Force Motors

Force Gurkha review

The beast from the mountains

from ₹ 16,75,000

(3-door variant, ex-showroom)

The Force Gurkha has been a force to be reckoned with, especially in the difficult hilly, snowy,  and mountainous terrains of North India. Now Force Motors is in an attempt to rebrand this established offroader to appeal to a wider customer base, by adding the normal city tarmac to their list of compatible terrains in a 4x4x4 badging, the last 4 representing the four terrains it’s capable of traversing. While this hardcore ‘pahadi’ vehicle climbs down to milder city tarmacs with 3-door and 5-door variants, would it be able to pose a credible challenge to Thar and Jimny with its rugged and ‘old-school’ appeal? Could it be the proverbial tortoise that won the race with the hare?

Force Gurkha review: Design and build

Let’s get one thing straight — Force Motors is not going to change the classic, G-Wagon-inspired boxy exteriors that earned the Gurkha the Indian G-Wagon monicker. The design largely remains the same apart from a slight increase in overall length and width. The most significant improvements are probably the adoption of 18-inch alloy wheels as standard and increased 233mm ground clearance. With 35-degree gradability, 39-degree approach, 37-degree departure, and 28-degree ramp over angles, the vehicle is ready for all terrains. Air-intake snorkel comes as standard, letting the Gurkha wade through 700mm of water. 

The frontal profile is unchanged with the round LED headlamps and DRLs continuing. The chunky clamshell bonnet, the high perch of the indicators, and the Gurkha branding on the grille have been retained.

Getting into the cabin is quite a task with the increased height, but the integrated footboards lessen the effort. And once you climb in, the high seating position provides a commanding view. The cabin is quite basic, finished with hard scratchy plastics, bringing back the familiar Trax experience if you have experienced one. The captain seats in the front and rear offer a comfortable ride, and the armrests can be adjusted at various angles. We are not sure for how long the cushion will continue to rebound after compression, but it feels good off the shelf. The five-door version adds a middle row with independent entry, with a bench seat for three. The rear passengers get access via the rear door and the 3-door version offers 500 litres of boot space behind the rear seats. Loading the luggage would be daunting and it would be tricky for the rear passengers to enter and exit with luggage loaded.

Force Motors offers some impressive accessories including windscreen bar, roof carrier with ladder, protective grills for headlamps and fender lamps, roof rail, and child seats for the rear. The all-metal body is frontal crash-compliant according to the brand, and the vehicle comes with dual airbags, ABS, and EBD. The Gurkha is available in green, red, white and black colours in both 3-door and 5-door variants.

Force Gurkha review: Display and infotainment

The Gurkha is not known for its connected tech. However, it now offers a 9-inch aftermarket Android touchscreen infotainment display. Though the brand claims compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, we couldn’t get it connected. However, you can use navigation and other features with your smartphone’s WiFi hotspot. For other features like music playback, you need to download a third-party app. You get two USB Type-A ports along with a 12V power socket. 

Rear parking camera is available with guidelines and sensors, but it doesn’t take steering input. So if you are used to parking with adaptive guidelines, you will find parking a little hard. But the boxy design and large rear and side windows offer excellent visibility if you are used to parking visually.

The new digital instrument cluster offers tyre pressure monitoring, gear indicator and drive mode (Eco and Power) display in addition to the basics.

Force Gurkha review: Features and performance

The new Gurkha doesn’t deviate from its legacy role and is still made for offroading. The Mercedes-derived 2.6-litre FM 2.6 CR CD BS VI engine generates 140hp of maximum power at 3200 rpm and 350Nm of peak torque between 1400 and 2600 rpm. The engine is truly made for pulling over three tons of fully loaded weight (for the 5-seater) through any terrain. However, on highways, the vehicle struggles to go past the 85 km/h mark; so it’s not an enthusiastic engine for the road. This is mated with a five-speed manual transmission. The gear lever has a long throw and with the footwell closer to the driver, you sometimes end up straining to reach the first gear. The transmission is not meant for enthusiastic shifting and you feel the 5th gear quite lifeless.

The vehicle uses hydraulic brakes with front disc and rear drum. We felt the brake lacking enough bite for highway traffic so you need a plan even for emergency braking. Be ready to engine-brake even while you vigorously pump on the brakes. While the shifter and brake provide ample workout for your arms and legs, the clutch is in a different league. The pedal is light with a short travel and has an optimal bite, allowing you to negotiate traffic and inclines with ease. You also get a dead pedal to rest your foot.

The steering has a basic design like commercial vehicles, but it is power-assisted and offers tilt and telescopic adjustment. The steering felt light and responsive. The Gurkha uses coil spring suspension on all four wheels and the independent front suspension has been fine-tuned for a wide range of terrains. The result is a pleasant ride throughout. Add to this the refined engine and quiet cabin. The five-door version comes with roof-mounted AC vents for effective cooling.

The new Gurkha has incorporated an electronic shifter for four-wheel drive with a rotary switch to effortlessly switch between 2H, 4H, and 4L. You also get the same fully locking mechanical differentials for both axles with pull-and-twist levers that adorned the early Gurkhas. Though we didn’t get a chance to use the differential locks in the mild offroading track Force Motors had prepared for the media, we left the course, impressed with the torquey 4x4 modes capable of creeping over steep inclines even without throttle input.


The Gurkha has always been an offroader, and this new avatar doesn’t do much to change this perception. Sure, it has an impressive stance along with a comfortable cabin and a commanding driving position. You would love the Gurkha if you like the feel of a rigid manual transmission and pure mechanical controls and you are a regular offroading enthusiast. The lower gears are forgiving enough to keep creeping with the throttle alone without engaging the clutch. As an everyday SUV, the lack of a petrol engine and an automatic transmission option surely goes against this vehicle and so do the poor infotainment system and the general lack of geeky stuff. Prices are yet to be announced.

Stuff Says

Made for hardcore offroading enthusiasts who like those old-school mechanical cars.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Offroading capability

  1. Comfortable cabin

  1. Commanding seat position

  1. Low NVH levels

  1. Great handling

  1. No petrol option

  1. No automatic transmission

  1. Cheap materials used in cabin

  1. Old-school design

  1. No geeky stuff inside

Engine: 2.6 litre FM 2.6 CR CD turbocharged diesel engine
Max Power: 140 hp
Max Torque: 320 Nm
Transmission: Manual 5-speed
Tyre: LT 255/65 R 18 All-terrain
Variants: 3-door, 5-door