Force Motors is not giving up on the Gurkha despite low sales. The niche off roader will soon get a new engine and heavily boosted safety levels. The changes will be rolled out within the next one year, before the Indian car market steps in to the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program (BNVSAP) regime, which will come into force from April 2019. To meet the strict safety norms and tighter emissions norms (Bharat Stage 6) – due in April 2020 – Force Motors will upgrade the Gurkha significantly.
The company’s managing director, Prasan Firodia, has confirmed this development with the following statement,
We are working on all the necessary modifications required in the body structure of the Gurkha, in order to make it future-ready. We have invested Rs 250 crore on development of BS-VI-compliant diesel engines which are on the test-bed, now.
This development will be welcomed by the small but growing off-roading community in India as the new Gurkha will become yet another option for buyers. Mahindra has also confirmed that the Thar will be upgraded by using the next-generation Scorpio platform to meet future emission and safety norms. With both the Gurkha getting ready to be upgraded significantly, we hope the interest in off-roading increases in India and more car makers launch similar products. For starters, Maruti replacing the Gypsy with the all-new Jimny would be one such step.
Currently, the Gurkha sold in India is available with 3 door, short wheelbase and 5 door, long wheelbase body styles. The vehicle is powered by a 2.6 liter turbocharged diesel engine with 80 Bhp and 230 Nm, outputs that many feel is inadequate for on-road driving as the Gurkha is nearly 2 tons heavy. A five speed manual gearbox is standard. The longer wheelbase model is real wheel driven while the shorter wheelbase model gets a 4X4 system with differential locks. The Gurkha has coil spring suspension on all wheels, and even gets a snorkel as standard.