he showed eagerness to do a 2nd test ride at my home which was 25kms away so that I can showcase the car to my family. I was amazed at this attitude which spoke about their confidence in the product, sincerity about their sales, and regard towards customer satisfaction.

Thereafter we had a couple of more test ride iterations and every time I was encouraged to test the limits of the vehicle instilling huge confidence in going forward with the purchase.

Not only pre-sales but also registration formalities were taken care of smoothly even though I wanted to register my vehicle in a different city. I am thankful to Mr. Mit who was always there to answer my calls at each step and he braced my impatient attitude with a great level of understanding.

After a great buying journey, it was time to feel the new machine as an owner of the vehicle.

Following are detailed pros and cons of Force Gurkha 4x4 2022:

Pros

  1. Highest commanding seats in the segment and many segments above. The view of the road from the driver's seat is just a level next. You look down at every vehicle you stare at, that includes Scorpio-N and Fortuner. With this high seating position, you have ample headroom for a driver 6 feet 3 inches tall. A direct implication of this fact is that you have the best judgment of lanes, traffic, and speed of vehicles ahead. Hence, you tend to reach your destination without frequent deacceleration and braking. There is ample opportunity to plan your overtakes in a better and safe way.
  2. A tremendously huge road presence is the USP of this vehicle. This car is not just a head-turner but also a neck twister! At so many places like fuel stations, and tourist spots, people approach you a request you to take a selfie or reel with the car. You feel no less than a celebrity. My suggestion is to purchase good dark sunglasses and always wear them while you drive this car.
  3. Linear acceleration is one of the positives to consider if one is looking toward a relaxed long drive. The motor has low bhp and high torque ensuring that it carries the weight of its body, passengers, and luggage very efficiently while providing a good roll-on acceleration.
  4. Control arms are located slightly lower than usual offroading vehicles. The advantage it provides is good driving dynamics with minimum body roll at sharp turns at relatively higher speeds.
  5. For the size of the vehicle, it handles with great levels of precision. There is no understeer or oversteer felt while cornering and the car feels stable at the time of moderate manoeuvres.
  6. Ride comfort is superior with perfectly tuned suspension except for moderately sized speed breakers. One needs to make sure that large speed breakers are passed with the minimum possible speed otherwise it can unsettle passengers and luggage in the car.
  7. Standard accessories provided by the company are highly functional and value-oriented with good quality materials.
  8. Force has provided great damping around the car engine bay and inside the passenger cabin which efficiently isolates traffic and engine noise.
  9. The snorkel lying just near the driver seat, on the outside, tends to be a good companion with its sweet sound of air intake.
  10. Highly mechanical and least electronic Gurkha feels reliable, simple, and capable on the highway and offroad drives.
  11. The air conditioning system is very strong and quickly cools the cabin in a very short time.
  12. Inside the cabin, Gurkha is more spacious and practical than the Mahindra Thar.
  13. Affinity for modifications.
  14. The presence of Front and Back Mechanical Locking Differentials provides more confidence in control in difficult situations.

Cons

  1. The company that provided aftermarket accessories has reliability issues. Kenwood entertainment's system is 2020-made with lots of bugs. The TPMS provides false alarms due to sensor connectivity issues.
  2. The texture of the black color of like that of an orange peel which doesn’t give the premium feel and it is very difficult to maintain the cleanliness even after the ceramic coating job.
  3. Slightly uneven exterior panel gaps.
  4. No official NCAP safety rating.
  5. Common service center for Force Gurkha (passenger vehicle) and Travellers (including dead body vans, school buses, and ambulances)

Scope of Improvement

  1. The addition of more large-sized door pockets would be great.
  2. Including luggage organizers as company-provided accessories would be quite helpful.
  3. The inclusion of a 360-degree camera would help manage this mammoth vehicle with some ease.

Conclusion

Considering the great buying journey, strong mechanicals, and powerful road presence due to its design language, I am highly satisfied with my purchase.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
Redlining the Indian Scene