Here, we have a brief on-paper comparison of the upcoming Mahindra Thar and the Force Gurkha BS6, in terms of styling, powertrains, and equipment
The recently-unveiled Mahindra Thar is ready for its launch, and it doesn’t have a direct rival yet in the Indian market, although one is one its way soon – Force Gurkha Xtreme (BS6 model). The vehicle has reportedly started arriving at dealerships, and is expected to launch soon.
If you’re wondering how the updated Force Gurkha will fare against the new-gen Mahindra Thar, then continue reading ahead! Here, we have compared both these vehicles in terms of their design, equipment, and powertrains.
Both the Mahindra Thar and the Force Gurkha have a retro-modern look to their bodies. The Thar draws inspiration from the last-gen model, but thoroughly modernises it. It sports a long bonnet, with round halogen headlamps, LED DRLs, and a massive dual-tone front bumper, along with black plastic cladding on the bodywork. The taillights are LED units, and there are three roof options – hard-top, soft-top, and convertible soft-top.
As for the Gurkha Xtreme, it also gets a pair of round headlamps with LED DRLS, and a large front grille. The bonnet converges towards the front, and the turn-indicators project upwards from the body. The Gurkha also gets a massive front bumper and body cladding, but completely blacked-out in colour. It also gets a snorkel, roof-mounted carrier, windscreen protection bars, and a ladder at the tail section. Overall, the Gurkha not only has a boxier design, but it also looks a lot more rugged than the Thar.
There are a few similarities between these two off-road SUVs, like the three-door bodystyle, fixed rear passenger windows, sideways-opening tailgate, and a tail-mounted spare wheel. Also, these vehicles borrow their design inspiration with some popular international SUVs – The Thar with Jeep Wrangler and the Gurkha with Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen.
The interior of the second-gen Mahindra is thoroughly modern; the dashboard is functional yet good-looking and the round AC vents get chrome surrounds to add a premium touch. The centre console houses a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and the instrument console gets a 3.5-inch MID. The steering wheel also gets integrated buttons for the audio and cruise control.
The Thar is sold in two seating configurations – 6-seater and 4-seater. Both variants get regular seats at the front, but the 6-seater variant gets two inward-facing benches at the rear, while the 4-seater model just gets regular forward-facing bench seats at the rear. The interior panels are all completely made of hard plastics, but the cabin looks good with the all-black colour theme.
The cabin of the Force Gurkha Xtreme won’t look as modern in comparison, and has a rather odd, utilitarian design. The panels will be hard plastic here as well, just like on the Mahindra. This vehicle will be offered as a 6-seater vehicle, but the seating configuration is different. You get forward-facing captain seats for the first and second row, and in the third row, you get two small, inward-facing, folding benches. Overall, the Gurkha’s interior looks a little dated, especially compared to the Thar.
The Mahindra Thar comes with plenty of unique features, like roof-mounted speakers, removable doors, adventure statistics display (in the infotainment screen), multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, and even keyless entry. Safety equipment includes dual front airbags, ABS, EBD, ESP with roll-over mitigation, hill-hold control, hill-descent control, tyre pressure monitoring system, and adjustable lumbar support for front seats.
Although the official equipment list of the Gurkha BS6 hasn’t been revealed, we expect it to offer a touchscreen infotainment system, a new instrument cluster with MID, a manual AC, and power windows. Safety features will include dual-front airbags, ABS, EBD, parking sensors, seatbelt reminder, and overspeed warning.
Engine and Transmission
The Mahindra Thar gets two engine options – a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol motor (150 PS and 320 Nm) and a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel mill (130 PS and 320 Nm). Transmission options include a 6-speed manual gearbox and a 6-speed automatic, along with a manual transfer case (which offers 2WD, 4WD, and 4WD low ratio modes).
As for the Force Gurkha Xtreme, there will be only one diesel engine on offer – a 2.6-litre turbo-diesel unit. This motor can generate a peak power of 90 PS and a maximum torque of 260 Nm. It comes mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, along with a manual transfer case (2WD, 4WD, and 4WD Low Ratio modes) and manually-operated mechanical locking differentials on both axles.
Although low on power, the Gurkha’s locking differentials will surely help it climb over almost every obstacle in its path. That said, Mahindra is offering a lot of innovative off-road tech on the Thar, like a mechanical locking differential, brake locking differentials and ESP.
We can only give a conclusive judgement after getting our hands on both these SUVs and putting them through some tough off-road trials. That said, in our initial assessment, it seems like the Thar has a serious edge over the Gurkha Xtreme, primarily due to its better equipment and creature comforts. That said, the pricing could be a game-changer; if Force can undercut the Mahindra by a significant margin, it would surely make a strong case for itself.