Mahindra is putting together a 5-door, long wheelbase version of the popular Thar off roader. While the Thar 5-door is still at least a year away, competition has already materialized. Force Motors – it seems – will beat Mahindra to launch, with a 5 door version of the Gurkha SUV. Spyshots of the Gurkha 5-door have surfaced, and from the looks of it, the vehicle seems close to production trim.
Images courtesy Motorbeam
The Gurkha Long Wheelbase gets jump seats in the boot, which should give it the capacity to seat 6-7 passengers depending on the middle-seat. The short wheelbase Gurkha gets captain seats in the middle row. If Force Motors decides to stick with captain seats, the long wheelbase variant of the SUV will seat 6 and if a bench seat replaces the captain seats in the middle, seating capacity could go up to 7 people.
The Gurkha 5-door on test was running diamond-cut 18 inch alloy wheels shod with 255/65 tyres. The 255/65 tyre set-up is a size up on the 3-door model’s 245 section tyres. Other specifications remain unclear for now. We expect the mechanicals and most of the features to remain unchanged on the longer wheelbase version of the Gurkha.
The tried and tested 2.6 liter-4 cylinder turbodiesel engine will power the new version as well. However, outputs are likely to be revised upwards given the additional weight and carrying capacity of the long wheelbase Gurkha. On the 3 door Gurkha, this motor makes 91 Bhp-250 Nm, and gets a 5 speed manual gearbox as standard. The same motor is tuned to produce 115 Bhp-350 Nm on the Force Traveler van. A similar state of tune is likely on the 5-door Gurkha.
Most buyers of the Gurkha complain about the vehicle feeling underpowered, and a stronger state of tune for the engine could make the SUV a lot more livelier. The coil spring suspension set-up on all four wheels could be carried over to the 5-door Gurkha. The Gurkha has been known for its ride quality – a key area where it scores better than the Mahindra Thar – and expect this advantage to be carried over to the 5-door version.
A four wheel drive transfer case with 4 Low and 4 High modes will be on offer. In the previous generation Gurkha, the longer wheelbase model was available in both rear wheel drive and four wheel drive trims. It remains to be seen whether Force Motors takes the same approach with the BS6 version of the 5-door Gurkha. The new SUV will be aimed at buyers who want a tough, expedition-ready vehicle with a good ride quality and a hardy diesel engine.
The 5-door Gurkha could be launched late this year or early next year. As of now, direct competition for the Giurkha 5-door does not exist. Things will change once the 5 door, long wheelbase version of the Mahindra Thar arrives. However, the 5-door Thar, which is based on the Scorpio-N platform, won’t be launched before end-2023.