The sales and popularity of SUVs are at an all-time high in recent times. All the carmakers are trying to play their natural game of offering jacked-up hatchbacks and crossovers in the name of SUVs. However, there are two home-grown UV makers, Mahindra and Force Motors, which are taking the road less taken. The Force Gurkha and Mahindra Thar are playing a game of their own, by being true-blue four-wheel-drive SUVs that are targeted at those who love to explore the unexplored.
Both these SUVs have evolved a lot over their crude-looking and performing predecessors, and are more suited to the urban jungle as well. With added practicality and features, they feel much more appealing than ever before. However, there is a clear winner between the two. Which one is it? Read more to find out:
Compared to the Force Gurkha, which is being only in one full-fledged diesel-manual variant, the Mahindra Thar in all possible configurations of petrol-manual, petrol-automatic, diesel-manual and diesel-automatic. The top-spec diesel-manual variant of the Mahindra Thar is priced about Rs 10,000 more than its sole counterpart variant of the Force Gurkha.
|Prices (ex-showroom, Delhi)||Force Gurkha||Mahindra Thar|
|Petrol-manual||–||Rs 12.78-13.38 lakh|
|Petrol-automatic||–||Rs 14.78-14.88 lakh|
|Diesel-manual||Rs 13.59 lakh||Rs 12.98-13.68 lakh|
|Diesel-automatic||–||Rs 14.98-15.08 lakh|
(All prices mentioned above are ex-showroom, pan India)
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Engine and Performance
Given that the Force Gurkha doesn’t come with a petrol powertrain option, here we will be following an apple-to-apple comparison of diesel powertrains of both variants.
The 2.6-litre four-cylinder diesel engine of the Force Gurkha might be bigger than the 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine of the Mahindra Thar. However, the Thar’s engine feels more responsive, refined and better put together, with much more power and torque on offer as compared to the Gurkha’s engine. The Thar also offers an additional option of a 6-speed automatic apart from a 6-speed manual, compared to the sole 5-speed manual gearbox option in the Gurkha. Both the SUVs offer a pure off-road driving experience with low range and manual locking for front and rear differentials. Both the SUVs feel equally good on tougher roads and off-road trails, but the Thar offers a better ride quality over urban roads and highways.
For the unversed, the Thar can be had with a petrol engine too – a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, which makes 150 bhp of power and 300 Nm of torque. This engine too is offered with both 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic gearbox options.
|Specifications||Force Gurkha||Mahindra Thar|
|Engine||2.6-litre four-cylinder diesel||2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel|
|Power||90 bhp @ 3,200 rpm||130 bhp @ 3,750 rpm|
|Torque||250 Nm @ 1,400 rpm||300 Nm @ 1,600 rpm|
|Gearbox||5-speed manual||6-speed manual / 6-speed AT|
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Exterior and Dimension
One look at both the SUVs and it is immediately clear to figure out that the Force Gurkha is the bigger one of the two. With better length and height figures, the Gurkha gains an advantage in both road presence and cabin space. Even the boot space of the Gurkha is much better over that of the Thar. Both the SUVs come with seating capacity for two people at the back, and while the Gurkha is narrower of the two SUVs, it offers much better comfort due to the captain seats layout with individual armrests.
|Dimensions||Force Gurkha||Mahindra Thar|
|Length||4116 mm||3985 mm|
|Width||1812 mm||1855 mm|
|Height||2075 mm||1844 mm|
|Wheelbase||2400 mm||2450 mm|
|Boot space||500 litres||–|
|Ground clearance||219 mm||226 mm|
|Fuel tank capacity||63 litres||57 liters|
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Design and Features
The Force Gurkha and Mahindra Thar are present in an altogether different niche segment of butch looking proper four-by-four SUVs. So, irrespective of what you select out of the two, be prepared for gaining a lot of glances on the road, for both these are great head turners on their own.
Both the Force Gurkha and Mahindra Thar have upright, tow-door designs, which resemble much like two popular global off-roaders. While the Gurkha seeks heavy inspiration from the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, the Thar is often mistaken by many for a Jeep Wrangler. This further makes their road presence even stronger.
These butch looking SUVs get heavy body cladding, chunky tyres and a nice-looking set of alloy wheels as standard. However, the Gurkha takes an edge on the outside with the presence of LED headlamps with daytime running LEDs. The Thar, on the other hand, only gets fender-mounted LED DRLs. The Gurkha also offers the exclusivity of being the only vehicle in India to feature a factory-fitted snorkel.
When it comes to discussion about the interior cabin, the story takes a one-sided approach, with the Mahindra Thar having a huge advantage over the Force Gurkha. With better fit and finish levels and more modern features, the Thar feels like a much more modern SUV over the Gurkha.
In terms of features, the Force Gurkha is equipped with power windows, tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel, manual AC and a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. The Thar, while getting all of these, also gets cool looking roof-mounted speakers, steering mounted audio and Bluetooth controls, cruise control and more. The Thar also offers the option of a removable soft-top.
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Both the SUVs evenly match each other when it comes to safety features, with them getting dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, reverse parking sensors, ISOFIX mounts for child seats and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
While there is no doubt on the fact that the Gurkha offers better cabin space and a capable off-road driving experience, it feels a league behind the Thar in many crucial areas, such as fit and finish levels and features. Also, the sole diesel engine option of the Gurkha feels one notch below that of the Thar, the latter of which offers better refinement and power delivery across the whole rev range.
In addition, the Thar feels a more versatile option, as it offers the option of a petrol engine with both manual and automatic gearboxes, and an automatic variant of the diesel engine as well. So, if you are looking for a modern-day 4WD workhorse that feels easy to live within urban jungle as well, the Thar is a better and more practical option to put your money on, and that too with a very small premium of just Rs 9,000 which it asks.