2021 Force Gurkha vs Mahindra Thar: spec comparison
In the battle of the beasts, the war is always more fun when both the contenders are equally mighty. Force Motors recently unveiled the 2021 Force Gurkha and it is the direct competitor to India’s current favourite 4x4 SUV, the Mahindra Thar. Both these SUVs are capable of tackling difficult trails, thick slush, soft dunes, and anything in between. Let’s see how the Gurkha fares against the Thar in terms of size, engine and prices, but first let’s talk about the most important bit — the off-road goodies.
Both the SUVs get a manual lever to shift between four-low, four-high and two-low which adds to their appeal of being old school, rugged off-roaders. The Force Gurkha gets a manual locking differential for the front and rear axles whereas the Thar gets an automatic locking differential for the rear axle and an ESP-based locking differential on the front axle. This definitely gives the upper hand to the Gurkha in terms of off-roading equipment. However, the Thar gets hill hold assist and hill descent control, which are missed out on the Gurkha. Equipment aside, the Thar takes the cake when it comes to approach, breakover and departure angles which will give it the upper hand on most off-road environments, though the Gurkha has a higher water wading capacity, allowing it to drive in deeper waters.
The 2021 Force Gurkha derives its G Wagen-inspired design and therefore its dimensions from the previous-gen Gurkha. The Thar though looks nothing like its predecessor, but still has a strong resemblance to Mahindra’s SUV lineage. From the numbers, we can tell that the Gurkha stands taller as compared to the Thar, which should allow for more headroom. The Thar takes the lead when it comes to the width, wheelbase and front and rear track which makes it appear more planted, aside from allowing for more cabin space. Even so, the Gurkha is longer and appears bigger than the Thar, which should add to its practicality.
When it comes to design, there is certainly no ‘winner’. Both these lifestyle off-roaders hark back to legendary SUVs of the past with plenty of similarities to the original ones. Like we said earlier, the Force Gurkha is similar in dimensions to the previous-gen Gurkha and will need a keen eye to spot this 2021 version from the original from afar. The Thar on the other hand reimagines the classic off-roader look with a neo-retro design and it does look good. The Gurkha gets a metal body and no option of a soft-top roof. The Thar on the other hand gets the option for either a hard top or a soft top.
Both, the Force Gurkha and the Mahindra Thar, are very capable off-roaders and present you with go-anywhere capabilities, helped by their strong powertrains. The Force Gurkha gets a 2.6-litre (OM616) diesel engine which is made to comply with the BS6 emission norms. A variation of this OM616 engine was featured on the first Gurkha, though surprisingly enough, this BS6-compliant iteration is less powerful compared to the earlier Gurkhas.
Mahindra Thar gets two engine variants — a 2.2-litre diesel variant called mHawk that produces 130bhp and 300Nm along with a two-litre petrol engine called mStallion which produces 150bhp and 320Nm.
Even though the Gurkha has a bigger engine, it produces less power and less torque as compared to the Thar and offers a top speed of 120kmph whereas the Thar can go up to 155kmph. Although, the Gurkha gives peak power output at just 2400rpm, which is helpful while tackling obstacles at low speeds.
Aside from the engine, the Force Gurkha does not offer as much choice in terms of the gearbox, with the only transmission option being a 5-speed manual. On the other hand, its rival gets not only a 6-speed manual but the option of an automatic as well. That said, the Gurkha is set to get an automatic transmission, although there is no timeline set for the same.
Despite embracing the old school spirit, both these SUVs offer the modern-day essentials. The Force Gurkha offers a 7-inch touchscreen display for infotainment purposes with Bluetooth connectivity along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, though we must mention that the screen is aftermarket and nowhere near as neatly integrated as the Thar’s. Speaking of which, the Thar comes with a similarly-sized 7-inch touchscreen display and gets ESP in the higher variant, which the Gurkha does not get.
The prices for the Mahindra Thar start at Rs 12.78 lakh for the basic variant and goes up to Rs 15.08 lakh for the top of the line diesel automatic. The Force Gurkha, for now, has only one variant which is priced at Rs 13.59 lakh ex-showroom going head to head with the Diesel manual variant of the Mahindra Thar which is priced at Rs 13.68 lakh ex-showroom.
The 2021 Force Gurkha currently gets only one variant — a three-door diesel and is a solid contender in the off-roader war. Mahindra Thar on the other hand gets two different variant lines — AX and LX with plenty of combinations to choose from between them.
We cannot wait to go off-roading with these go-anywhere SUVs and do a side-by-side comparison to see which one comes out as the ultimate homegrown off-roader.