The legend of Maruti Suzuki Gypsy is deeper than any SUV available in India. It is the SUV that has won numerous rallies across India but most importantly is the companion of our protectors at borders – the Indian Army. Have you ever wondered why Indian Army relies so much on the Gypsy? Since the first time of induction, Indian Army has received over 31,000 units of the Gypsy. We get you interesting reasons behind the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy’s success with Indian Army.
Lightest SUV in India
The Gypsy Soft Top version, which is the most used by the Indian Army weighs only 985 kg. The hard top version weighs only 1020 kg. The lightweight makes it agiler and makes most difficult terrains an easy walk for the Gypsy. An SUV so light with the 4X4 system is an engineering marvel.
Can be transported easily
The lightweight also means that the car can be transported easily by the lower powered helicopters or aircraft to higher altitudes. The lower weight also helps the car to steer clear of deep snow or slush compared to the heavier counterparts. Often the Gypsy is dropped behind enemy lines for quicker transit and added advantage.
Indian air force planes like IL-76, C-17 Globemaster along with light helicopter called Dhruv are used to transport the Gypsy.
Payload of 500 kg
The feather light weight along with payload capability of 500 kg makes it the first choice of the Armed forces. The car can carry a load equal to half of its weight. That is some serious ability for any car. Army needs a regular movement of equipment and ration in the remote areas and this where the Gypsy plays the best role.
Short wheel track
The Gypsy is a more acrobatic version of the Suzuki Jimny. The car has shorter wheelbase with short wheel track of only 1,310mm. This allows the Gypsy to make the most during difficult and tight manoeuvres. The turning radius of the Gypsy is 5,100mm that makes it very easy to drive on narrow and winding mountain terrains.
The Gypsy is powered by 16-valve MPFI G13BB engine. The engine first appeared in the Gypsy in 2000. The petrol power motor produces a maximum of 80 Bhp and 103 Nm of torque. As Army operates in extreme temperatures, the petrol is much more reliable than the diesel fuel. Diesel engines do not operate at their peak below 3 C because of the diesel properties, which automatically makes the Gypsy only choice of Indian Army. As per ARAI, the car returns 11.96 km/l. Petrol engines are also simpler and easier to repair.
Maruti Suzuki Gypsy is not over engineered. It is a simple car with minimum interference of electricals. There is no power steering, no AC, and no unnecessary electricals. This makes the Gypsy less susceptible to breakdowns even after the abuse of the worst conditions and temperatures.
As we all know, Maruti has the widest supply chain in India. The northernmost service centre of the Maruti Suzuki is at Leh. This makes procurement of any part in emergency situations very easy for the force at the frontier. Also, the simple design with less involvement of the electronics makes it easier to repair.
Leaf Suspension on all four wheels
The Gypsy gets leaf suspension system on all four wheels. It sure makes it bouncy on normal roads but once minimum payload of 200 kg is put on, it becomes the most comfortable vehicle to drive around in the rough terrains.
The Maruti Suzuki is a full-fledged 4X4 vehicle with low-ratio gear. It makes it the cheapest 4X4 SUV in India. For Army, the car retails at around Rs. 6 lakh only.
In service since 1991
The Gypsy was launched in 1985 and the first SUV was commissioned in the Indian Army in 1991. Since then, the Gypsy has remained in service. Last year, Army ordered 2,071 units of new Gypsy for the troops. The Army has also shortlisted Mahindra Scorpio and Tata Safari to replace the old fleet of SUVs but it seems that the Army is in no hurry to phase out the Gypsy. The reliable car is here to stay for a long time to come.