2023 Maruti Suzuki Jimny 5-door vs Mahindra Thar vs Force Gurkha: Spec and price comparison
After months of anticipation, Maruti Suzuki has finally launched the much-awaited Jimny 5-door. It is already off to a strong start, racking up over 25,000 bookings since it was shown at the 2023 Auto Expo. The Jimny has a strong legacy in India thanks to the Gypsy, which was on sale for 33 years. It will compete in the lifestyle SUV segment with the Mahindra Thar and the Force Gurkha. Let's see how they stack up against each other in terms of size, engines, features, price, and, of course, off-road ability.
Jimny vs Thar vs Gurkha: Dimensions
When viewed on the road, the Jimny does not have the presence of the Thar or the Gurkha. This is mainly due to the width and height advantages that they have over the Jimny. In fact, the Jimny is only slightly wider than a Wagon-R. All three SUVs are around four metres long, with the Jimny and Thar being bang identical in terms of length, and the Gurkha being slightly longer. The Jimny does have the longest wheelbase, and consequently the most interior room, but it is worth noting we are comparing the five-door Jimny with the three-door variants of the other two. The upcoming five-door variants of the Thar and Gurkha will be significantly longer than the Jimny. It's clear that the Jimny is not in the same league when it comes to size, but it is the lightest by a fair margin, which in combination with its size makes it the most manoeuvrable.
Jimny vs Thar vs Gurkha:Engine
The Jimny is only available with a 1.5-litre, naturally aspirated petrol engine mated to either a 5-speed manual or an archaic 4-speed torque converter. Similarly, the Gurkha is also available with only one engine: a 2.6-litre turbo-diesel mated to a five-speed manual. The Thar, on the other hand, is available with a multitude of engine and transmission options. There is the 2-litre turbo-petrol that can be mated to a manual or automatic, and it is available on both the 4x4 and RWD variants. There is also a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel, which is available on the 4x4 with either a 6-speed manual or automatic. And finally, the RWD diesel variant gets the 1.5-litre engine (to get tax benefits) mated to a 6-speed manual.
In our first drive reviews, our main complaint about the Jimny is that it is underpowered, and the spec sheet below puts that on full display. The Jimny gets the only nat-asp petrol of the lot and its outputs, while on par for the course of an engine of that capacity, lacks grunt compared to the larger turbo-petrol's on offer here. The Thar’s 2-litre petrol makes a fair bit more power, but its the torque that is the clincher. Even if you look at the Thar RWD’s diesel engine – it makes more power and torque. The Gurkha’s engine is ageing as well and we have criticised it for being underpowered too. It makes a mere 88.7bhp though torque is better at 250Nm.
Jimny vs Thar vs Gurkha: Off-road kit
All three of these SUVs are old-school off-roaders with ladder-frame chassis and low-range gearboxes. The Gurkha has a mechanically locking front and rear differential. The Thar meanwhile gets an MLD on its rear axle as an option on the top-spec diesel Thar. The Jimny and the lower-spec Thar make do with a brake-based locking diff system. The Jimny and the Thar also get hill hold and hill descent control, which are lacking in the Gurkha. The Thar takes the lead in approach and breakover angles, but the Jimny has a significantly better departure angle. The Jimny, however, does fall short in its water-wading abilities when compared to the other two.
Jimny vs Thar vs Gurkha: Features
The big news on the safety front is that the Jimny comes with six airbags as standard on all variants. The Thar and the Gurkha are available with only dual airbags. All three SUVs are strictly four-seaters; the Jimny and Thar get 50:50 split folding rear seats, while the Gurkha comes with captain's chairs in the rear. However, this does limit its load-carrying ability, as they cannot be folded to increase cargo room. The Jimny leads this trio in terms of tech with a 9-inch infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a surround sense audio system by Arkamys. Even the base Zeta variant comes with a 7-inch infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Thar and the Gurkha make do with 7-inch systems with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Jimny vs Thar vs Gurkha: Price
Maruti Suzuki has announced the prices for the Jimny. The base Zeta manual will cost Rs 12.74 lakh ex-showroom, and the Alpha manual will cost Rs 13.69 lakh. The automatic transmission is a Rs 1.2 lakh option on either variant. The Alpha variant is available with a dual-tone option for an additional Rs 16,000.
We expected the Jimny to undercut the Thar, which it has, but not by a large margin. The Thar RWD remains the bargain of the bunch, starting at Rs 10.54 lakh, while the Gurkha’s sole variant costs Rs 15.10 lakh.
What do you think about the Jimny’s pricing? We will reserve judgement until we’ve driven all three SUVs back-to-back to see which one comes out on top.