Exciting times lie ahead for Indian car enthusiasts who want to tread the unknown path, in their capable off-roader. It hasn’t been long since we received a thoroughly updated version of the Mahindra Thar. It went on to become an off-roader which will appeal to a new set of buyers and also those who liked what it offered but sat on the fence as it wasn’t a practical vehicle for everybody. Not just this, now that the Suzuki Jimny has been spotted testing and the Force Gurkha too, we are in for a dirty drive!
All the off-roader mentioned above are very capable vehicles when the tarmac ends and this is what sets them apart from the current crop of SUVs.
All-new Mahindra Thar
The Thar is offered in two variants – AX and LX. The former is presented to the hardcore fan and will offer 16″ steel wheels with a soft top and a six-seater configuration (sideways placed rear seats), manual AC and power steering and windows, while a hardtop and front-facing rear seats can be ticked through an option pack. On the other hand, the LX comes fitted with all the bells and whistles like LED DRLs and fog lamps, eight-way adjustable driver’s seat, tyre pressure monitoring system, auto AC, 7.0-inch touchscreen and 18″ alloy wheels.
The new Thar gets an updated version of the 2.2-litre mHawk diesel engine which cranks out 130hp, 300Nm and is available with a 6-speed manual gearbox and an optional, Aisin-sourced, 6-speed torque converter. If you like petrol engines, the 2.0-litre mStallion motor is also on offer. It cranks out 150hp of power and 300 Nm (MT), 320Nm (AT) of torque.
The Suzuki Jimny is lauded for many things worldwide. It comes out as an affordable SUV with appreciable off-road capabilities. It doesn’t shy away from getting off the road. Ever since the Maruti-Suzuki Jimny was showcased at the AutoExpo in February 2020, people have been relentless as when will the capable little thing make its debut here. Now that the Jimny has been spotted testing for the first time in India, we can expect it to arrive here soon. The model which was spied was Sierra. It’s a three-door model, like the one showcased during the Auto Expo this year. Suzuki terms the Jimny as an ‘authentic off-roader’ and is 3550 mm in length, 1645 mm in width and has a height of 1730 mm. It also has a wheelbase of 2250 mm.
We can also expect a 5-door SUV with a longer wheelbase to arrive as well, to a larger audience, ideal for family buyers as well and thus making it viable for the Indian market. Tt will be offered with the same 1.5-litre K15B petrol engine as the international model. This engine generates about 105 hp of maximum power and 138 Nm of peak torque.
The new-generation Force Gurkha was recently spotted testing in the country. Earlier, the off-road SUV was slated to launch in April 2020. Though, it has been postponed due to ongoing pandemic and lockdown. The recent spotting hints that the new model will soon arrive in the market.
Force Motors showcased the 2020 Gurkha at the Auto Expo earlier this year. The new Gurkha will be powered by a BS6-compliant 2.6-litre diesel engine that produces 90PS and 280Nm. It will be paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox with a low range gearbox for off-roading. It is also expected to get the more powerful 2.2-litre diesel that was introduced to the Gurkha range in 2019. This diesel unit cranks out a 140 PS of power and 321 Nm of peak torque. The Gurkha was recently updated with a solid axle at the front, whereas the 2020 model showcased at the Auto Expo sported IFS instead of the dual-wishbone setup. The 4×4 drivetrain will be standard across the powertrains with a 4×2 variant offered with the 2.6-litre diesel unit. The 4×4 variants will be equipped with differential locks both at the rear and front differentials.
All the cars featured here will be closely matched in terms of pricing and only time will tell which affordable off-roader takes it home!